‘Speed it up there,’ said Zhievo impatiently, ‘Go on, step on it!’
‘I will man, keep your knickers on,’ Marco retorted back. It was the one solitary word which made them catch each other’s eye and then completely lose it as they burst out laughing at their own fun like little kids. They must have cracked their ribs in a few places by the time they were ready to let go of their little fragment of humour. As they drove down the smooth road in the dark of the night, the darkness was broken only by the pair of narrow beams from the headlights of their car.
Marco was behind the wheels and continually rubbing his eyes hard to shake himself awake from the dizziness the drinks had given him. Zhievo didn’t bother with anything as such – he loved the way alcohol disillusioned him and made him struggle to even stand up straight. At that precise moment, he was quite enjoying the zigzagging pattern the car was proceeding in. The darkness cooled his senses and he wanted it to stay that way, he was falling asleep as he kept staring out at the blank canvas of the sky. He loved this feeling of flying he was experiencing. He threw his head back on the seat and continued to enjoy the upliftment.
‘Dude, you mind? What the fuck are you doing?’ snapped Marco as he screwed up his eyes to concentrate on what was ahead on the road.
‘What? What did I do?’
‘Stop stretching your legs onto my crotch, I’m trying to drive here!’
‘You fucking insane? Why would I ha-’, Zhievo had to stop midway as he realised where his legs were and quietly moved them back to proper position in his seat. ‘Sorry, stretched a bit too much. The Jack Daniels… man! Tell you what, he is a dude, he’s freaking amazing!’
‘Jack Daniels is not a dude, not any more at least. Now, he is just a bottle of whiskey.’
‘Wrong. He is an empty bottle of whiskey. See?’ Zhievo held up the empty bottle for Marco to verify the claim.
Again, it was one of those moments when you just look each other in the eye and then lose track of everything around you as you struggle to stop laughing like a drunken maniac.
‘Gosh Zhi, how’d you finish that entire bottle? I only had about two swigs from it!’
‘Easy, you open the bottle, and then you bring it closer to your mouth. Got it so far?’
‘Yeah,’ said Marco who was now finding Zhievo’s comments more helpful in getting rid of the slight tipsiness he still felt. He let him carry on.
‘Okay, then…’ Zhievo paused for a moment trying to figure out the rest of it. Then he suddenly snapped back into concentration. ‘Then you get your lips around the mouth of the bottle, then tilt it upwards and drink from it. See, easy as fuck!’ concluded a thrilled Zhievo.
‘Fucking hell, you’re an absolute piss-head, that’s what you are. To empty an entire bottle of whiskey is mental! Seriously dude, get a grip.’
‘Oi! What’re you telling me to get a grip for, huh? What else was I supposed to do?’
‘What are you on about now?’
‘No seriously, what was I supposed to do? You were in there, fucking your girl, and what was I supposed to do? Fucking go in and watch? That would have been a better pastime, wouldn’t it?’
‘Hey… hey! Where’s this coming from, man? Cool down!’
‘I don’t care where it’s coming from, it’s already here so deal with it. Now, what was I supposed to do? Tell me! You’re in there have fun with that whore and it becomes a crime to even fucking drink whiskey?’
There was a silent pause. Thoughts kept running through the heads of both men as one of them continued to drive down the dark road. Thoughts, mainly jealous and piping hot in Zhievo’s head, but Marco – what ran through his head was beyond the capacity of words. It wasn’t rage he was feeling. He was used to his companion’s ways and he half-expected outbursts like these every once in a while, especially after a drinking session. He managed to calm himself down and spoke slowly as he said to Zhievo, ‘Bro, listen to me here. It’s alright if you drink not just a bottle but a whole gallon of whiskey or whatever shit it is you want to. But. You. Do Not! Refer to my girlfriend as a whore. You get that, man? I’m telling you once, won’t do it again.’
‘I’m sorry man… sorry bro… didn’t mean to… I’m gutted now, sorry…’ Zhievo stared around for some time and then asked, ‘Say, is there any of that good stuff still left?’
‘Yeah, there’s still a packet left in the back seat.’
As Zhievo shoved himself into the back seat and began shuffling, looking for something, he broke into a song – ‘She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie…’ He paused for a moment as he picked up what he was looking for. As the glee began to get brighter in his eyes, he remembered the song he was halfway through and decided to finish it, ‘COCAINE!!!!’
On a little plate of glass, he emptied the contents of the packet. Then he gathered them into little thin lines. Rolling up a piece of paper into a nozzle, he ran one end of it over the lines while the other end was inserted into one of his nostrils. The other nostril was held shut by him to maximise the effect of whatever he was doing. When he was done with it, he was sniffing and breathing heavily. His eyes were slightly red.
Marco wasn’t interested in what was going on at the back seat any more, but he knew something now. Something had been bothering him a lot ever since Zhievo called his girlfriend – his Claudia – a whore. All of a sudden it became very clear to him; it all became so simple to him that he felt relaxed now.
‘Man, this stuff is amazing! I love it!’
‘That’s good. You should always love good stuff.’
‘Fuck yeah, I should and I would! But man, I want to tell you something.’
‘Really, go on then.’
‘Your girl, you do know your girl right? She is a fucking sizzler, that’s what she is.’
‘Oh Yeah? That’s good to hear.’
‘Yeah man, I’m telling you, her fun bags. They look a lotta fun to me. No wait, I’ve got it. They’re like mountains, huge fucking mountains.’
‘Her tits remind me of the Rockies, and you want to hear something funny? I’ve never even been to America.’
‘You could then someday, it’s a nice place. I’ve been there.’
‘Damn right you’ve been there! Especially to the Rockies isn’t it huh? You like the Rockies, you motherfucker!’
‘You could say that.’
‘That’s right man, but tell me one thing. Why do you have to fuck her each time you bring me along to meet her, man? I kind of don’t like it.’
‘It’s not like I do it on purpose, man. But you know what our job is like; sometimes you just got to fit these visits into the little gaps we get between our work, and you just happened to be with me today when I managed to take some time out.
‘You know how it is with us – shipments arriving almost everyday, loading them, taking them across the country to where they’re meant to be dropped off. Where’s the time? We got a couple of days’ gap before the next one arrives, so I thought why not.’
‘But you still always got to fuck her, huh?’
‘Fair play, man. I don’t blame you. I mean that ass… It makes me want to bang her hard then and there! That whore gets me stiff each time I see her, man!’
There weren’t any more pauses now, just a loud flash and a bang. There was then a long period of silence in which Marco continued to drive on.
A little later, in a house somewhere in the suburbs, a phone rang in the middle of the night. A man in his housecoat and tousled hair, just woken up, yawned his way across the hall to pick up the call.
‘Doug, it’s Marco. I’m close to your place, going to pick you up in a couple of minutes. Need a hand in dumping something off in the river. I’ll meet you outside the backyard.’
‘What’s the matter now, in the middle of the night? There any problems?’
‘I’ll tell you later. Just meet me outside your backyard, alright?’
‘Okay, I’ll be there.’
A few hours later, as Doug and Marco finished the little job that had suddenly come up, Doug had to clarify something that had been bothering him ever since he was picked up by Marco in his car and had seen blood splattered all over the front seat and the window. He had guessed whose it was, but there were more questions he had to ask.
‘Marc, what happened? What went wrong?’
‘What do you mean, nothing? Hey, do I look like a fuckhead to you? Tell me what happened. He was your fucking partner for Pete’s sake.’
‘Telling you man, nothing happened! Plus he was going to die anyway. Once he did a whole packet of coke over a neat bottle of whiskey, he was never going to live much longer. It was obvious. I thought I could wait till morning for the coke to react with his system and the booze.’
‘Well then maybe you should have. It would have been much neater as well.’
‘Yeah, I thought that too. But I couldn’t. Things got a little too out of hand, and I couldn’t wait anymore. Anyway, how’s Bonnie doing? You don’t want to go back home right now, do you? You up for a pint at the pub nearby?’
Abhijan Barua is a Journalism student at the University Of Glamorgan, Wales, and a football addict and musicaholic. He has a bit of a gift at having dark thoughts all the time.
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