Man I was feeling good, just back from a holiday in Cuba, sun-tanned, lean,
and ready to rock and roll or even start another people's revolution. Okay,
maybe not that good, but I was feeling powerful. It was a Friday night in
the summer of 1997 and I was young free and single. Friday night, the end of
the week, the biggest night of the week for working stiffs like myself, even
bigger than Saturday and as for Sunday, despite the hype, Sunday is nowhere if you've got to get up on Monday and interact with a bunch of enslaved automatons for eight or ten hours.
I met her at a warehouse party. Back then these were popular, huge,
dark, dangerous places , with deafening monotonous techno and an abundance of cheap low-grade recreational drugs. In the middle of the dance floor were some big wooden boxes that people danced on, or sat on or even lay down on. Wooden boxes and laser beams, the stale smell of dry-ice and cigarette smoke assaulting the nostrils, mingling with Vics vaporub and amyl-nitrate. I was well into the start of a coke and alcohol binge, which wouldn't stop until the early hours of Sunday morning when the prospect of work reared its ugly head, the biggest party pooper of them all.
I was dancing around like a nutter, pogoing, doing moonwalks and mock
fighting with my friend Ronnie, when this girl caught my eye. She was
laughing at our stupid antics, nudging her friend and probably saying, 'Look
at those couple of pricks.' So I stopped acting like a prick and attempted
to look cool. After pulling out all my best moves I got carried away and
tried to spin around James Brown style, but on the third spin, I lost
balance and fell over. The girl laughed even more, a sustained bout of
hysterics. Embarrassed, I retreated to a bar for another beer and a shot.
While I waited to be served I clocked the girl shooting glances my
way and tried to get a good look at her, but in the gloom it was virtually
impossible. She had long dark-hair and looked mixed race, just like the
Cuban girls I'd met on holiday, and suddenly I had to talk to her. After
downing the shot I wandered away from my group of friends and over to the
wooden boxes. I sat down and supped my bottle of Bud. The girl was still
shooting sly glances. She looked like she was pilled up, a good sign,
because back then I always thought pilled-up girls were easy to pull. At
some point I decided to say hello.
The next thing I knew the girl and I were kissing on a balcony that run
the entire length of one wall of the warehouse. I don't know how it
happened, but it happened very fast. One minute I was at the big wooden
boxes saying hello and the next thing we were on the balcony. We kissed for
ages until a friend appeared out of nowhere. Her friend wanted to go home.
It was about four thirty in the morning and people were leaving the club in
droves. The girl said she had to go and, smooth as fuck, I asked for her
number. She found a pen and wrote it on my hand.
Once the girl was gone I wandered around the club looking for my
friends. I found Ronnie in the toilets. He was having some in depth convo
with the toilet attendant, something about which aftershave was the most
popular with the clubbers or some other meaningless bullshit. He smiled when
he saw me and handed me the wrap. I went into a cubicle and keyed a whole
load up my hooter. I felt great. I was getting off my nut and had just
pulled a bird, all in all, a good nights work. I studied the writing on my
hand, Jocelyn 520-5675.
I awoke Sunday morning with a blinding hangover. I checked the time; it was
four-thirty p.m. Okay let's revise that first sentence. I awoke Sunday
afternoon with a blinding hangover, that's better. Then I wondered vaguely
where the day had gone.
I walked into the bathroom to shower. In the shower I noticed some
writing on my hand. I switched the shower off. The name had almost
disappeared and the number was almost too faint to read, but everything came flooding back. Friday night, the warehouse party and a girl called Jocelyn. It seemed like another lifetime ago. I dashed into my bedroom and wrote the name and number down on a scrap of paper before it disappeared forever.
I called Jocelyn around six o'clock. She sounded pleased to hear from
me, in fact a little too pleased for my liking, but at that stage of the
weekend my thought processes were covered in a thick layer of sludge, so I
didn't know whether I was coming or going. Somehow I arranged to meet her
Jocelyn lived in a run-down sink estate that made the dump where I lived
appear positively salubrious. A large group of black kids were hanging
around a broken telephone box and when I walked past one of them blew a
raspberry, which although unthreatening, in the jittery state I was in it
made me flinch. Some of the kids laughed and I cursed myself for being so
I quickly found the block that Jocelyn lived in and located her flat.
Then I rang the bell, hoping that she was good looking and up for a shag
with no strings attached. But as soon as the door opened all my hopes
evaporated in an instant because Jocelyn was fat, not big boned, just fat.
For a split second I contemplated doing a runner, but it was too late for
that, so I just smiled awkwardly and mumbled hello.
Jocelyn invited me in. She had a pretty face and a friendly smile and
immediately put me at ease. I saw how it had all worked. In the gloomy
warehouse and with beer and coke goggles on she had looked like a sort. I
cursed those beer goggles. They always distorted the truth and twisted
reality. Not once had they given me a pleasant surprise.
The flat was a cramped sad affair, sparsely furnished, and depressingly
bleak. As I stepped inside she asked me to be quiet.
"Why?" I whispered.
Jocelyn led me into the only bedroom. On the bed was a baby lying so still
it looked like a waxwork doll. Jocelyn pointed at the thing,
Just my luck, I thought. Not just a fat bird, but a fat bird with a
pickininny. I looked at Jocelyn and she read my mind.
"It's not mine, I'm babysitting for a friend."
Instantly I envisaged the scenario. One of her mates had got pregnant in her
teens. The geezer had done a runner or the girl didn't want to know him, and
now she would spend the next few years getting people to look after the
thing so she could lead a normal life.
Once the baby revelation was out of the way we gravitated towards the
living room. Another drab affair, cheap leather settee, fuck all fittings,
and a rental television and video set. Placed on a badly constructed cabinet
were a few photographs of the baby, along with some of the retarded looking
mum. When she wasn't looking I kept sizing up Jocelyn. She was huge and
again I wondered, for even with the beer goggles it seemed inexplicable that
I hadn't noticed before. Shit!
We sat down on the settee together. For a few moments there was an
uncomfortable silence. Then Jocelyn asked if I wanted to watch a video.
"What ya got?"
She fumbled through what looked like a really lame collection of videos.
Then she held one up,
"Have you seen Titanic?"
I shook my head, but I'd heard about the film, I mean who hadn't? For the
last few months the media had rammed it down our throats about how the
fucking thing was the most expensive film in history or some other Hollywood
media hype bollocks. But was it any good?
Jocelyn put the film on and we settled down to watch it. She sat with a
large cushion on her lap, but the tactic didn't work, she was still fat,
cushion or no cushion. Before the film started Jocelyn asked if I wanted a
drink. All she had was a bottle of Malibu, a proper birds drink, but if it's
got alcohol in it I'll drink it. She mixed us two tall glasses of Malibu and
lemonade. When she got up I noticed she had quite a severe limp. We sat
supping our Malibu's and watched the film in silence.
The movie was boring, slow-moving sentimental mawkish bullshit with a
really irritating theme song. The only highlight was when Kate Winslet got
her kit off, nice pair of tits. At some stage Jocelyn moved closer to me.
The lights were off and the only source of light emanating from the TV
covered us in flickering blue shadows. In the dark Jocelyn looked pretty.
She really did have an attractive face, large black eyes and long glossy
The film seemed to go on forever and I began wondering what time to make
a move because I didn't want to be there all night because of work. Finally,
the film did indeed finish with a befitting soppy Hollywood ending. Jocelyn
cried a bit and when I laughed at her she said I had a heart of stone.
With the film over Jocelyn mixed us some more Malibu and Lemonade and
we began talking. After the fourth Malibu I decided to kiss Jocelyn,
thinking 'fuck it, I might as well now I'm here,' but when I leaned over she
flinched visibly. I asked what was wrong and she told me straight out, no
hesitation, and my weekend was suddenly over.
"I've got a false leg."
That explained the limp, I thought, but the confession left me
dumbstruck and maybe my silence and stupid face encouraged Jocelyn's
confessional mechanism's, because she began feeding me way too much
information for a first date or even a second, third or fourth for that
"It was my mother."
Still I didn't say anything, I had transformed into a mute.
"She's Chinese, I was born in New Zealand, my dad's Polynesian, but I was
adopted and brought up by English parents, they were really nice, but none
of it was my mum's fault, it was her family."
'Chinese, Polynesian, New Zealand, Adoption?' My head was in a whirl, but
why was she telling me all this and why now? All I could do was nod my head.
"My mum got pregnant out of wedlock, she was only sixteen and in those days it was a scandal. And even more of a scandal when they found out my father was Maori, they were really racist about it."
I still didn't know what to say to this confession so I remained in
mute mode, but as soon as the confession was over I knew I was getting the
fuck out of there, pronto.
"They disowned her and she tried to get rid of it, I mean me, she was just a
Finally I found I could speak, but it wasn't Oscar Wilde, "What?"
"Yeah, she stuck a knitting needle inside her, thinking it would kill me,
but it didn't, I survived somehow, but it messed up one of my legs. Her
family made her put me up for adoption, they couldn't deal with it, then she
committed suicide because of it."
I couldn't deal with it either, "Fucking hell."
"I was adopted by an English couple who lived in Auckland, I came to England
when I was four, that's why I don't have an accent. Look it happened, but I'm
alive and I've got a false leg."
Jocelyn told the story like it was everyday occurrence, but it wasn't,
it was a total tragedy and suddenly I felt as sad as I'd ever felt in my
whole life, and worse I knew that after tonight I would never see Jocelyn
again. We kissed some more and for a few flashing moments I wondered what it would be like to fuck a bird with one leg, an amputee. The thought turned me on, but the kisses didn't seem to be going anywhere and there wasn't any Malibu left. Eventually we stopped.
"Look I've got to go," I said.
Jocelyn appeared relieved, "Yeah, it's getting late and my friend should be
I stood up and made my way to the door. On the threshold I gave Jocelyn a
peck on the cheek.
"Will we see each other again?"
I stepped out the door knowing full well I would never see her again, "Yeah,
I'll give you a bell," I lied.
"Ok," were Jocelyn's last words.
I walked home in a daze. At the start of the weekend I had felt proper
powerful, like anything was possible, but now I felt like a bag of shit. The
gang of black kids had disappeared, but the broken telephone box remained,
the receiver hanging to the ground like an umbilical cord, with fragments of
glass lying scattered across the pavement. I thought about Jocelyn's
teenage mum trying to kill her own baby by sticking a knitting needle up her
cunt and then topping herself, all because her parents didn't approve of her
shagging a Maori or sex before marriage, or some other prejudiced shit.
By now all the shops in the high street were closed, apart from an
Indian takeaway, and rubbish was everywhere, a dirty reminder of the
weekend. I was sad and pissed off. There was no God and there was no
fairness in the world, it was all a fucking lottery. I stuffed my hands into
my jean pockets and walked on, head bowed to the wind.