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July 04, 2022

A Ran-Tan Tuesday Night

By Lily Murphy

One

Morning emerged out of the night with its filthy frost. It came and danced on my window ledge with its rotten hard cold dew but I lay in bed as I had no work to be getting up for and no college to be trudging to.

I was essentially free, so I lay in bed as the sound of cars crunched on the road outside carrying kids to schools across the suburbs and workers into the city. Suckers, the lot of 'em, I thought to myself, and the world is full of them and the road outside my window was hosting a whole lot of them right there.

That morning in early Spring as I lay in bed I had a somewhat nagging burden hanging over me.

I had received a text message the night before, requesting my presence at a pub in town for a friends birthday. Well, I hummed and I hawed, it was Monday when I got the message and Tuesday was earmarked as the night for the birthday drinks.

When I finally got up, it took me all that day to finally make a decision on whether I was going or not and then, that Tuesday evening, I decided on a belly-full of spaghetti Bolognese that yes, I would go to that pub in town, that yes, I would join my friends and drink some drinks and be home before midnight, but those thoughts were all they were, just thoughts swirling around in a head not ready for the long night to come.

Two

I went and showered and then decided skinny jeans instead of a skirt. Then I dazzled myself through the process of beautification and phoned for a cab.

The cab took an utter eternity to come and when it finally arrived, it pulled up outside my abode at 8:45pm, some thirty minutes after I had rang for it.

While I was waiting for the slowest cab man in the world to come and whisk me into town to down booze in all my splendour, text messages were flooding my phone asking for my whereabouts.

I text back several times,

"I am still waiting for the bastard cab to come!"

My thumb nearly fell off with the lightning fast effort I put into text messaging back to my friends, who were already at the pub two drinks in while I was as sober as I have ever been waiting for the bastard cab to come.

I had been a whole two months off the booze before that night, and I was hell bent on making a glorious comeback to the non-sober world.

Two months without a drop or even a sniff of alcohol. Two months of not even seeing any of my friends. Two months where the only hard stuff I drank was Coca-Cola.

When the cab came I hopped into the back seat. I always maintain that it is in my best interests to never sit in the front seat, because who knows what sort of character will be driving the cab, it could be a sex-crazed maniac or even a Liverpool football supporter, who knows but I never take the chance.

I instructed the cab man to take me to the Poor Farmers pub. He asked was there something happening there; in my mind I said oh yeah there's a whole load of drinking going on there without me, hurry the fuck up and bring me there!! But I told him that it was a friend's birthday and we were just having a few drinks to celebrate because after all it was only just a normal Tuesday night.

Tuesday is not a crazy night for town, most pubs close before midnight on Tuesdays, and midnight was when I envisioned myself hitting the pillow after a few hours of chat, laughs and drinks.

The cab man took his sweet time. He cruised along and I checked my watch, it was nine o' fucking clock, my gut was growling for some booze, my phone was being harassed by several text messages, the 'where the fuck are you?' type text messages and all the while the cab man cruised on.

It was the slowest car journey I ever took in my life. I thanked the gods it wasn't to the hospital I had instructed him to bring me with a dire medical condition.

My slow chariot eventually pulled up outside the Poor Farmers pub and I spied one of my friends, Tulip, standing at the door of the pub with her characteristic cigarette dangling from her lips oiled a thousand times over with lady red lipstick.

Nine Euro was the cab fare, the robbing bastard, I thought to myself as I handed over a five Euro note and two two Euro coins.

One of the coins fell during the exchange and disappeared somewhere under the driver's seat but instead of shuffling about looking for it and wasting even more valuable drinking time, I threw another two Euro coins at the cab man and made my escape from the slow death-coach.

Into the pub I went and Tulip noticed I was somewhere between distressed and dumb dry sober.

"What's the matter girl?" she asked while stubbing out what was left of her cancer stick on the whitewashed wall outside the pub.

"I just had to pay eleven fucking Euro to the slowest fucking cab man in the world!"

Tulip consoled me. "The bastard," she said coarsely.

Three

Into the old-fashioned stony floored pub I went, ordered a glass of Hoegaarden beer and had a look at my watch. It was then ten past nine, the glass of beer was ice cold and it danced a merry conga line down my throat and oh it was sweet, good things come to those who wait I suppose, and by Christ I had waited all bloody evening for it.

I joined my fellow pissheads, what the ordinary folk may call friends, but to me they are drinking companions. They are the only type I feel that can drink with me on my level and vice versa, they are mad and the only ones for me, my friends.

They were seated in a familiar place, in the snug at the arse end of the bar where a turf fire was burning away nicely and warming my cold chops from the not so nice Spring night which was draping itself over the city.

"Happy birthday, Daisy!" I made the point of almost singing it to her. "Twenty-three years old, oh Daisy, you are getting too old! I'll buy you a birthday drink later on."

The fire lit up an already brightly lit conversation, already lit brightly with complete and utter absurdities. Talk went by the way of a local man who claimed his dog was a racist.

"Tommy Toolan's dog is a racist I swear!" Charmaine exclaimed in her flat accent. "He bites the black postman and he only ever shits in the one place all the time! At the door of the Jewish jewellery shop down Madden road! I'm telling you that dog is a racist!"

Talk went on about the death of a woman up the country after an accident with a dildo and talk went slightly serious when Dandy told us of her woes of driving.

"Oh girls, I'm not a week on the road and I had an accident the other day," she told us in between sips of the cheap cider she was poisoning her tongue with. "I was at the shop, and when I was backing out of my parking space I backed right into another car!!"

Dandy took another sip of her drink which gave the rest of us ample time to gasp.

"Were you hurt?" Tulip asked with great concern.

"No, I was okay, but a small man, a dwarf, got out of the other car and came over to me. He tapped on my window so I rolled it down and he said with his little hands on his hip: I am not happy. So I says to him, "Well, which one are you so?"

The talk grew and grew and so did the notions. By quarter past ten a notion came to Daisy's head to move off to another pub. It was her birthday after all, and so what she said had to be adhered to, but it didn't stop me from making a slightly weak protest to stay in the pub we were in because we had a fire, the privacy of a snug and a traditional band were about to strike up.

The decision to move to another watering hole was made and so off we went, the five of us, Daisy, Charmaine, Dandy, Tulip and myself. Off to start the night.

Four

We loudly made our way down Turnkey street, across Parade street and on down Oliver street to where Daisy, the birthday girl, wanted to go to the Old Drum Bar.

The tiny bar was tightly packed and a guy with a guitar was belting out old country numbers.

It was standing room only but I didn't care, none of us did, we were making our way steadily to drunksville and we devoured the very thought of it.

Amid the drinking and general rambunctious good times, Charmaine saw a familiar face at the end of the bar among the hustle and bustle all boozed up and soaking in the great din of the little pub.

"That's Mad Sarah down there," Charmaine informed us while pointing to an old woman clearly off her tits on booze and hanging, just about, onto the end of the bar.

"Oh, Mad Sarah knows me! Sure she lives around the corner from me. I'll go down and say hello," Dandy stated while bursting with bizarre confidence and off she went to Mad Sarah and as far as I knew it, Mad Sarah was indeed the old woman's name and she sure as fuck lived up to it.

Dandy pushed her way past drinkers to where the old woman was minding her own business and drinking her pension away. Meanwhile a big looking brute with disgusting teeth and clad in an obscene pink jumper appeared from god knows where to begin talking to us as if he had always known us.

"Who the fuck is he?" I asked Tulip.

"Someone who needs a dentist," she shrugged.

While the guy with the disastrous teeth began slurring some sort of words into our ears, I kept an eye on the goings-on at the end of the bar between Mad Sarah and Dandy and developments there were not looking good.

Mad Sarah spat what looked like strong profanities into Dandy's face, who managed just in time to take a step back before Mad Sarah tried to take a swing for her with a clenched fist.

Dandy retreated back to where she had been previously, in the safety of her comrades, safety in numbers.

"What happened?" I asked a rather stunned-looking Dandy and she reminded me of a rabbit caught in head lights, poor Dandy!

"She told me to fuck off," she plainly answered.

"Why did she do that? I thought you said you knew her!" I tried to make sense of it all, but all sense on that night hauled up its anchor and sailed away, very far away.

"I just said, 'Hello Sarah, you know me don't you?' And then she said 'I know who you are, you are here to steal my drink go away and fuck off.' Dandy's exclamation was sinking in as I was sinking my beer while the ugly-toothed guy with the shocking pink jumper was still talking or trying to.

Dandy took Tulip by the arm. "Lets go down to the Cat Club, I hate this place anyway."

Tulip and Dandy were starting to head in the direction of the door, but all eyes suddenly went in the way of the birthday girl who found herself covered in spit from the pink jumper guy, who might as well have sat on her shoulders, he was so fucking close.

The Cat Club is a place I was never in but a place I heard well of. It's the kind of juice joint you hear of being closed down by a court order every few months due to under age drinking, fighting and drug dealing on its premises.

"No, we stay here for one more drink and then we head to the Cat Club," Daisy instructed, but I felt dissention in the ranks.

"Well, me and Tulip are heading down to the Cat Club now, and you lot can follow us down when you lot are finished here," Dandy retorted back and the first split of the night had occurred.

So off went Tulip and Dandy, down the street to the Cat Club while myself, Daisy and Charmaine stayed behind at the Old Drum Bar with the guy who was in drastic need of a visit to the dentist.

The talk with this chap who seemed alone, lost or more than likely left there by his friends, turned a bit bizarre.

"You should marry him," Charmaine laughed to Daisy, who had the bad-toothed guy practically buried into her shoulder and I laughed along with her. I don't know why I laughed along, but I did because Charmaine is never one to raise her voice or cause a scene -- but now and then she tends to blurt out strange shit, like a fart from her brain.

A wedding was afoot, Daisy was the bride, the bad toothed guy was the groom, and Charmaine and myself were the bridesmaids, ah always the bridesmaids never the ... anyway, amid the outlandish antics the groom with the bad teeth knocked over a glass from the counter and sent it flying to the floor where upon impact it smashed into smithereens.

I will never forget the stupid look on his face. He stood there with the most dumb-looking face my eyes have ever seen, his teeth, oh Jesus Christ those teeth! By far the worst sort of dental mismanagement I have ever witnessed before.

The sound of smashed glass caused a sudden silence to penetrate throughout the bar; even Mad Sarah ceased her demonic drinking to stare with the rest of the stares loading up right before us, and our foolish play-acting with the bad-toothed guy right there and then came to a halt. I secretly thanked Christ that it had.

The stares were a product of what happens every time a glass is broken in a bar, preferably by a drunken drinker. Upon hearing such a thing like a glass being smashed, a fight is expected to follow. It is, I suppose, in such an environment, only human instinct. Those who awaited a fight were left disappointed as there was no malice in the smashing of the glass. It was just fool acting, it was just the guy with the really bad teeth falling up against the bar in a heave of great laughter and knocking over Daisy's pint glass which was, thankfully, just about empty of its content anyway.

The smashing of the glass caused a stir in myself, in Daisy and in Charmaine who was the first to make a move towards the door.

"We should really start heading to the Cat Club to join the other two," Charmaine stated.

Daisy agreed, "Yeah sure, it's nearly closing time here anyway."

I nodded in agreement with her while drinking the remains of Tulip's pint that she had left behind on the counter. I saw no use in wasting such a thing, I was dry for two months previously and now I was like a fish back in water and drinking every drop I came across.

Five

We bid a farewell to the bad toothed guy. Charmaine and myself made good our escape out through the narrow weatherbeaten door, leaving Daisy straddling behind us, she having decided to make a much more personal farewell to her groom.

Out on the street the Tuesday night was somewhere at the 11:30 mark. As per a normal Tuesday night, this would be the time for getting a cab home or if one was lucky enough to have a few extra coins left in the purse, then some chips and curry first and then a cab home with the belly swelling in booze and greased chips, but on to the Cat Club we marched.

Our drunken steps took us to our lost comrades, but they were not lost they just jumped ship and onto another one, and that ship was beginning its voyage into the dark night.

On we went, loudly laughing and haranguing our words with mockery of the bad-toothed guy we left back at the Old Drum bar, myself, Charmaine and the freshly twenty-three-year-old Daisy.

When we got to the Cat Club, a place I was never at in my life, I was struck by the pure grittiness of its outside appearance, and what struck me completely dumb was the fact that the fucking place was closed!

Charmaine whipped out her phone from her rhinestone handbag and dialed Dandy's number like a demon, and when she answered, after several fucking rings, she explained to Charmaine that the Cat Club was not opening tonight but the owner, whom she knew, let them in anyway.

In the meantime, myself and Daisy peered in through the window and spied Dandy and Tulip sitting at the bar, sipping cocktails and smoking.

Myself and Daisy then beat on the door and tapped frantically at the window to be left in. There was a chill in the night air and the thought of us being stuck outside and sobering up while Dandy and Tulip sat at the bar sipping cocktails made our heads spin. There they were, in the confines of a warm bar, no crowd, no hassle, no smoking ban, no end in sight regarding the cocktails and we wanted in.

The door was suddenly thrust open by a gangly young man wearing a surprised face. I suppose he would have to be without any doubt surprised to see three drunken maidens banging like crazy on the windows and the door to get in, and in his mind I suspect he just could not wait to tell his mates about it.

He ushered us quickly in and I made my way to the bar where I sat my arse down on a stool next to Tulip, while Charmaine took the other one to my right and Daisy went to the vacant stool next to Dandy.

The reception we received from both Dandy and Tulip seemed less than warm.

"All right, girl?" Tulip asked through a puff of smoke, not even turning her head to face me.

"Getting drunker by the minute," I replied with utter coolness.

"Sure, that's the way to live," she said while drifting off into her cocktail.

As I watched her sip her awful-looking cocktail, it jolted me into remembering that I was getting sober, the mind was beginning to get dry, and so I needed a drink.

I called the gangly young chap, who had in the meantime made his way back to his own comfort zone behind the bar.

"Hey you," I spat out at him while making the obscenely cheeky gesture of clicking my fingers for his attention, "get me a pint of Bud, will you ... please."

As he went about pouring my pint, I caught at the corner of my eye, a fat balding moustache-laden middle-aged man emerging from the shadows at the other end of inside the bar.

He looked incredibly familiar, so I swung around on my stool and took a long hard look at the large painting which hung on the wall. I had already slashed a quick glimpse at the painting while coming into the bar, because I took particular notice that it was the only decorative thing on the wall in that shithole of a place, the only fucking thing to be seen on an otherwise very bare wall.

The enormous oil painting was of this fat balding moustache-laden man, a modern day King Henry VIII surrounded by six tacky glamorous-looking women, maybe models or even porn stars.

I turned to Charmaine and asked her who the fat guy in the bar was, and she informed me that he was Donald the owner of the place and the young guy was Don Junior, his son.

I got my pint of bud and it tasted like shit but I didn't complain; I rarely do as long as the drink does its job of intoxicating me and bursting out an unpredictable ecstasy in my mind, and for that I shall not complain.

I handed over the price of the booze to Don Junior but I had hesitated for a brief second. Should I really be paying for booze in a place which is essentially closed? I asked myself in my half-sober half-drunk mind. We were in a bar drinking after hours which by law is a crime. I know a drinking establishment is not allowed to serve anyone alcohol when it is closed, I know that much, by fuck it's not rocket science, its just common sense, but then I looked down the bar at Dandy and then I looked at Tulip who was sitting beside me and both were puffing like fucking steam trains and shitting all over the smoking ban imposed on bars.

Oh fuck it, I thought, I better drink up, as this is a lawless world I have entered.

Six

Donald, the owner of the dive, decided to put on some music. The music he chose to play on the sound system was some god awful 90s dance music and it hit Daisy and Dandy like a voodoo spell.

The music got them to their feet and they danced like heathens on the grimy tiny dance floor as Tulip and Charmaine cheered them on.

Don Junior still wore a lucky bastard expression on his face while his father stood and rubbed his gut with a grin widening his already wide face and I felt something unsettling from within me.

"Where's the toilet?" I asked Charmaine loudly over the loud dance music.

"Behind that door and up the stairs," she informed me while pointing at a narrow black door across the way from the dance floor where Daisy and Dandy were still stuck under the spell of 90s dance music.

I made my way to the black door as the girls were still dancing to that grotesque music while Donald looked on, drowning in his own filthy thoughts.

I smashed my body through the door and came into contact with a steep narrow stair. The light was dim, the walls were a blood red colour and I waited for a Jack the Ripper type to meet me at the summit.

I wearily climbed the stairs, and with each step I glanced back over my shoulder just in case Donald or his idiot son were there with pants down, exposing their hedonistic thoughts.

I got to the top of the stairs and found the toilet. It was a mangy little hovel, one which I suspected had seen its fair share of illegal substances being snorted, injected and swallowed throughout the years.

I didn't get sick and neither did I shit myself, I just sat there on the toilet bowl to gather my thoughts. I was not in the slightest way comfortable in the Cat Club. Something overtly sleazy about the place made me stir with fear, fear that something sleazy in this sleazy place was about to happen if we didn't get the hell out of there.

I finished my fretting and descended back down the narrow steep blood red stairs. The horrible dance music was still blaring, but by the time I made it back down and onto my stool, both Dandy and Daisy had finished their dancing and were back on their own stools, exhausted.

"Are you all right, girl?" Tulip asked while facing me for the first time since I arrived into that dingy dive of a club.

"I'm good," I told her in a pissed-off tone of voice. I didn't want any fake concerns thrown my way, I just wanted out of the place just as much as I had wanted in.

"You were ages in the toilet," Tulip went on with her concerns dripping in carelessness.

"I just had a long piss," I lied and just as I was about to turn around to Charmaine to tell her that we should leave, Donald and Don Junior produced five Sex on the Beach cocktails up on the bar in front of us.

"On the house," Donald grinned and they all cheered, except for me.

I didn't object, of course I fucking didn't, it was alcohol, it was free alcohol, the best kind of alcohol you could get but in the back of my mind a voice was nagging me. A voice was telling me not to drink it because it may well be laced with drugs. Sure, after all we were in a place that I felt drugs were part and parcel of its make up but whether the cocktails contained date rape drugs or not, I downed my one. It was the raging alcoholic in me which overcame the all the suspicions.

The cocktail tasted like sweetened piss, yet I managed to drink every last drop. As I drank it, I made sure to keep kicking the bar rail below my feet just to keep my legs alive in case I needed to use them to kick Donald or his son square in the balls if they tried any funny business.

Amid the drinking, smoking, cajoling and rotten dance music, a figure appeared at the window which made Charmaine give out a minor shriek.

"Who the fuck is that!?"

The silhouette outside the window wore a hat only a man of the law would wear and then when that silhouette produced a flash lamp, he shone it in through the window the way only a man of the law would do so and when Donald dived under the bar while urging us to do the same, only then did I realise that yes indeed, it was a man of the law.

Like a flash of lightning, Don Junior turned off the music and lights and joined the rest of us crouched down behind the bar.

It was a scrimmage to get down out of sight of the law, it was something which was at that moment felt like a matter between life and death. There was the law at the window looking in on a lawless environment, but I could not help but giggle when I heard the clinking of glasses to the left and right of me in the darkness. In the sudden ducking and diving from the cop with the flash lamp, all four of my drinking comrades had managed to bring their drinks down with them, a sign of true drinking aficionados. I had left my glass on the counter, it was empty anyway.

A streetlight shining in from outside streamed across Donald's fat face. He was teeming in sweat and his face had gone all wan with worry. I came to the conclusion that he had been here in this situation before, and didn't want to do this sort of shit anymore.

After another few intense minutes huddled in under the bar, Donald ordered his son to poke his head up over the bar to see if the cop had gone and he was, much to the relief of Donald's heart which was on the verge of an attack.

When we all emerged from behind the bar like rabbits from a burrow Don Junior turned the lights back on and howled a laugh like a Hyena.

"Wasn't that great fun!?" His eyes were wild and his tongue was wagging like a maniac, he had gotten some sick kick from it all but not his father, he poured scorn on his jumping son.

"Shut the fuck up Don, come on girls, it's time to go before another pig turns up and you don't want to be spending the night in a cell because I know I sure don't want to anyway!"

He opened the door with one of the many keys dangling from his belt and wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand.

We gathered our coats and handbags and thanked Donald for his hospitality, no matter how fucked up I personally thought it was.

I saw a rather dejected and disappointed looking Don Junior wave sadly at us from the end of the bar as we were ushered out and back onto the street. The cold Tuesday night was slowly changing itself in for a Wednesday morning but we were far from finished yet.

Seven

We gathered our drunken selves together, and at first I foolishly thought that a cab home would be the next act to play out, but I found myself going along with the flow of intoxicating merrymaking down the street towards the Young Acorn bar, the only bar in town which stays open until 2am every day of the week, even on an otherwise mundane Tuesday.

I didn't protest, as I was by then in the gallant prime state of drunkenness, the kind of drunkenness which can be found between a sober mind and wild thoughts, the proper kind of drunkenness and I was there and I was happy.

On down the street we carried ourselves, passing a closed Old Drum Bar and then Charmaine let out a howl with an ear piercing tone that echoed throughout the narrow street bounding from shop to café to sidewalk rubbish bin.

"Daisy, look at your husband going off with another woman!!"

Charmaine pointed haphazardly at the pink jumper-wearing rotted-teeth guy who had become Daisy's husband in an unceremonious fool acting wedding at the packed out Old Drum bar some hours before and now he was fumbling himself into the back seat of a cab with another woman.

While Daisy and Charmaine stood staring and glaring with great jealousy and a hidden rage swirling between them, I informed a bewildered Dandy and Tulip about the wedding which had taken place in their absence.

We all stood, some of us swaying, and just looked on and cursed.

"That dirty bastard," Daisy spat out.

"He should have his balls ripped off," Dandy hissed.

"Jesus fucking Christ you lot need your fucking heads checked," I told them, but the drunken troops were convinced that the guy with the bad teeth should not be going home with that random woman.

"It's morally not right," Daisy said while trying to well up some tears in her eyes.

"Oh fuck this, it was just us fool acting in the pub with the guy," I laughed, and began to walk away from the ultra melodramatics, but Daisy reacted to my devil-may-care attitude to her fake drunken marriage.

"That's not the point!" she screamed.

We all began walking further on down the street towards the cab as Daisy's order rang out: "Lets go see who that tramp is," and we followed without a whimper.

It was her birthday after all, so we couldn't really say no to any of her orders.

I could not contain my laughter. Daisy was a woman scorned, betrayed by her 'husband' and hell bent on revenge. I was the only one busting my gut laughing at the seriousness in which my fellow revelers had taken this.

Drink does queer things to a person's mind sometimes and I was the only sane fucker at that very moment in time.

As we gained closer to where the cab was picking up its fare -- the cheating husband and his mystery woman -- it then pulled off slowly, and as it slowly made its way past us, we all in great synch bent over and peered in and saw, in great horror, the guy with the bad teeth in the back seat with Mad Sarah.

Shrieks of disgust arose from the pack.

"That dirty bastard!" Daisy roared out.

I like an idiot tried to paint a less seedier picture, "Maybe she's his mother, or aunt?"

Dandy shot me down in her dead pan gut-wrenching serious tone. "You think she's his mother!!?? With her hand down his pants and his tongue down her throat?"

Eight

We hung vacantly on the street for a few moments after the cab carrying Mad Sarah and the guy with the bad teeth passed us by and disappeared into what was left of that Tuesday night.

After a brief silence on an almost vacant city street I decided to speak up, my words soaked in beer and tinged by the cold nip in the night air. "Fuck it, lets roll on down to the Young Acorn to do some more drinking."

We walked on down towards our next drinking destination in dribs and drabs, Charmaine and Daisy up front, the two of them arm in arm, sisters united against the world of dirty bastard cheating men.

Dandy followed on behind them in front of both myself and Tulip, all of us tanked up in booze and hit brazenly by the breeze that blew us from Tuesday night into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

We arrived at the Young Acorn bar where a tall stony faced Latvian door man asked us for ID. We all had ID of some form; Daisy had an out of date driver's license, Dandy had a social welfare card, Charmaine had her childhood passport, and I had my defunct University student card -- but Tulip had no ID of any shape or form whatsoever.

"No ID, no entry," the doorman informed Tulip, but we gathered like a wolf pack, a drunken wolf pack oozing in drunken charm and we told him, we actually lied to him, that it was Tulip's birthday, her twenty-fourth year in existence on this great earth and he was being a hard hearted bastard by not letting her into the bar to celebrate.

The door man remained stony-faced, but it melted somewhat when we informed him that she had battled a serious illness, more lies of course, and that all she wanted in this world at that moment was to have a few quite drinks with her friends in that bar.

The doorman eventually let us in, his ears bleeding by the inconsistent howls of pleading and total lies by a gaggle of guzzling girls.

I felt proud that the pack had formed to create a united front against the treachery that was the doorman. We had come together instead of falling apart. I felt as though this was a group which would stop at nothing to get what it wanted, which at that moment was more booze and fun times.

In we went, passing the front bar and down to the back bar, our usual area whenever we go to the Young Acorn, where the young crowd hang out until 2am and the DJ spins records until people are too tired to dance anymore.

The back bar was buzzing with college students and those who were not college students, all drinking, all dancing and trying to talk under the strain of music which blurred me over as greater things would unravel for myself and my drinking comrades in the bar.

Tulip hung onto my arm as I went to the bar.

"Girl, I got no money left," she loudly whispered into my ear. "Can you buy me a drink?"

I couldn't say no, I wanted to but I couldn't. Tulip wanted me to carry her for the remainder of the night, the irony I thought, that she works a full time occupation while my living depends on welfare.

"What drink do you want?" I asked her flatly.

"Whatever you're having." She smiled a broken smile borne down with a mixture of shame and relief, so I decided to get two of the cheapest pints of beer in the house.

"Two pints of Fosters," I ordered to the leather-faced bar maid, two pints of what I would class as nothing less than kangaroo piss.

"Oh thanks girl," Tulip said while giving me a playful yet empty dig on my shoulders with her bony knuckles.

I began tying things up in my mind right there and then. I thought well, that's it, the night ends now because if I have to carry Tulip for the rest of it, then I will have absofuckinglutly no money left until my next welfare pay day which would be a long way off and never mind that, I wouldn't even have enough money for a cab home!

As we took our drinks to the corner where Charmaine and Daisy were with their drinks, I couldn't help but heap hate on Tulip, on how she clung to me to carry her, and how she didn't ask the others to buy her drink.

I was an easy target and she knew in her heart that I would never say no to her, especially because we went back a long way, way back to school days which seemed a much more simple life compared to the one being lived on that ran-tan Tuesday night.

Nine

Dandy was finding trouble getting served drink, any drink, not even a fucking glass of water! She tried the front bar after getting refused at the back bar and yet she was declined on the grounds that she looked like she already had enough drink taken.

Only if the bar staff knew that Dandy looks like that all the time, by fuck she looked drunk on her most soberest of days, but it was no use trying to reason with the bar staff of the Young Acorn bar, she was not getting a drop from them.

I felt a conspiracy afoot and poor Dandy was in a right fix. She had no drink, we all had drink and she had none, she felt left out, dejected and fucked over by the narrow-minded bar staff.

As we all hung around at the corner, all laden down with booze of some sort, even the penniless Tulip had one, Dandy's voice grew louder with dissatisfaction towards those who rejected her request for beer. "Fuck them cunts," she let them hear. "They are discriminating against me! The cunts! No good fucking cunts!"

I decided to put an end to her wild profanities before we all ended up on our ear out on the street, so I quenched her mad woman tongue when I handed her my pint of kangaroo piss.

I had only taken three sips from it myself but I wanted nothing more at that moment than for Dandy to calm down and no better way than to fill her with some cheap booze.

While Dandy quietened down a bit it seemed as though everything would begin to pan out okay but we began attracting some Class A weirdos. Just like cow shit we drew some heavy flies.

A young goth type chap, a college fresher by the way he was still getting to grips with his drinking, wanted me to ask Tulip to go back to his place with him.

"She got no money and you got no hope," I informed him.

He sulked off but not before hanging around like a bad smell first and after several stabs from my eyes he eventually got the message and disappeared.

"What was his deal?" Tulip asked me.

"He wanted me to go home with him," I lied.

"I hope you told him to fuck off?" she asked.

"That I did," I smirked.

She'd do the same for me if it was him asking her for my presence back at his abode and with that in mind, I forgave her financially fucked up situation; blood may be thicker than water but booze buddies are indispensable.

An Algerian guy appeared from god knows where and tried bumping and grinding with me under the strains of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" as I stood there motionless and boozeless.

"Wanna go out back and have some sex?" his broken English pounded through to my ear drum.

He stank of cheap deodorant and had shaved too much to the bone to take my fancy, plus his pick up line was incredibly crass.

"Wanna go out front to a waiting ambulance?" I snarled back.

He then promptly disappeared onto his next unfortunate prey. I knew nothing good was coming out of that place, rotten beer, bad music and an even worse crowd not to mention the nasty bar staff. I was in hell but was unable to find the exit.

Ten

After some time we eventually got ourselves a table and planted our asses on some stools, thanks to a bunch of average guys who did the gentlemanly thing and gave up their seats to a bunch of drunked-up girls.

They still hung around us after we had taken their seats; thoughts were that they were fucking off elsewhere but that wasn't the case at all and I didn't like it. I was sick to the teeth at that moment of being the target of flies buzzing around us, but I would find out after that it would all materialize out okay for the survivors of the night.

After some shit talk with the dudes, all at around our age, all at around the same level of averageness as us, I decided to head to the toilet to gather my thoughts and maybe unload some urine and to secretly count how much money I had left, but I never got the opportunity to do so because when I went in, the first thing I encountered was Dandy on her face and hands with head half-heartedly down the toilet bowl and spilling her guts and whatever she ever had for her dinner all around it.

"Dandy, what the fuck are you doing?" I stupidly asked even though it was very fucking clear what she was doing.

"Help me," she cried into the vomit she had just sprayed all over the toilet and around it, all dripping with the innards of her stomach.

I stood over her, beat her back some bit and then drowned in my own confusion.

"You'll be ok," I kept saying, but I didn't know what to do with her. I wasn't sure what to do with the mess that was now Dandy fumbling about in her vomit and looking for her phone.

"Call Tulip, I need to call Tulip," she cried.

"I'll go get her," I said and with a great immediacy I left the unfortunate Dandy stewing in her black-and-tan tinted vomit.

I went back out to the bar to Tulip and told her to get her ass into the toilet and Daisy followed her on in, curiosity weighing Daisy down.

Charmaine asked me what was going on in the toilet and I told her quick, and then made a dash for the bar while Tulip was busy with Dandy and her mess; anyway I needed a drink bad.

The leather-faced bar maid gave me what I ordered, a pint of cheap Australian beer, kangaroo piss, complete with a dirty look of disapproval but fuck her I thought.

As I turned to head back to the table I saw Tulip and Daisy help a pale-looking Dandy out of the toilet and right back to the table where she was propped up on one of the stools; trouble was ahead and I knew it in my soaked soul.

Dandy proclaimed to anyone who would listen that she was poisoned by Donald and Don Junior back at the Cat Club. I laughed it off while secretly thinking that maybe it was the pint of cheap beer I gave her that caused chaos in her gut.

She continued with her wild accusations.

"Them bastards poisoned me! I'm bringing them to court, I'll sue them for poisoning me, wait 'till I tell my mam!"

Everyone laughed, Tulip noticed I had got myself a fresh pint of beer in her absence, and her eyes burned right through my full glass while hers was nearing the empty mark, but then the laughing came to a sudden halt when Dandy fell off her stool.

Eleven

Dandy tumbled down onto the floor smacking her head so hard that it bounced up and smacked right back down for a second turn. I expected what little brains she had to come flying out through the back of her skull but her head was like steel, it would take more than a simple drunken tumble to do any certain damage to it.

At that moment it seemed as though the whole place, the whole town, the whole fucking world fell silent and while everyone else gasped.

I hopped up off my stool and made a hasty retreat to the bar behind me, because I knew something was coming down the line and I didn't want any part in it and anyway, fuck the kangaroo piss I downed it in one. I needed a real drink then and so I ordered a double Jack Daniels on the rocks from the stunned leather-faced bar maid.

Dandy was lifted up from the floor, rising like a drunken Lazarus, helped up by a whole host of fuckers except me. I checked my belly, yes it was yellow and I stayed at the bar while the drama unfurled behind me.

An exit by now was imminent, but first I was going to have my Jack Daniels and no one was going to stop me. While I stood at the bar and sipped on my JD, I glanced back and saw an overtly confused Dandy being subjected to finger pointing scorn from who I later found out was the manager of the Young Acorn bar. He was a jumped-up little shithead still trapped in his Confirmation suit.

There was only one way for the whole debacle to end and that was to leave and never come back. I had no problem with that, I hated that place anyway, the music, the bar staff, the weird fucked up crowd it attracts, everything disgusted me about the place.

I remained solid at the bar and sipping what was left of my JD, turned now to ice, and listened in on the abuse being hurled back and forth between the bar manager and my drinking comrades.

"Leave the premises right now," he demanded.

Charmaine let out her cruel side, "Oh fuck off, look at you, your mother must have fucked a hedgehog to produce a prick like you!"

I stayed so very still at the bar while all of this was going on, thanking fuck that no one noticed me, not Tulip, not Daisy, not Charmaine and certainly not Dandy or the jumped-up shithead bar man.

Then a truce was made and Tulip accompanied Dandy to a waiting taxi outside the front door, while the bar manager chased after them haranguing them about going to the hospital instead of home.

While this was going on, I necked what was left of my JD, just JD-tasting melted ice and followed Daisy and Charmaine out through the back door.

Out onto a side street we stumbled, we needed to survive and would do so in any way possible.

Twelve

The guys who had given up their table and stools for us followed us out the back door also; they too, by their own admission, were part of the chaos as well and so had no choice but to join the survivors of the night.

Tulip had involuntarily bundled herself and Dandy into a taxi and headed for home. Without a penny in her pocket I wondered how in the name of fuck she would pay for the taxi fare, a mystery to me that is yet to be solved, but I felt somewhat elated that she was off my arm. I selfishly was glad that I no longer needed to carry her for the night, financially, but the next worry was to heap up on me, where the fuck would we get the next drink?

The watch on my wrist indicated half past two, no other juice joints were open at that time. Worry was setting in for not only me but for Charmaine and birthday girl Daisy.

The guys, all three of them, one fat one, one skinny one and one from County Tipperary called Tom, informed us that the next drink was on them, at their pub. I chuckled at the notion that these three guys had a pub down town but I soon stopped my chuckling when I found myself and my other two drinking comrades actually heading off down the street with these guys.

Yes, they did have a bar at the end of Oliver street and we were being guided towards it. I wanted another drink, no doubt about that, and as we were going down the street with the guys all around our age and all on our mental level, a thought bashed around in my head that according to popular culture this meant only one thing, there were three of them and three of us, sex was inevitable, dirty after hours sex.

They guided us into the pub, a normal, extremely mundane drinking house called Mahone's and to my utter relief we were joined by a gaggle of other girls.

They were around our age if not slightly younger or older and as drunk and thirsty for more drink as we were. Myself and Charmaine took ourselves to some seats at the very back of the pub where she began lighting candles due to the lack of lighting in the place.

"We need to keep the lights off in case the law come by," the fat one insisted.

While Charmaine was busy with the candles I talked some shit with the Tipperary guy about sport and while I was busy talking shit and Charmaine turned into a pyromaniac, Daisy disappeared.

After growing tired of talking sport, I went to the skinny one who had a bad Clark Gable moustache forming above his lips and asked him to raid the cigarette machine to retrieve a pack of Marlboro Lights for me while also demanding to be kept moist with the aid of several free pints of beer. At one point I even went and poured my own pint several times over.

It was wall to wall madness, a free-for-all but most importantly it was any alcoholic's dream, we had free run of the pub and it was a dream I didn't want to end.

With the other gaggle of unknown girls we sat around a table by candlelight smoking illegally, drinking illegally and singing old time ballads, all illegally. I had found my nirvana.

"Where's Daisy?" I asked several times to Charmaine under the haze of smoke and string of ballads being sung out of tune.

"Probably gone off with one of them guys," she slurred back, but I looked around and saw that the three guys were all there at the table, the fat one, the skinny one and the Tipperary one called Tom so I came to the conclusion that she had some how slipped off and was at home in her bed probably with makeup still on her face and all.

Time meant nothing as the drink flowed and cigarette after cigarette made sure that the pub was under a flurry of cancerous smoke, and secretly I thought if only Tulip was here, she'd love it as much as me, but I hated myself for not being any bit ashamed at the relief I enjoyed when she went home.

Just because I was worried about having to carry her for the rest of the night I felt elated that she had gone home. Money is a cruel aspect of society, the root of all evil and destroyer of friendships and I'm only learning that now.

Thirteen

In between ballads and banter I slipped away to the toilet and never being in that pub before, it took me a while to find the crapper.

I had to walk around and all the roaming about worked up a hearty vomit in my gut to discharge out my mouth.

I eventually found the toilet and threw my head down the bowl where I upchucked a mixture of Beer, a Sex on the Beach cocktail and smoke. I hoped that nobody was in the cubicle next door listening as I gave up what content I had in my stomach to the bottom of the toilet bowl, but fuck it, I said out loud, at least I am not as bad as Dandy was! At least I wasn't slipping around on the floor on my own warm stinking vomit like she was!

I wiped a speck of vomit from my chin, flushed my guts down the bowl and went to the mirror to study the blotched-out figure looking back.

Vision under drunken duress is greatly impaired and so it was for me as I tried my hardest to stare and study myself in the mirror. It was my reflection without doubt but it was lost of any real meaning or cause. I went back out to the bar and poured myself another pint of Beer because I had more room in my gut for some more booze plus I wanted to remove the vomit taste lingering on my tongue.

In the thick of drunken talk and singing, Daisy emerged looking all confused and fucked sideways by booze.

"What's going on?" she asked the million dollar question.

"Where the fuck were you?" I asked as she struggled to stand near the table so instead of standing upright, she just leaned up against the table as the other gang of girls and guys carried on with their alcohol-soaked singing.

"I was over there," Daisy confirmed while pointing back to a long couch under the high closed windows.

"I went to the toilet when I came in here first and got sick, then I went over to that couch to lie down and I fell asleep!" She said it all in such a bewildered voice.

"We thought you went off to shag one of those guys," Charmaine said.

"A birthday shag," I laughed and Daisy seemed horrified at the thought of it.

'I'm getting the fuck out of here' she stated.

The three of us started making our way towards the door. I left a half sank pint of Budweiser behind, suddenly the fat guy pounced out in front of us.

"Where do you three think you are going?" he asked us in a mean tone, his love for chins meant he added several to his own.

"We're going to get some air," I fibbed.

"Not yet," he let us know through a broken-down smile and then guided us back to the table and back to my half-sank pint of Budweiser.

We hadn't a fucking clue what to do next, we just sat there and surrendered to the notion that we were fucked, that the end was nigh.

"Maybe he wants to gang rape us or even kill us and chop up our bodies," I whispered to Charmaine and Daisy, not making the situation any better.

We stayed for another half hour, I finished my Budweiser, at least I wasn't going to the grave dry sober.

Daisy found a way out -- her cunning mind went into overdrive as she knocked a drink across the table where it landed into the lap of one of the random girls. Then Daisy headed straight for the door, we followed on her coat tails, unnoticed as everyone was in the grip of helping the soaked girl.

The door was locked, but Daisy took brute force to it and burst right through it and out onto the street we crumbled.

Fourteen

The light stung the shit out of our eyes.

"Is it day already?" a bemused Charmaine asked.

"It's 5:30am! Five fucking thirty fucking A.M!!" I declared while looking at my watch for the first time in a long time that night.

We swayed around on the street for some time looking battered by booze and feeling like shit as the morning mocked us by throwing its naked light on us and showing how stale we looked from a night of bacchanalia.

"McDonalds for breakfast," Daisy stated, her voice all croaked while mine was still moist like the morning dew that was falling right there and then.

We staggered on up the sunlit empty street, hollering and whooping like escaped animals from a zoo. All shops were closed, no cars nor pedestrians on the street, just us and the city, it was ours.

We messed about with a statue of a paper boy on Main Street, taking turns to kiss him and try taking his cast iron newspapers from his hand. Our laughter echoed throughout the empty street, but soon our laughter wasn't the only noise to fill it as the sound of a car coming down the street drew my attention.

"Fucking cops!!" I screamed and as the squad car drove closer and closer towards us and the nearer it got, the meaner the coppers sitting inside it looked.

"Fucking run!" Daisy roared and the three of us scampered down side streets, long side streets, tall side streets so dark that I expected a junkie to pop out and pull a syringe on us, anything, anything at all was possible at that moment.

The sound of the cop car driving after us did not wane.

"We'll get done for being drunk and disorderly," I proclaimed back to Daisy and Charmaine who were trying their best to keep up.

The three of us had escaped from Mahone's bar and were now on the run from the law and what law were we breaking but the law that forbids a person from having a good time.

We mazed our way through streets and alleyways and didn't stop running until we heard no more of the cop car chasing us, or at least we liked to have thought it was chasing us because why else would we have ran so desperately.

"D'ya think that guy back at Mahone's pub called the cops on us?" Charmaine asked while dying for breath.

"Don't be ridiculous," I snapped back, "if anything, we should have called the fucking cops on him! He held us against our will filling us with free booze, free cigarettes and good time music."

Daisy took herself up from the street bin she had collapsed across. "Well, that cop chase has worked up a motherfucker of an appetite in me!"

And so after that brief interruption from the law, we carried on for McDonalds.

Fifteen

It was now nearing 6am as we rolled into an empty McDonalds. It was the only place in the city to be open at such an ungodly hour.

I ordered pancakes and a strong black coffee while the other two ordered McMuffins, a McDonalds morning staple and then Daisy did the strangest of things, she suddenly flung herself to the floor and began rolling around on it.

All that night's excess was turning Daisy into a creature who needed to be exorcised by a priest, there was a demon in her and the demon was called alcohol.

I got my pancakes and sat with Charmaine to watch Daisy's antics and laughed till tears rolled down our cheeks at the sight on the floor, Daisy swooning around on it like a woman possessed.

The poor young chap behind the counter called out to Daisy, "Excuse me, your McMuffin is ready," and like a bolt of lightning she shot up from her rolling on the floor, got her McMuffin and joined us at the table.

We laughed our way though breakfast. I left most of mine behind as the laughter was too much to handle and then the end of the night for us had finally come, at 7am on a Wednesday morning.

Charmaine hopped into the first taxi she saw as we made our way out of McDonalds and off she went back home. I with coffee in hand pushed Daisy on down the street.

"I have work at nine," she moaned in her McMuffin breath and so I told her we'll walk home, walk off the drunkenness, walk off a hangover and walk back into sobriety, but the horror of walking many miles home made her leap headfirst into the back seat of a taxi which was parked up by the city library. I had no other choice and went into the taxi with her.

Sixteen

The cab took us out of the city and the madness of it all and back into the suburbs which were only waking up.

Daisy got dropped home first and never did make it into work that morning, instead she phoned in sick and spent the rest of that day in bed. I never even bought her a birthday drink.

Onwards my chariot sped to my own abode, passing the local school just opening up, passing the lines of cars on the opposite side of the road jamming their way into town, into the city, workers heading into a place where only hours before was a place of excess drinking, illegal lock-ins and vomit by the bowl-full.

The taxi pulled up outside my dwelling, I paid the fare and jumped out. I crossed the road with my life in my hands as the bastard cars with their bastard drivers couldn't find the time to slow down but found the time to beep their horns at me. They were the same bastards who I lie in bed on a normal morning listening to as they trudge to work and school and college to live their awful boring lives.

I stumbled in the door, coffee still in hand and I placed it on the bedside locker and switched on the radio to be greeted by Ella Fitzgerald singing about stormy weather.

I discarded my tired worn drunk body of my stale clothes, stringing them across the floor all stinking of stale booze, smoke, vomit and all the smells of that Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I threw on my makeshift pajamas of a tank top and an old tracksuit bottom and into bed I finally fell.

Morning cloaked me in its veil of sunshine slashing its way to and fro in my window as I lay in bed a survivor of the night.

I am still free, I thought, at least I have no work or college to be going to all hung over and still boozed dirty from the night before.

As I began drifting off into a well-deserved sleep, my mobile phone alerted me to a text message from Tulip.

"Thnx a lot 4 the pint last nite & thnx a lot 4 abandoning me & Dandy."

I didn't text back. I had neither the energy nor the bravery to do so and I just turned off my phone instead. I was in a safe place under the covers, away from all the madness that was supposed to be a normal few drinks with a few friends.

Looking back now, it was a daft notion as nothing goes to plan with the crowd I tend to hang around with and do my drinking with. They are the mad ones, the only ones for me as Kerouac once said.

I sunk deeper under the covers. The smell of the night before lodged up my nose, my head swarmed in a mess of ecstasy and regret, my body felt weighed down by it, but for all the misgivings of living through booze that Tuesday night, I would without any hesitation go out and do it all over again.





Article © Lily Murphy. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-03-09
Image(s) are public domain.
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