Polly - The Heartbreaks Epilogue To A Marriage - Jim White Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen Fox Gloves - Ravens & Charms 2001 A Space Odyssey/ See Rider, Aloha From Hawaii version - Elvis Presley (Not strictly from this year, but it's the greatest five minutes of music ever recorded.)
20 Jul 2012
In Podcast and Chap-book
The King of the World surveyed his domain.
It was good.
Everything around him gleamed. A row of glistening bottles in front. A polished bar stretching out to right and left. Coloured lights behind him. Bright lights above. Shiny shoes and a gleaming chrome bar stool below. He flashed a white smile and asked for another. All he had to do was stand and wait. If he leaned on the bar the right way, he could contain the nausea. Everything was all right. He ruled.
“Here you are sir.” The man in the black waist coat handed him a vial of Aftershock. That was what he liked. Respect. This man knew his job. So the King of the World thanked him graciously.
“Thank-ee, good sirrah,” he said.
He quaffed the whole drink then and there, placed the glass carefully onto the bar and turned to push through the crowd that had gathered behind him. How smart he had been to polish the drink off before entering this spill-risk zone.
A face loomed into his field of vision. He ignored the fool. He stumbled again, over a foot that didn’t move out of his way quickly enough. But then he was free of the throng and moving freely towards the dance arena. He could feel the music pumping through his veins. He was there and living it and loving it. He was moving well. He didn’t need to think about pulling any fancy moves. He just let the drums shake his body and the bass drive his legs. He felt good. He was the King of the mother-fucking world.
He soon knew that a girl was looking at him. And he was looking at her too. She glittered in front of him, her silver dress and the tiara in her hair reflected flashing lights like a disco ball, but it was the plump flesh pushing out of the top of her dress that interested him most, rising like dough out of a tin. He thought to himself that he might bury his nose in the dark gap between those two mounds, deep enough so that he could feel her skin against each of his cheeks.
But strong arms grabbed him as he lunged forward.
“Fuck’s sake Mike!” He felt himself dragged back to the edge of the dancefloor. “Do you want to get us twatted?”
It was his friend and companion Steve. And whatever the other one was called. He’d been wondering where they’d got to.
“Yeah!” shouted the King of the World.
“Splendid gathering, isn’t it?”
“Fucking slamming,” agreed Steve.
“Banging,” said the other one – Whatshisface.
In the toilet, he did the best piss probably anyone had ever done in the history of Man. It was glorious: long and sustained, coming out in such a lovely clear arc. It pleased him. He smiled as he looked at his face in the mirror. He looked paler than he’d expected, but his shirt was crisp and clean and his hair was smart – and still not receding! Ha. King of the damn world.
Back out in the corridor, Steve and Whatshisface were waiting. It seemed they had done his bidding and gone to the bar. Whatshisface handed him a full pint glass.
“Bet you can’t down it,” he said.
The King of the World looked at Whatshisface with pity. He took the vessel, threw back his head and poured the golden liquid down his throat.
Easy – or at least…he felt the liquid rising back up his throat, but he fought it back down. It was vanquished. And yet, there was something odd.
“Was that spiked?”
“I feel strange.”
“You’re drunk because you can’t hold your liquor.”
“What was it?”
“Just lager, like you asked for.”
Actually, the King of the World didn’t care either way. If there had been a little shot of something extra in his pint, he reasoned, he was going to make a saving in the long run. Wouldn’t have to drink so much later and waste time with that rabble around the bar.
“The night is yet young and still lots of fun,” he declared.
“Not that young, actually,” said Steve. “We’re going home. Come on.”
He thought of the bus then and the long ride and all that waited for him back at his house. His palace, he meant. All the work he would have to do. All the matters…it was dreadful the way his mind was wasted on such details.
“You go on without me,” he said and waved them away. “The night is just beginning for me.”
And so it was that Steve – and the other one, Whatshisface – disappeared. The King of the World thought he might just have a nice sit down in the corridor. He would watch as the other punters – the rest of his people – performed for him. It really was quite comfortable if you ignored the stickiness of the carpet. Really not bad. The King of the World decided to rest his eyes for a while.
He woke up feeling large hands under his collar and someone else lifting his feet.
“Unhand me sirrahs. Don’t you know who I am?” he cried.
But the brutes affected not to hear. Suddenly, the King of the World felt himself flying through the air and saw the pavement rising up to meet him.
He had never liked that place anyway.
He brushed himself down and gathered himself together and thought out his next move. It was time for some victuals. And, fortunately, it had been so arranged that there was a food station lying just within his sightline. This place was lit by a bright white light, and when he was inside, its quick flickering bothered the edge of the King of the World’s mind. The hum of the refrigerators was bugging him too. They made a lot of noise, but they didn’t hold anything useful, he thought, as a selection of stale sandwiches in plastic triangles moved in and out of focus beneath him.
This was not food fit for the King of the World. He decided instead on some healthful fruit juice. When he reached the relevant section of the shop, he saw a beautiful lady dressed all in virgin white and a smaller companion – on whose fat limbs he did not waste his glances. Instead, he approached the fair one.
“I have it in mind to gloss your skin in honey from your white ankle to your curving neck and then to remove it all with this,” he said and stuck out his tongue.
“What’s he say?”
“I don’t know. Hey. Don’t stick out your tongue, you filthy old perv.”
“Forgive me fair lady, I merely wished to demonstrate – elucidate – the…”
“I don’t understand a word this old cunt is saying. He’s so drunk he can’t even speak,” said the vision in white.
“Buy us a drink then grandpa,” said her friend, observing that the King of the World was reaching into his pocket.
What happened next was a source of some confusion to the King of the World. It hadn’t been his wallet he had been going for at all. Oh no. But it was almost as if he was acting at this lardy lady’s command. His hand emerged gripping a £20 note. One he hadn’t even known he’d had. He was gratified to be reminded how wealthy he was. But then, suddenly, the pig-faced fat thing ripped the money from his fingers. Her lovely friend pushed him back into the juice cartons.
He fled the shop before there was any more trouble. The light and the hum had been making him feel dizzy anyway. It was too confining in there. He felt much sharper in the cool night air. Soon, he would even work out where he was.
A horn blared and he felt a rush of air to his rear and he almost fell over again.
“Get out of the road,” cried a loathsome peasant voice. The vehicle roared into the dark distance.
Matters, decided the King of the World, were not that merry after all. It was all far too hostile on these streets. He pulled off, through a large arched gate into a tree-lined boulevard. This was more his style. Much more. Ahead of him, lit up by great floodlights, a great spire pointed into the night sky, rising high above flying buttresses, so high it made him dizzy. He continued on to a wooden door under an arch. One of those doors that was so big it had another normal-sized door built into its lower section. He wondered what manner of man would have to use the big door. What manner of…anyway. This would be his palace for the night. He would just rest here until morning.
At some point during the night, he became aware of a warm wetness around his legs, but managed to retreat back into sleep. The damp disturbed him again briefly, as the cold air tightened itself around him at dawn, but he willed himself to ignore it and grabbed hold of sleep again. Then there was a great ringing in his ears and someone was shaking him. A man in black robes.
“Good morning,” he said. “Who are you then?”
His head ached. He was soaking. He was cold. Then he remembered.
“I’m the King of the World,” he said. “Just give me ten minutes. That’s all I need.”