If All Goes Well

“Are you smoking shit while on duty, you perv?” I slump down beside Jackie, who’s sitting leaning on his bike.
He offers me the joint. “You’re the perv. You have sex with women.”
I take it, still breathless from my sweaty run. “At least we wash ourselves first.”
“Do you?” he sniggers, stoned out of his box. “Don’t you ever fancy dirty sex?”
“No. Yes. Shut up.” We dissolve into giggles.
Jackie asks, “I mean dirty sex with men?”
“Piss off, you perv. Men are all dirty.”
“But you secretly like that, huh?”
“Men? No! OK, sort of maybe. One day, perhaps. Not you though.”
“Of course not. I’m way too dirty. You’d have to train.” He snorts, head between his bony knees. Looking up again, he asks, “What is it about lesbians anyway? you don’t have anything to play with.”
I splutter, “Apart from the biggest pleasure organ in the human body? Not much, no. All you poofy gays have is a thing that stinks and makes a mess.” I pass the joint back. “And only works once an hour, and then only if you’re lucky. My bits are on call permanently.” His satchel, clipboard and sheets of paper rustle in the breeze. “You’re doing this stoned out of you brain? you mental case.”
“It pays. It’s for the sociology department.”
“It doesn’t pay much – I applied for it too.”
“Ah, but you are an inferior species. I obviously qualify for the lowest paying jobs.”
He’s skinny, knackered, bony, and – if I was straight – sexy as fuck. “You’re not … you’re actually quite fit for a … whatever you are … some foreign invader anyway.”
“I’m from East Finchley, tosser. My parents’ parents’ parents are, were, from Nepal.”
“Are you going to smoke all of that joint or what?”
He passes it back. “You can’t speak to me like that; we’re not married.”
“I can speak to bestest friends how I want.”
“So it seems. Can you get into The Close? The gate’s closed and last time I went in it was full of shit people.”
“Last time?”
“I was waiting for a car to open them – like now but with Greenpeace leaflets.”
I smoke, resting my head on his back wheel. “You were wasting your time; that lot don’t even know what recycle bins are for.”
“You know them?”
“I was posting Amnesty International stuff, yes. But they’re not a community as such. I don’t think they’ve even met each other. It is a den of silent opinions.”
“That could be a film title.”
“I can get you in. My boyfriend lives in there.”
“Your what?”
“Well, he’s a boy, man, bloke … whatever … but he’s a man and my friend. Don’t look at me like that: he’s into straight women … literally … and lots of them.”
Jackie, the fucking hero, pulls another joint from a breast pocket. He spends hours getting it perfectly straight. “You know someone who lives in there?”
I stub the last joint out on pavement. Ripping the remains open I study them. “You can learn a lot about people from their roaches. I see you’re a dickhead.”
Puffs of smoke come out with each syllable he speaks, “I am perfect: a perfect dickhead being mindful and leaning on a spiky thing that’s doing my back in.”
“Not fair. I want a spiky thing!”
“It’s mine; piss off.” He straightens up. “A car is coming!”
“You really don’t want to go in there.” I pick up his clipboard and read the questionnaire. “They’re all retired, shit, did I say retarded? They only use the internet for shopping.” I scan the list. “Just tick, ‘I don’t give a shit’ and you’ll be alright.”
He gets the clipboard and I get the joint. I love Jackie until he says, “You stink.”
“You bastard. I’ve been running.”
“Dirty, smelly … you trying to turn me on?”
We both fall about laughing. He snorts out, “Mindful, remember? In my reality you only ran from around the corner of that house to impress me and me alone.”
I choke. “I love you but you are a wanker.”
“We all have a role in this life. Mine is to wank.”
“Have you got any chewing gum? It’s bad enough turning up at Mike’s house stoned – but smelling of fags is a total no. I need to talk him into supporting me at Poole.”
“The championships? Does supporting mean driving you and all your stuff down, standing on the shore and watching you lose and then driving all the way back?”
“Precisely.” I take a drag and pass the joint back to him. “Me and Julie; she’s coming too.”
“Can she…?”
I interrupt, “No, she’ll be company for him.” We watch the car entering The Close, metal gates creaking. “Do you know an old bloke pinched my bum in there?”
“Is he the one famous for having a thousand Amnesty leaflets stuck up his nostrils?”
“I didn’t have that many. When I told him I’d call the police, he said, ‘It was only a mark of respect’.”
“Whilst looking at your tits, no doubt.” He leans forward and stares at them. “Not bad … for a woman. Do they jiggle a lot? I mean are they earthquake-proof?”
God, I love him! “Piss off, perv.”

©Gary Bonn, 2020