By Sigge S. Amdal © 2010
K called me up and told me he had some cash. That was all it took back then; some time off – which was all the time – and some cash. Who cared about the general welfare of anything? We were lost at sea and we loved it. I wouldn't say cruising, 'cause life on the edge never resembles the careless automata of allowing everything to happen, NO. If you did you'd end up never coming home from the party. You still see some of them, fewer and sicker every year, dealing at the central station. They never came home, and they never will.
No, being willfully lost to discover what's right there takes absolute precedent in the human survival instinct. I would go as far as saying that discovering the absolute carefree interzone of any major capital of the world requires some very careful steps. Among which food is the first point of order. Next is the money you can save by not eating well or at all. Eating pre-processed fish for a week would definitely buy you a memorable weekend, one that you wouldn't remember at all. That alone spells planning. Return reality and you're back being hungry, at the upshot of another weekend.
Naturally, this time there wasn't any such deliberation on my part, 'cause K had some cash.
“We'll meet at Connections in case B shows up.”
B never paid for anything, but it was alright, 'cause it was part of the deal. He wouldn't ask for any.
Connections was B's place. I don't know what the selling point was, except the beer was cheap as promises, most of it subsidized by other substances changing hands under – or above – the table, depending on what time it was. It wasn't any good and it spelled headaches for the morning. But who cared about the morning?
The scene was obscene back then. The government grip on serving was more of a boneless handshake, and nobody regulated anything. Smoking indoors was not allowed... rather, it was encouraged. Nobody had ever bothered to change the wallpaper or interior decorations since the first tenant set up trap decades ago. You could feel the horribly clouded history by placing your hand on the scarred wood that had cigarette burns and scratches from fingernails, broken glass and knives; wear and tear so deep you could feel the passage of thousands of lunatics that had emptied their glass at that very spot only to disappear in the night forever.
Today that's all changed. The interior design faggots have practically won in the war over comfort zones, and the most abominable alpha males wear fucking white trousers. What the hell is that? What happened to rock n' roll, baby? Horsefaced fuckups with the most annoyingly comradic stories, half of which were made up, and the other half indiscernible from most other tales you'd already heard. Good stories. Today it's all money bragging, fishing for jealousy and triumphantly pointing out the errs of some random other you happen to hunt with.
Connections was slightly different though. Nothing pinkishly romantic about it whatsoever. For some reason they didn't shield the fluorescent lighting, so dealings were in the back, but the clientele... What's there to say about them? They were manwhores or drug addicts the lot of them. As strange as it may sound (to the safe and sorry know-it-all that never gets his hands dirty, only to reveal his stupendous lack of insight into the human condition without a crash course in drunkard philosophy), this was the perfect place to start it all off. In fact it was the only sane starting point in existence that day, given it was brought up and agreed upon in the outset.
We met downtown and walked fast, while we went through today's report; nothing at all, same as before, everything as usual.
K was uncertain about B's coming out of the cave at all this evening, so the current agenda was to wait a beer's time to see if he'd show up. If not, he'd be buried in paperwork, literary paperwork, and dying to write something worthwhile.
Either you're there or you're not. I was sailing on suspicions of excellence and did not care ever so little about our weekly presentations we made to the three of us. I always ended up bringing something brilliant anyway. Why worry?
It was unseemingly early evening, I can't recall whether spring, summer or early autumn, but we wore jackets. K brought us beer and we each rolled a cigarette from week-old pouches. Times were hard dammit, and without a cigarette times are harder.
There was no one else in the place except for the filthy barman who always exchanged knowing glances. I could never understand what the hell it was I was supposed to know, but suspicion is futile. Better just keep your eyes open and see it coming.
There was a group of Asians on a table adjoining ours across the room. An older man and two younger ones. I would bet he was their leader, so to speak, 'cause the younger two only listened.
We got our fair share of attention as we went halfway into our beers.
“Hey you!” the old one said politely, leaning forward.
“Can I buy you guys a beer?”
I looked at K and he confirmed with a glance we wouldn't have to. Pay day was imminent, we could drink on our own. It must be added that K owed me cash, so this was no buddy system, it was pure communism. Each drink his own to the best of his ability.
“Not really. We're leaving soon,” K said, breaking the truce of recognized unfamiliarity.
“Oh. What a shame.”
The man was unbelievably disappointed.
“What do you do for a living?”
“We're on the government.” I said.
“Out of jobs?”
“Men at arms. Only without the arms.”
“Do you need any money?”
This was getting somewhere, but not out of there, where I wanted.
“These two men they make twenty-five a month. No taxes.”
“Really?” I said, emphasizing the part where I didn't give a fuck.
The man leaned backwards again, still looking at us. I looked at K.
“It was nice to meet you.” Laissez-faire properly re-established.
“I'll be here,” the man said, not saying what was implied.
Safely out of there we made our way to St. 23. It was clear B wasn't coming anyway.
“Drugs, you think?”
“No, I don't think so,” K said.
“I think we've officially been pimped.”
Connections went out of business about a year later, though we never returned.
I guess their connections dried out.
Sigge S. Amdal is a word wanker from Oslo, Norway.