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Friday, August 12, 2011

"Light" Chapter 19: Easy

You can read all previous chapters of Light at .

I blame the beer. Alcohol does strange things to people. It makes you do things that you wouldn't normally think of doing. Or maybe you think about doing it, but you wouldn't actually go out there and do it. So, the beer made me do it. Then there was the moon, just in case you are thinking I actually had something to do with what happened a few hours after I sat down with Paul at the uni bar. For as the afternoon became cool evening, an almost-full moon appeared above us. It would have been quite romantic if Amanda had been there. But she wasn't. Instead I was with my mate, Paul.

It was after the third drink that Paul and I were starting to get quite pissed. Still, I managed to avoid all his questions about Amanda.

"She seems pretty hot to me, dude. How did a guy like you manage to pull it off? Tell me some more."

"Bugger off," I said. "You're just jealous."

"You got me there, bro."

"How about you tell me about your women."

"You got a couple of hours?"

"As a matter of fact, I do."

I should never have asked. Paul had a way with the women that I certainly didn't. He started out telling me about his exploits in the sixth grade. Primary school no less. By the time he got to senior high school I had enough material to write several submissions to Penthouse forum. I was beginning to feel a bit inadequate. My recent efforts were starting to look rather tame by comparison. I tried to change the topic. But Paul was on a roll, his mind fixated on one thing.

"Let's head out for a few more at Fanny's."

"Fanny's? It's Tuesday night, mate."

"Exactly! It's the last thing they'll be expecting. A couple of young studs like us on the prowl."

Don't ask me why I agreed, but not much more than an hour later we arrived. Fanny's was a popular downtown nightclub and pickup joint in Newcastle, not too far from the waterfront. Yeah, I had indeed been there a few times, and I have to say it really wasn't my kind of scene. The carpet was so sticky from all the beer that had been splashed around that if you stood in one place for too long the service staff had to bring solvent over to get your feet moving again. Some have speculated that it was in fact other unmentionable bodily fluids you could feel squelching under your shoes in that place.

The oversized bouncer at the door sized us up, and checked our IDs. After paying ten bucks each, the steroid freak plugged a stamp on our wrists. I looked down. In bright fluorescent colours it read. "Easy lover." I blinked and looked again. I had to check myself for a moment to see if I was back in my bed dreaming. But as far as I could tell I was in the real world, albeit a rather alcohol-flavoured one.

Paul and I walked into Fanny's and we were immediately met with a cacophony of bass-driven house music and the sight of young people standing around or dancing in various stages of inebriation. The air tasted so foul you could pass it off as dirty dishwashing water. It was about as clear as sink water too, and I struggled to see through the haze. Not that I was trying too hard. All I could think about was that song. Easy lover? What kind of message was I being given?

Paul tapped me on the shoulder, indicating for me to stay put, and then disappeared. I figured he'd gone off to buy a couple of beers. I certainly hoped that was what he was generously doing, because it was seven bucks a beer, and on a student income, that was a pretty penny. 
I looked around and saw a whole heap of young drunk people trying to pretend they were cool. I knew I wasn't cool, so didn't bother trying. I guess I must have looked pretty dumb standing there with my hands in my pockets. I tried hard to convince myself that I was cool on the inside.

Paul returned. I was right about the beer.

"Get this into you, mate." He yelled above the bass boom, thrusting the beer into my chest. It was Victoria Bitter. Again. He pulled me by the arm, and we went off to stand not far from the women's toilet.

"This is a great place to park your butt, dude."

"Why's that?"

"Think about it, Greg. Every chick here has to pass this point, unless she has a bladder the size of a watermelon - and just quietly that's not the kind of woman I want to hang out with. It's the perfect pickup point."

"You've got it all figured out, haven't you? However I might point out that it's quite possible we could be arrested if we stand here any longer." Paul just laughed.
Paul was quite possibly the most devious person on the planet. But for some reason I still mostly liked him. I do say 'mostly', because there was part of me that was kind of revolted by him. Just a little bit.

We stood there for a while, and Paul kept checking out the babes as they passed by, while I pretended I wasn't checking them out. When Paul made eye contact with one he'd say "Hi" or "G'day." I looked at my shoes.

"Don't just stand there like the rock of Gibraltar," Paul scolded. "You gotta say hello to 'em. Even if they don't stop to talk, later on they will remember you, and you have already half broken the ice."

"Maybe you forgot something. I already have a girlfriend."

"It doesn't matter." Paul nudged me on the shoulder and grinned. Why did I have the feeling that I was standing next to the devil?

It wasn't long before Paul was making eye contact with a couple of girls standing across the other side of the room. I tried not to look, but sure enough, they were checking us out. Suddenly Paul was pulling my arm again, leading me across the floor and towards the girls, who were standing by a tall round table with drinks on it.

One of the girls was tall and quite attractive. She looked a few years older than Paul and I. With her with her long black hair and leather jacket, she looked pretty hot. But there was something about her that scared me. The other girl was shorter and slightly overweight. She had shorter black hair and was wearing a leather jacket too, but somehow it just made her look like she was trying too hard. She wasn't the kind that would attract a lot of attention from guys at a place like Fanny's. Certainly not standing next to her smokin' hot friend.

Paul went for the sexy one like a magnet to steel, and she was onto him right away. There wasn't much I could do except turn to the shorter one.

"Hi, I'm Greg," I said.

"Really, I'm Greek too!", she said with a grin like a split watermelon.

"No, no," I shouted above the music. "I said, I'm Greg. That's my name. I'm not Greek."

The grin dropped from her face, and suddenly she was finding her fingernails a lot more

interesting than me. To be honest I was kind of glad. But Paul and the tall one were getting on

like a house on fire. They stood so close they were just about grinding their pelvises together, and kept grabbing each other's backsides. I'm pretty sure that meant they liked each other.

I was starting to wonder what the hell I was doing there. The Greek one kept fiddling with her phone and looked pissed off. I had the distinct impression that she would rather speak to an undertaker than to me. I soon turned right away from her and Paul, and scanned the room. That was when I noticed that there were two girls dancing together on the dance floor, and through the smoky air I thought I saw one of them waving a hand, gesturing for me to come over. Remembering the song "Easy lover", I grabbed my drink and stumbled towards them. Don't ask me what I was trying to do as I started dancing next to them, because I sure as hell didn't know. And if one of the girls was the easy lover, she was sure playing hard to get, because both of them just kept dancing with each other, completely ignoring me.

Suddenly someone grabbed me by the hand, and I spun round to find a rather thin girl of about eighteen dancing next to me. There wasn't much I could do as she grabbed my other hand, and before I knew it she was pulling me close. For some reason all thoughts of Amanda had vacated my mind.

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