beeped. I stared into the shop window, and inhaled the newness.
I pushed open the doors. I bought the first thing that fitted.
I had to be part of the scenery. I didn't want to be the odd one
receipt went in the bag, and I left the shop. Nad was standing
outside. He'd shaved his head, so he resembled a post-party balloon,
held up the item. He inspected it.
headed to The Cavort, a bar in The Orcus shopping centre. We joined
a queue. A dancing laser imp moved over the pavement, and over
me. I shielded my eyes thinking I was dead, but a large hand was
placed on my chest. A man in a suit looked down at me.
obeyed. My lower lip cracked. The earth's atmosphere had dried
my skin. I turned it back in my mouth, and sucked it.
doorman took his hand away. I walked into The Cavort. Nad was
sitting at the bar with tall glasses of what appeared to be fizzy
treacle. I sat on a stool next to him. He was studying the label
on the bottle.
per cent proof. Made from the ink of the California, Monterey,
long-finned squid. Squid-ink beer. Try it, mate."
checked the facts. Squid changes colour faster than a chameleon,
has three hearts, pumps blue blood, is jet powered, inspires legends,
and is thought to be the most intelligent of earth invertebrates.
looked round. The people in The Cavort were watching me.
didn't fit in. I picked up the bag, and climbed off the stool.
It was no big deal. I took the item out of the bag. It was a jacket.
I put it on. The people turned away.
arrived. He pushed his hair inside thick-rimmed spectacles. He
looked at the jacket.
think they liked it. I lifted the squid ink beer.
tasted burnt, and sweet, but Jacko was watching me through the
bottom of the glass. He tapped a cigarette on the bar. I put the
glass down. Jacko leaned back.
wouldn't want to look out of place, would you?"
course not, Jacko."
did you get it?"
do you want to know?"
I can avoid the shop."
walked right into that one. Nad and Jacko laughed as though it
was the funniest joke ever. Then they stopped. I'd never seen
them act that way before. I think they were jealous. I looked
in the neck of the beer bottle.
Jacko, it's not your league."
said it's not your league, Jacko."
my league. What do you mean?"
a joke. Lighten up. I was only trying not to look out of place."
a dull jacket. That's what it is."
just a regular jacket, Jacko."
face trembled. His eyes wobbled in their sockets. He was not a
crap. What are you that's so important?"
are you, Jacko, with your hair stuck inside your glasses?"
he just wanted to fight. I could have sworn he was crying. He
shouted so loudly, all the people in The Cavort looked round,
and then the doorman appeared.
everyone enjoying themselves, sir?"
in The Cavort froze, and looked at me. Jacko pointed at me. I
was sure I was dead.
the squid ink beer."
had too much, and he needs to leave now."
doorman stood over me.
don't you siddown?"
it was too late for that.
people stared as though they'd seen something new. I stared back.
I laughed in their faces. I laughed until I couldn't stop. No
one looked twice after that.