The night was getting old and time was running out if Frank was going to get any rest before the sun brought its light to the city streets and drenched it in its warm glorious glow driving his like for desperate cover but that was all forgotten once he bumped into James. The pair came together, astonished at who you could run into at five o’clock on the streets of Soho, and greeted each other like old friends. In reality they had only met a few times and their friendliness was more down to the myriad of pharmaceuticals currently coursing through their respective bodies. A combination that would mean, for Frank at least, the night would end in the most epic of psychedelic head-fuck comedowns, forty-eight hours of a nightmarish insanity taking him all the way through to the next weekend.
After their initial greetings Frank turned the subject very quickly to that of drugs, and more pertinently whether James knew of somewhere he could get him something to help this impending madness stop, a little smoke to help ease his mind off to some much-needed sleep.
“Ah shit, of course,” James began to regale. “You missed out on this place the other night; some lowlife introduced me and a couple of other characters from the club.” The road they were walking down was a famous central thoroughfare in the centre of a world-famous city, a street Frank had walked up and down on countless occasions. But who really knew what was going on down those narrow alleys that occasionally appeared in between the various buildings. James knew and he was just about to show Frank this brand new world, this utopia for late-night revellers who didn’t want the night to end.
“Where are we going?” Frank asked.
“It’s just here; you won’t fucking believe this place...” A few seconds later and James stopped and looking back at Frank he knocked on the steel shuttered door. A face appeared at a peephole.
“What do you want?” This causes James to pull a card from his wallet and show it to the belligerent doorman.
“We want to come in...” The door opened and James thanked the man as they finally stepped through the entrance.
“You got to be careful in this business...” Frank heard as the pair walked through what looked like the entrance to a building site.
“Go and sit in there, I’ll be with you in a matter of minutes I promise.”
Frank walked in to a room that was bigger than a lot of rooms he’d been to gigs or clubs in and as he navigated his way to a couple of spare places on the floor he noticed that everyone, that was everyone but him was smoking weed or, in some cases, something a whole lot stronger. It was then he saw James arrive in the doorway and he signalled to come over.
“What the fuck is this place?” was all Frank could bring himself to say.
“It’s the godsend we’ve all been waiting for isn’t it... an illegal drug-den in the centre of town, who would have thought it, not me that’s for sure.”
“It is what it is, now get those fingers busy rolling... I’m ravenous!”
The night continued well into late morning and by that time Frank and James finally stumbled out into the full-on glare of London on a hot summer day the streets were full of business suits and uniforms. They parted immediately, James going north whilst Frank headed off south, back to his room to at last get some much needed sleep and with a fresh bag of newly procured weed hidden in his tobacco pouch he knew it would be a long, comforting sleep. It would be enough to prepare him to go out and do it all over again a few days later and finally that morning dawned. Walking down the flight of stairs to the shared kitchen for the first time in a couple of days with a rolled joint behind his ear to make some tea he switched on the TV and the news is on.
“Police raided the premises at 5am, a clandestine hide-out for Soho club-kids...” the reporter said standing at the junction Frank had turned down that magical night, just a few nights earlier.
Bradford Middleton was born in London, England during the summer of 1971 but didn't begin writing with a view to publishing until he arrived in Brighton in 2008. Since then his work has been published over three-hundred times in various places and in 2015 his debut novel, Dive, was accepted by Florida-based New Pulp Press. He is in the process of writing a second novel and if you like what you read let him know on Facebook.