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Anyone else look forward to social events like they look forward to being gored by a bull? I’ve got the pain coming today. It’ll be administered at my partners friends’ house in the next village.

I’ve already been told off yesterday by my partner for not taking my tablets and for having a meltdown on Saturday; I’m a bit all over the place at the moment. So, the writing is on the wall, and the ley-lines and hexes are all intersecting on her friends home this afternoon, with its pretty garden and borrowed marquee. The rain will help to dampen the moods of my dining companions. Fuses will be short and nervous glances will shoot at me the second someone mentions politics, or mental health, or death, or…just about anything where the topic can turn serious – which is just about any topic as far as I’m concerned.

The opposing team include a right-wing lizard of a man, a drunk social worker, a tetchy support worker and her cattle farmer husband, a former head of a social services department, her stoner partner, an ‘I’m wacky’ old people’s services assessor, a registered mental health nurse – recently disciplined for punching a patient in a mental health unit, the hosts (nervous and highly strung teacher and insurance salesman), and my old friend – the only one I have left. He will provide the only sense and safety in the whole thing. I genuinely am ramping up with high anxiety right now. Those people are out to get me and I don’t have a hope in Hell. Judging on past experiences I’ll either take too many meds prior to getting there, or drink to much. I’m not popular sober, but whacked on tablets and/or booze makes the whole thing much, much worse. Anything could happen. At the very least I’ll be a huge embarrassment to my partner in front of all her friends. And they will ask her, in text messages afterwards, why she bothers with me. It’s a good question – and one I ask myself many times more than they do – but I can’t bear to think about it right now. Got to keep the anxiety on just one threat. One is enough today.

In three hours I could be walking home in the rain, covered in my own sweat and slime. Soaked and slithering away from what most other people enjoy; it’s just a party.


Acid Dumb

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She’d needed to take a shit. The public toilets in the little village were locked so she went around the back of the small building and squatted among the garbage there.

When she came back around the corner she made me promise not to go look at what she’d crapped out. She said it was green and red. I laughed; there was no way I’d be looking at her shit seeing as it was 3am on a June morning and we both had heads full of LSD. “I’m thirsty,” she said.

Across the way from the toilets was a house, and outside the front door they’d had a milk delivery. I took a pint of milk and left forty pence on the doorstep. We shared it as we sat in the village marketplace and watched the sun come up over the low rooftops.

It had been a weird party. First someone got a bottle of poppers out, like we were going all-in for an orgy, then later a guy got set on fire and had to leave in an ambulance. Nobody saw anything. It was that sort of crowd.

In the marketplace we sang and danced in the dawn in beautiful acid comedown time. I could still taste the metallic acid taste in my mouth even over the cold milk. There would never be a more marvellous time than an acid comedown, no matter what I did, or who. I just happened to be with a girl that night. She was irrelevant really; just a girlfriend from school days; half-good company, looked like Patsy Kensit, and didn’t mind my drug use. All positive traits for an 18yr old in my position. But we had grown up apart in just a few short years. How may years of youth did we have left? One? Two? Too many people had died and too many people were turning old before their time. We were part of a lost generation, cosseted by wealth and the comfy countryside surroundings of the Isle, too dumb to know any different and too greedy to learn the hard way.

Sitting there on the wooden bench the sky turned from black to blue and the birds sang loudly up on the rooftops. Jet liner trails stretched out over us towards wherever. I wished I was up there too looking down on the world. God would understand me, surely I was just a whisker away from seeing him right now. I always regarded acid as a spiritual thing. Sacred.

She retched up the milk onto the stone flags. “I’m fucked up,” she said, wiping her mouth on the back of her hands.