BOLD ST BELL ENDZ

Words: CHARLES MCINTYRE
February 21, 2013

Bold Street. The bohemian string in Liverpool’s…cello? Yeah, I think to myself; Cello. I pause by the bookshop and light a cigarette. I inhale my first drag of the day deeply and then blow smoke plumes into the blue sky above. The nicotine rush makes my legs shiver slightly. I take off my leather stetson […]


Bold Street. The bohemian string in Liverpool’s…cello? Yeah, I think to myself; Cello. I pause by the bookshop and light a cigarette. I inhale my first drag of the day deeply and then blow smoke plumes into the blue sky above. The nicotine rush makes my legs shiver slightly. I take off my leather stetson and feel the breeze ruffling my warm damp hair. People are looking at me. I pretend not to notice. I am the centre of attention and I can’t even help it. I’m a hipster cowboy and I fucking rule.

Putting my hat back in into its slightly askew position (leaving a few ringlets dangling loose on my forehead – the hunnies love ringlets) I continue walking and smoking my cig. My jeans are ultra tight; in this heat they are beginning to chafe. I imagine how much worse things would be if I hadn’t applied a shit load of talc before I left the house. Thank god mum remembered to get some in.

Cruising up the sunlit street, I’m feeling ‘the vibe’. There’s a woman hitting a bongo and wailing outside the bank. I am lured towards her voice. Typical of me, I think, to appreciate something so cultural. Only one person, one of us, stands and listens. A Neon chick with her eyes closed, sort of dancing without moving much. I stand next to her and listen to the woman’s pain and sadness pour out above the solitary beat of the bongo. Beautiful. The Neon chick realises someone’s next to her and snaps out of her trance. She looks at me and then rolls her eyes. As she walks past me with her arms folded, a single word resounds in my head. Dyke.

I dig in my pocket and throw some change in the bongo case and walk on, feeling enriched. My S3 vibrates in my shirt pocket. I take it out and look at the message. It’s my friend Lace, he’s running late for lunch. He’s ‘blitzed’ after last night. Poor bastard, I say aloud. I start to send a reply and then I’m bumping into some greasy guy in a green mac. He looks cheerful and hairy. Hello there! He says to me, and grips my delicate hand in a death shake. I look at his ID badge. He’s trying to ‘save’, or ‘help’…something. Probably trees, I surmise. Hey man, I interrupt him mid-flow, – he’s saying something like “I love your hat mate, where did you get it?!” – I’d love to help but I just can’t afford it. I realise he’s still enthusiastically shaking my hand, which is now hurting. I just CAN’T, I almost shout. Slowly he digests what I’ve said and loosens his grip, letting my limp and swollen hand drop to my side. Sure you can’t, he says, smiling but somehow not smiling. Nice phone by the way, he adds as he walks away. I examine my hand which I’m sure will bruise.

I finish sending the message to Lace and head into the charity shop. I check my Nooka. I work out I have about twenty five minutes until Lace gets to the hippy bar. I move to the back of the shop and begin browsing the clothes. Within seconds of shuffling through some woollen ponchos, I notice a petite blonde at the next rack. It’s obvious she is pretending not to notice me. My ringlets, I realise, smiling. She digs my ringlets. I straighten up and walk over to her. I prepare to deliver my best line. The girl turns and looks at me, and I say, Hel…, and stop. Someone is tapping my shoulder vigorously. I feel my expression contort. I’ve lost my cool, I realise in an instant. The girl walks away. I turn around ready to deal out my wrath.

A woman stands before me holding a bongo. My anger dissipates almost immediately. She wants to thank me, I realise. The empty bongo case is hanging from her shoulder. I’m probably the only person to have thrown anything in it for months, I think. YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY? She shouts in a booming voice. I feel my mouth fall open. The shop falls silent. Every single person turns and stares at me and the crazed bongo woman. I WORK HARD ALL DAY LONG AND YOU THINK YOU CAN THROW YOUR FILTH AT ME?! I am stunned. She slaps me, hard, and I reflexively cower into a crouch to defend myself from the blows that continue to rain down. FUCK-ING STUDENT BASTARDS, she screams, finally, and throws something at me which I deflect with my palm. She storms out of the shop. I stand up fully and feel hot tears dripping from my eyes. The blonde girl gives me a pitying look, followed by a look of, inexplicably, scorn. The customers in the shop continue browsing, and an undercurrent of muttering fills the air. I look down at the shiny object on the floor. I get down onto my knees and pick up the foil square of my demise, recognising it instantly. My lucky cherry flavoured condom. Not so lucky now, I think.


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