CATNIP – ALWAYS IN THE BEDROOM AT PARTIES (part three)
The picture accompanying these series is of Kylie Minogue. It was chosen because the hair perfectly matches the girl who will shortly become the heroine of this piece. She was not my first choice. My first choice on that fated night had been her best friend. She had short cropped dark hair ( a pixie cut, I’m reliably informed by my editor) and was striking rather than beautiful. She looked like a younger version of Julie Covington.
Always drawn to the extremes, I took my little drummer boy by the ear.
“Ok sunshine, lets go and dance. Don’t say anything. Just dance and stay cool.”
I grabbed his shoulder.
“Listen! I mean it. Don’t say anything. Do not under any circumstances ask them if they Fuck.”
“IT WAS A JOKE!”
“It was no bleeding joke mate, we got run out fucking town by a lynch mob of angry hens… Just because it was a hen night, didn’t mean that you could take liberties!”
“I found out what I needed to know… They didn’t.”
“You think? Anyway, this time leave it to me. ”
Someone had slipped the Album SOLID SOUL GOLD on to the turntable, whilst we had been out in the kitchen, laying plans for mice and men, and the girls were doing that shuffling two-step dance which evokes handbags on the floor and long drinks with fruit in, most likely Cinzano and Lemonade. I inwardly groaned as I tried to make our move into the centre of the throng, look cool. A hard act to pull off when your entrance to the fray is accompanied by “I’m Your Puppet” by James & Bobby Purify. A slow dull song at the best of times, it was not the sort of tune you make an impression with. The drummer could. He did a forward roll, whilst holding his drink and bounced up like a veritable rubber ball. He waved his drink in front of Julie, her of the pixie cut,
“Do you want some?” He shouted across to her. I slapped my forehead hard with my hand…here we go again. She flounced off in the direction of the kitchen, and the drummer followed closely behind. I took the beat of the tune and began to mirror the dance of the other girl, the demi-wave blonde, who smiled at me. The Puppet song faded out and was followed by “Hold on I’m coming” by Sam & Dave, which had a better beat and I schmoozed closer with a little bit of syncopation, an extra flick of the hip added to the two step shuffle. The Demi-wave swished as she tried to mirror my new move… She was still smiling at me. I relaxed. She moved her mouth to my ear.
“I love your shoes.” She said. Bingo!
Okay, another little digression. The shoes were a major investment. I’d recently been to see Saturday Night Fever, and had been rather taken with the shoes John Travolta had hankered after.
Like these, but with a bigger cuban heel and less shiny. They looked amazing, and when I found a pair they had cost a bloody fortune. Never much of a fashionista, these were the only shoes that I have ever felt the bees knees in.
I felt fully vindicated in my travails to find the blessed shoes. The girl loved my shoes.
“Thanks.” I shouted in her ear. When “Working in a coal mine” came on I gestured that we should perhaps sit this one out. I led her out to the kitchen and gathered another glass and more orange Juice.
“Shall we go outside into the garden, get a bit of air?”
She looked around anxiously to find out where her mate, Julie was. Julie was nowhere to be seen. I saw the drummer. He has slid down the wall behind the fridge, shaking his head slowly in remorse, and held a sausage to his eye. The sausage was raw.
“Alright mate? Why have you got a raw sausage held to your eye?”
“Bleeding obvious innit? They don’t appear to have any steak in the fridge!”
Head slap number two.
“Why do you need steak?” He moved the sausage and revealed a shiner.
“What did you do?” I asked redundantly… I knew what he’d done. He’d done what he always did. He’d fucked up!
“Well, you know her mate, the dark-haired one… I sort of inadvertently stroked her arse as we walked into the kitchen… I’d meant it as a friendly gesture, however she took exception and clouted me with her handbag.” He looked across at Jane, the demi-wave’s name I later found out.
“What the fuck is in her handbag?” He asked.
“Probably a £5 bag of 2p’s.”
“What? Why… Why would she carry that much loose change?”
“She works for her Dad. Tomorrow being Saturday and the banks being closed, he asked her to fetch a bag of copper from the bank on her way home. As we have not made it home yet, she probably still has it in her handbag.” Of course these days banks are open on a Saturday, so such a mishap would never happen. In those dark times however, such situations were common place. I looked down at the drummer and shook my head,
“Mate, I don’t think the sausage is working for you.”
“No you’re probably right.” He looked at the sausage ruefully, and then ate it. Jane looked away. I grabbed her hand and led her into the back garden. We sat at the far end of the garden on a rustic bench in silence, and swigged our drinks. I’d given her a slug of vodka in her orange juice, the strength of which had taken her breath away.
“Jesus, that’s strong, you trying to get me pissed?”
“I don’t know… Do you need to be pissed?”
She shook her head.
“Is he always like that?” She asked, gesturing back towards the house.
“Oh no,” I said, “This is him on best behaviour, he’s usually much worse!”
“Why do you hang around with him?”
“Well when my band broke up, he was my part of the divorce settlement. The two guitarists went of with the guitars and talent, and I was left with the drummer and his disappearing drums!”
“Disappearing why… how so?”
“They disappeared when he stopped paying the Hire purchase agreement. Two large bailiff’s came around to his flat with a summons and left with his drum kit and a rousing round of applause from the neighbours.”
She laughed. She laughed a lot. I liked it when she laughed a lot. I liked her. I looked into her eyes and kissed her. My normally gauche affectation left me. It felt smooth. It felt natural, I told my brain to shut the fuck up and enjoy the moment. So I did. Thoroughly.
Jane seemed to enjoy the moment too, and showed no sign of stopping the pressure on my lips. We grew more ardent, more exploring. Then she pushed me away.
“Wait. Where’s Julie?”
“What. Who? oh.”
We walked back inside the house. We found the drummer. He was sat on a chair next to the drinks table, and was steadily working his way through it.
“Mate, where did Julie go?”
“The girl who whacked you.”
“Oh Her. She left. She said tell Jane I’ll see her sometime. And thanks for bringing me to another wonder-fucking-ful party!”
“Is that all?” I asked, wondering, as I looked at Jane, what my chances were now.
“Yes I think so, no wait she said something else. Yes, she said to me, I hope you get the pox you slimy fucking arsehole, and that your dick falls off with gangrene.”
“She has a quaint turn of phrase your pal Julie, doesn’t she?” I said to Jane. Jane shrugged her pretty shoulders.
” She has a very low threshold when it comes to dickheads. Sorry mate.” She looked down on the drummer boy as he drummed his fingers.
He got up. He tapped me on the shoulder as a parting gift, and walked out of the house
“Well that’s him gone then.” I said. ” What shall we do now?”
“You wait there.” She said and went off into the lounge. I saw her talking to Delney, the party girl and when she returned, she took me by the hand and led me up the stairs to a bedroom. It was a very small boxroom, with a very small single bed occupying most of the floor space.
“Shall we?” She asked pointing to the bed.
“Wait.” I said, “Stay there, I’ll be right back.”
I ran back down the stairs, and Delney gave me a thumb’s up sign. I smiled back at her as I made it back into the kitchen. I looked at what was left of the booze bar and found the bottle of Mateus Rose. I picked it up and a couple of glasses and ran back up the stairs to the bedroom. Brilliant work… James Bond would be proud of me. Only one problem. How to get the cork out. I ran back down the stairs. There was no corkscrew on the table. I searched the drawers. Nothing. As a last resort, I went back to Delney, and poring Pete… Hands everywhere… And shouted in her ear,
“Where’s the corkscrew?” Delney laughed.
“In my bedroom probably.” The next question, where was her bedroom. she gave me instructions as to where I might find the utensil, and made me promise to put it back, as she would need it later.
I took the bottle into her bedroom, and took the cork out. I ran back to the room which we had been allotted. Jane had stripped down to her bra and panties. She looked very cute, with her demi -wave spread across the pillow. Her snores did not sound quite as sweet.
Shit. I set the bottle and two glasses on the bedside table and slowly inched under the sheets. I got one buttock on to the mattress, and Jane turned sharply in her sleep, her flailing arm reaching out and slapping me across the cheek. The noise woke her up and she was momentarily unaware of who I was and where she was. She looked at me quizzically. Then she relaxed. She remembered me. I gave her a kiss on the forehead. I quickly stripped off, with only my Y-fronts to hide my modesty, and tried to get into the bed without smothering her. She edged closer to the wall, and as long as we sat sideways we could both just about occupy the bed, without fear of falling out. We drank the wine, we made love… more than once, in more than one position. We were very imaginative with the space and still young enough to find each other’s bodies enthralling.
We slept, eventually, we awoke… We did it some more. In and out of sleep and awakenings. We stayed in that room until Sunday afternoon. Eventually, Delney, knocked on the door and told us sheepishly that we would have to go, as her flatmate would be back that afternoon, and would probably need her bedroom.
Reluctantly, we left. She went her way and I went into Sutton in the hope of finding a bus to Lichfield. Sunday rail services did not occur in the Seventies. Sunday was still a day of rest then, no shops were open… There was bugger all to do, except go to church and repent your sins. I was rather busy trying to find some sins to enact first!
A lost weekend, but what happened next?
Firstly, the drummer boy, I don’t think I ever saw him again… I would hope that he saw the error of his ways, and became a decent human being… but I very much doubt it.
Julie, likewise I never saw again and could not find out anything about her from Delney. Julie was Jane’s friend not hers, she had tersely said. She may have been hinting at something, but I will leave that alone for now. Delney, eventually finished with shifty Pete, when he’d been found out cheating with some other girl in the office. Pete was not long for this world, I think he died of Liver failure… Aah the vagaries of the demon drink!
And me? and Jane?
Well, on the strength of that lost weekend, I decided to move into the house with Delney and the other flatmates, with the prospect of the delightful Jane being close at hand. When I range her up on the Friday I moved in, Jane finished with me. She did not want a proper relationship…
So I moved back home. Tail between my legs.
You live and learn.