We are here an hour early for the ballet. The Bolshoi are performing Lady of the Camelias. I am dying for a piss.
My wife clearly believes that the Pershore Road has a 60 mile an hour speed limit, and so we are standing outside in the cold. I almost died several times in a crash on the way here because of her driving. And now I am dying for a piss. The scummy looking bouncer at the door of the Hippodrome would not let us use the toilets. It is because of the way my son is dressed, I know this is the case and I resent it deeply.
I take a deep breath and flick dust from my lapel.
‘How’s it going dad?’ my son says, smug. I want to break his nose.
‘Everyone has to pee up a wall sometime. There’s an alley way there.’ He is wearing some kind of band t-shirt and a blazer, which is wholly inappropriate for the Bolshoi. I choose to ignore it for the sake of my wife Sammy, who is his best friend at the moment.
There are no words that can describe my disgust.
‘Have you ever peed up a wall?’
‘Why would I piss in public, Bill? I am not a dog. This is not Fresher’s Week. I’m not one of your mates. WE are not-,’
‘Okay, yeah.’ He pulls out his phone and scrolls absently. Then he starts typing. Lord knows what.
‘Who are you texting?’ I say. ‘Put your phone away.’ He ignores me.
A few more minutes and it will come out.
‘There’s a cocktail bar like, 5 minutes away,’ Bill says, putting his phone back in his pocket, ‘and loads of restaurants. We’re in China Town.’
‘We don’t have time to eat,’ I say.
‘Just use their toilet.’
‘It’s a customer toilet, Bill. I’m not a homeless person.’
Bill ignores me again and turns to my wife. She is nattering incessantly to her two friends, whom I loathe. Their wrinkles are contagious, I am sure of it. These ageing women are sullying my wife’s complexion which I have paid good money to maintain. Die. Parasite. Bitches.
I am about to piss myself. Not long at all now. This is a hellish situation for which there is no real solution at the moment.
I look at my watch. I don’t remember the last time I stood outside on the street for this long. The cold air reminds me of the smoking area at the Red Hen. The people remind me of a Channel 4 documentary. The air smells like stale urine and marijuana.
‘Disgusting,’ I mutter, loud enough for Bill to hear.
‘Birmingham needs some public toilets, doesn’t it,’ he says, winking.
‘Yes, I wonder how long they will last before some little chav bastard or drug addict or pikey unscrews the seats and sells them for scrap. And I’ll be paying for it.’
‘You’re right,’ Bill says, facetiously.
‘And you will be too, soon. If you get a bloody job.’
He doesn’t reply. My bladder is 101% full and I am fairly sure that I have only 20 seconds left.
‘What bar is it?’ I ask Bill. He is staring at his phone again. I slap his arm, hard. ‘Bill! What bar is it? What’s it called?’
My wife looks over.
‘Calm down, dad.’ He says, looking around to see if any of the idiots shuffling past us have acknowledged my outburst. ‘It’s just a random pub, like the Duke’s Arms I think, or something like that.’
I nod. My leg is shaking.
‘Are you okay, dear?’ Sammy asks me.
‘Yes yes I’m fine, how are you?’ I snap. She looks back towards her friends.
‘Is that okay?’ Bill asks. ‘Shall we go?’
I pause. ‘No.’ The cretins of the city shuffle around me, sans dignity. I feel in danger. I feel unclean.
Door, to car, to door. This is what I want. Door. Car. Door. This is what I aim for, a seamless transition from one room to the next. This is what London was like for me, before this god-awful mess, and why Sammy and our son cannot understand this is beyond me.
His disgusting commie friends at university have infected him, and before long he’ll be out of reach. Sammy is happy to see him go into an internship at a bloody radio station or something but oh no, I am not, I will not see my only child making flatulence jokes on ninety two point whatever, reeling off songs by some black woman with oversized breasts, not with the years of university I’ve put him through, not with the years of school and tuition, not after all the harlots I have had to chase out of our house to keep him on the right path.
I realise I have started walking.
‘Where are you going dad?’ I hear Bill’s voice behind me. I feel as if I am walking towards a cliff. I want to murder my family and live in a penthouse with a hundred thousand prostitutes.
I have entered the alley, I know I have. Fucking hell. I walk until I round a corner, away from view.
I am going back to London tomorrow and I am going to light a cigar in somebody’s sitting room and I am going to get somebody at Wholefoods to fill my trolley while I sample bread.
I am undoing my fly.
I am pissing.
The wall is the face of my worst enemies. My urine is a gun. I am a fireman. I am a fighter plane.
I stop in terror. I pull the piss back in, clench my pelvic muscles. I look down.
I am pissing onto a pile of human shit. Somebody. Else’s.Human. Shit. It is smudged like somebody has stepped in it. Potentially the perpetrator themselves. How could I have not seen this?
I cannot hold it any longer. I let it go. The urine splatters and shimmers off the turd. It flows away in a little stream.
It washes over a rusty metal grate.
It makes it’s way toward a condom, half-filled with human semen.
I look away. There, on the other side of me, a short distance from my patent black shoes, is a disposable heroin spoon and a needle. Used.
I gag. I swallow. I zip back up. I stagger back out of the alley, shaking.
My son’s smug face is waiting for me. He is smiling.
‘Dear…’ says Sammy, ‘What on earth happened? Where did you go? You look absolutely white!’
I cannot say a single word.
‘Are you okay?’ She says. ‘Do you need to sit down?’
My son laughs.
‘I am not well,’ I say. ‘I am not well at all.’
‘Feel better than before though?’ Bill says.
I grab Bill by the scruff of his neck with one hand, and stare into his stupid fucking face.
‘I just watched 50% of my taxes piled up behind a fucking Chinky café,’ I say. ‘The lot of it, I saw the bloody lot of it.’
‘Did you make any friends?’ Bill says, with a massive grin.
My wife steps in between us. ‘Dear, please. Bill, please. Let’s just have a nice night.’
I release my grip on Bill. I step back. I pause for a second and I look at both of them. I look around me, at my wife’s friends, at the pub-goers waddling down the street, at the tramps lying on the ground. There they are. There they all are, the human shits, wrapped in human condoms, staggering around all junked up on lord knows what, and I’m the only one who knows what’s going on.The only one in the whole bloody world. I am going to piss on all of them.
I pause. I collect myself.
Then I smile. A big toothy grin, to show them all who I am. I smooth my lapel. My disgust for what I have just done is overwhelming, but the theatre doors are opening. I realise I have not washed my hands and with this knowledge I feel a murderous rage wash over me.
‘Shall we?’ I say, offering the pissy hand to my beautiful wife. She takes it. I wrap my other hand around the shoulder of my son, who is no longer laughing. I laugh, and slap him on the back. ‘I guess I’m just feeling a bit Bolshie-oi tonight!’ I say, for everybody to hear.
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