Having taken on board some of your comments from the last few months, I decided to work on character and voice this week. While I personally am not comfortable with swearing in writing, I've had to give it a go because this character is a swearer. If you're offended by casual swearing, please don't read this. Members of the circle, let me know if you think the voice and character are distinctive. Comments are welcome and encouraged!
I guess the first time I realised I was in Hell was when I saw the price of the burgers. Up until that point I figured I was just having a mental breakdown. Or a blackout. I'd taken a lot of pills that night, not all of them had smiley faces on 'em either. I've had blackouts before. No big deal. And fits. Something about the brain firing off random electricity that makes you see all kinds of weird shit. Last fit I had was when I caned three grams of speed just after I'd started taking my meds. The hallucinations were wild. I could hear colours and smell shapes. It was fucking sick. I got sweats in the night and I kept thinking there was this woman with a kangaroo's head locked in my bedroom. As I recall she had fourteen breasts, more tongue that a girl should and pretty low self esteem. Not a bad experience, even if I was in a coma for six months. Doctors reckoned I lost fifteen percent of my brain cells that night. Fuck knows how many have gone this time.
I started my night in a hotel room in Soho, nestled between the thighs of some bitch I'd picked up in the bar. She was about as lively as cold salami, but I didn't have nowhere else to be and besides, I felt like I was doing her a favour. The poor bitch looked half-starved and I was gunna offer her free run of the mini bar, post-fuck. Then, mid-thrust, I'm suddenly here. There's this blinding white light all around and I'm lying face down, mouthful of lino, nursing a painfully unspent load.
The floor was fucking cold. That kind of squeaky, plasticy shit that sticks to your trainers so you have to tear your soles away from the surface, like you're doing some kind of shit dancing. Like the floors you get in cinemas. Christ, it was revolting. All I could smell was the stink of re-fried potatoes, bleach and vomit. A total buzz kill. I sobered up pretty quick and lost my erection even quicker, I can tell you.
I read somewhere that in dreams you can't feel pain – and my neck was fucking killing me – so I guess I should've realised then that something wasn't kosher, but my head was fucked from the blonde in the hotel and all that whiskey. So I didn't clock that something was wrong. I just figured I was having another 'episode' so I might as well enjoy the ride.
I flipped over on my back and all I could see was this massive white space, reaching up out of sight above me. Like the building was taller than it was possible for me to comprehend, you know? And the whole place was painted white, like a fucking sanatorium or something. But it was a dirty white, like there'd once been a flood, proper biblical-like, that'd left a thin film of shit over everything.
There were lines of neon strip lights built into the walls, just pumping in this sickly, white light. It kind of made the walls look even more dirty, like teeth stained with nicotine. And there was this buzzing, like the sound of air conditioning, but the weren't no breeze. Like someone was playing the noise of AC without bothering to actually blow any God damn air through the place.
After a good few minutes, I thought I better get up and take a look around, see if there was any lager in this shithole. I got to my feet, a little unsteady. If I was hallucinating, then my imagination had been fried along with the rest of my brain.
First thing I noticed, once I was on my feet, was the arcade. Some small alcove on the opposite wall filled with those massive arcade machines like they used to have in the Trocadero. Next to that there was this tiny shop selling skin mags and bottles of water. There were a few plastic tables and chairs clustered together in the middle of the hallway between me and the arcade. No people though. Not a fucking soul.
Behind me was a row of three fast food joints, selling disgusting shit – burgers, fries, kebabs – real down-market shit. They weren't fucking cheap either. And I hate to pay over the odds for shit that I'm not even gonna fucking enjoy anyway.
So it's clear that I'm in some sort of weird motorway service station. And the burgers cost too much and there's no sign for the bathrooms and I walk across to the shop and even the women in the porn mags look miserable and bored. And I can't even play the fucking slot machines coz I left all my money in my other jeans.
It must be hell. I must've had a heart attack while screwing that blonde. I can't believe this. I'm only 32. I was only 32. Christ, I'd got some much shit left to do. I never even had a threesome!
Still, if this hell, then it's not as bad as the Sunday school teacher said. No fire and brimstone, no demons with red hot pokers. No enforced sodomy. At least not yet. Ha, just had a quick look round, in case some fucker with his cock out was creeping up on me. Nothing yet though. Just that God Damn buzzing. It's pretty hot in here too.
I don't even know how long I've been here. Maybe they've buried me by now. Maybe that bitch ran out on me in the hotel room, left the maid to find me the next morning. What a way to go. I never liked waiting for shit. Instant gratification, that's what the therapist called it. He said it was one of the traits of my disorder. What a prick. There's nothing wrong with me. Just a bit of temper. Can I help it if people get on my tits? Christ, I wonder how long I've been here. It could have been days.
I guess it must be my own private hell. It'd explain why there's no one else here. And why I'm waiting. Fuck, I hate waiting. I told him, 'I hate waiting. If you make me wait, I'll make sure you regret it.' I fucking warned him. You can't say I didn't warn him.
The light doesn't change, you know? It doesn't get dimmer in the night time, or brighter when it's day. So I can't even tell what time it is. There aren't any windows. No exit either. The shit in the kitchen of the burger bar is bland but edible. I still haven't seen anyone else. There must be someone here though, coz the fridge is always full. Unless it's some kind of weird hell-magic. I guess that's it.
The video games aren't even working. On the screen on each one is some weird little message: 'Loading, please wait.' I stood in front of one machine for hours, but the fucking thing didn't load. It didn't even load when I kicked it. Stupid fucking machine.
I wonder how my mum's coping without me. She's probably relived. I was a total fucking nightmare. We hadn't talked since I went back inside. Even when I got out in 2010, she didn't call. I guess there are some things even a mother can't forgive.
I barely notice the buzzing now.