We turned onto Duncan Street, where Chris’ house was. There was a small crowd on the street outside his front door. Our lot and a few others who hadn’t been out with us.
We all walked into Chris’ house. As you walked in, the stairs were right in front of you – a metal spiral staircase that he put in himself. It looked pretty cool, but nothing in the house was finished.
The door between the middle room and the kitchen was open, and I could see Sarah and Janine standing on the breakfast bar, dancing.
I turned round to see some guy I didn’t recognise. “Alright” I said. “What’s your name, mate?”
“Tommo, mate. Sorry about that.” He steadied himself briefly and then fell sideways onto John.
“Hey, watch yourself, Tim, dude” John said, helping the guy up.
“Tommo, mate, Tommo.” he said, then he brushed himself down as though he’d fallen in some fucking hay or something, and stumbled through into the kitchen. Liability.
There was some awful music on. Chris actually had good taste in music, but the rest of them didn’t. Also, the thing that was missing from Chris’s was decks. But that kind of thing was pretty far removed from the world of all those lot. I could party like then, back then, when I was really young. With people who weren’t into anything except getting smashed. I don’t think I could now. Maybe if John wasn’t there I wouldn’t have been able to even then. He always shared my relish in the absurdity of everything. My music scene friends were pretty snobby about those lot. They’d ask me if I’d had fun with my chav mates. Or how the crackheads were doing.
Chris was setting up some lines on the breakfast bar. Sarah was still dancing above him, and Janine was over the other side, swivelling round on one of the high stools.
“I can see right up your skirt by the way” said Chris.
“Yeah?” replied Sarah, and turned around, and lifted her skirt right up.
“Very ladylike!” admonished Smithy, and then he fell over, crashing against the sink unit.
“I ain’t no fuckin’ lady!” exclaimed Sarah, sounding genuinely offended.
“Come and sit down and drink with me” said Janine to Sarah, “And stop flashing at everyone!” She turned towards Chris. “Have you got any more glasses?”
“Er… I can wash another one up for you” he offered, looking over at the sink, which was heavily laden with several days’ worth of unwashed pots.
“I’LL wash one up!” said Sarah, and with that she leapt off the breakfast bar, straight over Janine’s head, and landed on all fours, her heels making a clonking noise as they hit the floor.
“Fucking hell” I said.
“I know” replied John. I looked at Chris. He looked amused. Rob was laughing too, and somehow Smithy had failed to register anything at all. Eventually he looked up, saw Sarah picking herself back up, and said:
“Steady now!” which made us all burst out laughing again.
Then someone was banging on the front door. We ran through. It was Bratton, this crazy guy we knew, and didn’t like very much, with a trolley full of golf clubs, which he slammed down on the floor with a final-sounding thud, and then looked up at us all with a smug smile, as if to say ‘I told you so.’
“See?” he said, looking very pleased with himself.
Nobody said anything because nobody had the faintest clue what to say, and before anyone had a chance to ask him how the hell that explained anything – or what there was to explain, he was gone, leaving the golf clubs in the kitchen doorway and us all in hysterics.
“Right” said Chris, when we’d finally calmed down “I’ve had these ready for about six years. Who’s having a line?”
“Don’t tell Liz, yeah” said Jacklin, one of the lads who’d met us all at Chris’s. “She’d kill me.” Liz was his girlfriend. She never hung out with us lot. I think she was a bit moody. And he always left her to look after the kids, so maybe she had cause to be moody.
That lot were all only a couple of years older than me – Jacklin, Dean Phil and Jemma – who were a couple – and Skinny Paul, but they’d all had kids before they were legally old enough to be described as adults themselves. The children of children. It kind of depressed me, but it didn’t seem to bother any of them, so I guess it was fair enough. It made me laugh sometimes though, being round at Phil and Jemma’s, and hearing Jemma saying things like ‘Daddy’s gone to play football with the other big boys’ to their son. The only one that didn’t have any kids was Dean. Skinny Paul had a daughter, but he didn’t ever see her.
“Right, I take it you, you and you are” said Chris, pointing at me, John then Rob. He looked at Smithy, who was still struggling with the joint.
“I think Smithy’s alright” I said.
Smithy looked up. “Uh?” he grunted, with a confused expression.
“Alright Smithy!” I said. “You alive?”
Me and John both waved at him, laughing, but not in a really nasty way.
John always looks at people in states like that and says ‘I wish I was that fucked’, but I don’t feel that way, and I don’t truly believe that he does, either. I like to be in control of myself.
We decided to see what everyone else was doing. Jacklin, Jemma, Phil and Dean were in the middle room, and when we went to check out what they were up to, Jemma and Dean were playing one of those hand-clapping games that little girls play in primary school, and she was explaining to him how you play Cat’s Cradle.
Rob wandered into the front room, and me, Chris and John followed him. Steve and Sally-Ann were sat on the couch, and Tommo was walking up and down the middle of the room with Sally-Ann’s shoes squeezed onto his feet, doing a very bad job of balancing on the heels.
“How ace is this?” said John,laughing his head off.
“How the fuck do lasses wear these?” said Tommo. “Shit!” He fell over.
“You’re going to break those, dude.” said John.
“I’m tired” said Sally-Ann, yawning.
“You want to go home?” asked Steve.
“Yeah, is that okay?” she asked.
“Course it is” said Steve. He gave her a kiss on the cheek. They were nice people.
“Can I have my shoes back, please?” she asked Tommo.
Tommo was trying to stand up.
“I wish I was that fucked” said John.
“No, you don’t” I said. “
About a minute later there was a loud crashing noise. We walked through to the middle room to see Tommo upside-down at the foot of the spiral stairs, his head on the floor, and his legs leaning on the rail above. Everyone else was gathered in the middle room and the kitchen doorway.
“I think he fell right from the top” said Chris.
“What was he doing?” asked Dean. “I was sat right here, and I’m sure I didn’t see him go upstairs. I forgot he was even here until I heard all that crashing.”
“Me too” said Jemma.
“What the fuck was he doing upstairs, anyway?” asked Sarah.
“Fuck knows” said Chris, “He’s hammered.”
“He’s going to die” said John.
“I’m alright, I’m alright” said Tommo. His face was bright red, but I don’t think it was from embarrassment. I think he was just really fucked.
“What’ve you had, mate?” asked Skinny Paul.
“All sorts, mate, all sorts” said Tommo, who was now stood up, leaning on the stair rail. “I’m alright, though, I’m alright.” Then he wandered through to the kitchen.
“What happened to Smithy?” I asked.
“Oh, he went to the front room and passed out” said Rob.
About a second later, Sarah came through to tell us that Smithy had woken up and was now completely insane.
“What’s he doing?” I asked.
“He’s FUCKED!” said Sarah, “And the cunt worries about me! He’s got some cheek! He was going ‘I’m going to push your sleeve, I’m going to push your sleeve!’ and I was like ‘WHAT?’ and he goes ‘You’ll know when I tell ya!’ What the fuck?!”
We all laughed, John the loudest. He always delighted in other peoples’ insanity, possibly even more than I did.
Sarah shook her head and wandered off, presumably to check on Smithy. I ended up going through to the middle room and chatting to Jacklin and the others about their kids. Phil and Jemma could never believe that I didn’t want any.
John came through.
“You fancy an all-dayer with me and Rob sometime?” he asked me “We’ve not had one for ages.”
“Yeah defo” I said.
“Cool” said John, sitting down on the floor next to me. “You guys should come, too” he continued, “Though you don’t really drink in top town or the seafront, do you?” he said to Jacklin.
“Nah,” said Jacklin, “I only drink down Albert Street.”
AlbertStreet was pretty rough. Town was bad enough, but Albert Street was a whole other story. People like Jacklin gloried in that kind of thing though.
“I’ve seen you in town before” I said, laughing, “When the town match was on.”
“I do make the occasional exception” said Jacklin, grinning. “Hey, I’m thinking of having my lad as the mascot for the football sometime.”
“Your ladders?!” asked John. He looked at me, then Jacklin in confusion.
“My LAD” said Jacklin.
“Oh! Right!” said John, and we all burst out laughing.
Skinny Paul’s new girlfriend, who hadn’t said a word all night, started mumbling to herself and passed out.
“She okay?” asked John.
“Yeah, she’s fine” said Skinny Paul. “She always does that. She’s only recently become part of the chemical generation.”
“Hey” said John to me, “Will you cut my hair at some point this weekend when we’re both sober?”
“Yeah sure” I said. Then I burst out laughing.
“What?” asked John.
“At some point this weekend when we’re both sober. When the fuck is that going to be?”
“Mmm, that’s true. You may as well do it now.”
“I can’t do it now, John. I’ll end up giving you a Mohican or something.”
“Hmm, yeah, I s’pose. What d’ya think I’d look like with a Mohican? I quite fancy one, actually. I’ve never had one before. Do you reckon it’d suit me?”
“Haha yeah, go on!” said Phil. “I’d get one, too if I had the balls.”
“Fuck, I’m having a Mohican, aren’t I?” said John.
“Where do you think Chris keeps his clippers?” he asked.
“Dunno” I laughed, “Why don’t you ask him?”
“Good idea” replied John. “Chris! Where do you keep your clippers?”
Chris emerged from the kitchen.
“I’ll go and get them” he said, looking amused, and went upstairs.
“I can’t believe you’re getting a moey, man” said Dean.
Rob poked his head around this kitchen door.
“You having a Mohican done?” he asked.
John nodded solemnly, as if it hadn’t been his decision.
“Awww!” said Rob, “I wish my hair was long enough to get one!”
“Rob, your eyebrows have only just grown back” John told him.
“True” said Rob, “True.”
Chris came back with the clippers.
“Where are you doing it?” he asked.
“I think we should do it in the kitchen” I told him, and he nodded.
“Um… I guess you’d better sit on one of the stools, and I’ll kneel up on the breakfast bar” I suggested. “Although the stools do have a tendency to spin round” I mused, “So you’ll kind of have to hold onto the breakfast bar, which might be a bit uncomfortable if you’re sat like that for ages.”
“I can get you the wobbly chair” Chris said. “It’ll bear your weight if you’re just sat there having your hair cut.”
“Are you sure it won’t go suddenly?” asked John. “I wouldn’t like that to happen.”
“We could tape the leg to the seat bit, maybe?” I suggested.
“Yeah” said John, and looked up towards Chris, “Have you got any duct tape?”
Jacklin started laughing.
“What?” said John, “It’s a good idea!”
I started laughing, myself.
“I’ll get some” said Chris.
“I don’t get how you’re going to do it” said Jemma.
“Come and watch and I’ll show you” I said.
Me, John and Jemma all went into the kitchen. Rob and Sarah were knelt up on the breakfast bar playing some bizarre sesh version of tennis, using their hands as racquets and a scrunched-up empty fag packet as the ball. Chris had moved the wobbly chair into the space between the breakfast bar and the sink. He handed me the tape.
“Look” I said to Jemma, and I wrapped the tape around the leg, and then over the corner of the seat and back round the leg again. “See?” I said.
“Oh yeah” she replied. “Fuckin’ hell!”
I laughed. You’d have thought I’d just invented electric lighting or something.
“I think it’s secure now” I said to John, after about two minutes of taping.
“Shit hot!” said John. He tested the chair, trying to wobble it with his hand, and nodded. “Seems pretty stable now.” He sat down. “Ready to go!” he said.
Chris had put the clippers down on the breakfast bar, and he picked them up and handed them to me. I plugged them into a four-way, which was on the floor, about a foot away from me. I looked down at John’s head.
“Uh… I think you’d probably better wet your hair first” I said.
“Good idea!” he exclaimed, and jumped up and headed towards the bathroom.
“There’s a sink in here!” I called after him, but he was already halfway up the stairs. Someone laughed in the middle room. Rob and Sarah were still playing tennis with the fag packet, and Rob accidentally hit Chris’ head, which made us all laugh.
When John came back and re-seated himself in the wobbly chair, I asked him how wide he wanted his moey to be.
“Hmmm” he mused, “Do what you think and I’ll say if it looks okay.”
“I’ll go and get a mirror” said Chris.
I flattened the sides of John’s hair down, and pushed the rest up to a point in the middle. Chris returned with a not very clean mirror, and held it up in front of John.
“Mmm, yeah, that’s about right” said John. “Your mirror’s a bit dirty.” He wiped his index finger down the mirror, and then licked it.
I switched the clippers on and began shaving John’s hair off.
“Mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” said Rob, imitating the noise of the clippers.
“Ow!” said John, “You’re a bit rough with the clippers.”
“Sorry” I said, and tried not to press on so hard.
Rob reached for a very wide shot Sarah had hit towards him, missed, and fell on his side.
John laughed, and jerked his head forward.
“Whoa! Don’t do that!” I said, “I’ll fuck your moey up!”
“Sorry dude” said John, and sat very still until I was done.
“Finished!” I said. I was pleased with myself. I’d not done a bad job.
Chris held the mirror up.
“SHIT HOT!” John exclaimed. “Fucking hell, it actually looks pretty good! I didn’t think it’d suit me!”
I hadn’t been sure if it would, either, but it did actually look pretty good.
Dean and Jacklin were stood in the doorway.
“Fucking hell” said Dean, “You look like a psycho!”
“Yeah” agreed Jacklin with genuine approval and no irony, “You look shit hot mate!”
Phil, Jemma and Skinny Paul came and had a look and agreed that it suited him. Jemma said she couldn’t believe John had let me do that to him after all the drugs I’d had. They went back through to the middle room, and we did some more lines, and me and John had another pill each.
“Mind if I put The Cure on?” asked Chris.
No-one did. Chris always used to put The Cure on at some point in the night.
“My granddad bought my nana a baboon by accident once” said Chris out of nowhere. “He thought it was an orangutan and my nana went mental when he brought it home cos it wrecked the house.”
“WHAT?” I said.
“It was a baboon” said Chris. “Baboons are mental. You can’t control them.”
“So if it had been an orangutan, it would all have been perfectly normal.”
“You can train orangutans” said Chris, “They’re quite friendly.”
“Is this for real?” I asked.
“Yeah, seriously” Chris replied.
“Your granddad seriously bought your nana a orangutan?”
“Yeah” said Chris, still not looking at all like he thought that any of it was the least bit bizarre. “No – a baboon. By accident.”
“When?” I asked incredulously, “Where from?”
“Ellesmere Port Market” said Chris.
I didn’t really know what else to say.
We all danced around the kitchen to Boys Don’t Cry, then Jacklin came through, said we looked like a bunch of pussies, and then started banging on about how Close to Me was a much better song anyway, and it really got him every time he heard it.
After that Chris said he was off to bed for a bit. He always went to bed. Rob called him the cat because he said he slept all the time, but he actually didn’t, he just slept a little bit more than we do.
“If it gets to be like half-seven, eight and I’m not down yet, come and wake me up” said Chris.
I told him we would.
“I don’t know how he can sleep when he’s so high” said John.
“You just have to ignore all the crap that’s going on in your head, and kind of let it wash over you” I said.
“I know” said John, “I can’t ever do it, though.”
“It’s more fun to stay awake, anyway” I said.
“I win at being high” said Rob suddenly. I looked around and saw that he’d climbed to the top of some ladders that were stood in the corner.
I laughed and climbed up on one of the stools then stood up.
“I’m high, now, as well” I told him. I felt ace.
John climbed up on the breakfast bar.
“I’m higher” he said, grinning.
“Rob still wins” said Sarah.
“Haha!” said Rob triumphantly. “D’ya think Chris’ll ever finish decorating his house?”
“Maybe if he does less drugs” said Sarah.
I couldn’t see that being likely to happen. It was kind of a shame, though, because he’d started out with a good idea, but he didn’t seem to be that interested in finishing it. He’d put the spiral stairs in himself, and they looked ace, and he’d started doing these stencil things on the walls near the ceiling, which weren’t exactly to my taste but looked good, and restored the fireplaces and stuff, but it was all half-done.
That’s the problem with doing drugs for a lot of people – they give you loads of energy, and contrary to popular belief, they do give people an incredible amount of motivation. The only problem is that the stuff they feel motivated to do is often completely pointless, so all the important stuff just gets left for another time.
I climbed onto the breakfast bar and lit a cigarette.
“Can I have a cig, please?” asked Rob from the top of the ladders.
“Yeah sure” I said, and chucked him one.
I offered one each to Sarah and John, as well. Sarah took one. John said he’d have one of his own.
“Can you pass us the ashtray?” asked Rob.
I picked up the plate we were using for our cigarette butts, and took it over to the ladders.
When I got back to the breakfast bar, John got up and walked to the ladders.
“Plate back, please, sorry” he said.
Rob held the plate out to him.
It started to get a bit farcical, us all passing this plate back and forth to tip our ash in. Thinking about it now, I don’t know why they didn’t just drop it on the floor because Chris’s kitchen was a dump and none of those guys had a great deal of respect for anything.
“I know!” said John, grabbing the wobbly chair. “If I put this here, and sit down, I’m midway between you on the ladders and you two on the breakfast bar, and then we can all pass the plate between us without having to get up all the time!”
“Shit hot!” said Rob, “It’s like a game”
“What… Pass the Plate?” I laughed.
John passed me the plate.
“No, I meant that’s what we’re playing” I said laughing, “Though I do need the plate now, anyway.”
“I need it back! I need it back!” shouted Rob.
“On its way!” I shouted, passing the plate to John.
We carried on passing the plate between us long after we’d finished our fags, until Dean poked his head round the door and asked what the fuck we were doing.
We explained about Rob being high and us all needing to use the plate as an ashtray.
He laughed and then looked as though an idea had struck him. “Is Chris’ back door open?” he asked.
“I think so” said Rob. “I think it always is. It sticks, though.” He practically lived at Chris’ house, so he knew things like that.
Dean pointed out of the window.
“If you all want to get really high. You should climb up on that. I will, as well.”
I saw what he was pointing at. Chris had an old Coca Cola vending machine at the back of his garden.
“Shit hot!” said John, “I hope Chris’ door is open.”
Rob jumped straight down from the top of the ladders, and landed in a crouched position with a loud thud.
John turned to me, looking amused and slightly alarmed.
“I thought Rob had a cape then, for a second, when he jumped off the ladders” he said.
I snorted with laughter.
Rob was very noisily trying to open the door. After a large amount of rattling, he managed it, and went flying backwards.
We all laughed.
Jacklin, Phil, Jemma and Skinny Paul all came through to see what was going on, and we all went out into the garden. It was almost proper daylight outside. Rob ran through the long grass, got a foothold on the gate, pulled himself up onto the wall, and then jumped on the top of the vending machine.
“Hey, it’s well cool up here!” he shouted.
I followed him up. He was right. It was pretty cool. The air seemed really fresh, and I could see all the gardens right down the block. Most of them were even more unkempt than Chris’s.
“I’m staying down here” said Jemma to Sarah.
“I’m not!” said Sarah, “Can I borrow your trainers? You can wear my shoes.”
Jemma took her trainers off.
“It’s okay” she said, “I’ll look after them.”
Sarah squeezed her feet into Jemma’s trainers and ran towards us. She did my head in sometimes, but she was alright really. She was always up for everything.
John and Dean followed. Skinny Paul said he didn’t like heights, which made us all laugh because he’s six-foot four, and Jacklin said he wasn’t sure it’d bear his weight. It struck me that I wasn’t sure how long it would bear the weight of all of us lot on it, and I pointed this out, and everyone started to climb down.
“Hey, there’s a wheelbarrow!” said Rob. “I never knew Chris had a wheelbarrow!”
“Well” said John, laughing, “They say that you learn something new every day. Even you!”
“Can you push me in it?” asked Rob. “I’ll stand up and see if I can balance.
“Okay” said John, and he moved the wheelbarrow so it was on the path, facing towards the gate. Rob climbed into it, and stood up slowly, facing John and holding his arms out like he was about to walk a tightrope.
“You got your balance?” asked John.
“Yeah, I think so” said Rob. “Let’s go.”
He managed to stay on the wheelbarrow all the way to the gate, so John turned around and wheeled him back.
“Let’s have a go” I said.
“All yours” said Rob “It’s easier than you’d think.”
He was right, it was. It wasn’t really even any effort to stay balanced.
“D’ya want me to push you?” I asked John.
“Nah, I’ve got crap balance.” he said, “I can’t skate or anything, can I? I could try pushing both of you at once.”
“Okay” I said.
It was harder to stay balanced with Rob on the wheelbarrow as well, but a lot funnier.
“I think you’re pushing us faster than when you just pushed me on my own” said Rob.
“Yeah, I’ve got used to it now” said John.
“Give me a go” said Sarah. “I want to go with someone, though”
“I’ll go with you” said Dean.
After they’d had a go, John said he thought he could probably manage four people at once, so me and Rob got back on, as well.
It struck me that if any of Chris’ neighbours or anyone from across the alley was awake, they’d be able to see us, and would probably wonder what the fucking hell we were doing.
John must have been thinking the exact same thing, because he looked at me with a big grin and said:
“Imagine watching this!”
“I know” I replied, laughing. I looked up at the top of Chris’ house and the pale grey sky.
We only managed one length of the garden like that, because when John tried to steer us back round we all tilted alarmingly and nearly fell off.
“I’m really unfit” said John.
“That’s hardly surprising” I replied.
“No, but I mean I’m really skinny again” he said. “I got really muscly and now it’s all gone again. I don’t do anything. I need to lift weights or something. And I want to start riding again, but I know it’s not going to happen. And I’ll just end up getting my bike nicked again.”
“You could try being more careful about remembering to lock it up and stuff” I suggested.
“Yeah, I know, but it’s not going to happen, is it?”
“That’s true” I said.
“I know what I need, anyway” he said. “I need one of those bicycles that doesn’t go anywhere!”
“You know” he said. “You know what I mean!”
I frowned and shook my head.
“You know! Aaargh! One of those things!” He rubbed his forehead as though he was desperately searching for the word or phrase. I was none the wiser.
“An EXERCISE BIKE!” he finally burst out, and we both started laughing uncontrollably.
“You daft cunt” I finally managed to splutter.
All of a sudden, there was an almighty crash.
I looked at John.
“What the fuck was that?” he asked.
“Dunno” I replied, and we went inside the house to see what was going on.
It turned out to be a fight. As I looked across, Jacklin was in the doorway between the kitchen and the middle room with his hands clasped tight around Tommo’s neck. Tommo was trying to prise them off to no avail, stumbling as he was pushed backwards towards the breakfast bar. Phil, Jemma and Dean were all stood around with their arms crossed, and Sarah was shouting things like ‘Perv!’ and ‘Fucking sick bastard!’ from near the sink, where she was stood with Janine.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Tommo tried to say something, but it just came out as a choking noise, and Jacklin said:
“This cunt was getting off with Paul’s girlfriend. While she was asleep.”
“Kill him” said John.
“Not in Chris’ house, dudes, please!” shouted Rob from behind me and John.
“Alright” said Jacklin, and swung Tommo round, pushing him back into the middle room. We all followed them through the house.
Skinny Paul was shouting “Are you sure? Maybe he didn’t know she was with me!”
Phil shouted back that he’d seen it with his own eyes, and Jemma added:
“Of course he knew!”
I hardly thought that should be the most important issue anyway, if she’d been asleep.
Jacklin got Tommo in a sort of near-headlock, opened the front door with his left hand, and punched him out into the street. He fell on his arse, and when he tried to get up, Jacklin smacked him again.
“I didn’t do anything!”
“You LYING CUNT!” shouted Jacklin, and kicked him in the stomach.
“I didn’t know!” he gasped, clasping his guts.
“Maybe he didn’t know” said Phil.
Phil did have a point. Tommo had barely been aware of his surroundings earlier, so he probably didn’t have much idea what he was doing.
“He still FUCKING DID IT!” shouted Jacklin.
“Yeah, while she was asleep!” added John.
“Yeah, but he barely knew what was going on, himself” I pointed out.
“Yeah” said Dean, “He really might not have realised what the fuck was going on.”
“He barely knows who he is” I said.
“Then he should fucking learn when to stop shoving pills down his neck, shouldn’t he?” said Jacklin, and gave him another kick.
A curtain twitched across the road.
“Bear in mind that if Chris’ neighbours call the police, we’re all fucked.” I told them.
“Yeah, what’s going on?” called a voice from above. It was Chris.
Everybody tried to tell him at once.
“Okay, okay!” he said, “Look, he’s fucked out of his head, you’ve taught him a lesson. If you really want to kick the shit out of him, can you do it somewhere else? Or else bring him inside and make sure he doesn’t die in the street in front of my house or anything.”
“Sorry mate” said Jacklin, and then he turned back to Tommo, and said: “I hope you fucking have learned your lesson, mate, or else next time you’re gonna be fucking killed.”
Tommo just stared up at him like a startled rabbit caught in your headlights. Jacklin grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feet. Half his face was red and swollen, he had a cut next to his left eye, and he was crying. Skinny Paul’s girlfriend was still passed out. Smithy was talking to a cushion.