"I wish we could go back to the way things were..."
The Girl With a One Track Mind is distractedly chalking her cue while Stray Photon takes his turn at the Cow & Snuffers' brand new bar billiards table. She's currently going through a rather pronounced Madonna phase and, as much as the crunchy platunum wig and hod-carrier's arms suit her to a tee, the pointy Jean-Paul Gaultier bustier is perhaps not the most appropriate choice of clothing in which to be hovering over the green baize for any sustained period. A stickler for Health & Safety observance at the best of times, I can sense that Stray is far too tense with the worry of potential impairment to the nap of the pristine potting surface to be attempting the awkward triple cushion kiss off the red he needs to escape the fiendish snooker Abbie has confronted him with. Either that, or the effects of the cannister of butane that proved the only inducement to get Stray to play in the first place is beginning to kick in.
"How do you mean, Abs?" I ask, setting aside for later the review of the new Tim Footman in the North-East Monmouthshire Gleaner and Star (including free sample issues of Le Zeitgeist fanzine and What Ethno-Methodologist? consumer supplement). Unable to get beyond the first sentence - it takes up several paragraphs, mostly in French slang - I'd in any case been too absorbed in giving Leonard Cohen a gigantic Billy Preston-style afro made up of several million pen spirals to absorb fully the gist of the reviewers critique. From what I was able to gather from the rather garbled prose, it sounds as if poor old Tim's made rather heavy work of it. But then I'm surprised that the publishers felt an earnest and metaphysical songsmith such as Cohen to be a suitable subject for the 'Look and Learn' series in the first place. One assumes they know their own business...
"Are you referring to the pre-fame days, Abs?" "Yeah, kind of," she shrugs in between practicing sliding her Drambuie Breezer bottle as far down her throat as it will go. A good job Stray can't see her dicing with suffocation like that - he's either taking the Cliff Thorburn, patient Zen Buddhist of the snooker hall approach to the shot or having an acid flashback, it's difficult to tell - he'd have the St. John's Ambulance on to Abbie in less time than it normally takes to push her love over the borderline. I nervously cradle my 660 cl. bottle of Strangely Brown Ale lest she get the urge to practice with a more well-endowed penis substitute. "Don't get me wrong - I mean, the money's great and everything and being holed up here with you guys is much more of a laugh than I'd ever expected it to be. But don't you just wish you could do something *normal* just once in a while? Like go to the shops, or a club or just do a bit of sightseeing or something....without all the....you know... Fuss?"
"Ah, they'd tear you apart limb from limb and have your haunches stuffed and mounted as soon as look at you if you were ever to set foot on Swansea High Street, let alone That London. It's too late, Abs" I tell her. "You've made your pact with the devil. Just lie back and enjoy the rewards. You've earned it, after all. Leave the blogging to those hacks the publishers pay to trot your posts out for you and consider it a job well done. After all, you've got everything you'll ever need right here - beer, skittles, the widest flatscreen television this side of Offa's Dyke. A constant stream of eminently shaggable and commitment-phobic young sharecroppers. And don't forget the inimitable Stray Photon. What more could a girl want?"
"Shit and buggeration!!" Abbie ejaculates as she steps sharply away from the billiard table. (I do wish she wouldn't do that in public...) Photon's made an absolute hash of of his shot and sent the cue ball flying through the air. It comes to rest somewhere in the padded depths of Abbie's elaborate, Madge-esque network of fetishistic lingerie and webbing. Indeed, it's a good job she's got a pair of baggy trousers on beneath the gussetless undies and rather complex system of suspender belts she's wearing or she might otherwise have been liable to yet another nasty bruise. Honestly, either she spends half her life 'just bumping into things' or has the skin of an over-ripe peach to judge by all the bruises.
Abbie retrieves the ball from her nether regions and places it calmly back onto the table. She rapidly puts 2,500 points on the board, barely pausing for breath and is just about to put the frame safely beyond Photon's reach when a horrifying ripping sound accompanies the motion of her cueing arm. Abbie rises slowly from the table, a length of green felt dangling from the point of her right breast. "Don't either of you *dare* say a word!!" She threatens with a glare that brooks no dissent. And with that she's off into the night, quicker than a ray of light.