One Guy Fawkes’ Night – which will add only some vague, meagre and purely incidental, albeit handy, visual and historical, romantic poetics to this otherwise quite ordinary detailing of a boy, a girl, a guest, a cat and heroin addiction – I discovered a tiny shadow at the front door. It mouthed its black miaow, which is cat chat for hello – I had picked up some feline, not to any great degree, you understand, long ago. But, I get by – ‘Do you know the whereabouts of my meal?’, ‘Wake up! I’m hungry!’, ‘Is this the correct train to the airport?’
I’m also going to say this: the very tip of its little heart-shaped tongue remained on its lip at this point; sandwiched (neatly, sweetly, stupidly) cutely between its whiskery jaws – that is how it should be. And that is how it was.
The dark street exploded into (oh, easily) nearly one hundred trillion fragments and loomed and shrieked, appearing, for a blink, exciting, unusual and hellish, before shrinking back into its usual blue and hellish silence. Before I could rhapsodise any further, the little creature was between my legs and into the house.
She had three white boots and licked, after eating, her one black foot – or hand. She never gave her name, but answered sometimes to Boots. She liked the winter sunlight, the thin heat of it, that filled the back room late in the morning. It was here that she could be found, sleeping on the clean bed by the window, the bed that Louise had bought with some of the money from a collection of her mother’s jewellery that she pawned the year before when her mother was in the pretty palliative care home in Boswell. It was always a waste of money because she was never going to be coming home. But we all have to find our own way through life and cost rarely comes into question. It wasn’t her money anyway, so that took some of the sting out of it, initially. The remaining money bought almost two week’s worth of heroin, which Louise told me was an exceptionally good deal, rather like an investment. I don’t remember, but I’m sure, at the time, I nodded. I assented, if you see what I mean.
That winter she invited her drug dealer over to stay. It was a big house and he had nowhere else to go. She said that poor old Dips had been thrown out of his basement due to his dreadful cunt of a landlord kicking up a stink over four months unpaid rent and the fact that there had been a small fire in the kitchen that had blackened only the one wall and also the ceiling over the hob. “Don’t you just hate landlords?”
The winter sun of a morning, its heat, I imagine, would fall into the living room, too. But the curtains remained closed and the radiators groaned and bubbled. We spent an extraordinary amount of time in that so-called living room, Dips and Louise, looking old these days, hunched over the coffee table smoothing out black foil or else smoothing out silver foil, shaking throwaway lighters, holding our breath for gargantuan seconds, cavalier with candles. Me? I laid on the carpet, the room filled with sweet almond smoke and mumbles and mid-80s Bowie – which made little sense – or, more and more so as the winter darkened, Dips’ less sensical cassette tapes of shit Turkish 1970s soft rock, “muscular funk,” as he often informed me – quite mistakenly. You know, you can turn some music all the way up to 10 and it will never improve. It always struck me as a waste of gear anyway, and as the year turned into the next, any request for Raw Power, Live At Max’s Kansas City or Blond On Blonde (skipping Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, of course, because it’s a corny, throwaway and weak opener to an otherwise very fine rock n roll album) fell on death (yes, that’s correct) ears. I know it sounds snobby, but I am.
Boots slept on the nice clean bed in the other room. That cat knew what was what. She asked me one time how come I don’t get out more. “I loves the sun,” She says. “The winter sun is a promise.” I think I got, eventually, the gist of it. I liked the sound of it anyway. So, come the time of the daffodils, I bid my farewell to that blue house and took a train west.
I sometimes write Boots a card. Never replies, but that’s alright, cats can’t write for shit.