Fiction: A West End Morning with a Soho Ending

By Bradford Middleton

"The door is always there," Sam says leading Joe down a secluded alley in the depths of the capital's west end, "as long as you know where to find it you'll know there's gonna be a good time my friend..."
'What the fucks is he banging on about now' Joe thinks as ahead of the pair is a path leading so far off the beaten track it ain't anywhere he's ever wanted to go and in the last few years he'd wanted to go everywhere and, right up until this very moment, he is convinced he had.  If it had a bar, a sound-system and a loud band playing Joe had been there, got the t-shirt, had an offer to join the band before stealing all their girlfriends and drugs.  These years, Joe thought, had offered him plenty and he'd taken every single drop of it gratefully like any mad bug-eyed delinquent would; there had been drugs, a whole mountain of class A snow with the ubiquitous weed always present in some form or another, there had been girls, all kinds of shapes and sizes of lusciously debauched gorgeousness, and there had been rock'n'roll, that relentless life-blood he so depended on.  Joe almost bumps into Sam when he stops suddenly but just about manages to stop himself falling into his partner in crime.
'What the fuck is this?' he thinks as Sam suddenly stops before tapping gently on a corrugated doorway.  A little peep hole opens.
"What the fuck you want?" a voice hisses in the darkness.
Sam shows a card whilst telling the eyes that stare back at them the word ‘funhouse’ and after a sudden swirl of activity they are face to face with the hissing voice and the terrifying eyes.  
"Welcome gentlemen, I trust you know why you are here?" he asks, suddenly all sweetness and light.
"Sure are my friend I know exactly where everything I need is thanks," Sam says laying a five note in the palm of their hosts hand.  "Follow me," he tells Joe as they climb a steep narrow flight of stairs
"Go in there and I'll be with you in five-ten minutes..." Sam tells Joe and, unsure of what the hell he'd be letting himself in for, he pushes tentatively at the door as Sam disappears up another flight of stairs.  It is a sight he’s convinced will stay with him from the moment he walks into it.  All around the beautiful, the mad and the dispossessed do their thing and every single one of them seems, somehow, stoned.
“So what do you think?” Sam asks arriving next to his friend.
“Well…” is all Joe can respond.
“You think that’s good, well how about this,” he says pulling a goodie bag of narcotic delights from his coat pocket, “just got this lot upstairs.  Now, what do we fancy first?”
“Oh that wrap right there and then that beauty in the middle of the room over there” Joe says eyeing a radiant red-headed goddess.
“Sure,” Sam responds pulling the wrap from the bag before offering the first toot to Joe.
“That’ll do,” Joe says walking off towards his next conquest as another west end morning is lost to the wilds of a Soho day.

Bradford Middleton lives in Brighton, UK.  Recent stories have, or will be, published by Workers Write!, Mystery Tribune, Horror Sleaze Trash, and Razur Cuts. He has been shortlisted for the Jerry Jazz Short Fiction Prize twice and a new chapbook of his poems, The Whiskey Stings Good Tonight and Suddenly the Page is Ablaze, has recently been published by Alien Buddha Press.


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