“What’s it like being on the game?” a man asks. He’s sitting next to me on the carpet. I turn to face him. His hair is short, dark blond, and looks a little greasy. He has stubbly cheeks and a goatee.
“Where did you come from?”
“You keep asking me that and the answers still the same – Elanora Heights.”
That isn’t what I meant, but I don’t want to appear rude. We’ve obviously been involved in conversation – a conversation I’m too drunk to remember. I’m furious with myself for telling a stranger what I do for work. I only do that when I plan to charge them. He doesn’t look like he can afford me. Another out-of-work, surfer type as far as I can tell.
“So what’s it like?” he says again.
I unscrew the cap on the bottle of Smirnoff in my hand. I gulp some down. It burns inside my chest. I look around the lounge. It’s spinning. We’re the only people awake. Others are curled up on the sofas, and dotted around the floor, asleep. “What’s your name?” I ask him.
“Can you get any smack, Stix?”
“I knew you were on the gear.” He grins and his cheekbones become even more prominent. “People like us, we can tell.”
“We can. Can you get some then?”
“Yeah, of course.”
“I’ll be back in a minute,” I say, standing up.
I already gave Lorna money earlier in the evening to buy smack. If she’s still here then I don’t need Stix, but it’s good to have a back up plan. I walk around the dimly lit room, looking for a body wearing my black, Moschino dress. There isn’t one. I go through to the hall and then the kitchen. There’s no one around. It would seem that the party’s over.
I’m too drunk to walk up the stairs in my heels. So I slip them off first. On the upstairs landing, all four doors are closed. The first door I open is the bathroom. There’s a woman on her knees, bent over the toilet. She’s snoring. I close the door quietly. In first bedroom, there’s four naked people entwined and asleep on the bed. None have Lorna’s long, blonde hair.
Slowly, I open the door of another bedroom. My black, Moschino dress is on the carpet by the side of the bed. Lorna is asleep under a duvet. There’s a man in the bed next to her. I can only see the back of his head. He has short, brown hair. I hope it’s not Mickey.
“Lorna,” I whisper, crouching by the side of the bed.
She doesn’t stir. I shake her shoulders gently. “Where’s my gear?”
“I’ve done it all,” she murmurs.
“But I gave you half the money.”
“You shouldn’t have had a hit without me then. You had one without me, so I had one without you. That’s how it goes big nose.” She turns in the bed, facing away from me.
Before I leave the room, I have to know if the man in bed with her is Mickey. I didn’t want to sleep with him before. Well, I did, but I couldn’t. But I don’t want her to.
I creep around to the other side of the bed. The room is dark. It’s hard to see. I take my lighter from my handbag. I hold the flame in front of the man’s face.
“What the fuck are you doing? Pyro-fucking-maniac!” Lorna shouts.
The guy, who isn’t Mickey, opens his eyes. Immediately, he sits upright. “Don’t do it, man.”
“I’m not… never mind.” Looking down at the carpet, I walk towards the door. “See you around, Lorna.”
Holding the banister, I carefully navigate my way down the stairs. I pick up my Louboutins when I reach the bottom. I’m not going to bother putting them on, not while everything’s spinning. I return to the lounge to find Stix. The goatee-surfer-man isn’t where I left him. I take my place on the floor again, sitting cross-legged, and wait.
My eyes are closing. I don’t know how long I’ve been waiting here for. I’m not wearing a watch. I never wear one. Time goes too slowly when I do. It feels like I’ve been sitting here for at least an hour. I’m in a stranger’s house where everyone else is asleep. I’ve nowhere else to go, not until Lorna wakes up. I don’t know how to get back to the Radisson from here. Lorna drove us. I don’t even know where I am. Some place called Dee Why. It doesn’t even sound like a real place.
It’s Christmas Day and I couldn’t feel any more lonely. I wish I was with my sisters and my brother back home in London. I don’t want to stay in Sydney anymore. I don’t want to be heroin addict. I don’t want to be a hooker. I don’t want to be anything.