“Why the fuck didn’t you wake me?” I yell at Lorna.
“Why would I?”
“Because I’m fucking burnt to cinder, you stupid cow.”
“I didn’t notice.”
“How could you not? Look at me. I’ll have to stay indoors for a week.” I push myself up from my Betty Boop towel. The sand feels like it’s rolling under my feet. I can’t keep my balance. I fall to my knees.
Lorna passes me the large bottle of coke that we mixed with vodka before coming to the beach after breakfast. I gulp it down, knowing I probably shouldn’t because I won’t be able to walk back to the hotel. But my bright red skin is so sore. It’ll help with the pain. What would take the pain away is a fix, but we don’t have any smack. We’re meant to be scoring tonight. I don’t think I’ll bother getting Mickey’s number from Lorna’s phone while she’s gouched out later. Until my skin’s a normal colour again, I don’t want him to see me.
“I’m not going to Kings Cross looking like this. Can you get the Dolomite?” I ask Lorna.
“I’ll try. Gimme your money and I’ll see what I can do.”
I take two hundred dollars from my purse and hand it to her. I pass her back the bottle of vodka and coke.
“You keep that,” she says, refusing the bottle.
In her fluorescent green bikini top and jean shorts, Lorna walks towards the promenade. I hope she can get her ex-boyfriend’s car because the way I feel, I don’t think I could manage the ferry and bus journey to Kings Cross and back again. I don’t know how I’m going to make it to the Radisson. I’m going to have to try. Most people have left the beach now. I can’t stay here all night.
Carrying my beach bag and my handbag, and with my towel tucked under my arm, I trudge across the sand. When I reach the promenade, I slip on my stilettos. Staggering along the pavement, I swig back the vodka and coke. People are staring at me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m obviously drunk, or if it’s because my skin is abnormally red. I don’t like it. I like people looking at me because I look good. That doesn’t happen much anymore.
“Nicole,” a male voice shouts.
I stop outside a surf shop. I look around. The seafront is busy. I can’t see anyone I know. Suddenly, I realise I haven’t changed into my dress. I’m wearing only my black bikini. Teetering in my high heels, I lay my towel and my handbag on the pavement. I take out the long, Yves Saint Laurent dress from my beach bag. Slipping it over my head, my hipbone collides with the ground. It’s agony. I sit in the pain until a hairy hand appears under my nose. I look up. It’s Stix. He pulls me back on my feet.
“Wanna come with us? We’ve just picked up,” Stix says. He’s with crusty-lips and the guy whose eyes are too close together. I’m relieved Mickey’s not with them.
“I don’t know.” I want a hit badly. But I don’t want to be in the company of three men when one or more of them might have fucked me when I was comatose on Christmas Eve.
“Come on, it’ll be a laugh,” crusty-lips says. “We’ve got wheels. It’s not far to Stix’s place…we’ll drop you back later.”
I want a hit now, but Lorna has my two hundred dollars and if I’m not at the hotel when she comes for me, if she’s scored already, she’ll use my share of the smack. If she hasn’t been able to get the Dolomite, then we’ll need to trek to Kings Cross to score. I can’t make the trip to Kings Cross and I can afford to lose the money.