Uncovered Lies – 28 December 2000 – 9.45PM

Soul Destruction - Diary of a London Call Girl

I’ve been shooting up in Stix’s house in Elanora Heights for the last couple of hours. Me, Stix, crusty-lips and close-eyes are in the lounge. I managed to get a seat to myself on the red leather armchair. It’s a better buzz here on this chair. I hate their bodies touching mine when I’m squashed between them on the sofa.

My sunburnt skin’s looking even worse than it did earlier. Stix’s mum gave me aloe vera gel when we got here. I pick up the bottle from the side of my chair and apply another coat to my face, arms, legs and chest. I’ll have to do my stomach and my thighs when I get back to the hotel.

I’m sure I’ll have missed Lorna now. She won’t be pissed off with me, because she’ll take my share of the heroin. I won’t be pissed off with her, because that’s what I expect. It’s annoying that I’ll have paid twice though. I’ve given Stix a couple of hundred so I’ve got my own stash. I prefer making up my own hits here, and I also wanted to have some to take back to my hotel later.

Crusty-lips passes me a joint. I really need to find out his name and the name of close-eyes too. I’m not feeling as drunk as I was before. I shared the rest of my vodka and coke with the others. They’ve opened some beers but I’ve not drunk anymore. I think I’ve learnt my lesson from the two times I’ve blacked out since I’ve been in Sydney.

Stix’s mum, in her rollers and wearing her pink dress that looks like a negligee, opens the lounge door. “Mickey’s here,” she says.

I want to sink into the armchair. I don’t want him seeing me looking like a bloody lobster. And he’s probably going to be furious with me, or upset, that I didn’t show up to meet him last night – if that’s what the arrangement was. He walks into the room. He’s wearing a royal blue, floral patterned shirt. That must’ve been him outside the cafe this morning.

He kisses me on the cheek. “Up ya get.”

I stand up. He sits on the armchair. He pulls me onto his lap. It feels strange. This is what boyfriends and girlfriends do, I think. I’m used to punters who just want to fuck. This is something different. This is being close. And close in front of other people. This isn’t an act.

“I’m sorry about last night. We were meant to meet, weren’t we?” I say quietly.

“You get a better offer?” He smiles.

“Not really. Not at all.” I pass him the joint. “I saw Lorna and we–”

“Lorna, I might’ve known she’d be involved.”

“What do you mean?”

“I told her yesterday I was seeing you last night. What did she do? Tell you more stories about me?”

“No, she didn’t actually. She was nice.”

“I’ll bet.” He takes a pull on the spliff. “You need to be careful with your skin. The sun’s a killer here.”

“That’s Lorna’s bloody fault. She let me fall asleep in the midday sun…for the whole damn day.”

“You’re lucky that’s all she did.”

Of course, she left me asleep. I told her I was meant to be seeing a punter last night. She knew all along I was lying, that it was Mickey I’d arranged to meet. She let me burn to punish me. And I bet that’s why she took me to Kings Cross. She didn’t want to give me my fifty dollars back. She wanted to keep me away from him.

Passivity – 28 December 2000 – 5.40PM

Soul Destruction - Diary of a London Call Girl

“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.

From the Inside Out – 28 December 2000 – 11.50AM

Soul Destruction - Diary of a London Call Girl

I’m so angry with myself for falling asleep last night. Now I’ll need to wait until me and Lorna score again, and take another hit, before I can sneak her phone from her handbag to look for Mickey’s number. He might not want to talk to me at all. Not turning up to meet him is bad enough but with the issues I’ve had around him touching me as well, he’s bound to think I’m not interested. I’ve given the opposite impression of what I want him to have.

Lorna isn’t taking me to score until much later. We’re spending today at the beach, but first, we’re having breakfast in the trendy cafe we were at last Sunday. We’re sitting at the same window table as last time. And she’s eating the same mammoth breakfast again – two fried eggs, two rashers of bacon, two sausages, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, chips and toast. When she’s finished, I’m expecting her to do the same as she did on our last visit. She’ll disappear into the ladies’ room for ages then return with the smell of vomit on her breath. It’s a shame she takes her handbag with her.

“You didn’t seem into me last night… You going off me, Nicole?”

I look down at my plate of two fried eggs on toast. I have gone off her sexually but I can’t think of a way to word it without sounding harsh. “It’s the shaven thing. I thought you understood?”

Lorna reaches across the table. She lifts my chin with her finger. “As long as that’s all it is.” She slips the strap of her handbag over her shoulder. “I’ll be right back.” She walks across the chequered floor tiles towards the toilets at the other side of the cafe.

The sun shines directly on me through the full-length window. It’s a beautiful day. Every day since I’ve been in Sydney has been beautiful. I wish I could appreciate it but I can’t, not when I’ve got a habit. Getting my next fix is all that ever matters.

I eat another mouthful of fried egg. As I’m chewing, I look out the window. There’s a man standing outside with his back to me. From behind, he looks like Mickey. He has the same short, brown hair. I try to measure up his shoulders through the royal blue, floral patterned shirt he’s wearing. I haven’t seen Mickey wear that shirt before, but then I haven’t seen him many times.

Eventually, Lorna returns to the table. “Ready to get some rays?” Her breath confirms she’s been vomiting.

Although the plan is to go to the beach, I want to go straight to score again. As well as getting the opportunity to look in Lorna’s phone, I really want to have a hit. “I’d rather go to Kings Cross first.”

She holds out her skinny arm and stares at it. “I’m looking deathly pale, nearly as deathly as you, my dear.”

On the scale of looking deathly, Lorna trumps me. Her track marks are far worse than the three abscess scars that are healing on my arms. “We can go to the beach after.” I pick up the bill from the table.

“It’s our time for the sun. One mad dog,” she says, prodding the centre of her chest. “And one Englishman.” She points at me.

After I’ve paid at the counter, we walk outside into the heat. The man who I think could be Mickey still has his back to me. If I was alone, I’d sneak around to see if it was him. Lorna being with me, I can’t. She takes my hand and we walk down the side street towards Manly Beach. No Mickey, and no heroin for me yet.