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.

Controlled – 27 December 2000 – 5.25PM

Soul Destruction - Diary of a London Call Girl

I take a sip from my bottle of coke. There’s vodka mixed in with it. I need that. I’m anxious. I’m dying for my hit. I’m also worried I’m not going to make it back in time for Mickey. If I didn’t dream the conversation with him, I’m meant to be meeting him at the Radisson at seven o’clock. Me and Lorna have only just got on the ferry from Manly heading to Circular Quay. We need to catch a bus to Kings Cross at the other end, have our hits, and then make the return journey.

“Are you sure we’ll be back in time?”

“You’re doing my head in.” Lorna sits down on a bench on the deck. “Why don’t you just call your punter and rebook him?”

“I told you. His mobile doesn’t work here. It’s a UK phone.”

If I had Mickey’s number, I would call him. And if Mickey was a punter, I wouldn’t care about missing him. I’m so angry with myself for getting on this bloody ferry. I should’ve stayed in Manly. I’ll be lucky to get my hit an hour before I would’ve probably had one with Mickey anyway. I can’t bear being driven by the powder like this. It makes me do things I don’t want to do.

Arriving at Circular Quay, me and Lorna walk to the bus stop and wait. Time is dragging. Unusually, I’m wearing my watch. I keep checking it. Eventually, the bus comes and we take the short ride. When we step off at Kings Cross, I’m infuriated by Lorna’s slow pace. I’m the one wearing high heels, as always, and she’s in flats. She should be walking faster. I can’t even pull her along. I don’t know where we’re going. I came with her once before to score here, but I never paid any attention on the way.

At last, we reach the turquoise door by the side of the barber’s shop. Lorna rings the bell. “Wait here,” she says, as the door is buzzed open. She disappears inside.

Smoking a cigarette, I watch the passersby. There’s a mix of people. I try to avoid focusing on the parents pushing buggies. It makes me sad, thinking about the babies I should have. I take a slug from my vodka and coke. I look at the prostitutes. They’re dressed the same as the streetwalkers back home in London. You can see the suspender straps of the women wearing stockings. They fall below their nearly non-existent skirts.

A young, blonde girl catches my eye. She’s wearing a jean mini-skirt and a black bra. I know I’m staring at her, but I can’t avert my gaze. She looks about fifteen. I ache in my heart for her. I ache for the young girl I was at that age. Fifteen’s when I started working. It was terrible then. I cried all the time. Doing a punter was like being raped. I didn’t have a choice back then. My pimp made me work on the streets. At the time, I thought he was my boyfriend. I was so naive. I thought he loved me. He was evil. So were the paedophile punters who bought me. They fucked a crying child. That is rape.

I stamp my cigarette out on the pavement. Lorna’s taking ages. I hate not having a phone on me. If I was back in London, I’d call her to tell her to hurry the fuck up. I can’t ring the dealer’s doorbell. I don’t think I can. It’s not the done thing when you’re the friend of a dealer’s customer. You’re meant to wait outside discreetly. That’s the rule.

I look at my watch. There’s no way I’m going to make it back in time for Mickey now. I’m not even sure the arrangement was definite. It might’ve been in my dream that I heard him say he was coming back. I can’t check with him though. I don’t have his number. I should have stayed in Manly. Now I’m going to have to get his number from Lorna. Considering she’s trying to keep me away from him, it isn’t going to be easy.