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.

Taking Advantage – 28 December 2000 – 1.05AM

Soul Destruction - Diary of a London Call Girl

Mickey’s on my mind. Lorna’s in my bed. I didn’t want to have sex with her again but it’s happened. I didn’t realise what was going on until I found her with her head between my legs. She must’ve undressed me while I was gouched out. I don’t want her. I want Mickey. I know she’s not going to give me his number. I’m going to have to wait until she’s gouched out, and then see if it’s stored in her phone.

“Why are you putting that on?” Lorna sits up in the queen-sized bed.

Wearing my nightdress, I slip back under the duvet. “I’m cold.”

“Me too. Turn off the air-con.” She leans over to the bedside table and tips a small heap of white heroin into a spoon.

Reluctantly, I push myself up from the bed. I open the drawer in the bureau and take out my pastel blue nightdress. “Wear this,” I say, holding it in her direction.

“I like being natural.” She drips water from a syringe into the spoon. “It’s what nature intended.”

I’d so much rather we were friends without the sex. The more I’m getting to know her, the less attractive I’m finding her. And I hate it that she’s shaven. I haven’t had a flashback so far tonight, but that’s probably because I haven’t been there yet. I know she’s going to want me to. And I really don’t want to.

“I’m sorry about your punter.” Lorna passes me my filled syringe. She gets up from the bed and walks over to the air conditioning unit on the wall. As she turns the control, the dull humming sound stops resonating in the suite. “At least you got your fifty dollars back.”

“Fifty dollars isn’t compensation for a missed job.” I shouldn’t have said that, but I’m so into the lie, I’m nearly believing it myself. If it was a missed job, I wouldn’t care less. But it was Mickey I missed, and I’m fuming with myself about that.

“If you need work while you’re here, I can set you up.”

“I don’t want to work in a brothel. No offence, but I can’t do that many punters a day, and I don’t work for pittance.”

“It doesn’t have to be a brothel. That guy in the Cross, he knows people.”

Wrapping my tan belt around my arm, I look for a good vein. “He’s a pimp, you mean?”

“Not exactly. I’ll introduce you to him. He can explain what he does.”

“Why don’t you just tell me?”

“I’m not involved. I don’t know. Next time we’re there, you can meet him.” Lorna injects her hit. Her eyes close. She lies down next to me on the bed. Her long, blonde hair splays over the pillow, fanned out like the feathers of a peacock.

I insert the needle into a vein on my lower arm. I need to give the one on the inside of my elbow a rest. It’s not healing and I don’t like the mark there. “What do you do for money?” I ask.

“This and that.”

“Did you make much working in the brothel?”

“Yeah, quite a lot over the years. Put it all in my arm though.”

“Didn’t you–?”

“What?”

“Doesn’t matter.” I don’t want to cause a row, but I’m sure she said before she worked in the brothel for two months. I can’t question her on it again though. Last time I did, she was upset with me for not listening to her properly.

I push down on the plunger. The rush pulsates in my body. Somehow, I need to keep alert. If she gouches out for long enough, I can look in her phone for Mickey’s number.