Third Ring of Hell
MICHAEL J BLAIR
Upon walking round a corner from the station, we were faced with a scene straight out of Dante’s inferno.
Small fires were burning at irregular intervals on the street. These were blazing litter bins, deliberately set on fire.
Ear splitting music blasted from gaudily lit doorways mixed with the screams of people either enjoying themselves or under severe torture. I had no idea which!
A creature staggered out from a darkened doorway and crashed into my companion, sending her cannoning into my side, throwing me off balance. We steadied each other and watched the disheveled, drug-addled shell of a man pinballing his way down the pavement, knocking over already drunk teenagers.
Shaven headed, hard looking men growled at passers-by, who seemed oblivious to the threats. These men were security doormen, there to keep people safe! They all looked semi-demented, with bulging muscles and bulging eyes!
A tall blonde female appeared from somewhere and staggered in front of us, a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of Irn Bru in the other.
“Hey doll” she slurred “it’s only a tenner”.
As she spoke, the wind blew through her bottle blonde hair, sending strands into the putrid night air. Her face looked as if she’d either had a stroke, or really poor cosmetic surgery.
We declined her offer of whatever delights she was vending for a tenner, and walked carefully on, avoiding pools of blood and vomit, and semi-clad young women sitting on the pavement.
The female of a young couple who were arguing pushed the remains of a fish supper into her companion’s face, and staggered off into the smoke created by the bin fires!
Screams from drunken revellers echoed along the street along with incessant noise coming from overfilled clubs and pubs. We were in some fear, and tried to make headway through the oncoming throng of scantily dressed drunken teenage girls. I looked around to see if there was a police presence to try to keep some kind of order, but none were to be seen!
Young men were fighting in the middle of the street, rolling about in front of taxis and buses passing through the insane mass of out of control humanity.
We heard the clack of stiletto heels behind us, and a voice like sandpaper on a sailor’s scrotum, yelling, “Hey doll!”
We kept moving, hauling the wonky wheeled suitcase with a life of its own, and trying to ignore the continued calls of “Hey doll!”
Suddenly faced with a dozen zombie like teenagers blocking the pavement, we had to slow down to get through the knot of idiots before us. This gave the shouting person time to catch up. We turned, and as we suspected, the blonde with the odd face was right there.
“Don’t I know you, doll,” she rasped, drawing hard on the stub of a cigarette.
We said we didn’t think we did, but she persisted. Eventually, my companion realised she was an old school friend she hadn’t seen in years.
“Oh shit,” she whispered to me, “it’s Jenny!”
At that point, I had no idea who she was, but she had obviously fallen on hard times, as her long blonde hair was straggly, with dark roots an inch long showing. She was staggering and swaying as she got closer.
Just at that moment we saw half a dozen guys heading in our direction, obviously out of their heads on God only knows what.
We were only ten yards from the multi-storey car park, and we headed quickly for the door. It was only once we were safely in the lift, I noticed “Jenny” was still with us. She lit another cigarette, filling the small lift with smoke.
At that moment the doors opened and something which might have once been fresh air, came in. The smoke from the bin fires was everywhere, and the cigarette smoke from our “friend” just added to the general stench.
I walked to the car and unlocked the doors. I find that’s the best way to get inside. We heaved the big wonky wheeled suitcase into the boot and noticed that “Jenny” was sitting in the back. “Am just needin’ a lift to the bus station, doll,” she rasped, lighting yet another cigarette.
We looked at each other and knew we couldn’t refuse. It was the decent thing to do under the circumstances. The area was total bedlam. And who knew what could happen.
I drove slowly down from level six to the exit. Carefully watching out for drug addled maniacs. Once onto the street, I had to negotiate the insanity going on, without driving over semiconscious youths.
I looked left and a guy who looked to be in his early twenties was gesturing at me to lower the window. I was going to, until my companion grasped my forearm, digging her long nails into my flesh, making me wince.
“Don’t open the window,” she yelled at me, “he’s got a knife!”
At that point “Jenny” shouted, “Ah ken him!” and stumbled out of the car, leaving behind a half open bottle of Irn Bru, a pile of fag ash and enough blonde hair to stuff a cushion! She was last seen being half carried by the guy with the knife, back into what could only be described as the third ring of Hell!
We looked at each other and I threw the car into gear and we drove off not caring, as long as we weren’t there anymore!
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ALSO BY MJ BLAIR
Michael J Blair contributes political analysis to DDA, and he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. His Twitter handle is: @mmjblair
[Hands of Hell art, photograph courtesy of Fotopedia and Debora Ratliff, found at Wikimedia Commons]