Chuckjd's Words

a convenient dumping ground for my writing

1991/03/12 02:24am

12 March, 1991 – 2:24 am – Metro Inns Newcastle

James wasn’t lying about going to the bar. If Nicky were to take a guess, he drank everything at the bar. And then some. From every bar on the street.

Sean was up in his room, asleep or playing with his Game Boy or Walkman, knowing him. Richey disappeared to walk around the city, promising to come back later. That left Nicky with James. He found him in the hotel bar, practically falling off his stool, slurring, and smiling like an idiot. He had made friends with some random barfly who was as drunk as he was. They had been shouting excitedly at each other, acting like old friends.

Nicky hated drunks sometimes.

The bar reeked of stale cigarettes and cheap cigars. It was almost painful to breathe the air, so Nicky intended to be quick about getting James and getting out.

James could not walk, and his arm was heavy over Nicky’s shoulder. If there was an epicentre to the smoky smell, it had to be James. It was as if his clothes were made of smoke that refused to dissipate. Nicky winced. He kept his arm wrapped around James at armpit level, steadying him by holding on to James’ hand with his free one. James would not shut up.

“W-we were talkin’ ‘bout politics, kinda like, y’know, the way we do, and he was crazzzzy. His views are s-skewed. I dun like ‘em, but he was goo’ talkin’ to.”

Nicky rolled his eyes. “I bet he was. Now let’s get you up to your room and pour you into bed. You’re gonna need it for tomorrow.”

James groaned and burped, the smell of beer and harder alcohol on his breath mingling with the stagnant smell of cigarettes.

“Nick-eee?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t let him fuck you u-up.” His voice was as serious as a stuttering drunk could make it. He stopped helping Nicky move him, and turned his head to try and look Nicky in the face. He craned his neck as far as he could.

Nicky looked down at his bloodshot eyes and tried to smile. “All right, James, I won’t. Now we have to keep walking and get you upstairs.”

“I’m s-serious! You’re- you’re an adult, and I know that. Richey’s one too. I can’t tell you what to do, because you’re an ad-adult, but I can tell you to be careful. Because tha-that is what I can tell you.”

Nicky tried to ignore him, to take everything he was saying as drunk talk, but he knew that James could still attempt to make sense when he was beyond inebriated. It was one of his many and unique talents. Instead, he continued to drag him in the direction of the elevator, listening.

“You two are total opposites. It won’t be easy. You guys are like fire and water. Or pasta and antipasta.”

“What?”

James leaned against the wall as Nicky pressed the up button on the elevator. The elevator made rumbling noises, but it was still a few floors away. They would have to wait.

“Y’know wha’ I’m talkin’ ‘bout. I love you, man, and I love Richey too. Y’know, not like you and Richey might love each other, but I still do, even if I won’t say it when I don’t have a couple dozen pints in me. You guys are like my brothers, and I watch out for you. And Richey fucks up the people he gets close to. I jus’ dun wanna see you hurt, s’all.”

The elevator dinged, its doors opening. Luckily it was empty, but that was to be expected at such an hour. Nicky shuffled James into the small box’s interior and pressed the button for their floor.

“I’m glad you’re watching out for me, but Richey couldn’t hurt a fly, and you know that.”

“He got my jaw broken.”

Nicky laughed. “You’re blaming him for that? He didn’t even touch you, you were just acting like the big man to save the day.”

“Yeah, an’ if I hadn’t, he’d ‘ve gotten his sk-skull busted in. I had to do something. B-but I got my jaw wired shut for half a year!” The fervor in his voice was canceled out by the fact that he was slowly slipping down the wall to the floor, his legs turning to jelly.

Nicky dragged him back up the wall and pinned him there with his hip so he would stay still. “You can’t say that that was his fault. You were a noble guy for stepping in and saving him like that, but you can’t say it was his fault. You were just in the wrong McDonald’s at the wrong time.”

James shook his head. “But it only serves to prove my p-point. You try to help him, you get close to him, whatever, and you’re des’ined to end up hurt. Physically or emotionally.”

The doors opened to their floor and Nicky propped up James to better be his crutch. They walked together, which looked more like a stumbling limp, and stood in front of James and Sean’s door.

“Just remember what I say. He’ll hurt you someday. Hurt you real bad.”

Nicky sighed again, frustration beginning to grow in his chest. He leaned James against the door jamb. “Where’s your key?”

“I’m serious.”

“So am I. Where’s your key?”

James tried to shrug without losing his balance, but failed. He started to slide to his left, and Nicky had to catch him before he made it to the ground. Losing hope in James miraculously remembering where he stashed his room key, he knocked on the door. Sean had to be home. Probably asleep, but home.

There was the sound of sheets and muffled footsteps before the door flew open, almost taking James with it.

“What?” Sean squinted at Nicky, taking a glance at James, nodding as if he was the answer to his question.

“He lost his room key,” Nicky said simply, finally rid of the responsibility that was James.

Sean grabbed James, pulling him inside and nodding a goodnight in Nicky’s general direction. Nicky walked down the hall to his and Richey’s room, wondering if Richey would actually be there.

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