We are outside Queenshilling, Britol's Premier Gay Venue TM. It is a Wednesday night. All that can be heard from within is a karaoke slaughter of "New York, New York". We are all smoking. It seems the nicest thing to do.
A yoof staggers up. He's about 7 foot tall and 3 inches wide. He slumps into the club and then comes out again. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handfull of beans. "Coffee beans," he says, "They keep you going." He throws them into his mouth and chews noisily.
He then looks at me. "Can I buy a cigarette for a pound?"
This is the oldest trick in the book. Has anyone ever taken the money? I hand him a cigarette and vow never to fall for this again. Of course, I will.
The guy weaves around on the pavement and then sits down on it in a grasshopper tangle of elbow and knee.
"Good night?" he asks.
We nod. We are very drunk.
"It's shit here," he says.
We nod. We are still very drunk.
"I'm fifteen," he tells us.
We all take a step back. We're not that drunk.
He looks at us all with a glazed smile and tells us he's a car mechanic. He mimes drilling, making a "shunkshunk" noise and smiles some more.
"But aren't you at school?" one of us asks.
He shrugs. Cash in hand. He'd like to own a lambourghini when he grows up. He starts to explain the exact model. He then explains the kind of woman he would like to have sex with. He stands up, wheels around, and then shuts his eyes. They stay shut.
We start to sneak back inside. Then his eyes snap open and he looks at us, as though seeing us for the first time. And he speaks.
"Can I buy a cigarette off you?" he asks.