Towards noon Qing got up and put on a tee-shirt. She asked if I wanted coffee or tea. I ordered brown tea with lots of milk, and she pulled a face (“Milk!”) before she disappeared.
I didn’t care. I’d done every possible duty by every pleasure-sensitive surface and orifice in her body. I don’t think I’d forgotten anything. Certainly not any of the orifices.
So I put my hands behind my neck and lay on my back, listening to her shower.
I could hear, faintly, John Bonham’s drum opening to “When the Levee Breaks”. When I found my pants under the bed and extracted the cellphone I found it was that morning’s twelfth call from Mikey.
Mikey was the guy who’d come up to this town so he could spend the night fucking his girlfriend and then dumping her – in that order, naturally – and who’d manipulated me into giving him a lift so he could manage this. My feeling of friendship for Mikey was a little strained. I said, “Mikey?”
“Where you been, citizen-dude? I been calling you all morning.”
“Sorry. I’ve been sleeping.”
“Uh-huh. People at the party said you’d disappeared with that Chinese girl. So what happened there?”
He wanted to hear me tell a story about sex. Qing had walked into the kitchen, and could hear me, but I wouldn’t have given him the truth anyway. “Sleeping. I mean me. On my own. You called me?”
“Dude, you gotta get me out of here. Erin, I told Erin a couple of hours ago. And she is pissed. Super-pissed. I got scratches down my face, makes me look like, oh, I been in a car crash.” I said nothing, because I thought ‘car crash’ pretty much summed up his night’s work. “Citizen! Now she’s got two friends – big guys on roids, squeaky voice angry boys – out looking for me.”
“You’re a bampot, Mikey.” ‘Bampot’ means ‘stupid person’, mostly not in an affectionate way.
But Mikey was still my stupid person. I’d got him here, and somewhere in my damn stupid code it said that therefore I had to get him home. “So where are you?”
“I’m in the park, corner of Fourth and Derwent. In that clump of trees. You know it?” I didn’t even know the park, let alone its foliage, but I’d be able to find it easily enough. So I said nothing. Mikey said, “I can’t leave, citizen-dude. Those guys are looking for me. I’ve seen them.”
“Yeah, okay. Have you got all your stuff with you?”
“Mostly. There’s things in Erin’s room, but nothing I’d go back for. Can you drive past, along Derwent Street, very slowly?”
“And you’ll run out of the trees and jump in, right?”
“Yeah. That might just about save my life, Jaime. Can you hurry?”
“You’re a… Okay, this is a serious fucking nuisance. It’ll take me at least half an hour.”
“Half an hour! Those guys’ll break my arms, minimum, if they see me.”
“Then I bet you’ll make sure they don’t. Look, you’re in the shit, and it’s an emergency. I know that, but half an hour’s still the minimum. It’ll take me that long or a bit more to get there. Just stay patient. Also out of sight, probably.”
Mikey had more to say, but I told him to text and ended the call.