by Matt Harris
These pills aren’t doing anything yet are they, remarked Eddie.
They will, I said with a confident nod, though I wasn’t exactly sure.
I keep wondering if I’m coming up, or just imagining it, Eddie said.
Maybe you’re just having a good time? I offered.
Eddie looked thoughtfully at the ceiling for a moment, then glanced at me and feigned a measure of disgust.
No, he said, Imagination.
We were sitting on the bottom step of a flight of stairs. The stairs were round the back of the toilets in the club. Unlike the rest of the club, which was dark, this area was lit with brilliant light from long glowing tubes set into the ceiling. The music was softer and duller here, but still it rattled the walls, and the bass tickled the soles of my feet. Next to us was the lively queue of people waiting for the toilet, and the usual scattering of couples taking refuge from the noise so they could argue with clarity.
What did you think of Lucy then? Eddie asked.
She was nice, I said, But not that nice. I can’t see why you’re so impressed.
Eddie smiled and shook his head with sensual glee, saying Nah man, she’s amazing! Amazing!
Fair enough, I said, with a kind of slow, magnanimous wave of the hand that struck me as being very graceful.
I can never think of anything to say to her, said Eddie, reflective for a moment. Then he laughed and said, Can you believe it? I can’t think of a fucking thing to say to her! I get nervous like a teenager or something!
You were doing okay earlier, I said. She definitely likes you.
No, it’s not that I’m nervous actually, said Eddie. I feel fine, but I just can’t think of a single thing to say! I don’t know what I was babbling about to her earlier on.
You seemed fine to me, I said.
I suppose so, replied Eddie. I suppose no-one else notices except your own self.
I nodded happily. The sound of the snare had crept quietly up behind me and now it crackled in the air around us. I tapped my feet and bobbed in rhythm. I laughed and nudged Eddie foolishly.
Shut up, he said, laughing. Do you think I should text her and just ask her out, or should I wait till we’ve met a few more times just naturally, you know, like organically?
What? I asked, as a throng of girls crashed screeching and laughing into us. I helped one to her feet, and she rejoined her friends doing some silly dance or hokey cokey or something up and down the toilet corridor.
Do you think, said Eddie again, but the door from the main room opened and the slumbering noise leaped suddenly in volume.
Organically, I said to him, nodding wisely. You want to do things organically.
Eddie peered at me in sour inquiry for a moment, then laughed, setting me off too. We were both bobbing restlessly to the beat.
Shall we av a dance? I asked.
Matt Harris is a writer based in Liverpool. His short work and poetry have appeared inTransmission, Hoax, Winamop, and Confingo magazines, and the forthcoming Short Story Sunday site. He has just finished his first novel, which he hopes to get published this century.