Saturday, March 11, 2006



They'd been together nearly two years. That was about five years in Alice time. In Alice time hours and minutes and seconds didn't apply; in Alice world the passing of time was measured in drinks drunk, pills taken, punters duped, money spent, cigarettes smoked, eyes blackened....

"What do you believe in Gerry?" she aked him once. And he smiled that smile and told her in that voice:

"Magic. Magic, that's all there is, and it's pure and beautiful and loyal and will never let you down."

But Gerry wasn't talking about the magic of music halls and cheap illusionists, hocus pocus conjurers and now you see it now you don't card sharps. No. What he meant was a kind of sorcery; he believed in the occultism of London after dark, hoodooists hovering in half lighted rooms behind curtained windows in the stolen bodies of drug dealers and gangsters, casting curses in soiled wraps, hurling hexes through space via telephone wire.

Voodoo medium of instructions for an execution. Every death is magic - especially if it's premature - every crime hustle and scam. She pouring another drink and taking in every word but understanding nothing.

She loved the way he talked. When Gerry got on a roll it was like soft automatic fire: a hundred rounds a second and each one hitting the target, although she never felt them connect; just tasted the warm blood spilt and the ecstacy of death in the distance, the exquisite sexual pull of her own ignorance.

"The city's full of it. It's in the garbage, the boarded-up store fronts and the courtyards of the estates. It's in the blood of the people and in their eyes, in the lies of the old men getting pissed in the backstreet bars and in the cries of the alley fights after midnight. It's there every time a cracked up mother's baby breathes all the way through til morning and every time strangers meet...." Then he pulled her close and stroked her hair and she smiled and kissed his hand through the strands.

"Did you feel it, Gerry? Did you feel the magic when we met?"

He had felt it then, back then before the wordbuck and the ice-ray and the fear of spacemen. That's what he was there for that night, with the tight jeans and the leather and the knife in his boot. Instead he met Alice, Alice the sex clown, Alice the flesh monkey with that demon in her spleen needing so much care.

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