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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
Chapter One here

http://www.shrimperzone.com/vb/showthread.php?t=49964



Chapter Two - Making Your Way In This World Today, Takes Everything You've Got.

Shackleford glanced back down the alleyway and patted Ricey on the back.

"It's too dangerous to talk here. Come on, I'll take you somewhere safer. Maybe get you a change of trousers, eh? Dangerous things, those puddles."

"I slipped" blushed Ricey.

"Course you did," said Shackleford blankly, leading him towards the flickering lights. He was a tall man, clad from head to toe in black, his hair cut close to his head and flecked with silver at the sides. He was bulky as well. The large bulge underneath his arm, Ricey thought he could explain well enough. It seemed that there were a lot of people carrying guns tonight.

They stepped out into a narrow street, flanked by dark, low-level buildings with no windows and faded doors that didn't seem to have handles. Here and there, up and down the street, neon lights blinked and gleamed as if signalling the only locations of any importance. Shackleford turned to the right and strode off at pace.

"Who lives in these houses?" asked Ricey, scampering along behind him "How do they get in?"

Shackleford continued to march forwards.

"They're not houses," he grunted. "They're not...they're nothing."

"But, why are they here? They're just -"

"You'll walk quicker if you don't talk."

Above the heavy footfalls of Shackleford's boots and the constant splatter of rain drops came a rising noise, a muffled chanting from a distinctive building with vibrant blue lights that flashed on and off every two seconds. Huge blue and white flags hung from every window and as Ricey came closer he could read the words "The Blue Voice" on every one of them. Some kind of party was clearly in progress. Through the windows, figures could be seen dancing and hugging.

"Over here, sunshine." said Shackleford from the other side of the street.

"What's that place?" asked Ricey, peering in through the glass.

"The Blue Voice. We don't need to be there. Not yet anyway. Come on, it's not far now."

Reluctantly, Ricey stepped away and they continued to walk down the street, the chanting slowly receding as they went. He looked up at the sky, where lightning bolts whizzed soundlessly across the clouds. It wasn't like any storm he'd ever seen. More like some kind of pulse, moving from one hemisphere to the next.

"Nasty night, eh?" he said hopefully, anxious to strike up a conversation.

"Yeah," growled Shackleford. "Good one."

Another building loomed towards them, its four storeys dwarfing the single level blocks that it sat between. More blue lights glimmered, but there was less noise. Just a low hum of activity behind the tightly closed curtains.

"Here we are," said Shackleford. "The Spread Eagle."

"The Spread Eagle?" said Ricey. "I know a Spread Eagle. Sometimes I like to go-"

"Yeah, yeah" said Shackleford. "Well let's hope that at this one, nobody knows your name."

Ricey stepped in and stopped at the doormat, his mouth hanging open. It was his Spread Eagle, but as if someone who had never been there had re-created it from eye-witness reports and one old photograph. There was one section of the bar that looked perfectly proportioned and genuine. Elsewhere though, there were booths that had never existed, long benches where there should be pool tables and doors where none had been before. It wasn't busy, just a handful of faces gathered in corners, hunched over their drinks.

Shackleford nodded at the barman, who put down his newspaper and smiled.

"Steveo," he said and pointed to a small table by a doorway. "Two pints of the usual. We'll be sat down over here."

Ricey went to sit down.

"Woah there, sunshine," said Shackleford. "Not you. You go through that door, up those stairs and find something clean and dry to wear. You sit down on that seat in those ****y pants and Steveo will think that it's time to put his dog down."

"It was a puddle," murmured Ricey, but not with any conviction. He was freezing cold, soaked to the skin and, besides, for of all of his protestations, he had actually ****ed himself. He trudged up the stairs, where he found nothing but a pile of bright blue, polyester bar-staff uniforms. All in all, he'd had better days.
 
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