“This is the Face That We Show All the World” by Paul Haines, page 3

        'Have mine,' I tell Duncan. I've had enough and I don't like drinking in public; I don't like to lose control if I can help it. She's probably winding me up. Forget it. I slip a bit of speed into the Stella when no-one's looking.
        Craig comes back, his trousers look dry. I bet he removed them and dried them with the hand dryer. Anal cunt. There's nowhere for him to sit except between me and Duncan. Mike ain't budging an inch. He's shifted his chair closer to Suzanne and is spouting commissions and sales and dollars and everything else that doesn't matter a fuck. Some chicks dig the cash talk though. But not Suzanne.
        'What happened, mate?' I ask Craig.
        He blushes. 'Oh, nothing really. Someone spilt a drink on me.' He reaches for the poofter's beer, the Stella. 'This mine?'
        The crowd suddenly start cheering and whistling. A few puffs of dry ice waft over the stage. Four tanned twats in white trendy clothes dance out, their hair gleaming in the spotlights. They start putting on the moves as the music to a Ricky Martin song pounds from the speakers. They've all got those little mics attached to their ears so they can sing while they strut their stuff. All grins and flexing biceps. And then they start singing. And everyone starts dancing. Even Duncan.
        I hate these cunts.


        Outside, the night is warm, caressing the skin rather than smothering it in heat or shrinking it with the breath of winter. The autumn and spring in Melbourne is a wonderous thing, though I do appreciate winter's meat preservation advantages.
         I consider catching the train home, but the urge to hunt is not really with me and besides, Vogon hasn't shown up for a week or so now. It's pretty much pointless without him – he's the one who needs to absorb the prey's experience. He doesn't give a fuck about the taste and that's where we're having our little difference. I'm moving up now. Doesn't he realise this? I'm moving amongst a better cut of people now and I'm not looking back. I think (hope) that's part of the reason I can't be fucked tonight. At this hour I'm only going to encounter drunks and junkies on the train. I'm better than that!
         I hail a cab and some old Turkish guy who stinks of garlic punctuates the-good-old-days-and-how-tough-it-was-as-an-immigrant-back-in-the-60s-and-the-opportunities-and-the-fights-and-the-women-and-the-Greeks-and-the-racist-Aussies with the word 'farking' or 'cunze'. I manage to say 'yes' in all the right places but the whole time I'm thinking about Suzanne and the look in her eyes. She knew something. Look for what? We'd hardly spoke in six months, so what the hell did she mean? She didn't know anything. She couldn't know anything. No-one did. Nah, but paranoia can be a healthy thing if it keeps you sharp. Bad if you whittle your edge away into nothing. Forget the frigid bitch.
         I tip the Turk five bucks on the cabcharge – it ain't my money. I let myself in, pour myself a Shiraz and sit in the darkness with the tv on, volume turned down, and a plate of water crackers, aged cheddar and blue cheese. Chuck Norris and Johnny Sixgun, or whatever the fuck his name is, are beating up some big bad motherfuckers. Suzanne bugs me. She knows something. Fucking forget her! So I sit and concentrate on the silence in the house, blotting out the distant roar of the trucks on the Maroondah Highway. I get to a pin-point of silence where it's ringing in my ears and I swear I can hear that fat cunt chained up in the basement screaming his lungs out.


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