Read a bit

Page 1
Chapter 1

A PUFF OF SMOKE

I leaned forward into the mic. ‘Welcome to Alexandra’s
all you early birds,’ I said before fading the music back
up again.

A few minutes later, I brought it down. ‘We’re gonna
have another fantastic night at the number one disco on
party island. Lots of party people are on their way down
to dance the night away with you.’ Music back up and
down. ‘We’re open to 5 AM. And, don’t forget, we’ll be
holding our original wet t-shirt contests a bit later on,
where you’ll see top international beauties get all wild,
wet and willing. The original and still the best. In the
meantime, HEEEEERE’S Madonna.’

Holiday. Celebrate. Holiday. Celebrate.
Looking out into the gloom of the club, I watched as
maybe ten punters shifted from foot to foot in a halfhearted
attempt to dance.

I pushed my rainbow-coloured wig back from my forehead,
wiped away a trickle of sweat. My Carnaby Street Union
Jack shoes were killing me and I had hours to go yet.
I finished my rum and coke and lit yet another cigarette.
‘Louie, Louie!’ Someone was shouting to me over the booming
noise of Madonna. ‘Lou…pardon, Tom, Tom Brown.’

I was Tom Brown when I was the MC at Alex’s, that was
the rule. Tom Brown was a British DJ who was wellknown
on the radio in Scandinavia, where most of our
punters came from.

No-one had ever seen Tom Brown so I figured I could get
away with saying I was him. It was an extra draw for the
club and it worked.

I looked down into the face of Paco our doorman. He
looked sick. I stepped down from my booth, lifted my
wig away from my ear so I could hear and Paco shouted
‘Curly’s just called from home.’
‘I thought he was here,’ I bellowed back.
‘No, he went home. He called to tell you to turn
everything off. We’re closing.’
‘Closing early?’
‘No, closing closing.’
‘You’re kidding.’

Paco shook his big head. I squinted at him. He looked
heartbroken. Paco was a cop who moonlighted at the club
to make extra money and a tough guy. He’d been with us
through all the glory years of Alex’s since the middle of the
1970s and loved the place like it was his own. Gently, he
put the keys to the club in my hand, patted me on the
shoulder and turned and walked away into the darkness.
Stunned, although I knew in my heart of hearts this had

Page 2

been coming for a long time, I climbed the steps to my
booth like a man walking to his execution.

Fading down Madonna, I cleared my throat and leant
into the mic. ‘Sorry about this, party people but, due
to circumstances beyond our control,’ deep breath,
‘Alexandra’s is closing early tonight. Thank you for
coming.’ I turned the music back up and watched as the
punters filed out of the club. They didn’t seem too
disappointed, to be honest.

Paco had sent the bar staff home and gone with them. It
was 1992 and I was on my own in the club I’d given
nearly 20 years of my life to, sweating blood to help turn
Alex’s into ‘Majorca’s Number One Nightspot’. Now it
was all over and although I was shocked it had finally
happened, I wasn’t really surprised.

I walked to the bar, turned all the lights on and the place
flooded with harsh, white light. It looked as sad as I felt.
I fixed myself another drink and wandered into the back
office. Sitting down, I eased the Union Jacks off my feet,
leant back, took off my wig and carefully hung it on its
stand with all the others.

I changed out of my Tom Brown clothes, put on a t-shirt,
shorts and flip-flops, walked through the club, out the
door, locked the heavy iron gates and climbed the 28
steps to the street. It was midnight. I raised my head to
the sky. ‘Tom Brown,’ I shouted, ‘has left the building.’
It was a hot summer night but a cool breeze came up the
street from the sea, bringing with it the faint whiff of

Page 3

sewage that I’d come to know and love. I walked up to
the top of the street, turned and looked back. I’d left the
club’s two big neon signs on and they blazed out the
name Alexandra’s. It was the only sign of life in our little
square. I thought about going back to switch off the
signs. ‘Sod it,’ I said out loud and kept on walking.
The only bar open on Plaza Gomila was one I couldn’t
remember having been in before, which was weird. I sat
down. Eventually the bored barman came out and took
my order for a 103 brandy with a San Miguel chaser.
I sipped the brandy, lit a cigarette, looked up into the
blue velvet sky and decided to get drunk.

A group of Spanish transvestites clattered past me on their high heels, all knock knees and bony arses in shiny hotpants, laughing and cackling like ugly birds. Probably on their way to a party, I thought. I felt even more like the last man standing.

Across the Plaza the drug dealers sat on a concrete bench
drinking from big bottles of beer, passing a joint round
and waiting for customers. Apart from me, they were the
only people in the square.

There were no tourists. Nada.

I thought back to how Paco had broken the news that
Curly had left me to close the club alone. I could picture
Curly standing outside the club, looking up and down
the street, scowling and smoking one of his cheap cigars.
He would have thought ‘balls to this, I’m going home.’

And in a puff of cigar smoke he’d have been gone.

One Response to “Read a bit”

  1. Anna June 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    super…first pages arouse curiosity ….was the translation of a book on Polish?

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