31 DECEMBER 2003

Zoometty-zoom OUT of work. Belle's had enough. It's 4.20pm, and there's not a soul in the place would not agree that she's ruined her health and worked more hours in two weeks than is safe or even LEGAL, so ain't nobody gonna stop her careening outta there, BANG though the doors, SKID past the Head Of I.S.'s offices, GOODBYE AND THANKS to her so-called 'assistant', clop-clop-clop-clop (pause to light fag) clop-clop-clop-clop-SLAM onto the train. gimme an ess double yew eee eee tee, whaddadyagot? SWEET.

They're in the trendy Shoreditch video shop, her and Sebastian. They're pointing and looking. the light reflects off the DVD covers. Julien Donkey-Boy. Ring and Ring 2. Kids. Bully. Gummo. Ichi the Killer. 'Got that', Sebastian says. 'Got that got that seen that watched that saw that slept through that that's gross that's brilliant'. Belle says they should rent a video. Go back to Belle's house. It's only down the road. 'No', he goes. 'No. You know what will happen if we go to your house'. He's right.

They have a few pints in Jaguar Shoes and Dreambags. It was a shop and now it's a bar. Belle's doing that thing though, where she pretends she's invisible. She's in her work clothes. He says she looks alright but then he's wearing his ironed shirt and his 'smart' trousers and his clippy-cloppy shoes, so what does he know. She keeps her eyes at the ground, pretending there's noone there in the room but her and Sebastian. Pretending there are no boys with mod hairdos and tendrils looping around in front of their ears and no girls with slanting cat-eyes and their toes turned in; ignoring the barpeople who snatch the glasses from their hands before they've savoured the last sips. Pretending these's noone else there: just Belle and Sebastian, talking about films, planning one-minute movies, getting crowded out by the people that aren't there, deciding to get on a bus, go to Belle's house, do that thing, that thing that they know they'll do that they mustn't do because it's Bad.

White drinks and white powders. They're in the front room. They've bought ice and they're sipping vodka and lemonades from heavy amber glass tumblers. The sofa is huge and black, and the floorboards are wooden and shiny. They're on the sofa. There's a little table with a glass top. There's a credit card, inching the powder from the bag.

'Fuck all this 'bump' shit', says Sebastian. 'I'm just going to do us huge lines.' Clip clip clip clip clip goes the card in the powder. He edges the powder carefully into two heaps, then smooths them out into lines. He rolls a note, sniffs, tips his head back. Then Belle. Sniff. Don't want the powder to fall out. There. This is the thing that is Bad, except it ain't. It's good. It's a celebration. She's met her deadline she's broken up with her boy she's single she's rich and she's free. She's warm. It's stretching through her, the warm.

Sebastian lies back. Belle curls up beside him, rests her head in the crook of his arm. Their limbs want to melt into the sofa. This is it, one huge line, closest she thinks she's ever been to the K-hole. Belle and Sebastian, Belle and Sebastian, on the sofa, melting.

They don't go into the K-hole, whatever that is. The edges of it are so comfortable, nice man this, thinks Belle, nice boy, strong, nice shirt, nice scent, comforting. But she's fidgety. She's flicking around like wet salmon on hot deck, and Sebastian wants the duvet, and he's prepared to run up three flights of stairs to her room to get it. He's welcome. It lies on them like a fat marshamallow made of comfort and love.

The air gets thick, with ketamine, and plasticy. The walls ripple. It's SARAH! Hurrah! Sarah is a girl she lives in Belle's house she is a friend, a clever friend with orange hair and nice coffeepots. Belle salutes their friendship. We're on ketamine, Belle says. Is that your bra, Sarah says? It is indeed. Belle has taken it off because it is strangling her ribs. She has thrown it down in the front room and forgotten about it. Sarah sits on the sofa. There are two Sarahs, thinks Belle! She closes one eye then the other. Which Sarah is the real Sarah, and which one is the projection?

After Sarah goes to bed Sebastian spazzes out. Depresso-boy time. He says: I am an idiot. Life is pointless. Drugs are pointless. Belle will not listen. She says: BWAH. SHUT UP. YOU ARE RUBBISH. She is not being very supportive. She says: MY OLD BOYFRIEND WAS BETTER TO TAKE KETAMINE WITH! They lay on the bed, Belle and her old boyfriend. They knelt up. They danced to electronic music. My old boyfriend was BETTER, she says. Don't be depressed it is RUBBISH. You are talking SHIT, and I will not LISTEN.

Belle is deeply unsympathetic. Belle is Didi from Story of my Life. Belle is brave she is shiny she drinks drinks that are white and clear. She has met her deadline and finished with that boy. She has finished with all the boys, and she is warm, and full of drugs, and the air is plasticy, and she will not HAVE this, she will not have boy depression ruining her new life like it ruined her old one.

Sebastian's friend Davo texts him a thing, so he texts back. Little letters. '.iam toke to much k'. Like a spastic. He cheers up again. Now Belle feels all blurry. Then they are upstairs. They are listening to Mouse on Mars on Belle's computer, on her shiny speakers. One little line, he says, then bed. Sniff. Sniff. Pow. Belle's gone. She wakes up at six. Sebastien is wrapped around her as she faces away. She feels him hard against her. They lie like stones warm in the sun, flat and dead, hot to the touch.

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