Queen Of The Night, Goddammit
18 June, 2000

'Mudguards?' 'Yes.'
'Alloy, steel, or rubber?'
'Make?' 'Specialized Crossroads Sport.' 'Colour?'
'Distinguishing features?'
'Yes, there's a wicker basket on the front. I mean... there was.'

The policeman doesn't look at me as he takes my report. He's not young, like policemen are supposed to be, but he's not old either. He's very yellow, too, pale English skin and hair and light blue eyes that seem translucent. He's almost...not there.

He's not very interested in me, or my report, which confuses me because I still feel glowy and alluring from the nightclub, all sweaty and perfumey of hairspray and eyeshadow and girl-deodorant and cigarette smoke. I'm the queen of the night, goddammit, and they've stolen my chariot!

The little suede ties at the neck of my dress dangle towards the grey Formica of the counter I'm leaning on, and my plastic bangles dig into my arms, and I feel special and excited and chosen because my bicycle has been nicked while I've been dancing.

But the policeman just clickety-clicks the details of my lost bike into his computer, and asks me questions in a bored, sceptical kind of way. He doesn't even ask to see the sawn-through lock I've been carrying all the way back from Highbury to Shoreditch, even though the cuts the exposed metal made on my hands are bleeding all over his clean Formica counter.


Jake and I are fighting. He didn't want to come to Kosmiche tonight, anyway. And the dj, from wondrous krauty electronica outfit Mouse on Mars, has played dull, plodding, not-even-very-experimental music for the entire night.

'Where's my bike?' I say, as we emerge from the club, looking at the railings where our 2 bikes were entangled like skinny, chrome futuristic insects when we went in. 'It's been stolen' Jake replies brusquely, as if he knew all along. I can almost imagine a silent, unspoken 'hah!', but Jake's not like that.

I am. If we were arguing and his bike had been stolen, I'd clap my hands and laugh in his face.

'I'm going. I'll see you at home' he says, clipping his lights onto the remaining bike's handlebars and velcroing shiny reflective yellow stripes round his trouserlegs. He's angry because I made him go out when he didn't want to; angry because a drunk and happy Frances told him all Capricorns are control freaks, and I laughed; angry because I keep telling him to do yoga, and leaving the self-help book The Artist's Way near his computer, spine bent open, at the 'Workaholism' chapter.

10AM, Brick Lane market.

None of the bikes are mine. But all of them are stolen. The video and the hi-fi at the feet of the burly dark-haired boy by the arches on Sclater Street? Stolen. The TV, jewellery, and ceramic candlesticks in front of the man with no hair and a tattooed hand clutching a can of Special T? Stolen stolen stolen.

J A K E I don't like the market today. I buy a pound of peaches, crawl back into bed, and eat them one by one, till my fingers get sticky. I wonder where my bike is, and fight the temptation to wipe my fingers on Jake's hair.

previous + next