The Beach House

All Anthony wanted was a better life, a change to his surroundings, he wanted to live a life of his choosing. April 17th would be the day that his wish tragically came true. My piece for the More Than This competition.


3. The Proposition

We still don't know who invited him or how he knew about the event. A better question would be, why us? 


When he turned up in the sitting room, satchel bag over one shoulder and dressed in his waist coat, all eyes were on him. There was an aura around him that everyone soaked in. He had this obvious confidence, this attractive and graceful poise that others, including myself, immediately fell for.


I remember sitting with the girls and all their attention immediately turned to him and away from me. He just casually placed his bag near an empty chair and sat down, beer in hand he raised it to me, and I raised the bottle of Frosty Jacks that I had acquired to him. 


That was it really, the night went on in it's own chaotic way, as it normally did. I didn't know it then but Bez was sizing us up, listening into our banter, judging us in a way.


The session wound down somewhere close to two in the morning with people having to leave early because of work or school. Luckily for myself and my group we had no such commitments so we were able to continue on with the festivities. Eventually it was down to myself, Scott and his girlfriend Abbey, Micky and his not-as-attractive-as-I-remembered sister Flick, an overweight girl named Lilly-Ann and her close-to-be passed out young friend Holly who was slumped behind the sofa-bed singing along to the tunes. And of course finally Bez, still sitting in his chair, satchel close to his feet. 


We were all feeling pretty wrecked and resorted to sharing interesting stories. From the tale of the naked midnight swim on Blackpool beach, to the story of two guys being gaffer taped to each other at another party, these stories were a great way to both pass the time as well as to share some easy laughs. But when high, drunk and tired, these stories of laughter and fun have a mysterious way to bring back feelings of nostalgia and melancholy, emotions that were bound to come out sooner or later. They always did.


"Remember the time Harry lost his shoes in the park and ended up traipsing dog shit through his Mam's house bare foot?" Abbey said curled up in Scott's arms. "His Mam was so pissed!" She paused and had a sorrowful toke, "I miss Harry."


Everyone knew Harry, so the silence was profound. I remained silent and continued with my drink. Abbey passed the joint to Scott, symbolizing his turn to speak.


"Out of all the people to wind up underground, I never would have thought Harry to be the first," Scott said after a long draw. "To Harry."


We all raised our glasses, Bez included. The reefer then passed to Micky who tried to change the subject as Abbey had become physically upset, as she was known to do.


"Hey mate," he said eyeing up Bez in his chair. "I don't think we've spoken yet, I'm Micky."


All eyes were now on the new guy in the corner, who smiled slightly. "Yes, I've already caught all your names. I'm Bez," he said, waving to everyone. "I didn't know Harry," he continued, his accent unplaceable, "but I'm sorry I never got a chance to. The beautiful things in this world don't last as long as the plain things it seems."


"Well said, Bez," I spoke up, the joint heading my direction. "I like this guy."


"He's said two fucking words Anth," Micky said smiling, "bet you wish all your girls were as easy to please as you are."


This was met by a wave of uplifting laughter as well as my extended middle finger. I drew my final toke and with enough for five or six more draws I passed the joint to Bez, solidifying his place within the group, just as the Native Americans did. 


"You guys seem cool," he said taking the offering. "You wanna experience some freaky stuff? Totally legal." 


We all looked at him, then each other, wondering if he was proposing some sort of orgy. We let him explain regardless.


"I've been listening to you all night and you seem cool, don't get me wrong, but I can see you aren't happy. Not really. You talk about the past; how things were, how things would have been, never about how things are, or how things are going to be. You're living a life of regret, like you've already died and all this is just a showreel of the best bits. Anth, you talked about the 'beach house,' and Scott, you said you wanted to travel the world. Micky..." He paused. "I don't know what the hell you want in life but whatever it is, it is possible. Right here. Right now," his eyes were wild with excitement.


He delved into his satchel and brought out a bag of small purple coloured capsules. He withdrew enough for one each and placed them next to the laptop.


"In there is a totally legal mix of chemicals, it's a formula I have perfected over years of trial and error. One each, this first round is on me, and you will be teleported to a world of your choosing, pure bliss." Bez said rather cryptically. "But only one," he added. "Anymore and you'll become a vegetable. It's good stuff."


The others weren't sure, new guy with strange gear, normally you don't. You get it off trustworthy people, and stuff you know. Experimental toxics coming from a stranger always spelt bad news, it could have been Krokodil for all we knew. But I never was one to turn down a free hit.  


So I grabbed a pill, and... down the hatch. 

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