"Swear to God. Swear to God, you fucking liar, and maybe I’ll believe half a word coming out of your mouth," Sweets insists, laughing.
"Truth! It’s the absolute truth. Would I lie to you, mate?" Sydney’s protesting, laughing around the neck of his beer. They’ve both had a bump or two and the evening’s flowing smooth, and perhaps by the end of the night they’ll be made men. "There I was—"
"—looking up German shit porn—" Sweets agrees.
"—checking my fucking e-mail,” Potts corrects him with a halfhearted glare. Sweets gives him a wave to say go on. “When I thought about Kitty. You know Kitty?”
"With the plastic tits?"
"With the plastic tits," Potts confirms. "And I was thinking about how it’d been a while since I saw her last—"
"—since you walked in on her with twelve inches of prime African beef up her arse, more like—"
"—since I saw her last—”
"Fucking bitch is what she was. Fucking slag; it’s a wonder you didn’t take any parting gifts off her."
"—since I saw her last," Potts continues with a glare, "and I thought, ‘Gee, I wonder what she’s been up to.’"
"Midget porn," Sweets posits thoughtfully.
"I swear it: one more word out of you—" Satisfied by Sweets’ lifted hands, Potts continues, "But I didn’t have her e-mail address, not that she’d respond to an e-mail, I think. So I went to her MySpace."
"Who the fuck uses MySpace these days, anyway?"
”Nobody but sad shits using it to hook up and bands trying to make their mark,” Potts declares.
"Sad shits using it to hook up and bands trying to make their mark and thirty year olds trying to pretend they’re still ‘hip’," Sweets adds.
"Sad shits using it to hook up and bands trying to make their mark and thirty year olds pretending they’re still hip and pedophiles who think people still listen to My Chemical Romance," Potts chimes in, grinning.
"And the kid." There it is on the table. "He had a bunch of songs up. I don’t know what made me listen to them; bunch of comments from teen girls about how he could have it if he wanted it, how he could just come over to their high school bedrooms with their One Direction posters and just take it if he wanted it. It was some disturbing shit, man—I think half those ‘girls’ were actually forty-year-old men."
"And you told Ezra about him."
"I made sure he was local first. Saw him play a show, open mic night at a coffee shop out in Ravensmere, where they’re all too cool for amps and dress like they’re the next Bob Dylan. They rushed the stage like he was one of the fucking Beatles or some shit. Then I told Ezra about him."
They sit in silence for a stunned moment. ”I mean—” Sweets starts.
"I mean, it’s not like it doesn’t happen. It happens all the time. Take that girl, the one with the song? ’Friday, Friday’ shit? And that guy, doesn’t speak a word of English and he’s up there singing ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ in front of packed stadiums."
"And Justin Bieber," Sweets notes.
"Fucking Justin Bieber. I’m telling you, this kid’s got it. Justin Bieber’s not fit to wipe his arse."
"We talking about arses again, Sydney?" Baby’s voice is cool and sleek as his hair and he’s leaning on the rail at the top of the stairs heroin-chic and shark-eyed. "It is my favorite subject, after all. Surprised to find we share a hobby."
"Hey, Babe," Potts offers, voice cracking at the edges. "What brings you up here?"
"I need another one," Baby tells Sweets, holding his palm out.
"Still owe me for the last one, don’t you, Babes?" Sweets asks nervously, fishing in his pockets for the slender foil package.
"You know I’m good for it," Baby cajoles, eyes going wide and alien as he purses his lips. "I’ll blow you for it, Candy Man. Be a stereotype for you. I can make it good."
Sweets laughs uneasily. ”Nah. No worries. I’ll square your bill with Ezra?” He finds the silver square and presses it into Baby’s palm. ”Don’t spend it all in one place, and for God’s sake don’t cut it with anything. It might actually explode it’s got so much shit in it. I’m trying a new supplier next week, soon as I can get Mickey to break this one’s fingers for fucking up that last batch.”
"Oh, yes," Baby says, face going greedy as he accepts it. "Daddy can pay for it." He’s already halfway down the stairs in search of his spoons and needles before he’s finished speaking, giggling high in the back of his throat. The packet will be empty by midnight, they all know, and Baby will be glass-eyed and feverish and sick with it, but it doesn’t stop his hungry gulping each time Sweets hooks him up. He stops on the stairs, comes back up. "After party tonight?" he asks. "Only I’ve been on vacation"—Ezra’d put him in rehab; it’s his first Saturday night home without Ezra breathing down his neck or undressing him with his eyes, and Potts throws Sweets a guilty look, because they can keep feeding Babes the drugs but neither one of them knows what to say when the creepy bastard can’t keep his hands to himself—"and I haven’t seen anyone in such a long time. So an after party? Tonight? Here?"
"Yeah, Babes," Potts says, forcing a smile.
"I’m afraid you’ll have to keep an eye on me," Baby says, smile going wide. "I think there’s E to be had, and you know how cuddly I get…." He trails off, whistling cheerfully as if he weren’t going to shoot up in the dirty bathroom stall.
"Shit," Sweets mutters. "Shit."
"I’m calling the fucking cops," Skinny announces from the stairs. "It’s so fucking quiet up here. You guys having it off?"
"What’d he do now, Skinny?" Sweets asks, and Potts just takes a long swig from his beer. He’d bet it’s more of the same—
"He’s fucking shooting up in the club. Again. In the middle of the bathroom floor with his lighter and his needles, and Jesus fucking Christ, Sweets, did you have to give him the hard stuff again? You know how he fucking gets! Shooting up in the fucking bathroom, tried to do it at the bar before he got run off! How the fuck does he have veins left? I mean, how the fuck are his arms not just pits where his veins have, like, completely collapsed in on themselves? He’s gonna get us all arrested; you watch—we’re all going to end up in prison for the rest of our lives over his shit. How much did he give you for it?"
"What?" Sweets asks, dazed.
"How much did he—because is it worth the rest of your life in prison, Sweets? It sure as shit isn’t worth the rest of mine that he keeps getting himself picked up; he’s going to end up dead in the back alley some day, all of us arrested as accessories, with some guy’s prick still up his arse, at that!"
"What?" Sweets asks again, but Skinny’s on a tear:
"And I keep telling you both we’re gonna have to shake him loose before he drags all the rest of us down. It’s bad enough," he pauses, jerking his head at Ezra’s office door, closed for now while he’s off doing business with his boy-touching friends, "but we’re all gonna end up in serious trouble over this."
"Ezra will sort him," Potts says, and Skinny looks at him like he’s just confessed to having an extra head. "He will. And it’s Ezra’s call to make; don’t you go calling the pigs in because you and Baby aren’t getting along. You’ll get the rest of us pinched for stupid shit, and you don’t wanna be around when that happens."
"It’s just he started dancing with me again tonight. You know how he gets when he’s high; he goes all slutty and doesn’t take no for an answer. I was having a moment, one of those girls who likes to show up with no knickers on? And I mean, she was ready for it; I had my fingers—and she was so wet—and Baby comes swanning up and he’s grinding his cock into my arse, like he’s trying to fuck me in the middle of the dance floor. Not easy, not like he’s trying to chat me up or nothing, but weird, all herky-jerky like he’s having a fit, and she just says, ‘Oh, it looks like you’re busy?’ and walks off. Then he starts laughing, and I swear if I didn’t leave he was gonna end up eating his teeth. It’s just—I don’t have a problem with those kind of people, but he’s taking a rainbow-colored shit on the club, and I’m the one’s always cleaning it up."
"Ezra will sort him," Potts promises.
"Fucking weekend," Skinny mumbles, running his hands through his hair. "You guys got something planned? Obviously, my plans fell through. I don’t think I could pull tonight with everyone down there thinking I’m queer and with a crazy boyfriend to boot."
"After party up here, same as usual," Sweets offers.
"Party favors?" Skinny asks, shrewd.
"Nose candy, ketamine," Sweets says. "Nothing injectable."
"Got a piss test for my mum tomorrow morning, anyway. He better not have sweated his dirty junkie sweat all over me."
"Take ‘em home for later."
"Might just take you up on that," Skinny says, flashing a smile. "Fucking weekend."