My cousin turned up an hour late and an hour before the bar closed. She's the kind of woman that sees this sort of thing as a challenge. By the time the bar shut down she'd managed to pour eight shots of foul whiskey down her gullet. I couldn't keep up, despite having a good ten kilos on her. Everywhere I looked, people were posturing, passing joints, popping pills, pressing buttons on their cameras and each other. The music grew fangs and bashed my eardrums in discordant frenzy. Dizzy with smoke and the alcoholic fume of my own breath, I departed at four AM, leaving her in a puppy-pile with her E-cstatic friends. Tumbleweeds blew past as I stood alone at the deserted bus stop. Birds chirped hopefully at the dawn that was still hours away. The black sky seemed to say there was no one else conscious in the world for miles but then the bus came rocketing around the corner to remind me that the driver, at least, was aware of the affinity of pavement for tire rubber.
Saturday night I meant to be good. Marco and I went to a place that, were it a person, would have changed its name as soon as it hit legal age. At The George in Tooting Broadway, we met a law professor and his wife to discuss matters of great importance, by which I mean role-playing in a fantasy game. Ignoring the despairing cries of my innards, I drank several pints and smoked a couple of cloves. I had to; it was the only way I could tolerate the incredible Englishness of the whole venture. Not that I have anything against the English. After all, who are the imperialist bastard invaders now? We learned it from the best.
Sunday I started to be convinced that none of this was real. How else can a person possibly find herself in Tooting Broadway twice in two days?