The first thing thought that pops in my mind is that the back of my head is wet. The sounds of a waking city holler in my ears in time with the pain in my brain.Sharp pain stabs me in the eye when i first try to open it, the right side of my brain burns to the back of my head. Oww. Lucky me, the left side of my face is still numb from last night, I’ve never been a good decision maker and i’ve been proven right in that again. Deciding it’s time for the first bar fight of my life after that 5th glass of Austrian Spiced Rum (i’m never drinking that again!) was probably one of the least clever decisions of my life. What the hell was i thinking…. oh, right, chicks dig scars…. Seems legit.
I try to get up, but all i manage to do is get on my side and heave, but in a lazy way. The pavement feels cold against my face for a while longer while i rest a bit and try to get used to the light and the thousand angry goats grazing on my brain. After a minute or so it’s clear that while the goats aren’t seeking greener pastures at least i can now handle the light as the reflection of London’s iron sky is silently judging me from a bit of broken glass propped up on a wall. I try and get up with that gentleness that you only see in hungover people the world over. It’s a feeling of expected pain that’s mostly never as bad as the actual thing. In this case it was, because apparently someone’s been trying to see if they can violently fit their fist in my left eye socket. When i’m comfortably on lean on a wall and check my pockets and my face. My wallet and phone are surprisingly still in the inside pocket of my trenchcoat, right were i left it. My face apears to have gone through some redesign work but heck, all the old things seem to still be where i left them. The London night seems to have been quietly merciful on both those accounts.
I add a token gesture of trying to shake off the recently aquired grime from my white but now filthy
shirt, black jeans and dark green tie. I’m not even gonna bother with the trenchcoat that’s been a staple of my style ever since I started reading Raymond Chandler novels a couple of years back. I’m a photographer, you see, and in this business it’s all about the image you offer to people, much like if i were a hooker. In my case i found that what clients appreciate is an asshole in a trench-coat telling them their ideas are shit. Hey, don’t look at me like that, it pays the bills… most of the time.
Something buzzez at my chest, probably my phone, i’d hate to think my heart’s in such a mess at this age that it sounds like some old american cars that are still around. The phone reminds me i have to pick up my new business cards all the way from the other side of town.
After 5 blocks of walking i’ve been stopped and ID checked by Metro twice now. I’m adding one of the old press passes that i keep in my wallet to the lapel of my coat. That usually makes them look the other way. In the tube i get mostly only strange looks and people carefully avoiding eye contact with the creepy guy that looks like a bum. Several awkward stares later i get out and go into the office building where my printers try and churn out gaudy things for their own clients. The doorman luckily recognized me even in this sorry state, he even politely asked if i was alright.
I walk into the printers, the door goes buzz so as to alert everyone in hearing distance about my disheveled self and that i am indeed tracking London mud on their carpets. I’m sure the buzz makes it all better. The lady at the orders desk just gives me that blank stare she uses for me most of the time, it’s both amused and judgemental. I have no idea what it really means.
I clear my throat and ask her if my cards are ready. She silently pushes a full envelope towards me on the desk, never breaking eye contact. I hate it when she does that. I tell her thanks and that she should add it to my tab and quickly scurry away. The door goes buzz as i flee the room.
In the elevator i open the envelope and check one of my cards. The paper is heavy and solid, almost but not quite white with a subtle texture that reminds you of books and old secrets. On one side there’s a faded peacock design in an art nouveau style, on the other my contact details in lovely old-school serifs that are both provocative and educated, the text is more or less what i sent them:
photographer, intrepid explorer