Last Night Stand 

 

    The sex shop is damp and smells of old carpet and wet dogs. The light from the overhead tubes, flickering and pasty, bleaches everyone’s faces and makes the women on the DVD covers look like police photographs of crime scenes.

    “You should get one of these for the wedding night,” shouts Gav waving a huge, black dildo.

    The thought of using it makes Billy feel slightly sick. “C’mon lads,” he says. “We should go.”

    “Always the prude, eh?” Says Gav. “You’d better stock up is all I’m saying. Nowt like this back in the village!” He waves a pair of fluffy pink handcuffs in Billy’s direction, though they don’t look sturdy enough to hold Lisa, let alone Gav who is a strong, muscular lad.

    As this is supposed to be Billy’s last night of freedom (though in truth he isn’t getting married for another week), he decides that he may as well go for it. He doesn’t usually drink much. He jokes that he doesn’t like not being in control; that you never know what’s going to come out when your guard is down. Though it’s not a joke, not really. But tonight, to hell with it. He necks three glasses of wine in the room before they go out and has a warm and slightly flat pint of lager in the strange and old-fashioned guest house bar downstairs.

    Gav has taken charge of the evening. Billy doesn’t know where they are going but Gav and the others are all in on it. Billy figures it’ll be a few pints then a strip club, though how anyone could find that idea erotic god only knows.

    But it turns out, Gav has an ace up his sleeve. They have a few vodka-Red Bulls in a loud, flashing bar where nobody can hear anything so nobody talks, then they cross the road to what looks like an old cinema. The paint on the woodwork is peeling and the poster by the door has slid down in the frame so that Billy can’t read it.

    Billy has seen nothing like it. It’s a cabaret show but it’s all men in drag. Although the seats, old cinema seats by the look of them, are saggy and uncomfortable, It’s still amazing - incredibly well produced and the music, though loud, is much more up Billy’s street; a mixture of oldies which he loves and pop music which is less his thing but a lot better than the crap that was playing in the bar they just left. During the interval he leans across to Gav. “Why d’you choose this place?”     

     “I checked online - this is the new thing apparently. Metrosexuals and shit. And you don’t seem like the strip club type to be quite frank with you buddy.” He smiles and winks.

    After the show, they all go to a place called The Flamingo which is right next door. “This is definitely a gay club isn’t it?” Asks Billy. He has another vodka-Red Bull in his hand and everything is getting a bit blurry.

    “It’s the in thing,” says Gav, clapping him on the shoulder.

    Some time and some drinks later, Billy isn’t sure how many, Gav comes over to where he is talking to some guys he just met. “I’m off back to the hotel now Billy mate,” he says, his shouted breath tickling Billy’s ear. “You stay here. Have a good time. It’s your last night of freedom!”

    Billy nods. He’s not quite sure what is happening. That is what he tells himself.

    Gav leans in even closer. “Don’t worry Billy, mate. What happens at the seaside, stays at the seaside.”

    The next morning, Billy has no idea how he makes it to the station. He has to stop twice to throw up. He stands at the barrier waiting for the lads. He feels wretched and sick and has a warm lump of something deep in his belly. Time to go home, he says to himself as he waits by the barrier. He looks out at the steel rails disappearing far into the distance. Across the road he can see the doors of The Flamingo locked tight.