Time Warp In The ‘dam

What Time? Collage by Bella Basura 1994

What Time?
Collage by Bella Basura

Time Warp In The ‘dam

“Sooooo” She drew the word out with undisguised relish “What are we going to do with our last night in Amsterdam, eh?” She laughed, poked him in the ribs and stretched our languorously  across the counterpane, sprawled like a self-satisfied cat. “Our last night as twisted British rock-star and unofficial girlfriend, cut adrift in the city of sin?”
“Just give it a rest” He mumbled. “I’m going to sleep”
“No no no” She laughed “Lets live a while before we go back to our boring lonely adulterous reality.
He turned away and She could see he was already half way back there, miserable and contemplating meeting his wife again after eight days half-explained absence.
“Look! what do you want from me?” She wheedled

He said “I don’t want nothing”

“Fine, nothing.  I’m going to get something to eat then” she was rummaging in the supermarket carrier bag on her bedside table, smacking her lips. “a crisp buttie in a cheap hotel room, hahaha” she laughed.”Rawk ‘n’ Roll!”
“that’s pathetic” he sneered “you’re not really very rock’n’roll at all are you, with your carrier bag of crisp butties”
“yeah, well you’re not really a rock star are you” she countered

He sat up on the bed “I’ve got my following” He was irked.

“Yeah, but not in Britain, eh? Only in Holland and places where they can’t understand what you’re singing about. Are you big in Japan?”
“I’ve got my following”
“What does your wife think?” she knew she was probing to be provocative “Does she think? Your wife?”

“No, she doesn’t think, she looks after the kids and stuff like that, she doesn’t need to think. Will you just get off my case” He switched the light off, plunging the hotel room into the vague neon gloom that passes for night in the city.

She took off her rings, her jewellery and watch, she lay back fully clothed on top the bed. It was one of those sinking moments, she began to wonder why she’d come along at all. It had sounded great when he’d first mentioned the tour, – his first solo tour,  a week in the Low Countries, hotels and food all in, she only had to find the money for the fares. The fares, that was her fare, and – “Could you lend me the money, just until they pay me at the gigs” – his fare too. Funny how his pay had diminished, then disappeared after the first few venues, they’d been living off her savings all week. She closed her eyes in disgust, she hadn’t known about the wife either.

Drifting in half-sleep she ruminated in growing disappointment, she dreamt of their first meeting in the pub all those weeks ago. Dipping in and out of hypnogogic sleep-states, she saw him as a giant tape-worm , all mouth and arsehole, perched on a barstool downing pints, glass and all, gurgling about the losers in the band he’d just dumped, “Losers every one of them, even if they are famous now, deep down they’re born losers” he kept repeating. Was she really so gullible? Had she really been that stupidly smitten with him?

Suddenly, she was wide awake, she peered at her watch in the gloom, the hands on the retro-style dial read 1.35. Amsterdam would still be kicking she decided, plenty of time to still have fun before the flight back at 9am tomorrow. She tucked her handbag into the suitcase – she intended to do the rockstar’s girlfriend  debauchery to the hilt, no point in carrying valuables around, in this sort of mood chances were she’d lose her handbag in the first bar, best leave her passport, plane tickets and bits in the suitcase. She grabbed her leather jacket, stuffed the last of her dope and cash into the zippered pocket and headed for the door. “I’m off out, looking for some dirty fun. You coming?”

“I’m asleep” the rock star grumbled.

The street seemed uncannily quiet as she stepped from the hotel lobby, she began walking, seeing nobody. In fact, the usually bustling lanes around the hotel seemed totally empty,  every where seemed to be closed, even the trams had shut down. Some City of Sin this is, she thought heading for the nearest coffeeshop.

But even the coffeeshop was dark and so she plonked herself down on a bench, spun herself up a mini-spliff and gazed forlornly into the grimy green of the canal. She wondered when Amsterdam had become so conservative, since when had Europe’s most alive city become a post-midnight deadspot. In the preternaturally tranquil streets she thought she sensed a weird glowing, growing light, as if night were turning to morning. An unusual sensual response, she thought, I must be very stoned, good Sensimillia this is she said to herself. Spliff done she headed on towards the city’s main drag, the stoned light was definitely intensifying, in fact there really did seem to be a streak of sunrise smearing the east horizon. She crossed the canal into Oudeshans to the charming chiming of the Montelbaanstoren clock tower. One two three chimes, then four five six seven eight.  eight?  Looking up to the big clock face on the tower her heart did a strange faltering flip, she unstrapped her wristwatch and as she turned it through 180 degrees she turned 2.30am to 8am. She laughed momentarily, realising she’d put the wrist watch on upside down in the darkness of the hotel room, she’d had a time warp, she laughed at herself, at the idea of Amsterdam gone moderate, she laughed, even though she’d just lost  five and half hours of her life, and she hadn’t even been drunk. She laughed.

It was full daylight by the time she got back to the hotel. The room was empty, the suitcases gone, he’d already left. There was a note for her on the dirty rumpled bedsheets. “Gone home. Where’s all my money? I couldn’t even get any breakfast! Where were you?”.

Bella Basura
re-edited August 2019
999 words

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