Christmas wasn't Christmas until you'd stuffed a Santa face down in a wheelie bin and set his ass on fire. That's what Rick Burton said.
Rick couldn't be out with them tonight; he was currently serving a three year stretch for beating up a moaning old bastard. Tim Selick had some sympathy. His own life had felt like a prison for the past six months.
Not tonight. Tonight he was free. Screw Denise, screw Henry Di-fucking-Novi; tonight he was gonna hang with the lads and get totally off his fucking face.
They hadn't intended for the night to be a special dedication to Rick or anything, but when they saw the drunken Santa staggering around behind Woolies, well...
It was past midnight and the town centre was deserted. Once the shops closed, most people left the main shopping thoroughfares and drifted away to the pubs, clubs and kebab shops on the fringes. Tim and his mates were here because they were too broke to afford anything other than cheap cans of special brew from the offie.
Santa was a mess. Tim couldn't tell if that was his actual beard or a fake. The long white hairs were filthy and matted. Various foodstuffs and other stains were tangled in the mess. He smelt foul--a rancid mixture of strong liqueur and unwashed sweat.
"Ho ho ho. Merry Chrissermas." Santa noticed the lads and saluted them with a bottle hidden away in a brown paper bag. He tottered unsteadily on his feet.
"Fucking disgrace," Tim heard Danny McDowell mutter next to him.
The gang ranged around the Santa like a pack of jackals. Tim felt a little thrill of excitement. He'd missed this buzz.
The drunken Santa watched them warily, fear penetrating his haze of alcohol.
"Now now, lads, you wouldn't want to hurt a harmless old man," he said, giving them a nervous smile.
Tim exchanged glances with Danny and Mikey Elfman.
"Geddim!" Danny shouted.
The gang surged forward as one. Ignoring the protests of the drunken man, they took his bottle off him and lifted him up off the ground. They carried him around the corner and dumped him headfirst into a blue wheelie bin. They stood around and laughed while Santa's legs kicked up out of the top of the bin.
Fucking hilarious, Tim thought, like one of those cartoons where Santa gets stuck in the chimney.
Danny took a sniff of Santa's bottle and jerked away, his eyes watering.
"Fucking hell, that's strong," he said.
He upended the contents over the struggling Santa.
"Should go up a treat," Danny said, flipping open his zippo.
"Do it," Mikey said. "Do it for Rick."
Danny sniggered and put the bright yellow flame to Santa's sodden ass. The alcohol-sodden trousers went up immediately, blue and yellow flames shooting up into the night sky. Drunken Santa's yelled obscenities changed to loud bellows, muffled by the plastic of the bin.
"Someone dial 999. Santa's on fire!" Danny laughed.
"Santa barbeque!" Mikey sniggered.
The gang stood around the bin. Flames reflected in Tim's eyes as he watched Santa kick out. It looked like fire was shooting out of the old bastard's arse. Tim felt a kind of savage glee. He felt powerful, part of something, and that was a thousand times better than feeling like a piece of shit as he doled out fried crap at Burger Whore.
Santa was screaming louder and louder. His muffled bellows had changed to high pitched wails of pain.
Tim blinked. Was the old tramp sobbing inside the burning plastic container?
They heard sirens off in the distance.
"Leg it!" Danny yelled.
"We gonna leave him like that?" Tim asked.
Drunken Santa was still kicking away as his trousers burned.
"He'll be fine," Danny said. "Might take his pubes a while to grow back," he laughed.
The gang dashed off down the alley. Tim glanced back at the still struggling tramp. He planted a solid kick on the side of the bin, toppling it over. Old coot should be able to get out now, he thought, before running off after the others.
Their exhilarating dash through the back streets soon slowed down to aimless meandering. It was late and there wasn't anything to do. One by one, the younger members slunk back home, until only Danny, Mikey and Tim were left.
As they wandered through the empty streets Tim caught the whiff of a strange scent. It was spicy and enticing, like an exotic perfume. He sniffed the air, trying to catch more of it. All of a sudden he had an itch he really wanted to scratch.
He was not alone. Mikey was grabbing his crotch and staring absently around him.
They came to a junction. The scent seemed to be strongest from the right, so that was the direction they took.
It was hard to describe the smell exactly, Tim thought, or their actions. It was kind of like if you were hungry and you got the whiff of burgers on a grill, you'd follow the smell back to the burger van it came from. It was the same, but with sex. That was the best way he could describe it. You caught a whiff of it and it reminded you that you felt horny.
There wasn't a burger van waiting for them at the end but girls, plenty of girls. They came to a deserted thoroughfare with scantily-clad girls clustered around lampposts on either side of the entrance to a quiet side street. The side street was curtained off and hidden behind a pair of heavy red drapes. Lured on by the scent and the promise of sex, they approached the girls.
The girls were dressed like the street hookers Tim had seen on Skellington Road, but they looked nothing like the wrinkly monsters and worn out chav moppets he and the other guys used to take the piss out of. They looked like girls Tim would actually think about paying to fuck, if he had the money.
The girls' outfits, what little they were wearing, were clear advertisements they'd quite happily accept that money. They wore high black stilettos and black fishnet stockings that went up to the top of their legs. Above their waists was nothing more than kinky black fetish-wear. They had studded black dog collars around their necks and studded black straps wrapped around their arms and midriffs. The stretched black rubber looked glossy beneath the streetlights. Far more flesh--ghostly pale--was revealed than hidden.
They must be fucking freezing, Tim thought.
"Fuck, I'm feeling horny," Danny said, grabbing his crotch.
The girls stared suggestively at them with wide, large eyes picked out with heavy black eyeliner. They pouted full red lips and struck up poses against the lampposts like girls being photographed for smutty magazines.
"They look a little strange," Tim said.
He couldn't put his finger on it. They were skinny and very dainty. More like ballet dancers than the heavy breasted women Tim jerked off to on the internet. Pretty too. Really pretty. Far prettier than he would have expected for a street hooker.
"I bet they're Lithuanian," Mikey said.
"Lithuanian?" Tim questioned. That could explain it, he supposed.
"Yeah, I read about it in the paper," Mikey said. "They're setting up knocking shops all across Britain. The girls are supposed to be well fit."
The erection in Tim's pants agreed with that. One of the girls leaned forward and blew him a kiss.
"Fuck, I wish I had a fifty," Danny said.
"I thought you were still with Caroline," Tim said.
"She's up the duff again," Danny said, "won't let me go near her while the baby's inside her. She doesn't understand a man has needs and can't wait that long."
"Denise has got a strop on because I got fired from Burger King," Tim said.
The same girl beckoned eagerly to Tim with a smile on her lips. Her eyes were big and bright.
"No money," he said, turning out his empty pockets.
That didn't discourage the girl. She beckoned again and pouted her lips. Then, when Tim showed no inclination of moving, she and a friend stepped forward, grabbed an arm each and tugged him towards the red curtains.
"We're broke," Tim said.
The girl on his left put a finger to his lips. The other girl caressed his crotch, sending an electric shiver through him. He looked over to Danny and Mikey. Both of them had girls on each arm.
Danny shrugged. "Maybe they're nympho and business is slow tonight."
The girls led them to the curtained-off street. Another girl looked up and down the street with quick, bright eyes before pulling aside the curtain to reveal a short flight of wooden stairs leading up to a pair of big wooden doors.
Didn't there used to be a side street here? Tim thought. They walked through the doors and into a narrow hallway with plain wooden floors and walls lined with rippling red curtains. To Tim it looked like they were walking down the tunnel of a giant velvet vagina.
Fuck, he really needed to get laid.
This was all a bit too fancy. It looked like one of those VIP-type clubs he'd seen on the telly. Except he couldn't hear any dance music. There was no heavy thump of a bass drum reverberating through his body. The only music he could hear was tinkling silvery bells--sensual New Age sounds--turned down real quiet. The girls beckoned them on.
"Look, we want to, we really do, but none of us has any cash," Tim said.
Tim wanted to be clear about that. He didn't want some big shaven-headed bastard kicking the shit out of him later for non-payment of services rendered.
He reached down for his wallet, but one of the girls stopped him and shook her head.
"On the house?" Danny queried.
The girl nodded and smiled.
.... There is more of this story ...