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He couldn’t remember what he’d said to them. It probably wasn’t anything very clever. He wasn’t capable of being clever any more. Everyone else can be clever, he said to himself. I’ll leave it up to you. You can be smart, in your smart suits, clever chatter, whimsical words, social graces, wiley smiles, feigned frankness. Yes. Oh yes. You can do all that, I’ll just be crude. That’s what he thought. How crude? It’s difficult to know how crude to be. It depends on the audience. How anatomical can one get? It depends. He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t remember what he’d said. He remembered what he’d done, and how Charles had hit him. He touched his head. The bump was still there. It wasn’t an imaginary bump, not like the maggot.

Fights aren’t like the movies; they’re a lot shorter and they hurt a lot more. When he got angry Spike always thought of himself as a motion picture hero. But he didn’t have the muscles or the reflexes to go with it. Neither did Charles, fortunately. Fights are ugly things. You can’t get around it. They’re not glamorous like the movies at all. And then there’s always shouting. All that shouting. Spike’s head throbbed some more just thinking about it. And then there are consequences. There are always consequences.

He couldn’t remember exactly what he’d said, or the order in which he’d said it. He thought it went something like this: drunk lonely man, Spike, staggers up to Lindsey at friends party and says: ‘What do you see in this creep?’ in front of said creep.

Lindsey looks astonished/pitifully at pitiful drunk and says, ‘Go away Spike, you’re drunk.’

Creep says, ‘Who do you think you’re talking to?’

Spike says, ‘Just go fuck yourself you stuck up smug git. I’m having a conversation with Lindsey.’

Lindsey says to Charles, ‘I think we’d better go.’

Charles says to Spike, ‘Don’t talk to me like that you pathetic little worm.’

Lindsey says, ‘Charles, don’t,’ and puts her hand on his arm. Spike can’t stand the sight of her putting her hand on his arm, a mark of affection so undeserved.

‘Don’t do that,’ he says, pulling her arm away and towards himself.

‘Leave me alone,’ she says, glaring at him as if she hated him, as if she really didn’t love him.

‘Leave her alone,’ says Charles, turning into Sir Galahad and pushing Spike away. It was then that Spike hit him, he thought, or it might have been a bit later.

When he hit him Charles looked surprised. At first he looked surprised and then he looked angry. He lunged at Spike who attempted to dodge him but fell over in the process. As he fell he hit his head on something, it might have been the edge of a side table, whatever it was it hurt a lot.

Spike was getting up when Charles hit him so he had to start getting up all over again. After that it got chaotic. But it was over before he knew it and it wasn’t long before he was being bundled into the street with instructions not to

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