After a day of trying and failing to typeset a brochure, with the help of Gina, and Connie who had called in for a chat, I gave up and decided to have an early night. I don’t get paid enough for this. And I’m sure it wasn’t in my original job description. I can’t even remember.
Connie and I walked home from the office. We took a left down Nonchurch Street where an elderly homeless man sat with a cardboard sign. Connie handed him a flapjack she had in her bag, and he muttered some earnest thanks. So used to being ignored he was surprised by the token act of kindness.
“Why is it that you never see female hobos?” I said when we were out of earshot.
Connie shrugged. “It’s like the girls who lose their homes just disappear,” she said.
“I think Katy’s dating a guy called Adrian Roth,” I said.
Connie whistled through her teeth. “Jeez, bad idea,” she said, “bad idea.”
“What?” I asked,
She looked hesitant, she didn’t want to scare me.
She shook her head. “Adrian is a total scuzzball,” she said.
I knew many of Katy’s friends were a bit unsavoury, but I didn’t like the idea of her actually dating someone that notorious. Connie didn’t want to talk about him any more, and had to rush off to do a shift, so I bought a cheap bottle of chianti and a falafel salad from the deli, and settled in for the evening. I called a guy called J who worked on the film set with Katy. I think he had a bit of a crush on me and was eager to talk. Apparently Katy was great when she was on the ball, but some days she would stare into the distance and not listen to instructions. “I think she takes a lot of pills,” he said, “but I’m not sure what. She’s fine once you make eye contact with her and she can be very chatty, but she kind of shuts down for half an hour at a time.”
I googled Adrian Roth with my spare hand. There wasn’t much on him, apart from a small NYT article saying he ran a club called Samsara. As far as I could see it was a legit business, and had pretty good reviews.
I called Yasmin, “have you heard of a club called Samsara?” I asked,
“Yeah,” she said, “never been, it’s some expensive chic place in ——.”
I was surprised. “I thought it would be a hole,” I said. “It’s run by some scum-bag.”
“Oh, it is a hole, it’s just an overpriced hole,” she said.
“Can you get us in there?” I asked,
Why am I wasting time doing this, I thought. A pile of notes on my desk, like some police crime file, trying to link Katy with the scum of the city. I was trying to get my head round the idea of an upmarket-dive. The town I had grown up in had had a chic gastro-pub, and a spit and sawdust joint for the less salubrious residents. I suppose it wasn’t implausible that a “legit” nightclub could have an “understanding” with the drug dealers in the city. A few pills can be good for business, but you don’t want anyone passing out on the dance-floor. Maybe they turned a blind eye to the dealers working the room, as long as they were discreet. But where would the police fit into this equation? Perhaps they were just too lazy to intervene.
You hear rumours about organised crime, such an such a pub is a coke den, a dodgy local businessman who knows all the wrong people. But actually being one degree of separation away from these people frightened me. And the fact that Katy was that one degree terrified me for her sake.
Image: Hobo by Connie