He was tackling another glass of Penny Dreadful port,
with a chaser of Absinthe…
whilst sorting through three months worth of neglected debt,
signing cheques with a yawn,
using a quill dipped in an ivory pot of menstruation blood.
I racked up two generous lines of Spitfire
upon the onyx mantelpiece as I waited,
blasting half of one up each nostril…
coughing and snarling I growled
This transported him back, with a rush, out of his daze
and smiling, he spoke
“The carriage will be here momentarily.
The Scrubbers Arms first,
there are two new ships in town
and I thought that we could check out
the form of these new Sheffield Steel blades.
Then over to The Square,
to pick up last evenings gambling winnings.
From there, Madam Jenny’s and the Chinese Flophouse
at the far end of Pickpockets Row
to mellow and chill away the early hours.”
“I don’t do ‘Mellow’ nor ‘Chill’, you know!”
“It is more a turn of phrase, dear fellow.”
We exited the vehicle at Tabernacle Corner,
the steam of the horses breath
disappearing almost instantaneously into the thick city fog.
We followed the dim glow of three streetlamps
before turning left into Blind Drunk Alley,
rat-mazing the back lanes,
we only stopped once, fleetingly,
so Libertine could clout fuck out of a dipping street urchin,
who picking the wrong ‘Victim’ soon became a ‘Victim’
The Scrubbers Arms was packed to the debauched rafters
with pirates, footpads, cutthroats and other treacherous bastards,
singing seas shanties collected from all corners of the globe.
We each drank pints of Jailors Coffin Ale
and smoked pipe tobacco twisted into hand rolled cigarettes.
Before leaving the notorious establishment,
Libertine whispered into my shell-like
“It’s time for a little game of ‘Bird With Broken Wing’ me thinks”
Almost immediately we feigned total inebriation,
staggering towards the back entrance,
stumbling into one another
and falling and laughing over wooden stools and chairs.
We were followed, of course, by four wannabe muggers,
at the very first wall bend
we dropped our ‘Carrot And Donkey’ pantomime
and ripped tight the vicious snare.
Two each, is more than fair
when you are armed to the teeth, such as we.
If you are quick enough you can hear as well as feel
a steel blade slice and tear through the very air.
After avoiding the running feet
following the Beat Bobbies whistles,
we arrived at The Foxhole Tavern
at the left corner of The Square.
News of our shenanigans was arriving by guttersnipes
as we were demanding an audience with Blackjack Bill.
He paid up in full, all monies due,
after just one violent threat,
and a plea bargain, upon his part, was denied
to honour, afore mentioned debt in home burglary items.
We did not stop for one single drink,
the place being full of petty-minded cunts as usual.
Instead, following our cocks rather than our noses,
we strode the canal bank under the bridge to The Arches,
where we stopped to back-scuttle a Tuppenny Upright each,
ejaculating the adrenalin from our still ‘Fight Or Flee’ Bodies.
At Madam Jenny’s, we, being sexually sated for the moment,
ordered four higher grade harlots for companionship,
and headed out back to the Chinese Flophouse.
With opium pipes on fire and dangerous yet pleasant company
pretty enough to warm the cockles of your black heart.
We lay back upon foot high bunks,
amongst the squalid, seedy ruins of low-life humanity.
After Libertine’s Head Butler appeared, as planned,
with a further couple of Manservants
to escort the ‘Valuables’ back to The Manor House.
We rang the little brass serving bell for Pernod…
and with nothing remaining to stay careful for… we let go…
and sank further down into the squalid grime of these times.