Breaking the Rules

Wednesday night: I met this fit girl in the pub; we exchanged phone numbers. I wrote hers on a pack of silver Rizla cigarette papers. I don’t want to appear too keen – treat ‘em mean and all that, so I had an idea. There’s fifty papers in the packet. I’ve decided that if she hasn’t contacted me by the time I’ve used the last paper, I’ll give her a call. Thing is, the pack is just about full, and because I only smoke about ten a day, that’s an excruciating five days to wait.

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I could cheat. I could smoke more; perhaps if I upped the stakes to twenty a day that would halve the time, or, if I offered the papers around, maybe when the guys are rolling spliffs – that would see them disappear in a night. I’m in a quandary. I always play these little games according to the rules, and the rules are quite clear – I have to wait until I’ve used all the papers in a legitimate way, and for the purposes of this game, the legitimate way is to carry on as usual and smoke the ten a day.

Oh my god, I’ve just remembered, I’m in the middle of another little game, I’ve promised myself I’ll stop smoking by tea-time on Thursday. I’m stuffed.

Thursday morning: It’s OK; I’ll probably fail in my attempt to give up smoking anyway. I haven’t succeeded yet and I’ve tried often enough. But, I’ve got to try; otherwise it wouldn’t be playing the game. I feel better now.

Thursday night: Ten o’clock. I came home early from the pub. I haven’t smoked since teatime, but I’ve got no cigarette papers left. Thing is, there are rules to these games. One of the rules is that any new game overrides the rules of any old game, as long as it’s a spontaneous new game, suggested by someone else.

We played that game in the pub, the one where somebody writes the name of a famous person on a Rizla and sticks it on your forehead. Then you have to guess who you are. I didn’t volunteer the papers; it was Martyn who asked for them, he knows I smoke roll-ups.

It didn’t take long for the papers to run out. I was Freddie Mercury at first; I didn’t get it for ages; that was fun, but I’m not gay or even bisexual. Then Martyn went into a sulk because I made him Pavarotti; he can’t sing, but he is a bit tubby.

Friday morning: Even though it would have been within the rules it felt like cheating so I didn’t phone her. I haven’t bothered going to work either. I get like that some days; I hate work, it’s a boring, pointless thing to do with your time. I suppose it’s all right if you love your job, or if you’d be dead lonely otherwise, but it’s not for me.

Martyn loves work. He only lives a twenty minute walk away from the park where he works as a groundsman. He doesn’t seem to regard it as work at all, it’s more like a place he goes to warm himself up for the pub in the night, that’s a twenty minute walk in the other direction, he’s got it sussed all right.

Gary now, another one of the guys in the pub, doesn’t believe in work at all. He says there’s too much work in the world, everyone zooming about, creating greenhouse gases, destroying the planet. He thinks he’s doing us all a favour by not working, helping to save the world. Thing is, he’s always broke, always on the scrounge.

Friday night: It’s late, gone midnight. No pub tonight. Gary and Martyn came round for a few spliffs and a couple of beers. We had a laugh, even when Gary and Martyn argued about work. Then Gary pointed out that it was him who supplied all the weed. That’s one thing Gary does well, grow his own organic Welsh skunk. We all fell about laughing then, as you do. I’m knackered.

Saturday afternoon: I’ll have to phone her soon.

Saturday evening: I’m buggered. I wasted an hour searching for the Rizla packet. Some silly sod must have used it to make roaches for the spliffs last night, and the leftovers have been flushed. I don’t know if I care anymore though; but if she phones me first I’ll have to go out with her, that’s another rule.

I wish I could be like Martyn, or even Gary; they’ve both got it sussed in their own way. Me, I don’t know what I want. I don’t suppose she’ll phone now, probably thinks I’m a little shit. I think I’ll go to the pub. Gary and Martyn will have to meet me there if I phone them, that’s another one of our games.

Saturday, late night: I had a long chat with Martyn in the pub. Gary didn’t turn up, probably too stoned or something, he’s always breaking the rules. Martyn’s really cool; he’s got something special about him. He’s just simply alive; he shines like he’s lit up inside.

Sunday afternoon: Martyn’s dead. Gary phoned. Martyn was on his way home from the pub and some fucking joy-rider smeared him all over a bus-shelter. Gutted.

Sunday night: She phoned me. I couldn’t be bothered. She wasn’t that fit anyway.

Fuck the rules.

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