Pink food. What's that all about? Pink food...! Supposed to be funny-ironic, I guess. Maybe fifteen years ago, when we were still young and loud and impressed with ourselves, our own smart take on the world. Us-all on the outside, looking in and jeering. Whose was that T-shirt, I can't even think straight? I remember where it ended up, Quin had it for pyjamas, but I don't know who it started with.

Not going to ask. We were all too much the same back then, and we're too different now. Gerard's still loud, still impressed with himself, he hasn't grown up at all. Hence the pink food. If I asked, he'd say it's what Quin would have wanted. Didge - well, Didge doesn't answer to Didge any more, he's Matt now, that says plenty. Matt with the silky sheen. We used to laugh at men in suits. Uniforms, we said, uniformity, what's that for? Tweed is a river. Linen is a perfume. Silk is a cut of tobacco - and we all wore blue jeans and razor-cut hair from Mr Fan the Chinese barber down the hill, and one time Micky saw me through a window and we both made like it was a mirror, which seemed funny then.

Ah, Micky. Yesterday, today, forever; at least he's stopped changing now, he doesn't have to worry what comes next. He'll never wake up to find he's turned into Michael overnight. Turn down an empty glass for Micky.

It's time for Gerard to propose his toast. In pink drink. Did we really use to drink this? Yes, we did. Quin taught us to. First the vodka, then the words, then the bitters-&-fizz. Always seemed like the wrong order, to me. Fizz should come first, surely, or what's the point, if it doesn't make you bubbly? If the bubbles come with bitters intermixed, that's fine, that's life. And then it gets stronger, it gets serious, it gets all vodka straight. Words come in at any time, all through. Quin did like his rituals, though. I think he made this up.

Absent friends, Gerard says, and he doesn't mean Micky.

Close this page