I spent the rest of the day lying on the bed staring up at the ceiling hoping more than a person who hoped a lot that the flash of inspiration I needed would hit me and give me the idea of a life time. A long life time ta boot!

But the longer I stared the less chance there seemed of anything slightly resembling an original idea entering my head.

In Sheffield it was relatively easy to get people through the door as there was little competition as all the mainstream clubs did exactly the same so it wasn’t that hard to look different but this was London. I mean, this was the Big Smoke, The Swinging City, the Great Wen and …..ughhh… other things.

Staring at the ceiling was having nil effect so I pulled myself rather reluctantly up off the bed and headed for the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. No sooner had I picked up the kettle when I heard a loud thumping on the door downstairs. After my experience with Stonker I decided the best policy was to ignore any knocking on the front door.

However, whoever was hitting crap out of it had other ideas and another loud whack followed.

I looked down out of the window to the spot next to the entrance of the flat where Benny kept the gloppitta gloppitta machine but there was no sign of anyone not even Benny or one of his potatoes.

“I know you're in there” bellowed out a voice “open up will ya!”

“Jimmy!” I thought to myself and raced out of the kitchen jumping down three stairs at a time hoping to open the front door before the next whack and avoid any chance of Archibald or his father coming to see what the noise was.

I opened the door and Jimmy gave me his usual greeting “how ya doing silly bollocks?”

“Don't have to be so formal” I said as I grabbed his hand and shook it warmly.

“You know me” he said “always err on the side of caution in case I offend. Now are you gonna buy me a coffee?”

“Think I bought the last one we had in Sheffield.”

“That was tea” said Jimmy “so it doesn't count.”

“You know, you make a camel's arse seem like the Brenner Base in comparison. Let me get some dosh and I'll be with you now” I said.

I went upstairs to get my wallet and then back down again to where Jimmy was waiting for me.

“How d´'a know where to find me?” I said.

“Phoned your folks and your mother told me.”

“Let's go to Benny's next door” I said.

“You're paying so only fair you choose” said Jimmy.

As I opened the door to Benny's café I turned to Jimmy and said “you seem different from the last time I saw you. You know like happy. Haven't had a shag by any chance have you?”

“Me and Sally have split and are getting divorced.”

“You young, you happy” said Benny as we approached the counter.

“Hello Benny, can we have two coffees please.”

Benny nodded and me and Jimmy went to sit down in what I now considered my spot near the window looking out on Cricklewood Lane.

“Is my liberation so obvious that even people who don't know me have to comment on my sandboy like appearance” said Jimmy.

“It's practically the only thing Benny knows how to say so he'd say you young, you happy if you were ninety and had got your foreskin stuck in your zip while being diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder on Christmas day.”

“You what?” said Jimmy “you know, talking bollocks has gone off the talking bollocks scale since you went to university.”

“Never mind the bollocks, what happened with Sally then?” I said.

“Well, we had another blazing row and just as it was getting to the silent not talking stage after the shouting so loud your head resembles a bell end stage she looked at me and said “I want a divorce.”

“I looked at her without speaking for a few seconds and then said “where do I sign?” in a calm voice.

It was a strange feeling like it was the most natural thing to say. You know, almost like it wasn't me saying it. She looked at me as if she hadn't comprehended what I'd said and was about to say something but I interrupted her and repeated “where do I sign?”

Been living in a bedsit since and we're at the petition stage but I feel like a new person and won't be taking a step back.”

“Likely to get messy” I said.

“That´' guaranteed” said Jimmy “but I just couldn't go on living with her end of.”

I thought I'd change the subject as I hadn't seen him looking so happy for years and didn't fancy taking a paddle down shit creek. He was always a good laugh but had a sad look in his eyes which for now at least had disappeared.

“So did you take the job with the Met? You living here now? I said.

“Yeah, I'm looking for a house in the suburbs for Sally and the kids and a flat for myself.”

“Sally and the kids moving up from Cardiff?” I said.

“Yeah, I know it sounds strange” said Jimmy “but Sally thought it'd be better if she was in London as it'd make looking after the kids easier. I'd like to think she's thinking of them but experience tells me there's likely something devilish afoot.”

“You lika toe?” said Benny as he put our coffees on the table.

“Na, you're alright Benny. Just coffee'll be fine” I said.

“OK. You young, you happy” said Benny as he went back towards the kitchen.

“You lika a toe?” said Jimmy.

“He means toast! Been here for over thirty years with an English level of thirty minutes. Lovely bloke mind and his grubs nice. Anyway, did you take the job in the drug squad?” I said.

“I'm in the CID now and have just got back from New York. Spent a week there as part of an exchange programme we've got with them. Had a ball and learnt a bit too” he said laughing.

“Didn't take you long to pick up the lingo then. Had a ball! What's New York like then?” I said.

“Great” said Jimmy “mind you, felt a bit out of my depth at times. I mean, from Cardiff to New York! A couple of the NYPDs finest, Ray and Vance, who had the job of looking after me, took me out one night and all I can say is they must have had Welsh ancestors!

“Liked Welsh cakes?” I said.

“Liked taking the piss" said Jimmy. We had a good drink and then they took me to this club. Down a dark alley god knows where with no sign, no nothing but a door with one of those sliding hatch things like you see in the films. Ray knocked on the door and after a while the hatch opened and a pair of eyes gave us the once over and then the hatch closed and the door opened.

Once inside and passed the doorman who merely nodded, Ray and Vance led the way through a dark corridor to reception where we were greeted by this real hottie dressed in a basque.”

“Real hottie?”I said.

“Sorry, zonking bird” said Jimmy and went on “when she saw Vance who was standing behind Ray she stood up, came from behind the table and said

´Hi Vance, you missed me?´

´Like moths miss the flame´ said Vance ´how about you?´

´Oh yeahhhh baby” she said “like a whip misses a bare butt!´ at which point I jumped in with ´like a nipple misses a clothes peg” said Jimmy looking rather pleased with himself.

“What made you think of nipples and pegs?” I said. “ Something you'd like to share with me?

“Well, I was bolloxed” said Jimmy and went on “you've made me lose my thread now. Where was I?

“Nipples and clothes pegs” I said.

“Oh yeah” said Jimmy “so the bird in the basque turned to me and said ´hey Vance who's your feisty friend? Does he know what kind of club we have here?´

´Hell no, he's a country boy Limey´ said Vance "so he'll be a stick it in, wiggle and jizz.´

She turned and stared at me and then came over and stood so close I could feel her tits on my chest and her nipples were so hard you could hang a duffle coat on them. She caressed my cheek with the palm of her hand and said ´do you wiggle it feisty?´

´Just a little bit´ I replied.

She smiled and said ´I like your feisty friend Vance´ whilst maintaining her gaze on me. After what seemed like ten minutes but was probably only a few seconds she went behind the reception table and said ´OK feisty you wanna check your clothes in?´

´My clothes?´

´Yeah, your clothes. You can go inside butt naked if that's what tickles your fancy.´

´Well thanks all the same but I think I'll keep my skiddies on just for now.´

I walked over to where Vance and Ray were standing and said ´what the fuck is this place?"

''Chill Jimmy' said Ray 'a few beers with some music that's all. Come on let's go in. I'll get the first round."

We walked down a corridor painted black lit by those neon lights which make the dandruff and fluff on people's clothes stand out and as we walked the thumping of a kick drum grew louder and louder until we reached a double door. As soon as you went through the doors the first thing that hit you was the blast of the drum and a bass so low it resonated with your heart closely followed by the heat and the smell of sweat. Not old onions but fresh sweat.

It was mobbed and full of people wearing black leather, exotic lingerie, practically nothing or nothing at all and I remember thinking looking at the naked ones ´where do they keep their money or their fags?´”

I was transfixed by Jimmy's story and as he spoke the seed of an idea started to sprout in my mind which sort of distracted me for a second or two.

“Ray got the drinks in” said Jimmy “and then we went for a wander round the club. It was as dark as … well, a dungeon! Corridor after corridor and at the end of one was a door with a red neon sign in the form of the devil complete with trident and when you passed through it there was another corridor with lots of other rooms but with no doors on them. We went to the first room and I stuck my head around the door frame and almost dropped my drink when I saw inside.”

“Someone ask you for money?” I said but Jimmy ignored my interruption.

“See there was this naked guy tied to a chair in such a way that he couldn't move a muscle and standing next to him was this bird dressed in a basque rubbing sandpaper on his nuts.”

“Sandpaper?” I said.

“Yeah sandpaper! So the bird turned towards us and smiled and then grabbed the guy's bean bag so hard his nuts must have shot up to his eye sockets. He didn't make a sound which was more than remarkable as I had tears in my eyes just watching! Not the same level of self control coming from those further down the corridor mind as there were shouts, screams and all sorts of noises coming out of the rooms.”

“What was happening down there then?” I asked.

“I only had a look in one more as I wasn't exactly feeling at home and to tell you the truth felt as if I was wearing an open backed hospital gown on the terraces of the Millennium. Poked my head around the door frame of the room opposite and there was this bloke chained by his hands to the ceiling. Another bloke was fucking him up the arse whilst a bird in front slapped him across the face repeatedly. All the while he was shouting ´harder. Hard as you can!´ Then I heard a blood curdling scream from further down the hall which put the willies up me.”

“Unfortunate turn of phrase under the circumstances don't you think” I said. “What happened?”

“Didn't venture down there to find out” said Jimmy “so I made out I was dying for a piss to cut the tour. Well, I was anyway and it seemed like a good way of making an exit so I asked Ray where the bogs were and he pointed over to where there was a dim blue light above a door. Have to say part of me wanted him to come with me but I didn't want to look scared so marched off on my own staring straight at the blue light hoping to avoid eye contact with anyone between me and the toilet.Once inside I stepped up to the urinal and pulled down my zip anticipating the sense of relief but just as I was about to let go I heard a voice from behind me say ´piss on me!´ I turned around and saw this guy dressed only in a black leather thong and as my head moved in his direction he knelt next to me and repeated ´piss on me!´”

“Christ, what did you do?” I said.

“I said ´nah, ya alright mate´ but he came back with ´piss on me please. I'll pay you a hundred bucks if you piss on me.´

“Did you take the money?” I said.

“What d'ya think” said Jimmy.

“Well, you could have said give me five hundred and I'll throw in a number two!”

Jimmy laughed and said “you know, I think you would've fitted right in. You really are a grubby bastard. No, I politely declined again and let go as I couldn't hold it any longer. I remember the guy looking at me pissing with his gaze transfixed on the piss as it swirled down the drain like I was burning money or throwing something precious away. When I came out of the toilet Ray was standing there smiling and said ´you know you're alright for a country boy Limey. Let's get outta here.´ I asked where Vance was but Ray just smiled and raised his eyebrows."

“Eventful night” I said.

“You could say that” said Jimmy “finished it off with a pastrami sandwich the size of a rugby ball. Never had the chance to ask Vance what he got up to that night as I came back the day after but I'll have to get the juice from Ray. Anyway, enough of my escapades. How´s things going? Got a job?”

“Don't mention work” I said.

“I know what you mean but we all need to earn a crust.”

“It's not work in general it's the job I've got now that's worrying me. Have you ever heard of a bloke called Mitch Maton, Mitch “Mad” Maton?”

“Just got off the boat so to speak so it's all new to me up here. Who is he?”

“He owns bars and clubs in the West End and apparently he's mob so yeah it's more than likely he'll become known to you.”

“How would you get involved with someone like that” said Jimmy as he leant forward with a glint in his eye. Think I'd stirred his interest.

“Frank...” but before I could continue Jimmy jumped in with “I told you to watch out for him didn't I!”

“Frank” I said making it sound like his name was spelt with six fs and ignoring what Jimmy had said “ told Mr. Maton, you see that's what he likes to be called Mr.…..Maton, that I was a club promoter who could make a new club he's bought in St. Martin´s Lane a rip roaring success. Met him on Saturday night in his bar Cuff Links in Covent Garden and the long and short of it is '´m working for him now. Just hope things turn out longer than shorter.”

“You're crazy if he's what you say he is. I'll see what I can dig up on him. Cuff Links you said? Don't suppose there's any chance of him accepting your resignation” said Jimmy.

I shook my head as if to say slims just left town and said “I'm going to the club tomorrow morning. I just can't work out why he'd want me to manage it. I mean, Frank could say I can walk on water but surely he checks out people before dealing with them and must know I'm from Cardiff and that my only qualification for the job is making some money on the side whilst in college up north. Hardly the ideal CV!”

“Yeah, there must be more to it” said Jimmy glancing at his watch. “Listen, I've got to go now but I'll let you know what I can find out and do my best to cover your back if need be. Until then do your best to live up to his expectations.”

We knocked back the remnants of our coffee which by now was stone cold, went outside and as we shook hands Jimmy said “I'll do some digging but in the meantime take care of yourself and ring me anytime you feel the need. Anytime!”

I waved as Jimmy sped off in his car and as I watched him pull out onto the Finchley Road I must say I felt much better for talking to him. Nothing had really changed but having someone around I knew I could trust who I'd known since I was a small kid somehow made me feel less afraid and also his story of club sandpaper had given me an idea on how I could make Mr. Maton's club stand out from the rest.

Just hoped it'd be enough!