Two jugs of coffee; Feel it, speeding me along.
Jim introduced me to a lot of things my mother wouldn’t have been pleased about. Once he came in and I was lying on the fleapit that I called bed. ‘Ere’, he said. ‘’Ave a snort on this.’ Without thinking, which was often the case in those days, I did. Sniffed from a brown plastic bottle with a gold label. There was a sharp, chemical smell and the strange sensation that my head was about to launch straight off my neck and hit the ceiling. Jim beamed at me with his Labrador eyes. ‘How long, how long does this last?’ I said. If it was to go on for much longer I felt that I might go mad.
But not everything Jim introduced me to was illegal. He was a champion beer drinker. He favoured beers brewed in the north that came with names such Old Satan’s Pig Swill, The Badger’s Bottom and Viking’s Mucus. However daft their names, the results were always devastating. One night’s foolishness saw us sitting cross-legged at either end of the pub’s inglenook hearth that was decorated with brass coal scuttles, toasting forks, warming pans and other such claptrap designed to make the place feel authentic. As long-haired enthusiasts of The Hobbit, we thought we’d use the fire for what it was really meant for: keeping us warm while we were drinking pints and smoking pipes. Naturally, the customers and the girl behind the bar didn’t fall for our authentic rustic charm. When we were finally thrown out of the place, I swear there were two moons.
Another time, he took me down to Boscombe. It was a seaside place of junk shops, second handbook shops, coffee shops and tobacconists. What more could a man need?
Jim said ‘this is the place’ and pulled me into a café with orange vinyl seats. There was a lot of wood in the place, pine cladding running up the walls and hiding the ceiling. The waitress approached us as if we were rats. She recoiled as if bitten when Jim said ‘’Ave you got any Blue Mountain?’
It would be twenty years later when I’d remember the name of the coffee Jim had asked for. ‘We don’t sell it’ the girl had said, probably silently adding so please go away. But now I have some. It wasn’t, as I’d decided, a figment of Jim’s imagination. I made myself a jug of the stuff.
Jim, I don’t know where you are now, but once again, thanks. The results are still devastating.