The Cowgate was in Edinburgh’s Old Town, hidden beneath the South and George IV Bridges like the monstrous child of shamed parents too polite to smother it at birth. It was dark no matter what time of day or year because of the looming tenements on either side, built higher than either sense or sanity dictated. Of course clubs like the Snake-Pit thrived like mushrooms in the grime and lack of light and ‘low-life’ became an elevated state to which the clubbers could only aspire. And I should know. My lack of ambition and taste for irredeemable scum were legendary in this part of town.
It was ten o’clock and still early by satanic orgiast standards, but I was desperate for a drink. I pulled my borrowed clothes around me like a second, ill-fitting skin, heading down the alleyway and toward the nondescript door in what looked like an abandoned tenement.
I knocked on the door and was met with only silence. I tried again, harder with the same response. I drew my fist back preparing for a good old fashioned hammering, but the door swung open and a young, Hispanic looking man appeared in the door-way, the faint boom of a base and drum combo going on from what seemed like miles underground.
“Yes?” said the man, the sibilance of the s sounding loud in the narrow alley. He had a hair net over dark hair and was wearing what appeared to be an all in one lime body-suit.
At least I wasn’t the only one that was sartorially challenged tonight.
“Can I come in?”
“Hmm. Let me think about that,” he said folding his arms pretending to be deep in thought. “No.”
“I’m a regular. Or used to be. I-”
“I know who you are, bitch. Why else do you think you’re barred? I heard all about the fight you started on the dance-floor. Five people injured and one airlifted to hospital.”
“I know, talk about murder on the dance-floor eh? But you know, joking aside there are two types of people in the world: those that like Lionel Ritchie and-”
“Stop,” he said lip curling, “before my sides split.”
“Don’t be like that. I would have thought any bloke brave enough to go out dressed as Catwoman had to have a sense of humour.”
“See how funny you think it is when I rip off your head and piss down the hole. Beat it – I ain’t gonna tell you again.”
Ah bouncers and dress codes, a marriage made in hell by the most sadistic of devils. The door began to close and I wedged the toe of my boot over the threshold.
“We’ve obviously got off on the wrong foot,” I reasoned.
“And I’m about to take yours off if you don’t remove it.”
“Tyson?” A familiar contralto voice floated from somewhere deep in the bowels of the club.
“Tyson? Priceless. Do you do weddings and Bar Mitzvah’s as well?”