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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

With apologies for the delay, the great northlondonhippy short-story writing experiment will now take place. I'm going to attempt to write a complete short story in one blog entry. The experiment starts now!
Untitled Short Story
the northlondonhippy

I should have known something wasn't right when it turned out to be rats. I hate rats. I know I'm not suppose to hate them, that I'm suppose to love all animals, but the truth is I hate them. I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here.

This has to do with a girl, well a woman. I first met her in a small, dusty local pub in west London. I didn't actually meet her that night, but I spotted her and put into motion the steps it would take to meet her and more.

I was out for a pint with a mate of mine, it was his local pub, not mine. It could have been any vaguely dark, ill-maintained public house, anywhere in the UK. The choice of ales was limited, the food selection consisted of pork scratching or stale peanuts and the unfinished tables wobbled every time you lifted your drink. Smoke hung stagnantly in the air with the odor of stale beer providing the counterbalance in the olfactory department. On the plus side it was cheap and you could always find a seat.

My friend and I had taken up residence at a small table in the corner. The stereotypical collection of old men in tweed jackets and odd hats were perched around the bar, quietly drinking themselves into a stupor and probably an early grave. You know the types, with all dashed hopes and broken dreams and no hope of ever turning things around.

Across the pub, there was an uncharacteristic site for such a small and anonymous pub, two tables pulled together surrounded by a large group of people. I suppose if I was to stay with my stereotypical descriptions, I would call this a collection of crusties and student types. I couldn't really hear what they were saying, but I could tell it was a passionate discussion, no doubt meant to be putting some aspect of the world to rights. As if anything could be solved around an unfinished, wobbly table, in some anonymous west London pub!

One person in the group caught my attention immediately, she was breathtakingly beautiful and seemed out of place with this group of cider-drinkers. I tried to catch her eye, but she was wrapped up in whatever was being discussed so heatedly.

My friend noticed my distracted state and shot a quick glance over his shoulder. He knows me pretty well and soon deduced what or rather who had me drifting away from the conversation. Actually, he knew me well enough to just let me get on with it.

Getting on with it, in my world, meant meeting her. Some people gamble, some people are addicted to drugs, for me, my addiction is women. Serial monogamy is my religion, my hobby, my drug. I knew I had to have this woman. So did my friend and he bid me a swift goodbye.

I went up to the bar and ordered another pint and positioned myself near the large group, where I could keep an eye on my prospective new girlfriend and try to hear what they were talking about.

Now I suppose a bit of a description of myself is in order. I'm not bad looking, but you wouldn't expect to see me modeling y-fronts in a magazine advert anytime soon. If anything I'm pretty average; average looks, average height, weight, build. Even my hair is average, sort of a medium to light brown colour and medium brown eyes.

Even my cock is about average in size, though I like to think above average in performance, staying power and ability to come back for more quickly. They call it the refractory period, the time it takes to get another erection after orgasm and the length of time for me has always be been quite brief. Perhaps that's more information than you really need.

My clothing is even average, jeans, demin jacket, tee-shirt. I could blend in anywhere and I do look younger than my thirty-two years. Some people think I'm still a student, but I'm not. I don't actually work, I come from a wealthy family.

My father was very rich, he's dead now. My mother, his 3rd wife, married him when he was in his late sixties, and she was in her twenties. I came along quite quickly and my father was dead before I was a teenager. He came from money too. Old money, they call it.

As well as living in a family owned flat in a posh part of London, I get a monthly allowance from the family accounts. I'm not going to lie to you say it doesn't make my life easy, because it does. I've never in my life had to worry about money, something I've seen in other people, but don't truly understand. So for me to be in this pub on a weekday afternoon, was not really a very big deal. My time is really my own.

I was getting the gist of their meeting around the pulled together tables. They were some sort of animal rights activists or protestors and they were plotting some kind of action that night. One of them got up from the table to go the bar and stood right next to me while he waited for the barman. I decided to attempt to strike up a conversation.

He was in his twenties, with a pierced eyebrow and lip. His hair was in the sort of dreadlocks that look fine on a person of colour, but look ridiculous on a white guy. He also looked like he could use a good wash, but then that's not really any of my concern.

The barman was at the other end of the long bar, serving someone else, so I had my opening. I said I overheard a bit of what they were saying and I felt quite strongly about animal rights too. He thought that was cool and suggested I join them as they were going to be taking some direct action against a research lab that night.

He purchased his round and led me to the table, some space was made and I pulled up a chair, almost directly across from my new girlfriend. I quickly introduced myself and professed my strong love of all creatures great and small.

I left out my love of bacon sarnies and crispy duck as well as my collection of leather jackets. Some things are best kept to one's self.

They welcomed me openly and explained that what they had planned tonight, while illegal, was completely moral and I was welcome to join them. They needed all the help they could get.

The plot was revealed to me quickly, which surprised me considering how audacious it sounded. They were going to cut the power to a small animal research lab, break in and free all the animals. They said the animals were being used to conduct all sorts of horrible research for the cosmetics and pharmacutical companies and it was their moral right to end this suffering.

What did I know? I just wanted to meet this girl and make her mine.

We arranged to rendezvous later on that evening and we would all travel together to the laboratory.

I went home to get ready for the evening. My flat is a bit spectacular, which I know sounds like more than bragging, but it is true. If you ever are driving south on Lambeth Bridge, you'll see what I mean, it's the big new building right there. From my windows you get a view of London that can't be beat, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London's like a picture postcard.

The flat was a gift from my mother as is just about everything else I own. She wanted me to have a nice place to live and this flat is more than nice. She had it professionally decorated and it contains every possible convenience. Here, I'll show you, since it's getting dark, all I need to do to close the curtains on my floor to ceiling windows, is to hit a button on a remote control. Pretty snazzy, eh?

It's not my fault I live in complete luxury, though I do find myself apologising for it all the time. I know how people react to it. I'm not afraid to face facts, I didn't earn any of this. I've never actually worked a day in my life and probably never will. I'm lucky, what can I tell you.

I do fill my time, I'm not idle. I have a wide variety of pursuits. I'm just not very good at any of them.

I've dabbled in painting, watercolours and oils and even sculpture. I'm rubbish. I've also tried to write and record my own music, I have a small studio here in the flat. My music is passable, if not inspired, but nothing anyone would want to listen to or pay for. It's purely done for vanity. I do enjoy it, I play guitar, keyboards and even sing, mainly rock and pop. I'm not interested in doing it professionally, just for fun and thanks to advances in PC based recording, I've got more toys at my disposal than the Beatles did when they recorded "Sgt Pepper's". I also write.

Or again, in the spirit of honesty, I try to write. What you are reading is probably the most I have written in a very long time. I like think of myself as a writer; pretend I'm one perhaps is a better description. I fancy myself as someone who experiences life as a way of informing my writing. I just don't actually write very much.

I'm hoping that's changing and these words are the first step on that path. Only time will tell and I've got lots of that now.

I decide to change my clothes for the mission tonight. I go for black jeans, a black tee-shirt and black jacket, with matching black hiking boots. I check to make sure that everything is made of natural fibers, especially the boots as a strip of leather on them could give the game away to my new radical friends. Everything is cool.

I jump on the tube to east London. We're meeting on a back street in an industrial estate. I get there just in time to see them all climbing into the back of a gray panel van. It could have been white once and just filthy. Who can say for sure now.

I hop in the back and sit on the floor with the rest of them. A couple of them are carrying large canvas carry-alls, filled with what I am assuming are the tools required to execute tonight's action. I position myself, as near to my new girlfriend as possible, there's one crusty guy between us.

I'm trying to learn as much as I can about her on this journey as well as attempting to assess whether or not someone else in the group has gotten in there first and she already has a boyfriend. That would be bad.

Her name is Bronwyn. Her posh accent belies her slightly scruffy appearance, though I notice her clothing appears as clean as mine. Perhaps she comes from money as well. That would make things easier in the long run, but if not, so what. I've dated women from every aspect of society.

That's true. My status as a serial monogamist means I had girlfriends from a wide cross-section of modern Britain. It's almost a source of pride to me just how diverse a group of women I've dated.

There's a joke I make to my mates, that if you got every woman I've ever dated into the same room, the only thing they would have in common, outside of their gender is their connection to me.

I'm not ashamed at my prolific dating recorded, not in the slightest. I've always conducted myself in an honest and honourable way.

You might see irony in this statement, considering I'm putting it out there at the same time as being in the back of a van full of crusty animal rights activists, all in the pursuit of a pretty girl, but I don't have a problem with it. I do love animals, it's just some of them taste better than others. Especially the little piggies, but let's just keep that between us for now.

As we near the destination, balaclavas are distributed to everyone in the van. It finally strikes me just how serious this is, I'm going to be committing a crime. I can feel the adrenaline surging through me, it's quite a rush.

The van pulls over and a guy they call "Blade" gets out, carrying one of the canvas hold-alls. He's gone for a couple of minutes, then returns, saying it's all done. Turns out he is an electrician and he's just cut the power to the lab. We start driving again.

The driver picks up speed and shouts "brace yourselves" as we smash through the gates of the chain-link fence surrounding the lab. We skid to a halt and all pile out of the van. "Blade" quickly pops open the entrance and switches on a torch, other people turn theirs on as well.

We stream into the building and our met by an unarmed security guard. We overwhelm him and strap him to a chair with gaffer tape. Someone gags him. They ask if there are any other security guards here. He shakes his head "no".

By now I'm dizzy with the excitement. I can't believe we are really doing this!

We find the main lab, where the experiments are conducted. Lining this large room as more animal cages than I can count, easily hundreds. It's a total frenzy as we start opening the cage doors, freeing the residents. The residents are all rats, every last one of them. I hate rats.

My hatred of rats comes from an incident from my childhood. Let’s just leave it at that for now.

Soon there are rats running loose everywhere. They are all white, with big pink eyes. They are repulsive to me, but I don't let this show. Once all the cages are open, we start to herd them all towards the front door of the building. I never tried to herd rats before, but it's not easy, not like cattle or sheep. Not that I've ever herded them anywhere either, but I imagine it would be easier.

Eventually we get them all out the door and they scatter in every direction. No one sings "Born Free" thankfully. Actually, none of these rats were born free, they were bred in another lab specifically for research.

And as I would discover later, they were all genetically modified anyway, again specifically for research purposes. The implications of this fact were severe as it meant the research lab had lost out financially on this, these rats sold for three-grand a pop. And even worse for the environment, these genetically modified rats would mate with the indigenous rats, possibly creating a new race of super-rats.

You might have read about the super-rats in the newspapers since. That was us. Thankfully they never found out it was us. We free over 300 rats that night, at three-thousand pounds each, that's over nine-hundred-thousand pounds sterling of genetically modified lab rats. I wouldn't have wanted to payout on that one!

It turned out the van was stolen and we dumped it and set it a light. We walked a fair distance as a group and went back to Bronwyn's loft in Farringdon to celebrate our victory. At this point we weren't aware of the financial or environmental implications of our actions. We wouldn't have cared about the money, but the environmental thing would have been a bummer.

Being at Brownyn's flat for the remainder of the evening was a major bonus to my campaign to win her affections. This was a dynamic I could understand, be the last man standing and reap the rewards. I just had to outlast every other group member and be the last one here at the end of the evening. Once it was just the two of us, I knew she would be mine.

(c) November 2004 - the northlondonhippy
Ok, I know I'm about halfway through my story, but I've decided to take a little break. I hope you are digging reading it as much as I'm enjoying writing it. I promise I'll come back and finish it just as soon as I can!
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