by Stewart Wilson
June 23rd, 1983
Dawn and the London sky's still grey, the threat of rain even sa the sun turns the streetlights off and the night people head back to wherever they spend the day. The day people aren't awake this early, especially not Jim's crowd. Students, ex-students, intellectuals, artists... the people the government forgot, or tried to. Nothing they need to do in the dead of summer but stay awake listening to the latest punk records and smoking dope. Jim takes a look around, noting the girl who sleeps in the room above his collapsed across the weird guy who's always there even though nobody knows who he is, and steps outside for a smoke.
Few cars on the streets. Quiet residential area, estate agents call it. More lke a place where people don;t have the money for petrol. Some people drifting back from an all-night party from the looks of things, but Jim pays them no heed. All dyed mohawks and leather and chains. Not his scene for sure. Of course, this is when his lighter decides to crap out on him, and the bird at the back of the punk crowd is the only one close enough for him to ask.
As he gets closer, Jim's eye is drawn to a weird tatto on her left shoulder. It's more angular than the ones on the girl's back, almost corporate. Must just be the early hour, he thinks as he starts after her.
"'Scuse me! I couldn't crash a light, could I?"
She turns, a weird smile in her eye. "Trade you a fag for the light."
He hands over a Woodbine, and she produces a lighter from a place most of Jim's mind doesn't want to think about. The girl sticks around, looking him over again even though her group has moved on almost out of sight. Her shoulders seem to melt into the brick of the wall where she leans, bare flesh fitting into old brick better than they have any right to. A plume of smoke rises as they exhale, invisible against the sky.
"It's the only way to watch the dawn, you know."
"I don't do it often enough to know." He takes the time to look her over more thoroughly. Black leather and safety pins, mismatched garish stockings, green hair and rings in her face. Not unattractive but he'd need a few to think she was on the other end of the scale. A faint whiff of ozone, like the aftermath of a thunderstorm. And those eyes. If Jim weren't still up in the clouds from the dope he'd wonder why they were amber.