Ralph is sitting on his bed, watching ‘The Warrior’ whilst unsuccessfully trying to roll a cigarette. There are five flies cutting backwards and forwards through the smoky fug above his head. One of Ralph’s legs sticks out from under the duvet. It looks more like a weirdly shaped red-skinned potato than a human limb, pitted with the multiple scars of old ulcers, infections from his long years of drug use.
‘Have you seen this film? You can borrow it if you like. It’s pretty fucking amazing. Like dancing.
Do you know much about the Ming dynasty? That’s when it all takes place. Kind of like the Middle Ages, only in China. Those geezers are protecting the princess from the Mongols. That one’s pretty handy with a lance. He’s gonna go in a minute. Watch out! And that’s the princess. Man, she’s just perfect. So beautiful. And she can cut it up pretty rough when she wants. You just wait.
Have a seat. What’s the rush?
But keep your voice down, yeah? Some of the guys are outside drinking and I don’t want them to know I’m here. They think I’m dead and I want to surprise them later.’