game over

Graham pulls his top up to show me his scar – a flap fully half the size of his abdomen, the edges as puckered as the crimped edges of a pasty.
‘Wow! That’s impressive!’ I say.
‘Yeah. The surgeon wanted plenty of elbow room’ he says. ‘I think he pretty much climbed inside’
He lowers his top again and sits on his bed, suddenly forlorn. Jake, his friend, is standing next to him, fidgeting from side to side. He takes a step forward.
‘Look at this, then,’ he says, joining in the display of medical horrors. An angry-looking rash extends up both his arms, bubbling up through his tattoos.
‘Horrible, innit?’
‘It looks pretty sore. Is it itchy?’
‘Yeah, it’s itchy. Itchy as fuck. So what d’you think?’
‘I don’t know. They look like bites.’
‘I think you’re right,’ he says. ‘This place is crawling with bed bugs.’
I can’t help glancing down at the bed Graham’s sitting on, but if he heard or already knows about the bugs, he makes no sign.
Over Graham’s bed is a poster of Bruce Lee, in the famous fighting pose from Enter the Dragon.
‘He was amazing,’ I say. ‘It’s such a shame he died so young.’
‘Thirty-two,’ says Graham, looking up. ‘Same age as me.’
‘What about all those rumours? You know – Triads and death touches?’
‘Nah. That’s just conspiracy theory bullshit. He’d gone round Betty Tingpei’s house to talk about his next film, Game of Death, and she give him a pain killer for a headache. Only it turned out Bruce was sensitive to the Meprobromate in it, his brain swelled up, and that was that. Game Over.
‘Ask Graham anything you like about Bruce Lee,’ says Jake, still swaying from side to side. ‘Anything at all.’
‘Yeah. Or drugs,’ says Graham.

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