Ralph, twenty two. Tight leather jacket, slack mouth.
‘I’m tripping, man. I’m buzzing my nuts off. These guys in the pub, they were like – Yay! Having it! And they tipped some stuff in my pint. So I said – Whoa! That’s one thing I don’t do, drugs. So they’re like – Come on, man! But really, I don’t do drugs. Ask my mum. I’ll smoke a bit of weed, but that’s it. So about half an hour later, I’m on my sixth pint and I’m like – Shit! Everything’s fazing in and out and I’m literally seeing double (which I never do). I’m a man, not a mouse. I can take my drink. ‘Cos when I drink I’m flying, but then I’m like – whoosh - straight. So can you take me to hospital so they can do whatever they do to find out what those guys put in my pint? Do you think I’ll have to wait? ‘Cos if it’s gonna be too long, I might just go home and sleep. Stop off and grab a couple.’
Stephen and his sister, Effie, fifty and fifty two. Faces on eggs.
‘She had some cereal about an hour ago. Honey whatsits. You know. Like cornflakes. Bits of nuts and stuff on them. Nuts, honey. Crunchy. Milk, obviously.’
‘Honey nut cornflakes?’
‘No. I know the ones you mean. But definitely not honey nut cornflakes.’
‘No. Flatter than Cheerios. Crunchier. Proper flakes.’
‘Bran flakes? Bran flakes haven’t got honey and nuts on them, sis. Bran flakes are just plain. Just plain flakes of bran.’
‘You can put honey on them.’
‘Yes. But I’m talking about ones that come with it all on.’
‘Honey nut cornflakes?’
‘You said that already.’
Siobhan, 18. EMO. Biro hearts up her arm.
‘I was horrible to you. No I was horrible. I was cruel and horrible and I said horrible things and I wish I hadn’t. You’re my best friend in the world and I never want to lose you. I know I bend things around and say things I don’t mean but I never want you to forget you’re the one, true thing in my life, the only thing that keeps me here. Look at this! Look at what she did up my arm! It’s the most beautiful thing. And to think I shouted at you and called you – I’m not going to say it. I was only trying to push you away. That’s what I do when I find something beautiful or something beautiful finds me. I push it away because I think that can’t be me, they must mean someone else. So. I’ve got hyper mobility syndrome, asthma, and I had to be rushed to hospital when I was eight with a silent bowel. The energy from my head got blocked and when it didn’t have anywhere else to go it went down, along here, inside, and stuffed me up. I’m also allergic to spiders. You know when you’re having a stroke? Do you breathe like that when you’re having a stroke?’