Blake is sitting at his computer logged on to Facebook. He turns 18 tomorrow and is checking how many people are attending his Facebook event. 24 people have said they are attending, 15 maybes and 12 have declined.
He’s been waiting for this moment for years. Finally the day comes where he no longer has to loiter in dodgy parking lots asking adults to buy him a goon bag, no longer has to source fake IDs to attempt to enter pubs.
He sits there going over the details of the event for the 200th time with a giant smile on his face.
‘Hey guys! It’s my 18th on Friday the 1st of November! So keen to get out there and be an adult. I’ve decided to head into the city for the event so I can use my awesome adult powers in full force!
We’ll be meeting around 7:30 at Town Hall station then walking to Kings Cross. I’ve decided to start the night at Soho!!! The address is 171 Victoria street, Potts Point if you decide to come later.
I know some of you are still going to be under 18 and won’t be able to come to the city but Saturday night so I’m going to have drinks at my place so we can all get smashed together. Lol
I talked to a mate of mine and he is putting a guest list together for us, so if you decide to come make sure you click that you’re attending so I can put you down! Everyone on the guest list will get half price entry, and a free drink voucher. Also, it’s $5 Jager bombs and $4 beers until 10pm! Hope to see you all there!’
The cut off for the guest list is at midnight, so Blake refreshes the page one more time to see if anyone else is attending. Now 25 people say they are going, and 14 maybes! He clicks the attending list and scrolls through to see who has made their decision.
‘Yes!’ Blake yelled when he noticed it was Jennifer who was attending. Jennifer was a year above Blake, she finished school last year. He was totally smitten by Jen, and was often seeking out any opportunity to see her or start a conversation with her. He was hoping she would be coming to the event.
He didn’t need to message his mate to add her onto the guest list as he had already put her on, just in case.
Blake was surprised at the number of people attending. He thought with the final school exams starting soon that people would dog the event because they need to study. He was quite content in knowing that his happiness came before people’s futures. With a smile on his face, and tomorrow on his mind, Blake shut down the computer and attempted the impossible – Sleep.
He lay in bed staring at the darkened ceiling. A thousand thoughts were soaring through his mind like the running of the bulls, knocking the idea of sleep further and further away from him. ‘Will anyone show up? What if they think my ID is fake? What if I get bashed or killed? What if Jennifer doesn’t come? What if she sees me dancing and thinks I’m a douche? What if that guy never sent off the guest list?’
Realising that sleep was going to be impossible, Blake gets out of bed and tip toes back to the computer room, hoping his parents won’t awaken. He slides through the slightly opened door, closes it quietly and flicks the light on.
He turns on the computer again, just to check the event one more time. He logs on to Facebook, and opens a second tab on the browser. Google pops up, and Blake searches ‘Club dance moves’. He goes back to Facebook and sees that he has a message from Chris, a guy Blake knows well. He’s a couple of years older then Blake, at the ripe old age of 19.
Chris dropped out of school after finishing year 10. Since then he hasn’t done much with his life. Blake had spent a bit of time with Chris lately, hanging out at his place playing video games, and smoking bongs with him on the odd occasion. He likes Chris, thinks he is cool, calm and collected.
Blake opens the message from Chris, it read; ‘Hey Bro, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!’ He looks at the clock, 12:35am, He’s officially 18 now. With a smug smile on his face Blake keeps reading.
‘Heaps keen for your party tonight man, will be awesome having you join us in the adult world. Don’t know why you picked Soho though cuz, they don’t play any hard-style or anything! Still should be sick. By the way I got some mad pills for it. My mate gave me 25 of them yesterday to sell at your party. Haven’t tried them yet but he said they should be fucking hectic, they’ll be about $20 each or 6 for $100. Let some of your mates know and holla if your keen. Should be an awesome night man. Catchya!’
Blake was unsure how to feel about this. He had never tried ecstasy before and wasn’t sure if he wanted to. He knew a lot of people take it when they go clubbing in the city, and also knew a few of the people on the guest list would be taking it for sure.
He didn’t respond to the message and thought he’d be better off talking to Chris about it tomorrow, which would give him time to think.
Blake shutdown the computer for the second time that night, snuck back out of the computer room and down the hall to his bedroom and by 1:30 am, finally achieved sleep.
Blake wakes up feeling sluggish. With a long yawn he rolls over and looks at the clock, 2:36pm. He slept in. Annoyed that his parents hadn’t woken him up, Blake flops out of bed and puts on his trackies and a t-shirt.
He finds his Mum in the lounge room reading a book. She’s pretty young to be a mother of someone Blake’s age. She was pregnant with Blake at the age of 16, and had him just after she turned 17. He never met his real father, as soon as he found out she was pregnant he left her. His family moved to Queensland soon after.
She has always said that if he wants to meet his Dad then she can arrange it. But Blake always responds with, ‘If he left you he’s an idiot, and I already know too many idiots’.
When Blake was 5 years old his Mum met another man. They were together for just over 2 years before getting married when he was 7. Blake liked him from the start. He’d always gone out of his way to get to know Blake and spent a lot of time with him. They have done everything together, from playing soccer on the weekends, to fishing trips to failing miserably at playing Mario Cart.
Blake’s Step dad is called David, and this is what Blake calls him as well. David has always asked Blake to call him that rather then Dad, just in case one day he decides to meet his real father.
His Mum looks up from her book at Blake with a beautiful smile on her face. A smile that screams happiness, pride and accomplishment.
‘Happy birthday Blakey!’
‘Thanks Mum, why didn’t you wake me!’
‘You looked so peaceful, and I thought, every second you stay asleep you’re still my baby boy! But the minute you wake up, you’ll become my Baby man. Besides, you’ll need that extra sleep when you’re up partying all night!’
Blake laughed, ‘Ah thanks mum, so is David at work? I wanted to see him before I left tonight’
‘Yeah he had an appointment at 1:00pm, sorry love, but when you get back tonight, or tomorrow morning be sure to wake us and tell us all about it!’
‘Ah mum I might be a bit worse for wear when I get home, probably best if I wait until I wake up and am less.. Drunk’
‘On that matter I want to ask, please don’t drink too much tonight. It’s your first time in the city and I don’t want to get any 2am calls from the police or hospital. Plus you want to remember your 18th! So many people are too far spent to remember anything from their 18th!’
‘Don’t worry Mum, I won’t be drinking too much. I know, I want to remember it too, and the idea of going into the city is making me a bit nervous anyway.’
‘Glad to see my little man is growing up! Now as for presents, I know you just asked for money for tonight, but David and I got you a few other little things as well. But we’ll wait until you’re both home to give them to you, is that ok?’
‘Yeah that’s fine mum, and thank you, you didn’t need to do that.’
‘Of course I did, don’t be stupid. Now I have the money here’
She reached onto the table and picked up a white envelope with the words ‘Happy birthday Blakey’ written in gold metallic texta on the front.
‘Put it in your wallet and keep it safe!’
Blake thanked his Mum and opened the envelope, inside were 5 fifty dollar notes.
‘Wow thanks mum! You didn’t need to give me that much!’
‘I want you to have fun tonight, and I added some extra in case you need to catch a taxi home from the station. Now, are we all set to have your friends over tomorrow night?’
‘Yep, got a few people coming round who have confirmed. Are we still doing the BBQ or are we going to order pizzas?’
‘Up to you love, what would you prefer?’
‘Would be easier to do pizzas, I can get everyone to chip in $5 or something and order a couple’
‘Sounds good too me! What time are you heading off this afternoon?’
‘I’m going to get to Chris’s house around 5:30 and have some pre-drinks, then I’m heading into the city with him to meet at town hall around 7:30’
‘Alright hun, sounds good. Are you excited!’
‘Excited but nervous, Jen is going to be there.’
His mum then proceeded to make dog whistling noises then nudged him with her elbow and winked.
‘Oh shut up’
‘Maybe now that you’re a man she’ll be more interested in you’ she laughed.
With a red face and a childish grin on his face Blake started to leave the room saying ‘Whatever mum, I’m going to go and have a shower and get dressed’
As he was walking down the hall to the bathroom his mother yelled out ‘Don’t use too much deodorant! It will look like you’re trying too hard!’
‘Shut up mum! Oh my god!’
Blake to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. His light brown hair was now well past his ears and in serious need of a cut. He looked at the tiny patch of hair growing on his chin with a smile on his face.
Blake left the bathroom and went into his parents ensuite. He came back with David’s shaving cream and razor. You’re a man now, he thought to himself. Men Shave.
After spending 5 seconds shaving the miserable few hairs on his chin, Blake hopped in the shower and cleaned himself up. He then went into his room to pick his outfit for the night.
Blake decided on black cargo pants and a colourful t-shirt with whacky lines and squiggles all over the front. He put on some low cut white socks and then pulled on his trusty old skater shoes.
Back in the bathroom Blake spent 5 minutes trying to style his hair into something presentable. After achieving this he decided it looked as though he was trying too hard so he scruffed it up again. He wanted to look cool, but he didn’t want to look like he tried to look cool.
After spending some time on the computer 5:00pm came around fast. He grabbed his wallet and his phone and went to find his Mum to say goodbye. She was in the kitchen chopping up veggies for dinner.
‘I gotta go mum, heading to Chris’s now’
‘Ok love, make sure you text me when you get to the city, and if you leave to go to another club, and when you leave the city, and when you are on the train home, and when you arrive at the station’
‘Jesus mum! I won’t be – ’
‘And when you get home come and wake me so I know you’re back’
‘Ah ok. I will. Don’t worry about me though, I’ll be with a big group of people, and as I said I want be too hammered’
‘Ok Blake. Just remember to have fun, text me if anything goes wrong and I’ll come and get you.’
‘Ok thanks mum, I will. Cya!’
‘Bye baby! I’ll be thinking of you!
Blake started to walk to the front door when his mother called out.
‘Oh Blake! I love you!’
‘Love you too mum’
That was the last time Blake would ever see his mother again.
Blake walked to Chris’s house. It isn’t such a bad walk, mostly down hill, only takes 20 minutes or so, and it was a fairly cool day.
Chris lives alone in a 1 bedroom duplex house. It was all he could afford on his Centerlink salary. His parents had kicked him out of home at the age of 17 when they found out he was using drugs, and he has had minimal contact with them since.
Chris’s house was fairly unloved; there were beer bottles everywhere, 3 ashtrays that were full to the point that cigarette butts were falling on the table, and it had a smell that 50 cigarettes burning a day in a small room would produce. Still Blake didn’t go there to see a beautiful house, he went to hang out with his mate, and being young, he didn’t care what state the house was in.
Blake arrived at Chris’s house just before 5:30pm. He walked straight through the door. Chris has always said that Blake doesn’t need to knock, and it’s frustrating when he does, as you can’t pause an online game.
Once Blake had knocked, and Chris was in the middle of playing Call of Duty. He ran to answer the door, and by the time he got back he had been killed. Ruining his kill to death ratio of 25:0. Blake never heard the end of that.
Blake walked into the lounge room and found Chris focused on the screen holding his Playstation controller.
‘Hey man, Happy birthday! I’m nearly done. Hold up.’
‘Cheers dude, no worries’ Blake said, as he was clearing away a pile of gaming magazines to clear a space on the lounge.
Chris’s character in the game walked into a room, tripped a claymore and was instantly blown to smithereens.
‘Fuck this game’ Chris yelled, and threw his controller across the room.
Blake laughed, ‘Nothing changes with you does it bro’
‘Not now not ever. Hey did you see my message on Facebook last night?’
‘Yeah I saw it just before I left’ Blake lied.
‘What do you reckon? You want one?’
‘I don’t know man. Maybe later, we’ll see how the night goes’
‘Well here’s one on the house, consider it a birthday present’
Chris handed him a small Ziploc bag with a round pill inside it. Blake held it up to his eye and saw that is had no pattern or symbol. It was pure white. As white as a Panadol.
‘Aren’t these things supposed to have a picture on them or something? Like an apple, or a smiley face?’
‘Some do, some don’t. My mate said these are brand new to the market, only got the shipment in two days ago or something. He reckons people say they are the best shit they’ve taken in years. I’m going to try my first one tonight in the city, might take two if they’re good.’
‘True, well cheers man, I’ll hang onto it. Might take it at the club or something.’
‘He said sniffer dogs can’t even detect them. Same with drug tests.’
‘So it’s not ecstasy?’
‘Nah dude, I don’t know what it is, some new drug. But I got these ones dirt cheap to test them’
‘Are they safe?’
‘Is driving a car safe?’
This was his response to that question every time. His idea is that nothing is safe, yet people do it anyway.
‘Fair enough dude I’ll see how I go.’
At 6:20 Blake and Chris walked from his house to the station, which was only 5 minutes away. Chris had told him it takes about an hour to get there by train.
On the train Chris decided to take his first pill. He popped it in his mouth and chased it down with some water he brought with him. He tried to get Blake to take his but Blake was adamant in wanting to wait until later.
When they were pulling up to Town Hall station Blake sent his mother a message to say he had arrived.
As they left the station Blake looked over to the Town Hall steps, there was a group of familiar faces waiting there for him.
It took every ounce of effort he had not to run up to his friends jumping up and down and giggling like a little school girl. Instead he put his hands in his pockets and casually strolled up to them acting as cool as possible.
‘Hey guys, ready to get shitfaced?’
He was greeted by laughs, hugs, hand shakes and kissed on the cheek. Only 14 people had shown up so far, but it was only 7:40pm and he knew a few people were coming later. Jennifer wasn’t there yet.
Everyone was talking at the same time, Blake flowed into the conversation with ease but Chris, who’d always had trouble mixing with different crowds stayed back from the group, leaning against the short cement wall with his hands in his pockets and his hoodie up, looking as dodgy as ever.
It wasn’t long before one of Blake’s mates, Trev said
‘So is anyone taking anything tonight?’
‘I take your mum every night’ Josh responded, getting the laughs he was searching for.
‘Ha ha. But seriously, anyone got any pills or something?’
Now it was Chris’s time to shine. He propped up and took a few steps towards the group. Blake nodded Trev in the direction of Chris.
Before long Chris had sold 11 of the mystery pills he had. Josh, Belinda, Casey, Evan, Tash, Scott, Kevin, Jess and Tom all bought one. Trev bought two. Trev took one of his straight away, the other said they’d wait until they were in the club.
The group waited until 8:00pm before leaving to go to Soho. In that time 5 more people showed up. Jennifer wasn’t one of them. Chris sold two more pills to Kelly and Liz.
They started to walk towards Kings Cross, Blake and Chris leading the pack. Whilst they were walking Chris started getting pumped up.
‘Man this pill is kicking in. Starting to buzz a bit. Hearts racing. Feeling pretty good aye’
‘That’s good man, I probably will take one, seeing as so many other people are’
‘Good man, good man. The city is a whole lot more fun when you’re buzzing!’
It took about 20 minutes to walk to the Cross. Everyone queued up in the line, and before long all 19 of them were inside, engulfed by the flashing lights, the lasers, and the pumping music.
As soon as they were inside most of the girls went to the bathroom to freshen up. The guys went to the bar to buy some drinks. They made it perfectly clear that Blake was getting free drinks all night.
They all started with a round of Jager bombs, then bought a variety of beers and spirits to carry around. When the girls came back from the bathroom they mentioned to everyone that they had taken their pills. So the boys decided they would too. A couple of them took a glance around and took them near the bar, but the nervous ones went into the bathrooms to do it.
Chris and Trev were missing. Blake went to look for them and found them dancing their hearts off on the dance floor. Chris saw him and bounded over like a lost puppy who’d found his owner.
‘DUDE! Sickest club man! Did you take that shit?’
‘Nah not ye-’
‘TAKE IT MAN! It’s the best pill I’ve ever had! So serene, so intense! Check out these moves’
Chris started dancing away, looking like a jelly fish that’d been struck by lightning. Moving back to the dance floor as he danced.
Blake thought about it. He wasn’t sure if he should take it or not. Most of his friends had just taken it, and it seemed pretty harmless. He didn’t want to be off his chops if Jennifer arrived, but at the same time he wanted to have as much fun as Trev and Chris were having.
Option (A) Blake takes the pill.
Option (B) Blake doesn’t take the pill.