The Night Out

Richard Rintoul is in the final year of his combined honours degree in English with Creative Writing.

i. Before the Night Out


Magnificent metrosexual,

portrait of the modern man;

his old clothes have been shed,

like the skin of a python,

to be replaced by new.

Now is the time to choose.

He stands in front of the mirror,

his expressions pained,

attempting to make

muscles twitch, in vain.

No matter.

Clothes make the man.

He hunts for perfection

in fierce hues and patterns,

reds, blues, greens,

the perfect shirt to go

with metallic grey jeans.

They come and go,

shrugged off, shrugged on,

left in Technicolor heaps.

He finally settles

on a blue floral shirt

with creamy-white petals.

Scent follows in waves,

an armada of musk

to provoke lust tonight –

he has high hopes

the cologne he so carefully applies

will lead to the heat

between a young woman’s thighs.



ii. During the Night Out


It might have been wiser

to don a coat, a jacket, a jumper,

something to make the

long walk to alcohol

less painful.

His shirt chafes, and

his nipples are stiffer

than a pair of frozen parsnips,

but the wind remains indifferent.

Still, the thought of flashing lights

and the heaving beat

draws him on.

His companions follow,

huddled together in

eager masculinity -

March of the Students:

minoring in sports science,

majoring in banter.

Finally, they sweep

ceremoniously into

the throb of the club,

humping against the bar

as the barman’s fingers

slip and slide against the

stickiness of overflowing

pints and spilled alcopops.

What’ll it be tonight, fellers?

Well, beer first, beer second,

and then anything goes.

Shots most likely:

vodka’s jab to the throat,

Sambuca’s blow to the liver.

It might taste like shit,

but it’ll get them shit-faced,

and that’s what’s important.

Is the room moving?

Or is that just his head?

Suddenly he’s aboard

the Good Ship Wasted,

and he’s starting to feel sea-sick.

Too much of a kick in those shots,

but the women around him seem

better looking than ever before.

It’s time to impress;

he targets a tall brunette,

a top-heavy goddess.

But instead of praises

he showers her with

a different substance -  

a cascade of vomit

all down her red dress.

A standard night out -  

what a mess.


iii. After the Night Out


He sits up.

Stops. Stares.

Groans, and

runs a hand

through his hair.

His head thuds

like queasy dubstep:

an uneasy rhythm

that fists his sinuses

with the garish abandon

of a professional porn star.

The party may have stopped,

but his brain hasn’t

received the memo.

Now memories begin

to force their way

back to life,

clawing through

a Sambuca coffin

that had thought

to bury them deep.

The girl’s dress,

the terrible mess

he left in his wake,

before being laid to rest

in a cathedral car park.

The boys on tour

left him behind,

but in the morning cold

he staggered his way home

to vomit the night

into the kitchen sink.

He’s alone for now,

but there’s movement downstairs,

a voice from below, a shout of despair:


Eyes close. He takes a breath.

He knows they’re coming

to turf him out of bed,

to reign him in,

to kit him out with

marigolds and bleach

to clean up his sins.