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Short story: <i>Friday night</i>

It's a jungle out there.

A frenetic, dirty, fastpaced jungle, where all the animals reek of cigarette smoke and look at each other with uninterested, ecstatic pupils. It's Friday night, and there's just something so enticing about the sights and the smells and the sounds of beautiful people and sweat and perfume and hard bass tracks. It fills every person present with an extra dose of euphoria that can't be bought at any price from any shady looking guy in a corner wearing pleather.

The rain flits in across the dark sky and scatters streetlamp-lit droplets lazily down onto the people standing in lines to get into increasingly cooler nightclubs. Girls rubbing their inadequately covered arms and guys throwing cigarette butts at each other and trying to look boisterous and cool, before being herded into the club, five at a time, by a gigantic bald bouncer and his little rat-weasel counterpart.

Benji and Claudia wander up the wet street nonchalantly, her in big green boots and him in fashionably ripped jeans and newly dyed hair. Cars crawl by slowly, the rain cutting through the glow being thrown by their headlights. They pause for a while and look up and down the street, as though searching for a familiar face in the press of seething bodies wriggling along the sides of buildings into dingy little doorways.

Benji looks around him. Up close, he's looking a little nervous, a little pale, a little sick. He pulls lightly on Claudia's arm. "Where d'y'reckon?"

Claudia sniffs and wipes her nose lightly on the back of her hand. "Dunno. There's gotta be some around here, though, right? And we can't go back empty handed."

Benji nods in agreement, and looks around again. Up close, maybe he isn't looking casually into the crowd for friends; his expression probably wouldn't be so guilty. "Yeah. We gotta go in somewhere, though. Mike said..."

Claudia scowls. Evidently she doesn't regard Mike's say-so to be foolproof. This is too big a risk to stuff up now they've come so far. "Let's try in there."

Claudia and Benji sashay up to the gloomy building, and head through the doors. Inside, the fluorescent lights are blinding, and the air-conditioning provides a cold, unpolluted smell in the air, very different to the muggy damp street outside. Claudia looks around with confidence and strides up to the counter.

"Packet of Malborough Lights."

The guy behind the counter looks at her disinterestedly. He sighs, spins on his heel, and painstakingly pulls the little box from the rows of little boxes behind him. He turns back to Claudia. "Don't 'spose you've got your ID on you?"

Her eyes widen a little. "Nah" She looks at him winningly. "Left it in my jacket at the club. Want me to get it?"

"Whatever." He'd already lost interest, and handed over the prized packet with her change.

"Wow." Benji said when they got back to the street, giggling. "He believed you!"

"Well, who wouldn't?" Said Claudia winningly. "Let's get home".

She is pretty sure that on Monday morning, she's going to be the queen of ninth grade, for at least a couple of hours.

This is the result of a thirty minute writing exercise. The only constrictions were the time limit and five randomly selected words from the dictionary. Today the words were: press, nightclub, herded, jungle and unpolluted.

Image courtesy of Forty Photographs...

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