People used to believe in the Witching Hour, some still do. A time of the night where witches, demons and ghosts are at their most powerful. Where they are most dangerous to mortal souls. It’s a myth to incentivise the idea of staying in and going to bed at a reasonable time. A good idea, because while there may not be ghosts or devils, there is something a lot more grim out in these streets; People.
The walk home from work is a mile long. I get out at around two or three o’clock in the morning. There I see everything. The drunks wandering the street like spirits from the mortal plain. Most will babble to themselves and leave you be. But if you’re not careful, some will lash out at you.
The other night I was walking home, I was about to pass this group of drunk men. Avoiding eye contact and balling up my fists like I always do. One came walking towards me with the intent to block my path. Tried to move past but it was no use, he was in my way. He got up close to me, looking like he was about to scrap. I was a little bit feared. Never been in a fight before and to be honest I’d like to keep it that way. He looks at me in the eye with this drunk fever and says “.…Ginger” then walked on, friends laughing.
I don’t know how much you have to drink for you to think that you, an out of shape slob, would think its a good idea to square up to this stocky ginger guy who at the very least looks like he could tear your spinal cord out of your asshole, but I imagine it’d be damn near on the verge of alcohol poisoning.
Something happens to people when they drink. When those pints and shots start coursing through your veins, the very fabric of social mobility begins to loosen. All the norms are gone and unfortunately the things that hold people back lose their strength. Its why a couple will start having a bitter argument in the street at three o’clock in the morning, its why the seemingly normal guy you kinda knew will reveal himself to be a complete violent lunatic and its partly why some of the largest religions in the world forbids their followers from indulging in it.
As the drunks roamed and yelled their obscenities on the street, I found myself with the urge to look up. I traced eyes up this seemingly abandoned office building and found two people, a man and a woman, fucking against the glass window on the fifth floor. This dim, purple light radiating around the room.
I’m not much of a voyeur, so this sight came as a shock to me. It was a weird moment. I kept thinking about whether or not they could see me. Picture it. You’re getting railed, pushed up against this window and you gaze down a second to see some drunks howling in the streets below and this one petrified looking ginger cunt staring back up at you.
It was an uncomfortable thought and as the drunks got louder and wilier, I made my way on. A little down the road I caught the coat ends of this great moment. Two girls came out of a chippy, entire place in joyous uproar. One boy comes out, drunk as fuck and yells some incoherent horsehit after them. They yell something back as they cross the street.
They meet two other boys across the street, who ask what happened. Main girl tells him that while they were in there getting food that this one guy started acting the cunt. Pure staring at them all weird and said “I see you like your sausage bap” to which she said “Aye, I’d bet my sausage bap is a lot better than yours” then the whole place went wild soon as this girl completely destroyed this one cunt.
Its a funny moment. It made me smile as I passed them by. Moment didn’t last though. Some guys just can’t take a joke and he started following them, yelling while he was at it. Girls had to take off running, hoping to lose him. Back then and now, the Witching hour is not a good time to be a woman out on the streets.
I got home and as the days passed, the room with the purple light kept crawling back in my mind. I’d never seen anything like it before and it was really bothering me. Fortunately, I’d planned to drown out these images with loud music and alcohol.
I was heading to a concert in a few days. Had no idea who I was going to see, still don’t. All I knew is that a friend of mine popped up to me and said he was buying tickets for this concert in Belfast. I currently live in Belfast so I was like “Aye, go on then” and then a month later we’d see it. Or at least we would.
Doors opened at seven. By that stage I was still washing off the dried up vomit off my €500 leather boots I bought in Spain, vomit had been there since the previous night out a few weeks back. The lads arrived in the city at around eight and we got there about half nine after a few cans. We walked about the street drinking buckfast and carlsberg. It’s not even dark yet and randomers are passing us by with disgusted looks on them. We get to the venue and find that it’s already over.
What kind of fucking concert ends at half nine at night? I’ve been to fucking gigs in dilapidated houses where you have to bring your own drink that last till fucking three at the very least.
But aye, my friend put down £270 on tickets for a concert that we missed. We went out for pints after that to cheer him up. Dam near the most expensive sesh he’s ever been on, I cam tell you that.
We head to about five pubs in two or three hours. Conversation was varied, going from music to the ethics of prostitution. I’m personally quite jaded on the practice. The way I see it almost every guy watches porn, vast majority is free and therefore most likely illegal. By that metric, your committing piracy and supporting an industry that incentivises sex trafficking. So you’re basically cheating people out of money and inadvertently creating an atmosphere that produces sex slaves.
So not only is legal and regulated prostitution more ethical than watching porn, it’s also less stigmatising. Like if you were to tell most people you fucked a hooker, they’d look at you with disgust. But porn? That’s normal. Why is one worse than the other when they effectively produce the same outcome?
I told the lads about the room with the purple light and one of them suggested that it was one of those weird hooker rooms. Y’know, like you work in an industry that is technically illegal in the UK you’re probably not gonna have a permanent location. So every other day or week you set up in a different room. A travelling whore house, if you will.
That’s the best theory I’ve personally heard. I mean, what kind of guy lives in a flat with purple lights that he puts on exclusively at night just for fucking? That’s like a whore house aesthetic.
By the third pub one of the guys had to head home because he was working in the morning, leaving just the two of us to carry on. We’d a few more pints out in the town. Talked about a lot of stuff. The people we knew, the drama we heard about but most intriguing to me personally was his complaints about his former work place.
Guy used to be a glass cutter, pretty simple factory job where you lift things and push buttons. Which can describe almost all low paying, low skilled labour. That being said. what he was telling me sounded dodgy as hell.
He’s telling me that the managers of this factory and the subsequent company were all hyper religious, part of some christian cult that was setting up a village out in mid Ulster. I’d heard stories about them before, mostly just talk about how this group operated out in Benone and how they took away all the business from some of the local bakeries and cafes when they opened up shop.
Apparently these managers are very laxed with health and safety. No helmets, no protective wrist guards, nothing unless there’s health inspectors coming by. It’s a dangerous job. Employees are always cutting themselves with shards of glass or getting stuff caught in the machine. Apparently one boy nearly got decapitated while he was lifting a pane of glass out and it fell on him.
Whenever they brought up their complaints and demanded better safety equipment, the managers would always say something along the line of “God will look out for us” which of course is cursive for not wanting to save their money on safety equipment. They can get away with this cause its the countryside, less people to complain to out there.
Whole situation was dire, that’s why my friend left and never went back, no matter how badly they wanted him. It’s like that old Harper Lee saying “A bible in some mens hand is more dangerous than a whiskey bottle“.
At this stage we’re pretty drunk so we head on back to mine. We get to my street and we start acting the lad. I get boastful about how strong I am and say I can carry this cunt on down the street. Guy jumps on my back and I carry him like 150 yards. Dude is heavy as fuck, like fourteen stone. I get him from the top of the street to the Spar across the road from me. Damn near pass out afterwards.
We get back to my flat, have to kick in the door because it keeps jamming on me. Drink a few more pints and have some craic. But all the while I keep thinking about that room with the purple light. I wanted to know what it was, it was a mystery to me and there’s a lot of stuff in life I don’t for certain but I couldn’t stand not knowing what this was.
So I convinced my friend to head out back on the town, back into chaos. Travelling home late at night is one thing, but travelling back out is another thing all together. The relief you felt upon reaching the sanctity of shelter is stripped away from you as you face the weather and the howls of drunks. You’re no longer walking past the ghosts, you’re walking with them.
We get to where I saw the room and upon inspection it didn’t seem to be an office building. The ground floor was a closed down art gallery but the other floors seem to be an apartment complex. So the dodginess of the initial situation was greatly diminished. I looked up and found apartments washed with light. No sign of anything weird or possibly whorish. Then my friend pointed it out to me; the purple light.
We went out back to see if there was like a bouncer or a pimp guy we could spot. Not necessarily interact with him cause I had enough sense in me to know that wouldn’t end well, but just to confirm there was something weird going on. We found nothing but a ladder that acted as a fire exit. But we did find across the street a nightclub, whose fire exit was open and unguarded.
So we snuck into this night club by the fire exit. Most pubs had closed but this club was still going strong. We climbed upstairs, so drunk yet so earnest. It was a Tuesday and the place was packed with people our age. Though probably a lot of them were younger. Stood about by the bar as my friend bought me a drink, girl came up to me asking if I had two pound she could borrow. I lied and said no.
About two minutes in and half a coors light later, the two of came to a startling realisation; we fucking hate clubs. Clubs are shit. They smell shit, you’re surrounded by cunts, there’s no permeable sense of craic. You gotta be high or drunk to be remotely put at ease. It’s a terrible environment.
But we were there anyway so we started dancing. I like to watch some people sometimes. Not in like a creepy way, just to get the outlines of their lives. People show a great deal of who they are inadvertently. Who they like, how they get on with others, just the way they move generates character. As I’m hopping about I’m looking around at me. I can tell who are cunts, who are alright, who likes who and how they all get along. There’s nothing special about insight but you’d be surprised how many people don’t have it.
Soon enough the party is over, we’re ushered out the door. The spirits are cast away back onto the street. In murky chaos of drunk ones following after eachother and calling taxis, me and my friend head on. Do a lap around the old apartment building just for the craic. Get real close to the fire exit just for a laugh and the lights come one.
We start moving away and down the alleyway we see this couple from the club, going with eachother. The way the boy was acting it looked like he wanted to fuck her right there and then. I wouldn’t allow it, you’re not gonna fuck a girl in the gutter. So me and my friend start loudly talking about the lights from the fire exit and how people are probably watching. Very unsubtly suggesting that we know what they’re at and after about a minute or two of this shit talking they move away, back to the main street.
We head on back as well. Laughing like hell. We come across them again going with eachother and start yelling at them across the street “Here! Keep her Christian!” none of us were getting laid tonight, not while God was watching.
So all along the walk home we kept yelling at randomers “Here! Keep her Christian!” to people who were visibly annoyed by us. One group we did it were pretty close to us, we said our thing and one of the girls said “No use, I’m going to hell anyway” and I said “Oh so am I, but keep her Christian” took a wee gander at the lads she was with. They were visibly annoyed with us so we thought it best to fuck off.
At this point we were severely drunk, I don’t know many I’d drank, I lost count after twelve. Stumbled back into the flat and immediately we took our shirts off. I get very macho and homoerotic when I’m drunk and the two of us liked lifting weights so we felt like showing off.
Spent the night listening to music, singing and dancing. We did an inordinate amount of exercise for the state we were in, may have even led to me boking that night. Friend talked a great deal about his gym back home, says its the best power lifting gym in Ireland. Says that lifting has made him feel a hell of a lot better.
I think people tend to forget the importance of hobbies in adult life. There’s very few times where you’ll regularly see people outside of work and other required attendances, so social activities are a necessity. Doing something productive with people really has a great effect on people. It’s why I’ve started playing Dungeons and Dragons again, even got back into sketching. Though the only thing I can draw decently at the moment is deer, I’m still creating stuff and its somewhat rewarding.
We stay up till four o’clock in the morning talking shite but we get tired. I boke and head on to bed. I wake with a blistering headache and swore muscles. Things hurt so much I can barely stand straight, let alone bend down to tie my shoes. By time I get up, my friend is already gone.
I spend the rest of the day cleaning and nursing a bad hangover. I don’t think about the purple light, but I do think about that night a little. I guess some things you never truly get answers to. You never get to understand what that look she gave you meant, or if there was any subtext to what person said. You never know how things might have ended, what could have happened, what did happen- a lot things like that you’ll just never know and you gotta live with that.
But the memory is like a rock by the sea, each tide comes and bit by bit it fades away. Till its gone forever. Someday I’ll forget this night ever happened. Or that I even wrote this article. You’ll forget about what I wrote, about who I was- this guy who took up a brief amount of your time to share his perspective- and you’ll be no worse or better for it.
But it happened. I happened, and that’s really all that matters. Purple light be damned.