“Here, take these” he said, tossing the keys to me and opening the passenger door.
I didn’t want to tell Richard that, aside from careering my father’s BMW to the Emergency Room at the hospital one time back in England, I’d never really, properly, driven a car before. I’d never thought to get my license in London, I just hadn’t had the time. Everyone kept telling me to take the damn test but I always just threw out some jazzy line about how I was learning to be driven.
I looked at the keys. “Where do you wanna go?” I said.
Sat in the driver’s seat, I looked at all that grainy leather hardware and the smooth clean lines of the dashboard. The thought that we both might die gathered cooly at the edges of my mind. It summoned that familiar chorus of voices.
You’ll never get anywhere like that.
PT 27: DOHA NIGHTS /2/ BOYS LIE #BOYSLIE
26121 April, 2019
“You wanna drive?” Richard said. We were stood in front of a bright red muscle-car parked out the front of the hotel. It was the kind of red men choose for the watch-dial of their Rolex when they order bespoke. The catalogue literally says Ferrari red or Lamborghini yellow. Proper boy colours.
I’d met Richard by the pool on the fourth floor, one afternoon about six days into my trip. Richard was a PT, with an extensive client portfolio of all the wealthiest men in the Gulf.
He singled me out right away. He said he’d seen me around and thought I looked so pensive and clever, always surrounded by books and notepads, that I must have some pretty interesting stories to tell about why I was in the Middle East.
The whole time he was talking he kept crossing and uncrossing his arms and puffing out his chest, so I decided I’d look away until his little show was over. “So, where you from?” He said. “North London.” I replied. I wondered if, by the time I got back, I’d know how to start a conversation with anything other than ‘North London’. I offered him a cigarette.
After that, Richard followed me round everywhere. We ate breakfast together in the hotel restaurant, and snuck down to the pool after hours, tipping the security guard to let us in. We spoke about art and history and all the restaurants at The Pearl.
And now, we were stood in the hotel parking lot, a dying sun hung somewhere in the middle distance and I was about to do something insanely stupid.
PT 27: DOHA NIGHTS /1/ BOYS LIE #BOYSLIE