Visitation on Bank Street

In April 2011, I penned a short fiction piece entitled "Visitation on Bank Street", which was about the final night of Sid Vicious' life. I originally wrote the story for inclusion in a compilation book entitled "The Fantasy Life of Sid Vicious" by Lucky Hole Books, and was promised a non-exclusive contract and free copy (I received neither). Around a year or so later, I discovered that it had eventually been released under COLPA Press, as part of a new compilation called "Vicious Stories". I was never truly happy with "Visitation" and felt it to be a little too sentimental; but my inbox did receive some minor praise at the time. Nowadays, I feel a million miles away from the piece, though I do grudgingly embrace it as my first officially published text on paper.

The last few months had been pretty bad for Sid. As he sat on the bed smoking a Marlboro, he reflected on recent events: a murder of which he had no recollection of committing, imprisonment for said murder, beatings at the hands of his fellow inmates, drug detoxification, a suicide attempt, released, rearrested, numerous court dates, police interrogations, and the tabloid journalists squeezing every last drop of his sanity.
He drained the cigarette in less than a minute. Lighting another, he felt somebody stirring under the covers.
> "Poor cow," Sid whispered.
> Looking at her was just like looking in the mirror. She had lost her partner too. Fate has a funny way of doing things like that. He did love her, but what was it exactly that he loved? Perhaps it was the way she followed him around at Max's and CBGB's, even before Nancy's death, or maybe he just needed to feel the comfort of mutual despair; knowing he wasn't alone and that all the love pent up in his broken heart wasn't going to waste.
> Nancy.
> A tear rolled down his cheek. He missed her so much. Searching through the wreckage of his brain, he still could not recall what happened that night at the Chelsea Hotel. Before he fell asleep, she was in bed playing with the knife – he remembered that distinctly – but when he woke up she was gone. Like a tracking shot, he followed the trail of blood in his mind from the bed to the bathroom...
> "I didn’t kill her!" he exclaimed suddenly before realizing he was in the room again.
> She awoke and sat up.
> "Were you talking to me, Sid?"
> "No, sweetheart." he replied. "I had a nightmare. Go back to sleep, yeah?"
> "Okay," Michele yawned. "Come back to bed soon. I don't need you dying on me twice tonight."
> "That’s right," Sid remembered to himself. "I overdosed, didn’t I? I wonder who's holding the rest of my gear?"
> A few friends came over to Michele's earlier that evening. Even his mother had flown over to make his favorite dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread. She was sleeping on the sofa now. It was supposed to be a party in celebration of his release from prison, but only a few showed up and it wasn't really a party as such.
> "More like a wake." Sid mumbled, extinguishing his cigarette and crawling into bed.

Some time passed and he was no closer to falling asleep, which was unusual considering that all he did nowadays was sleep. In fact, he was being bothered by an annoying ticking sound, like an unexploded bomb. Rolling over, he noticed the hands on the bedside table clock were racing around the dial; an hour every few seconds it seemed. Sid picked up the clock and threw it against the wall.
> "Taiwan bollocks!" he croaked.
> He turned to Michele but she was snug in the warm embrace of slumber, blissfully unaware of his outburst. Sid always loved to look at girls while they slept. Nancy most of all; the way she curled up into a ball and drooled on the pillow. Sometimes she would suck her thumb like a little child. He could watch that for hours.
> The pangs of dope sickness were raging throughout his body like a wildfire. Pushing aside the sweaty sheets, he got out of bed and adjusted his swastika underpants. He was in need of another fix. He was also in need of a shit, so he left to take one in the bathroom next door.
Sitting on the toilet seat, Sid found the enthusiasm to chuckle at the noisiness of his bodily functions. Heroin addiction usually causes constipation, but his recent fix had the opposite effect. A sloppy whoosh echoed around the pan beneath him.
> "There was an earthquake this morning in New York," Sid said quietly, adopting the voice of an American newsreader. "Scientists have recorded a score of 9.9 on the Richter scale and that it was caused by Sid Vicious, after his mother made him spaghetti."
> This joke tickled him somewhat and it continued to tickle him as he hit the flush and reentered the bedroom. However, his smiling face turned to one of complete and utter shock when he saw a young blonde woman sitting on his side of bed. At first he thought some crazed fan had broken into the apartment until he realized that the woman was none other than his dead ex-girlfriend, Nancy.
> "Earthquake, huh?" she greeted him sarcastically.
> Sid's legs gave way and he slumped down against the wall in disbelief.
> "Aw, Sidney!" she laughed. "Vicious as always."
> "I'm fucking dreaming, ain't I?" Sid stuttered, unable to find the appropriate words. "Stop messing around. Who are you?"
> "You know who I am, honey."
> Salt water welled up in his eyes.
> "Nance, is it really you?"
> "Of course it's me," she answered with a smile. "I wanted to say 'hi' earlier but I've not been allowed to until now."
> "What do you mean 'until now'?"
> "I can't say, baby."
> Awestruck, Sid climbed to his feet and reached out to Nancy with both arms open like an infant separated from its parents. She did not reciprocate. He then tried to touch her leg but she told him to stop before he could do so.
> "I'm afraid you can't do that, Sidney."
> He instantly burst into tears.
> "Nancy, please!" Sid cried. "You have no idea how badly I've missed you!"
> "I want to hold you too, Sid." She said solemnly. "But it's just not possible. I'm not alive anymore, you know?"
> He attempted to hug her regardless but his arms swiped through her ghostly body.
> "Why are you doing this, Nance?" he blurted. "I love you so much and you won't let me hold you. Not even once!"
> "I wish you could," Nancy replied. "But you and I both know it's impossible."
> Sid slumped back down to the carpet, weeping uncontrollably.
> "Please, Sid. Pull it together because people will think you're mad."
> "I don't care!" he snapped miserably.
> "Well, you should. The press think you killed me. And if you start acting all crazy then you'll end up doing fifteen for that shit. No question about it."
> Sid wiped his eyes and composed himself before sniffing a reply.
> "I've been advised to plead guilty but I don't remember doing anything to you. We did fight, didn't we? But I mean how can I plead guilty to something I don’t remember doing?"
> Nancy looked at him compassionately.
> "You didn’t mean to kill me, honey."
> Sid was flabbergasted. At last he knew the truth. For a moment he smiled with relief but then stopped to calculate the possibility that he may have finally gone insane.
> "I didn't?" he stuttered.
> "No baby, you didn't."
> This was too much to take in and Sid wept once more; face in his hands. Nancy could do nothing but look on. Her new spiritual form did not allow her to go through the same negative emotions as a living person.
> "I’m so sorry, Sid."
> "Do you know what they did to me in there?" he sobbed, voice almost cracking. "All they did was hurt me!"
> "I know, baby. I was there with you the whole time."
> "You were?"
> "Yes."
> "I fucking knew it!" Sid exclaimed. "I could almost feel you when I tried to sleep, when all I could think about was those fucking cunts out to get me. I wrote to Deb twice, you know? I nearly told her about it but I didn't want to make her sad."
> "I know," said Nancy. "It was thoughtful of you not to mention that. I'm glad you wrote to mom because I think it helped her come to terms with a lot of things. I loved your poem."
> "Really? You read my poem?"
> "I was there when you wrote it, silly! I memorized it word for word."
> Sid had gone from the bottom of the barrel to deliriously happy in the space of ten seconds. He sat up staring at Nancy with a grin that could only be described as maniacal. She found this hilarious and pulled the same face back at him.
>"Freak!" she joked.
> "Bimbo!" he sneered, returning the insult.
> "Pig!"
> "Whore!"
> "Wanker!"
> "You Americans can't even say 'wanker' properly, so don't even bother."
> "Yes, I can!" Nancy pouted like a spoiled brat. "It's you that can't say it properly, so there!"
> "What are you talking about, Nance? The English invented the fucking word!"
> "You're full of shit, Sidney!"
> Their laughter filled the air. It was like the last three-and-a-half months had never happened and everything was back to normal. However, Sid suddenly panicked and realized that his current girlfriend, Michele, was still sleeping in the room. He motioned a hush to Nancy by pushing his index finger to his lips.
> "Don't worry about that," Nancy assured him. "She can't hear us. I'm not on your time anyway."
> "And that means?" Sid asked, puzzled by the remark.
> "Hey, don't blame me! You're the dork who threw the clock against the wall."
> They burst into fits again, but this time it was different for Sid. The fun they shared together now made him melancholic and lonely. This obviously wasn't real. Reality is never a factor when it comes to desire. Everyone on the planet seemed to paint their own picture of Sid and Nancy that was different to the reality. It wasn't all bloody syringes and broken beer bottles. He pondered this. Could the general public really be force-fed into thinking he was a self-destructive moron just because the newspapers and magazines want to burn their cartoon Satan every day?
> "It's just a name," Sid's mind told him. "Do they really think you're capable of murdering someone for real? Did I murder someone for real?"
> "Stop it!" Nancy interrupted his train of thought.
> "Oh, you can read my mind now?" Sid asked.
> "No, but I've been with you long enough to know how you think. I can read you like a book. You really have to forget about that and move on. Everyone in England is behind you one hundred percent no matter what. Jesus, you had so much dope inside you, it's amazing we both got out alive.
> "Did someone else do it, Nance? I'll kill the cunt."
> "Please stop," she reiterated. "Thinking like that will not help you in the slightest. And you can't fight your way out of a paper bag, let's face it. You'll only end up in the same place as me. This may be hard for you to understand but I can't tell you who did it. If I did, I mean, the repercussions would be... y'know? The best thing you can do is get clean, keep out of trouble, and prove to everyone that you didn't do it. They'll get theirs, I promise."
> Shaking his head, Sid stood up. He slowly walked over to the window and peered through the curtain, observing the New York nightlife."
> "Maybe that's where I wanna be."
> "Outside? Perhaps you should get some fresh air. Clear your head a bit, honey."
> "No," he frowned. "The same place as you."
> Nancy closed her eyes and grimaced like she was about to cry but no tears came out. She had expected him to say something like that sooner but it still cut deeper than the knife that took her life. She looked down to Michelle sleeping beside her.
> "What about her? You're just going to leave her, right?"
> "I don't want to," he admitted, "but I can't take it anymore. It's always been me and you. We're partners in crime."
> "You knew it would happen one day, you stupid shit!" Nancy roared, standing up. "You even said it yourself on television!"
> "I did?"
> "Yes, before Christmas when they interviewed you at the hospital. Your mom and Malcolm were there. Don't you remember anything?"
> "I don't care," said Sid, looking at her with pure devotion. "I just want to be in Heaven with you."
> Exhaling with defeat, Nancy stepped away from the bed. Whatever her purpose was, whether it was to save him or to illustrate the error of his ways, it was over now. Even she didn't truly know. The 'others' were initially against the visitation but conceded that it might help given some time. This was clearly one wound that time could not heal.
> "I know you do, baby." she sighed. "I really wish you would reconsider but I'm outta here. I've made my presence known for long enough."
> Sid raced to grab her by the arm but he tripped over the bed.
> "No, you can't go! You have to stay a bit longer."
> "I'm sorry, I have to go."
> "But you can't..." he trailed off. "Not now."
> "I don't know."
> "Please."
> A look of doubt was evident on Nancy's face but she could never refuse him anything, no matter how hard she tried.
> "For me?" Sid pleaded, hands clasped together in hope.
> "Alright," she agreed, "I'll stay for two more minutes but you have to go to sleep."
> Sid hopped into bed like an excited ten-year-old and pulled the covers over him. Nancy sat on the edge, gazing at her little soldier in an almost motherly way.
> "Remember when you used to tell me stories, Nance?" he beamed. "Tell me one now."
> "Oh hush, you big sissy."
> "No, go on."
> "Okay, what story d'ya want?"
> "Tell me the one where I'm a famous rock and roll star."
> She had told this one many times before. It was the story of Sid Vicious, who was in the biggest punk group in the world and had sold millions of records. Lou Reed and David Bowie were his biggest fans, and wanted to collaborate with him but he was too busy with his touring schedule. On the night he got his hands dirty on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he proposed to his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, and they were married at a private ceremony in Malibu. Sid was so famous that even Stan Lee based a superhero on him, which became one of Marvel's bestselling comics of all-time.
> Sid was always snoring by that point and this time was no exception. Before leaving the bedroom, Nancy leaned over and whispered in his ear; her bright red lipstick almost touching his pale white skin.
> "Sleep tight, baby. See you soon."

Brett Dunford