Cooper Whitmore, aging clubber and hardcore raver of just over a decade, lay on his bed shivering, jaw aching and teeth chattering with the worst comedown he’d ever experienced.

He reached into the drawer of his bedside table and took out a jelly that he consumed to ease himself back to Earth. As he lay atop the memory foam mattress and Aston Villa bed sheets, he stared at his pill press across the room with his tweaked-out brown eyes.

He’d told his gullible mother, who was now out at church, that the device was a sewing machine and that he’d taken up textiles as a hobby. Sealy bags full to the brim lay on the chest of drawers next to the press. Cherrys, Doves, Love Hearts, and his all-time favourite: Rockets. Disco biscuits all the colours of the rainbow.

As he drifted in and out of reality with his ears ringing,, making a futile effort at getting some sleep, there was a loud knock at the door. Just leave it, he thought, probably just the Avon lady or UPS man or something.

The knocks persisted and grew louder. “Just FUCK OFF,” he shouted.

After a minute or so, Cooper rose to his feet and hobbled unsteadily across to his bedroom window. Outside, he saw a young police community support officer wearing an oversized custodian helmet.

Oh shit, fuck, what the fuck I am I going to do? he panicked. I bet that bitch Amber has gone and grassed on me. After this, I will drive down to Worcester, strangle the slut, and pay some tinkers to dispose of her corpse. I really need to stop fucking birds ten years younger than me.

Cooper grabbed the half-dozen or so bags of pills that were on the side, ran into the bathroom, dropped them in the toilet bowl, and flushed them away.

What a fucking waste; it’ll take me days to get back on track now. How much fucking money am I literally flushing away here? Oh, bollocks, what am I going to do about the press? Fuck it, I’ll have to cross that bridge if I get to it.

The knocks at the door persisted.

“I know someone’s in there; I can hear the profanities,” said the young volunteer police officer through the letterbox.

Cooper threw on a dirty, puke-stained T-shirt that was lying on the floor and walked down the creaking staircase to the front door. His heart raced faster than it had on the dance floor the night before.

He opened the door in just his T-shirt and underwear and looked like a sack of shit on a hot day.

“Hello, sir, sorry to bother you, especially on a Sunday morning, it’s just Mr Southgate across the street has had his push bike stolen. I’ve just come to inquire if you’ve seen anything suspicious in the neighbourhood?”

Fucking hell, I ditched all my stash for this; what kind of fucking dumb paranoid cunt am I?

“Well, have you seen anything, then?” said the officer.

This is Birmingham, for fuck’s sake. How many people were raped and/or murdered last night and this dickhead is knocking on doors asking folks about an old fart’s fucking push bike like it’s 1949.

“No, not a dickie bird, squire.” answered Cooper, finally.

“Okay, sir. Hey, you don’t look well. Your pupils are the size of saucers…do you have conjunctivitis?”

“Errrrr, yeah, and a touch of the flu. I was just getting my head down.”

“Okay, sir, I’ll leave you to it, just give us a call if you hear anything about the bike. Take care and get well soon.”

“Will do.”

Cooper gently closed the door behind him and breathed a deep sigh of relief as he slid down to his arse into the fetal position. “Fuck’s sake, now I have to start over,” he accepted as he put his head in his hands. “Bollocks, I need to relax.”

He walked back up the stairs to his bedroom and found a Rocket at his feet next to his bed. This will do nicely, he thought.