Beat poet of the ’90s

One of my favourite characters in the book is Seth, the goth drug dealer introduced as a beat poet of the 90’s in this passage:

Seth rolled the cigarettes between his fingertips, dropping tobacco and sawdust onto the papers. Then out came the plastic baggies. They were the sort of thing you found tacky jewellery in in places like Woolwich Market. One bag was larger and had good-quality green in it, the leaves dried up like little dead spiders, all spiky legs and crispy. The other bag was a thick, sticky resin, the rough stuff—skunk, as it was known, cos it smelt like shit. It only tasted as bad as burnt plastic.

“You putting that shit in?” asked Gary.

Seth nodded. “Makes the green go further.”


He crushed three spiders, dropping their dust in amongst the tobacco, then he held a chunk of skunk between his finger and thumbnail and attacked it with Helene’s lighter. As she’d been fucking with it, the flame must have burnt his fingers.

“You got fucking asbestos fingers,” said Rake.

Seth shrugged, blowing on the rock, then crumbling it into the papers.
“You get used to it.”

His nails were yellowed, so maybe you did. He ripped the end of Rake’s Rizla box and rolled it up to make the ‘filter’.

“The best sort of paper for this, specially if you expect the Old Bill to be on the look out for torn Rizla boxes, is pages from the Bible.” Seth’s voice was flat, like he’d used up all the emotion he’d had earlier on in his life and he was now running on fumes. “Best type is one owned by someone that really believes, so the pages have been soaked in tears of religious fervour. You want their finger oils and sweat to have permeated the cover, so you want to nick one from a Jehovah’s Witness or a market preacher, someone who’s really gripped onto it like a fucking life belt.”
Seth didn’t talk much, but when he did, everyone shut up and listened; the guy was a Beat poet in the 90s.
“You use the cover for the roach and pages from Revelations with the best skunk you can find and that, my friends, is a fucking apocalyptic high.” His laugh was high and reedy and Rake believed that the crazy fucker had actually done this.

This passage was written on of those early Monday morning trains filled with suit wearing commuters arriving at a funny time of day to avoid the rush. One of these suits was watching me write this (I believe in big fonts) and then stared at me in horror (probably as I was one of the suit-wearing norms at that point), so I figured it was pretty much on point.

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