Chapter 2 – Extract 11 from The Paradise Induction!
He invited me to an underground nightclub in Soho.
When we met up, he seemed different.
His friends—five other black guys—seemed miserable and unfriendly, as did he.
After twenty minutes, I left the nightclub feeling totally unwelcome and despised by his friends as they had not even been able to greet me, let alone speak to me. I’d tried to speak to Mattox about the gym and training, but he seemed completely out of it.
A few days later, I saw him in the sports centre as I was leaving the changing rooms.
“We need to talk,” he said sternly.
I returned his firm tone. “Yeah. We do.”
The following day, after my regular gym workout, I got changed into my swim-trunks and entered the steam room, lying down on the bench. Minutes passed and the door was opened wide with force.
“So that’s how it is, is it?” said Mattox as he stormed in. “No love for Mattox!”
“No. It’s not like that at all,” I calmly replied, still lying down.
“So, what’s happening then bro?” He plonked himself down on the bench in front of me.
“You gotta understand. The way I am outside and the way I am in the gym, it’s different. Those are my boys from the streets, you get me? When I’m in the gym, it’s the gym, but when I’m on the streets, it’s business, you get me?”
“I don’t get it Mattox. I don’t get it at all.”
“You were showing me too much love and too much respect in the club bro. Can’t be going on like that with my boys. I’m a different guy when I’m out there. It’s business bro.”
“Sorry Mattox. I don’t get it. I was glad to see you. I don’t understand how that’s showing too much love and too much respect. You’re not making any sense.”
“Okay. Listen bro. Let’s squash this before it turns into a beef. You did me wrong. I did you wrong. Let’s squash this. You say sorry for what you did, and I say sorry for what I did.”
“What?” I said. Had this guy lost his mind? Was I missing something here? What had I done? It’s not like I’d gotten drunk and forgotten. The club atmosphere had been so hostile that I didn’t want to drink or stay.
“That’s crazy,” I continued. “Let’s just leave it, okay?”
I got up, left the steam room, and sat down on the lowest level inside the sauna room.