"You will like it, I promise," Pierre said, placing a hand on Terry's shoulder. "Trust me."
The red-light district of Paris was a labyrinth of alleyways that buzzed with Vespa motorbikes and loud men touting blow-jobs to all who passed them by.
Pierre turned into a narrow doorway with stairs so steep it would have been easier had there been a ladder.
The space looked more like an attic with its low ceiling. There was no room to get in between the tables without shoving someone out of the way. A heater in the corner gave off the definite odour of carbon monoxide but no heat.
The stout waitress, who seemed to be all hip, motioned for them to sit as she extinguished her cigarette in her margarita.
She brought them three shot glasses and as he felt the warm liquid hit the back of his throat; he recognised the aftertaste of vodka.
That is the extent of Terry's clear memory of the night. The rest is a montage of jump cuts between drinking shots of something blue, of Pierre using charades to tell him what he was eating, tumbling down the stairs, being blown by a woman old enough to be his mother (was she in Paris?) and of Pierre acting like a horse.
A word, in Pierre's accent, echoes in his mind. "Cheval."
"Cheval, cheval, cheval," Pierre’s voice repeats, and always pointing with his crooked finger pointing to a plate of a pale pink mess. ""Cheval, cheval, cheval."
Terry patted around for his phone, typed in the word "cheval" into his translation app.