He usually sat at a table outside the Bull’s Head slowly sipping his post pub-lunch third pint of the landlord’s best. It was a good spot. Carefully selected. It was on the route that the young mums would walk to collect their little ones from primary school and it was the route they would take to get home again. So all in all, a pretty damn good place for an unemployed red-blooded young male to spend the mid-afternoon.
But last Friday was different. He had been called in to the benefits office for a serious one-to-one with a pretty damn serious supervisor keen to demonstrate how much power the state has over the poor not-very-working classes. He had thought he would play it cool for his two o’clock meeting and rather cleverly hadn’t had anything to drink. “Dead sober,” he thought, “That’ll fool them.”
By two fifteen his swagger and bluster had been blasted into kingdom come and by the time he left the building ten minutes later, he was a pretty damn broken man. Not totally broken, but almost. Certainly not too broken to stagger into the Station Hotel, the first hostelry he came across.
The end came when the barmaid popped her head around the corner, raised her eyebrows and asked, “Pint?”
Damn, she was pretty.
Sober, his vision blurred and his knees buckled. He held onto the bar for support. He was in love.
And so, dear reader, sadly and through no fault of their own, the Bull’s Head lost a regular customer. Such is life.