I’d a bad night. The guy upstairs had a burst pipe on Tuesday, which he didn’t know about. Next thing it’s Thursday, the ceiling comes down, and I’m in all kinds of grief that only Joey the goldfish would have appreciated. I did the only thing I could have done under the circumstances left my keys with somebody that would understand and went for a pint.
My local’s local. All I need to do is cross Dumbarton road, weave my way through everybody that should be inside killing themselves with drink standing outside having a fag, and that’s me standing eyeing the optics. It’s written all over my face how handy it is. The barmaid ignores me it might have something to do with something I said the night before, and can’t remember. Or it might be the music is that loud that it’s ate her brain. Somebody’s stuck on a Brian Ferry on the jukie, which like Calamero, and the injustice of the sky falling down, fingers the baldy guy sitting on a barstool next to me as the culprit as he’s the only one inside that looks daft enough. The barmaid deigns to look at me. Pavlovian reflex. I look at her tits. I’m still not sure, but she’s pouring me a pint of heavy. I figure things can’t be that bad if we’ve got that psychic link and I don’t need to move my lips. I put my hand in my pocket and smile at her. Never fails.
I catch a glimpse of frothy lips in the mirror behind the bar as I do a sharpish turn. I like to sit near the pool table. Then if there’s an emergency and I’m called to clean up I’m ready. I do one of those double take kind of things when you stumble, and look again, because you think you’ve seen your doppelganger, or Hughie the potlicker sitting with a good looking woman and chatting away, quite the thing. He’s smaller and grimier than he looks, and she’s one of those Goth types with the spiked black hair, glittery dark eyes, pencil thick with liner, leather jacket and ripped stockings. Her tits push out of some t-shirt with a swastika or some crap on it, but they just can’t hold her. Hughie the potlicker looks as if he’s double-dating. He’s out of his depth. Surely, he’s out of his depth.
I’m not sure where to sit now. A few smokers grunt as they pass me. I lean against the pillar at the pool table. I quickly run through everything I know about Goths – they hate everybody and they love Love Cats and the Cure. So I figure me and whatshername have about 50% in common. Hughie the potlicker was bound to say something daft and fold like queen high in a game of poker. That’s exactly the way I wanted her. I’ve not had my hole in two weeks and my cock’s begun to shrink with decay. Instead of £50 y-fronts, all it needed was a checked scarf and bunnet and it’s find a place in the bide away a wee bit retirement home for retired cocks.
But there’s lots of eye contact between them. Clinking glasses. They’re drinking multi-coloured shots. She touches his elbow as they speak. I know from listening to relationship gurus that’s the equivalent of touching his dick. Next thing she’ll be giving him a blow job. Or he’ll be down talking to her minge as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
I swallow my pint in one go and go to the bar. ‘Geez a shot,’ I shout at the barmaid.
She pours me a pint. Our psychic link broken, she does look as if she’s shoot me. But I don’t give up. I wave my arms about.
‘Whit you wantin?’ she asks.
‘Whatever they’re drinking,’ I say.
She understands. I lean across the bar and try and tell her that the world’s turned upside down. Usually Hughie the potlicker is wandering around with his fly down and couldn’t find his cock. If there was a god, Hughie the potlicker would have got himself a good women that looks like Arthur Scargill after the miner’s strike 1984-85. Someone whom night terrors begins every morning, with the cock’s crow. But the barmaid chooses not to hear me.
Hughie the potlicker is standing at my shoulder, waiting to get served. Looking in the mirror I can see he’s gloating.
‘Who’s that way you?’ I take a sip of my pint. ‘Your big cousin?’
‘Nah,’ he says. Usually I cannae get the cunt to shut up. Now he’s smiling at the barmaid, curling his fingers and signalling that she should come nearer so that he can whisper what he wants. She laughs much too loud and slides up the bar and leans across so they can have a cute little tete-a-tete. She strokes his hand when he’s getting his change and I hear the barmaid whispering, ‘you’re not taking this seriously’.
The arsehole three tables away is also laughing, his head jerking in my direction.
Hughie the potlicker lifts his tray of drinks. Usually you can’t get him to buy you a pint, now he’s buying trays of drinks. Next he’ll be going down on bended knee and proposing whatshername should be spending a night in the Gleneagles Hotel and not a quickie on a park bench. One Direction came on the jukie. Somebody is having a laugh.
‘Whit’s that you’re drinking?’ My hand hovers above the drinks on the tray.
‘Martini,’ said Hughie the potlicker.
I bang the bottom of the tray. All the drinks jump and tumble with a slow-motion crack on the titled floor. ‘Poofs' drink.’
‘You’re barred,’ shouts the lesbian barmaid.
‘Shite pub. I’ve already barred myself,’ I say, striding towards the door.