No¦ real life's not about winning the Lottery. Not for most of us, anyway. It's about winning the other game. The daily kick-about. The old one-two. The passes and fouls. The offside shots. The penalties. The poxy decisions. The missed chances. The shouts from the stands ' from the few supporters who always turn out. The brilliant saves. And the occasional goal, of course.
So¦ old Lemon, eh? Fifties, works at the hospital, lives alone in the bedsit above the Pink Pagoda take-away, smells like Fried King Prawn Balls, pint of lager top, telly on without the volume, thin and shivery in his old raincoat, same yellow cardy from one year's end to the next, likes a bit of a flutter¦ A millionaire, but for the loose change.
I was perched at the bar with Sherlock. We'd just got our second pints in and things were starting to bubble nicely. I'd been giving him the lowdown on work ' such as it was. The false starts. The saggy middles. The sentences written in gold in your head, but which turned to crap on the page ' a kind of alchemy in reverse. I had got one idea, though, that I was running by him. A play. Something inspired by my midnight walk around Mariner Plains, with all those dark, empty rooms.