I’m meeting up my old friend. We go down to a pub near Fenchurch Street. He’s not shaved today and has a busy beard. We get our drinks then sit down at a table. I notice that it has the number one pasted to it. I tell my friend we’re sitting on the number one table in the place. He smiles.
He starts telling me a story about something. We’re sitting near the kitchen area and two of the young barmaids walk past us every so often with two loaded platters on either hand, all dressed in black. They’re both brunettes. My orange juice has a large slice of orange floating about it in it and I’m sitting before a flickering candle in a cherry red, short cup. It has a criss-cross pattern cut into it, a sort of diagonal series of diamonds. I once used to know what that pattern was called.
Every time my friend’s story gets to the good part, a voice blares out something about today’s pub raffle. The voice on the speaker above us is jarringly loud and keeps stopping and then starting again, keeping us constantly surprised and constantly interrupted. It’s really quite annoying.
A red haired man with a beard and a red jumper suddenly pops up behind us. He starts speaking to himself loudly. He points at us first. Eeenie meenie minie mo… He looks from us to two other tables. He walks over to one of the tables and then grabs a reluctant guy. In a minute the loudspeaker is blaring again. They’re picking the first raffle ticket out of the draw. This is a weird pub.
In the middle of another story, the same guy appears again. He throws something on our table. We look at it. It’s something in a cellophane wrapper that gleams in the candlelight – the same candlelight that reminds me always of couples and romance, not a drink with a friend. It’s from the prize draw the guy says. His beard is so straggly. He’s wearing black spectacles and is quite short. I still don’t know what it is. They’re for you since I didn’t choose you to pick out the first prize draw. Got to get rid of everything. Thanks we say. I’m still surprised. They guy walks off in a second.
The T-shirt sort of compensates for the too loud speaker, I guess. But it won’t fit. It’s too large.