So How About This Weather We’re Having

So How About This Weather We’re Having

We’re both sat in the pub on Wednesday night, and we’re the only people in there. The barman went downstairs to change a barrel and hasn’t come back for over an hour – poor Steve, carbon monoxide probably got him. But that’s not what I’m going to talk to you about that – I mean, suggesting that the barman’s asphyxiated to death in the cellar? That’d be awkward, I don’t even know you. No, lad, I know you’re sitting across from me invested in that text message, but I’ve been drinking Dark Drake since ten this morning and I haven’t seen my son in four years. I’m really bored. No, I’m going to use my magic opening line on you – some real hoodoo shit the likes of which hasn’t been seen in modern social circles for millennia.

“So, how about this weather we’re having?”

Your eyebrows raise and your eyes dart about. Of course I’m talking to you, we’re the only ones around in this overly-wooden pub that’s playing The Specials really quietly in the background. The pub where, somewhere in the corner, a Deal or No Deal fruit machine chirps to itself through a thick skin of dust.

A dim poorly placed LED glows through Noel Edmonds’ forehead.

And even then, you’re not sure. Quietly, you mumble “Heh, yeah”, as if, on the off chance, you’re wrong and I’m talking to my unseen Ronnie Corbett (RIP) sized friend on the bench toward the wall. But it’s just you and me here, friend. And I just asked you a question.

“I mean”, I continue. “When it rains, it pours.”

You make eye contact this time, if only for a split second. I can tell that there’s real fear in there – even through my stout’n’ed haze, I watch as your pupils enlarge as if in the presence of a large predator. But I’m only here to be your friend. This time, I think, you say “Yeah, yeah, it’s terrible.” This time, you’re sure it’s just you and I sitting in this pub. Two beings meeting in stopped time. Two ships passing in the night. I have your attention, and I’m not going to let go of it now. Like the crocodile taking a gazelle in its mighty jaws, I will take you on a death roll as I breach the surface of a deceptively deep river.

I look at the rain-spattered stained glass windowpane and huff loudly, expelling all the air that my cigarette-shrunk lungs will allow. A few seconds passes, and I realise that there’s nothing else that can be said about the rain. I won’t lose you this easily.

“Did you see the match last night?” I accidentally say it much louder than I meant to, as I’m almost shouting. It certainly made you jump because you nearly dropped your phone. But it’s alright, because we’re friends now. You look at me, and for once I see how blue your eyes are. Reminds me of the necklace I got for my bitch of an ex-wife, but I don’t tell you that. We’re not that good friends, yet.

“Sorry mate, I don’t follow football.” What a shame that you don’t. Such a shame, in fact, that I decide that you didn’t tell me that and instead carry on with the line of conversation that I had plotted originally. “Bloody Derby this season. Glad I didn’t buy a season ticket after all.”

“Yeah, I heard they’ve been rubbish.” You say. Bloody cheek, smalltalking me. You said that you don’t follow football, but now you’re making conversation on hearsay. And, just like that and without so much as a farewell to your breath, you get up and climb the old loose-slabbed stairwell to the gent’s.

The rain patters the windowpane. The machine calls out a tin mockery of Deal or No Deal’s originally upbeat theme. It sounds almost soulless. Like it’s stopped caring after being used by sweaty fingers after sweaty fingers, content to live the rest of its diode’s lifespan lazily catcalling disinterested patrons. I follow you up the stairs, you know, to talk.

 

It’s funny – you’re a lot more upbeat when you’re stood at the urinals, whistling Sweet Caroline into ceramic echoes – this stained chamber. Here I was thinking you were too quiet, too shy to talk. Maybe this version of you would respond a bit better to conversation. Maybe this gentlemen won’t mind so much when my friendly hands come to his neck, and they do. Just friendly, though, Just a little joke, I tell him. I whisper and I cradle him to the tiles.

The rain patters the windowpanes of the gent’s. Some weather.

Does an OK David Bowie impression.

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