Monday 30 January 2012: Bar Duty Again
The bar was upstairs from the main street so you couldn't see in; I could see the lights on the ceiling through the dirty windows but there was little else to judge the place on. I went up and through the bar door with its opaque glass on the first floor landing. The place was nearly deserted and felt no warmer than the stairwell outside.
"Pint of light", I said to the barman with a nod. Along the bar a sullen customer looked me up and down and went back to his paper. I looked over at the couple by the pool table; they were ignoring me. This didn't seem at all like Smith's usual hang-out, but I took my glass over to a nearby table and busied myself looking through my papers. Another guy came in and stood at the bar. There was something in his manner that was unsettling; he looked at me as he talked to the barman. I avoided his stare and they both laughed together.
At quarter to, I made to leave, taking my glass back to the bar before heading out with a curt nod. "Take care", said the barman and his friend grinned. I left but as I headed down the stair I was aware of the door behind me opening. I quickened my pace down the last few steps to find a bulky character lolling in the doorway. He dropped his cigarette as I approached him. "Well, this is a surprise" he said, "Pensioner, isn't it?"