Justin Hardy stood at the bar, his freshly poured pint in front of him. The barman returned with his change and turned away to serve others without time for a word of thanks in either direction.
Sighing, Justin stared into the froth on the top of the beer. He hadn't wanted to go out at all but he was alone in a small village B&B in the middle of his sales trip and already fed up of the small room he had rented. He had asked the B&B landlady if there was anything to do of an evening and she returned his question with a glum look and the minimal phrase, "There's the Sitwell."
"Pub?" He had asked.
"Yes." And then she had turned away to continue cleaning her small house. Though she was not much of a conversationalist, her cooking was splendid (better than his mum’s) and the cleanliness of her house was immaculate. Sparse in furniture and home comforts - not even a TV in his room - but the bare floorboards gleamed and the threadbare rug harboured not a single speck of dust. He had no wish to sit in her living room with her, watching the likes of Coronation Street or Emmerdale Farm however, hence the quest for other entertainment.
So Justin had wandered across to the Sitwell Arms alone. He went in and chose the Tap Room of the pub, figuring if there were any others close to his age, they would be there rather than the Lounge. He took a quick look around and then moved on to the back of the room, up two steps and then realised that that part of the Tap Room was more spacious than he had first thought. It opened up and more small tables were dotted about.
He spotted a young woman and her friend sat at one table, she was facing him, her friend had her back to him. ‘A nice bit of rough, makes a change,’ went through his mind as he mentally prepared himself. If he had been wearing one, he would have adjusted his tie at that point. She wasn’t what he usually went for, but there wasn’t much choice at that point in time.
She was dressed in tight denim jeans and had on a leather bike jacket. She had long straight hair, dark blonde in colour, too shiny to be described as mousey. She also had on a tiny vest top that barely covered her small but perfectly formed breasts. Her make-up consisted of a little mascara and eye-liner, and shiny pale lip gloss, she was definitely not what he usually went for, he preferred the higher-maintenance type of girl, but she’d do as a temporary distraction.
She was deep in conversation with her friend sitting opposite her, both were leaning on the table, chatting quietly. The other was dressed similarly, black leather bike jacket and jeans. Lovely long brunette hair hung almost to the waist and shone in the light from the sunset glinting through the window. There were two half-pint glasses on the table, both empty. He decided to take a chance to liven up his evening.
"Could I buy you two ladies a drink?" he asked, his most suave smile beaming, his eyes on the breasts of the girl who was facing him.
Her eyebrows raised and she shifted in her seat, he lifted his gaze to her face. She gave a strained smile back at him. Her companion sat up a little, taking time to turn around.
The words ‘fuck off’ only registered after he realised the mistake he'd made in assuming the gender of the girl's companion. The lad was younger than himself by perhaps a half-dozen years, he was slim with gorgeous clean, shining hair but his youthful features were very obviously masculine.
"Oh jesus," he muttered. "Sorry mate." As the lad glared at him, he felt his face colour up and he decided against sitting in that part of the Tap Room. He hurried back down the steps to find a vacant table in a corner in which to recover from his embarrassment. He heard the girl laugh as he fled but her companion did not.
"Fuckin’ trendies." The long haired lad muttered.
"Are you going or staying?" She ignored his annoyance.
"Staying, I suppose. Do you want another?" He stood up and took both glasses.
"No, I'm ok. I've had enough coke for now."
He nodded and left her glass on the table in front of her.
Justin watched as the long-haired 'hippy type' stood at the bar waiting to be served. He moved his resentful glare between the lad’s back and the girl as the lad ordered his drink. Justin watched, ‘The tight-fisted bastard didn't even get his girlfriend one and they were only drinking halves, probably to make his dole money last to the next gyro cheque’. He was smug in the knowledge that at twenty four he had a reasonable job with better than average pay nailed down. ‘What did that girl see in him, the greasy yobbo?’ he thought.
A short time later, Justin had got up to check out the tunes on the jukebox. He was getting more dismayed as he flipped each card over. He had already put his money in and he’d not found any tracks that weren’t rock of some kind or another. He settled for a selection of tracks that were or had been in the charts and went back to sit down.
While he had been busy at the jukebox, more bikers had arrived. They had not taken over the table where his drink was sitting almost finished, but they had surrounded it. He picked the glass up and moved to another table, very aware that it looked like he was intimidated. He still held hopes of ‘copping off’ with a bit of rough, or at least chatting one of the girls up. He figured his chances were good if the girls had any sense and wanted to improve their dating potential. Justin was pretty certain he could offer a better night out than any of the greasy bikers. He knew how to wine and dine his date, the lads in the pub looked like a fish ‘n’ chip supper between them both was the best they could do.
When another group walked in, the girl he had tried to chat up went over to greet one of them. She kissed him and he went to the bar to get them both drinks. The first lad followed her down and sat with the new arrivals.
Suddenly Justin had bikers on all sides again, so he stood up and went into the Lounge area. He left his empty glass on the table and as he went, he heard the girl tell her boyfriend that he'd mistaken Staffy for a bird. “That’s an easy mistake to make,” the boyfriend said and they laughed at Staffy’s ‘Fuck off!’ response. Resentment flared in Justin’s mind as they laughed and instead of another pint, he started on vodka and coke when he got to the other bar in the Lounge, or best side.