Recap: Closing time.
The evening before the hangover/Monday’s post debacle.
Sat there. One last drink.
Me. Short Tony. Contented after a few pints taken in a celebratory mood.
The Unfeasibly Tall Kitchen Manager. The Foxy Barlady. Unwinding with a cigarette after a hectic evening.
I perched on my barstool, passively smoking. I like passive smoking – it is so much cheaper, and you don’t need to feel self-conscious about holding it in a masculine way.
“What’s the occasion then?” asked the Unfeasibly Tall Kitchen Manager, having missed the news.
“Jonny’s going to be a father,” replied the Foxy Barlady. She kept her eyes steady, but I could tell that welling up inside her was an unstoppable torrent of grief and torment drawn from a bottomless pond of regret that the LTLP had got in with me first. She had encountered me at the wrong time in her life and, deep in her Foxy Barlady consciousness, she had to accept that it was now never going to happen between us.
It was a subtle welling, almost indiscernible.
Perhaps she will break down into insanity and chop up all the kitchen staff in a massacre of jealous rage before using the mezzaluna on herself. I will feel a bit responsible for this, but it will only be moral responsibility and not legal, so I will be OK with the police, don’t worry.
Unless I have contrived to help her obtain an illegal mezzaluna. Then I’d be stuffed.
I finish my Jack Daniel’s and Coke, wondering why I am drinking a Jack Daniel’s and Coke.
Short Tony and I stroll back, walking unsteadily down the middle of the road. The night is warm, close and still – no rustling in the leaves. There’s the sound of a car passing, far, far in the distance.