A man talks about his day in an English Pub.
"Oh, hi there. I thought I'd be sitting here alone all night. It's not a problem though. You might as well listen to me, it saves me pouring my heart out to meself into this glass of lager.
Go to the bar and get yourself a drink then. Hurry back though, I want to tell somebody this, while me old brain still works properly. I'm planning on complete inebriation tonight."
"Thanks mate. I didn't expect a pint from a complete stranger tonight, it seems out of sync with the rest of me day. At least your eye never fell in me pint...
I'll get to that.
It started this morning mate. I got up and had to run for the bus. I didn't even have time to get a shave. That's why I'm looking rough tonight.
Even after running for it, the thing still pulled away from the bus stop before I got there so, I had to flag a taxi down. The price of taxi's these days is ridiculous. Eight pounds it would've cost me to get into work and that was without my packed lunch.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, it depends how you look at it; we crashed into the back of the bloody bus I was meant to be aboard. I mean, talk about irony. I missed it and then ended up saving my bus fare and taxi fare because of the crash. Missed a day's wages though, never a good thing. Might've all been different if I'd gotten to work.
Instead of jumping into another cab, I waited around for the ambulance and police to show up. The driver was slightly injured. Well slightly is a bit of an understatement, he died on his way to the hospital in the ambulance, so I guess he was actually very injured.
I didn't really pay too much attention; I was still set on talking to the police, getting the whole thing out of the way and then getting me backside into work.
The police weren't having any of it. They told me to go and see one of the paramedics to have a look at the bump on me head. A piece of glass from the taxi window was wedged in there, stopping it from bleeding, but they got it out and put a stitch or two in. Look.
Anyway, by the time the drama had all unfolded and the paramedics, who had decided to take me into the hospital to check my ribs, had finished; I finally got a bus to get me to work.
I reached the main entrance and it was locked. Nobody, not one single person over the weekend had told me it was a bleedin' bank holiday. So, the buses, being on bank holiday time, were only coming once an hour; so I decided I might as well start walking home.
A bunch of kids were sitting outside one of the off licences. They all had their hoods up on their jackets and looked like a right bunch of scallies. I thought they should have been in school, but I suppose they were probably over sixteen. They looked like an intimidating little group.
They asked me to go into the shop to get them a bottle of vodka and a few cans of lager. Me, being an old fashioned and according to the hooded lads, miserable old get, I told them to get lost.
I regretted saying that to the lads after I'd walked about two hundred metres and they were following behind me, shouting all kinds of abusive things at me. Well, I suppose they were saying them to me, but I think they talk to each other that way now anyway, don't they?
I got to an old pub on the main road I'd never seen before. I felt uneasy with these kids following behind me. They all carry knives now don't they and I never had anything sharp to hit back with. All I was carrying was a large bunch of keys. They'd probably hurt if I threw them at someone to be honest, but I don't think it would knock five lads down, no matter how big the bunch.
I went into the pub and ordered myself a pint of bitter. John Smith's to be exact... got to be the extra smooth. I do like Worthington's though, thanks for this pint by the way mate.
I sat down in the pub in a dark little corner nook. The barman said he'd bring my drink over, must've thought I was in a bad state, what with the bruises on my forehead and the stitches.
Once I was sitting down in the dark little pub, out of the daylight and view of them little scallies, I felt safe. Pubs always seem to have that affect on me, don't know why.
The barman brought my pint over and just as he was putting it down on the table, he sneezed. This wouldn't usually bother me, I'd say, "Bless you," and not even think about germs and things on the pint. This time though was different. His eye fell out and landed with a plonk into my pint.
Now, I know we've all sat around once or twice in our lives talking into a glass, but you don't expect the glass to be looking back. One of the weirdest things I'd ever experienced, well it was until that moment.
I was about to tell the barman that there was an eye in my beer and was really hoping he wouldn't reply with, "Shhh, everyone will want one," but when I looked up, the barman was gone.
I looked down into my pint and the eye was still there, floating on the frothy surface.
I didn't think it would be possible, but the eye turned in the beer and looked at me. Stared at me. It had no eyelids so I can't say it was unblinking as it couldn't blink even if it wanted to.
I wasn't having this; I'd never accepted a beer with an eye floating in it. Not once in my life do I think I would have accepted it and I wasn't about to start now. I got up and walked over to the bar to complain.
There was nobody behind the bar. Not a soul.
I looked around the pub and realized that I was the only person in the building. Nobody else was sitting around having a quiet pint. Nobody smoking a pipe and reading a newspaper. There wasn't even a fruit machine.
I stood at the bar waiting for a minute to see if anyone would come, but nobody did. I did that thing were you tap the bar and cough a little bit too loud, it didn't work. I did notice though that I had dust on my hand.
I looked at the pumps on the bar and that's when it hit me, they were old ones... very old ones and advertised beers that you can't even buy anymore. This just wouldn't do.
I shouted out for service, but I still didn't get a reply so I decided to walk behind the bar and have a look for someone. It was disgusting. It was piled back there with old bin-bags and I'm sure there were a rat or two running and scratching around in there.
I managed to get over the bin bags closest to the hatch, but when I reached the door heading out to the back, I noticed that it was the same all the way through. If I didn't know better, I'd have guessed this place hadn't been used in years. Still, I had a free pint on the table, I could always fish an eye out I supposed.
I sat back down at the table and looked into the pint, there was mould on the top and the eye still floated there, looking at me. I looked at the side of the pint and noticed that the green ran all the way through. This had to be the most difficult drink I'd ever had.
I decided to get up and leave the pub. As I reached the exit and was about to leave, I heard a voice from behind me telling me I hadn't paid for my drink.
I turned around and there was the barman smiling at me as he wiped the bar surface with his cloth. He looked at me with his one remaining eye and then, and this is the hardest part to believe, he disappeared. I mean he was gone. I was looking at him and then I was looking at where he was.
The disappearing barman was the final straw. The place was dirty, disgusting and it seemed it had rats too. When finally a barman arrived at the bar, he disappeared into thin air. What kind of service is that?
Well I wasn't scared of course, but I couldn't get out of the place fast enough. I pushed the exit doors and they banged open. I almost fell out onto the street and bumped into an old fellow, must've been a few years older than even me.
This old fellow, he got the fright of his life. I mean, by the look on his face I thought he was about to have a heart attack or something. That was until he smiled at me and said, "They opening that place up again?"
He sighed and added, "Won't be the same without old Barney."
I asked him who Barney was and he told me about the previous owner. About how they'd been good mates before he disappeared. He explained about the search for Barney and how all they ever found was an eye in a pint glass the night he disappeared.
The scallies in their hooded tops weren't hanging around outside and I decided to spend the eight pounds I'd saved on the taxi in the morning on getting myself home without any more strange encounters.
It's a bank holiday and there was no way I was going to spend the night at home so I came down here for a quick pint.
Anyway mate, I think it's my round... what you having?