The bar was busy and smoky tonight, many people had come down and visited their local to watch the rugby game being shown on the television. The county team were playing for a place in the quarter finals, some saw this with a sense of significant importance.
Michael Donaldson was sitting in one of the wooden booths that could be found directly across the room from the front entrance. Around from him shuffling a deck of cards was Ed Patrick, a friend of Michaels, who he met with on a weekly basis since arriving in the area a year or so ago.
The pair weren’t big talkers. It was usually the way of older men, who had experienced more of life’s hardships than the majority of us can yet contemplate. It was a characteristic that came with age and understanding.
Ed shuffled the cards and began to deal them out to Michael and himself. The game wasn’t important. It didn’t matter who won. The majority of the time neither of them could remember who the victor was. It was a habit, something to do with their hands as they nursed their beers and browsed around for any new comers amongst the haze.
“It’s busy tonight” mumbles Ed into the smoke.
Michael nods “yeah. There’s been some crazy things going on in the world lately”
“Deal” says Michael before Ed hands him over a card.
Michael looks at the new cards and places his deck face down on the table.
“Bust. Want another drink?”
“Yeah, cheers” replies Ed.
Michael steps up from his seat, and makes his way through the groups congregating around the tables. He leans against the solid oak bar, as the bartender walks over and begins to pour two more pints.
As he waits for his order, he turns towards the front door and notices a young man walking in looking bewildered and lost. The sense of recognition sunk into his mind, and Michael began to scratch his head for when and where he had met this young man before.
The bartender walks over and places the two glasses beside him, Michael hands over a note and grabs the glasses. He returns to Ed and takes a seat.
“You ok?” asks Ed.
“Yeah, I thought I recognised someone over there near the bar” says Michael.
“Someone you knew from before?” asks Ed as he deals out a shuffled deck of cards.
“Yeah, I think so. But I’m not sure from where exactly” Michael picks up his hand.
The pair falls silent for some time as they continue to play their game. The people around them came and went, and the smoke continued to drift and dance around the room like spirits in the clouds.
“That happened to me once” says Ed, breaking the silence before taking a sip of his beer “...yeah, I was sitting down at the park one morning when my old boss from the warehouse came walking past. He had no idea what had happened to him”
“Did you tell him?” asks Michael.
“Tell him he was dead? “ Ed shakes his head “No, it’s not my place to tell him. You know the deal. They have to find out themselves”
“The kid looked lost”
“You looked lost when you first came in here too” Ed reminded Michael “and look at you now, happy as fucking Larry”
Michael laughs “so much for beers, cars and titty bars aye”
Ed picks up the cards smiling, before both of them shake their heads and let out a sigh.
“Beers, cars and titty bars my friend”
Sweet Animosity is the home for all projects and writings undertaken by Dhalia.