Pub Timelord

I don’t have a problem. Or rather, I don’t have the problem you think I have.

I’m not drunk. I’m unstuck in time.

I slipped into the Rose Villa for a swift half. The gathering night battled with the street lamps and swooshing, the tyres scratched and the dull hum of a bus cream and blued it’s way through a puddle.

There was light behind the door, through the mottled glass. ELO playing on the jukebox. But first I needed a slash. “Ahh, that’s better,” I said to myself.

The bar looked the same, but different somehow. I didn’t recognise anyone, but I guessed I must be early. Or late. Nearly Christmas and everyone’s routines get shot to pieces.

But I couldn’t get my bearings. I searched the taps for anything I knew. No Brew, no M&B, no Ansells, no Black Label.

So I ordered pop, reasoning that it might wake me up. Half a coke. Through the heavy air I watched furry post-mixed cola, spluttering and coughing from the hose. But when the glass reached me, it was empty except ice and rough cut lemon. Placed next to it on a napkin — unsuited to the job of beermat — was a bottle. Clean, cold, open. But with a Victorian label. It tasted sweet, but so cold, so watery with the ice that there was nothing there.

A bitter. It’s Friday, I’ve been paid so I handed a fresh note over and pocketed the change without looking. The glass was tall, too straight. No handle. The beer not right.

Still no-one here. No-one I know. Everything has changed. Get me another, I’ll wake up then.

Author: Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.