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.