Have you ever blacked out?
I mean completely blacked out?
Because of booze?
Because of some weird illness?
Because your wife hit you on the head with a frying pan?
The last one.
It hurt like hell.
And I didn’t even deserve it.
It begins down at the pub. I am having a few drinks with my mates when in comes this nice little bird. She must have been in her twenties. She goes up to the bar, buys a bottle of sparkly water and sits down in an empty corner.
We stare of course. Women are scarce enough at the pub. And I don’t think I ever saw someone younger than forty. Except her.
So the shock dies down. We continue our drinks. And the bird sits in the corner, not even touching her water.
After about twenty minutes, I glance around the pub and notice that she’s still alone. So I tell the mates that I’ll just go see if she’s all right. And of course they misunderstand me and chuckle into their drinks. Come on, I think, I’m no fool. She’s in her twenties, I’ll be in my fifties in a couple of years. I have a daughter about her age. It’s not as if I thought she wanted to come home with me or anything. And anyway, I could never take her home; I have a wife, remember?
Well, I go over in her corner and I ask her:
‘What’s a pretty bird like you doing in a place like this?’
She must have misunderstood me because she gave me this icy look.
‘I’m waiting for someone,’ she said and turned her head away from me.
‘But you’ve been waiting rather long, haven’t you?’ I say.
She shrugs her shoulders.
‘Is it a boyfriend?’ I ask.
‘Will you leave me alone?’ she snaps.
‘All right all right,’ I say, ‘no need to get angry. A nice evening to you.’ I go back to my mates. She stares into the wall.
After about another ten to fifteen minutes a bloke comes in. I don’t know him, but I don’t like him. It’s something about his face. His eyes perhaps.
He sits down with the bird, and for a while I get this picture in my head of a bird and a cat sitting on each their side of the table. And him licking his lips. I almost go over there again, but I’m thinking the bird will misunderstand me again.
They sit in the corner for about half an hour, speaking in low voices. Then they leave.
I finish my beer and look at the watch. It’s still rather early, but I’m thinking it’s probably time to get home to the missus. She said something about a nice dinner this morning. So I say goodbye to my mates and get going. It’s chilly outside so I put my hands in my pockets and hunch my shoulders. Then I walk down the road.
When I get close to the next side street, I hear voices. Loud voices. I look down the side street and it’s the bird and the cat. And he’s clutching her arm. And she seems to be crying. And trying to get away. Now that makes me angry. Him getting violent towards the bird like that. So I stride down the street.