Pub Life: A Glass of Water

Low resolution image of a glass of water.

He enters the pub hesitant and blinking, muttering to himself, and completes a circuit scouting for empty seats.

When he final­ly approach­es the bar he moves side­ways, one ner­vous step at a time, apol­o­gis­ing with his body lan­guage before he says a word. “A glass of water, please,” he bare­ly whis­pers.

He is served with­out ques­tion, and in fact with a smile.

He cir­cles again, gaug­ing threat lev­els, before decid­ing to sit next to us, with a half-voiced, “Sor­ry, can I…” With a faint rus­tle of anorak he folds into the space and clos­es in on him­self.

A sip of water first, then to busi­ness: on to the table from his old army bag he tips a pile of small change, which he care­ful­ly sorts by denom­i­na­tion, and then counts. Job done, he puts the coins back in his bag.

He sips more water, ris­es, and tip­toes away to use the toi­let.

On his way out of the pub he paus­es to look at a bowl on the bar. It is full of cubes of cheese. His eyes dart – could he…? Would it be OK if…? He takes one piece, and gets away with it; then a sec­ond. With a quick jerk of his hand he throws them into his mouth and blinks furi­ous­ly – an expres­sion of plea­sure, per­haps.

Final­ly, he slides through a mere crack in the door, not want­i­ng to trou­ble any­one with a draught, and is gone, leav­ing no trace but a half-emp­ty glass.

6 thoughts on “Pub Life: A Glass of Water”

  1. You could do a nice Kin­dle release that’s a 50–60 page com­pi­la­tion of these lit­tle snap­shots snap­shots (assum­ing you have the mate­r­i­al). Love­ly bit of writ­ing!

    1. Thanks, Andy. We enjoy writ­ing them (here, on Patre­on, and occa­sion­al­ly even on Face­book) and the thought of com­pil­ing them in some way, per­haps with the same amount of com­plete­ly new entries, has crossed our minds.

  2. Also irri­tat­ing are those who march into a pub to use the toi­lets and after­wards leave with­out so much as glanc­ing at the bar, let alone obtain­ing any­thing from there. Such peo­ple believe they are enti­tled to use the toi­lets.

  3. I’ll use Wether­spoon toi­lets with­out any prob­lem as they know the score and it doesn’t hit their bot­tom line.

    But any nor­mal pub or bar? I’d always ask and per­haps at least offer to buy some crisps. Mind you they come in at over a quid these days. Bloody key keg Gold­en Won­der crisps no doubt 😉

  4. Inter­est­ing. If I was a far greater nerd of pub licens­ing his­to­ry, it might have been expect­ed that the wash­rooms were avail­able to non-cus­tomers. There is an under­ly­ing pub­lic ser­vice aspect to the pub­lic house.

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