Thursday 10 November 2016



By Roger Noons 

a gin and tonic – a double 


‘I would have thought you were taking a hell of a risk,’ my mother said, disapproval smeared across her face.
    ‘Accepting an invitation from a stranger on a bus.’
    ‘I didn’t seem that way to me.’
    I was settled on the 257 when he got on at the stop that is opposite the old ambulance station. He smiled as he dropped down on the seat opposite, resting his backpack alongside. I resumed my unfocussed gaze through the window. Two stops later, he turned and again smiled.
   Are you up for an adventure?’
    I frowned.
    ‘Three stops from now get off with me and I’ll take you to the nearest pub and buy you a drink.’
    I shook my head, in amazement, not in refusal. ‘And why should I do that?’
    ‘Because it’s Friday night and you look like you’ve had a crappy week and it might cheer you up.’
    I looked at his boyish smile and the lock of light brown hair that flopped down towards his right eye. ‘All right,’ I said, stood up and pressed the bell. ‘Now,’ I added and he had to hurry to gather his bag and follow me to the front. ‘Which way?’ I asked when we were standing on the pavement.
    ‘You choose.’
    Mum was still shaking her head. ‘So where did you end up?’ 
    ‘The Horse and Jockey.’
    ‘That dump?’
    ‘It’s been done up, new young licensee, they do food now, as well.’
    ‘And what did he buy you, half a shandy?’
    ‘Actually, I had a gin and tonic and—’
    ‘Huh, I suppose it’s a pound to speak to you now. Although I guess he was looking to get you—’
    ‘Before you ask, I had a second, a double.’
    ‘I didn’t know you liked gin?’
    ‘It’s all right, when someone else is paying.’
    My mother took a deep breath, loath to celebrate my adventure. ‘What did you talk about?’
    ‘Films, plays, books, that sort of thing.’
    ‘Oh, he’s highbrow, is he?’
    ‘He’s a teacher, at the Sixth Form College.’
    ‘What was he after, that’s what I’d like to know.’
    ‘He gave me his mobile number.’
    Her displeasure spanned the five feet between us. ‘Are you going to ring him?’
    I gazed into space. ‘Probably not.’
    ‘I should think not.’
    ‘I didn’t get around to telling him that I had a three year old child … and a husband in prison for attempted murder.’

About the author

Roger is a regular contributor to CafeLit   

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