I opened the door and walked into the room. The bar was smart – copper lamps, fake beams and a buzz of genteel chit-chat. Dim lighting too - thank God for energy saving bulbs - just right for a little dipping. A spaced-out teenager soon caught my eye. Maybe he’d have no cash or cards but he’d have his stash – or whatever wasn’t up his poxy nose. His stash I could sell.
‘Oops – sorry mate – my fault – no harm done.’
He was away with the fairies, so I took his drink too. No point buying one. It was bloody cola though – and his stash was a crock. A few lousy grams from our local cheapo supplier – mostly talc nicked off the Avon lady. Ah well, I’d sprinkle it in me socks later – save on washing.
‘Mind if I sit here mate?’ I sat by a quiet guy, alone near the window. He seemed gloomy and not too prosperous which wasn’t a good start.
‘Suit yourself,’ he said, ‘I’ve only three weeks left to live, so why should I care?’ Well it was an opening.
‘Lucky sod,’ I said, ‘no need to buy Christmas presents.’ I could tell he didn’t realise what a bonus that was, because he began to snivel into his beer. Things on his mind I suppose – coffins and stuff. I patted his shoulder and dipped his coat pockets but they were empty, so I looked around for a healthier prospect.
A businessman with his flies undone – maybe – but back pockets only.
That woman in the corner with the posh headache – she might be interesting.
And maybe the loud blonde with the blue drink – the one going on and on about her next holiday. You’d think she was off to Mars from the way she bulled it up.
I didn’t like the look of the body-builder with the tattoos and shiny head though – sat at the bar as if he wanted to bend it. He bulged all over, but nothing looked right, as if he’d done his body-building on a trampoline. Anyway he was no good – clothes too tight.
Just then another woman came in, looked round nervously as if she thought the place might be full of weirdos. She sat at a table, then got up as if she felt out of place without a drink. On a blind date – I could tell. An internet date even. At least she’d have some cash.
I watched her buy a glass of white wine with a note from a nice fat wad. Once she was back at her table, she dropped her purse into her handbag. Snapped it shut. I winced. The last time I did a handbag, I dropped it. The strap wrapped round me ankles and I fell flat on me face and twisted me bad knee. I didn’t get much sympathy from the woman either - she just kicked me in the head and started screaming.
‘Excuse me, but is anyone sitting here?’ I asked in my nice voice. I didn’t give her time to reply, but managed to sit on her handbag which made a loud cracking noise. I tried to go through her bag as I handed it over with an apology, but all I got was a cut finger from her broken glasses. She leered at me short-sightedly as if I was her date - and even if I wasn’t I’d do.
Bloody hell. An icy mouse ran down me spine and me bad knee began to throb. I jumped up, made some vague noises and cleared off to the other end of the bar where the woman with the posh headache sat nursing a large gin and tonic.
After a while, the odd little man stumbled across to my table where a third gin and tonic was sorting my migraine. He clutched a bloody handkerchief to his finger and managed to sit on my handbag.
‘Clumsy me,’ he said, jumping up. I was amused to see how he tried to rummage through my bag as he passed it over with an apology. He wasn’t very good. In fact he was hopeless.
He even left his bloodstained handkerchief inside, so I gave it back with a smile and offered to buy us a drink. He was so surprised he sat on my bag again, but this time handed it over without rummaging. He actually patted it as if it was my pussy he’d sat on.
The other people in the bar turned towards us without interest. The beefy guy flexed his muscles as if I ought to be a maiden in distress and the waiter glared as if I should try solid food for a change. I smiled at him, pointed to my packet of crisps and he stalked off to harass the waitress. So I bought a gin for me and another cola for my new-found friend. I was sure he was in the trade too.
‘How did you get into it?’ I asked, ‘picking pockets.’
‘Careers advice at school,’ he replied, sipping his cola as if he wished he’d asked for something stronger. Anyway, we talked of this and that and I ended up telling him I was a writer looking for new characters. He didn’t like that so he knocked back his cola and left.
Before he went I offered him my handbag to practice with. It was an old one and there was nothing in it, but the offer made him tetchy and our parting wasn’t as friendly as I’d hoped. I managed to lift his stash though, but it stank of Morning Musk which isn’t one of my favourites.