I took another sip of the generic beer I had ordered, hoping if I kept drinking it, I could block out the figure who sat opposite me. His name was George, I think. He had always been a good friend of mine, apparently. To be honest, I had little idea who he was, except for the fact he had tried to sell me a wind-up portable television in 1991, and since I was off my head on a combination of Draino and heroin coffee - as was fashionable in the Thatcherite era - I had told him we should have a drink one day. And so, in Pythonesque fashion, he had taken me up on the offer 18 years later.
He was telling a story, I think. I didn't really care what it was about, but if it was like the last 7 he had told, it was about his van's various problems. My beer was flat, but it didn't matter. I didn't like beer. I must stop impulse-buying beverages.
"I'll be damned..." He continued, "Damned, I'll be... If I'm going home to that whore-bitch of a wife tonight."
"Oh..." I offered
"You know... She used to be such a pretty thing... Well, not pretty... Handsome! Yes... when I first met her, you know, she looked just like Han Solo. Same dress sense and everything! But now... She..."
He leaned across the table, and I reciprocated, interested to hear his secret:
"She... She doesn't!"
He leaned back, nodding and smirking conspiratorially.
"Yea... Not going back there... Wild horses... couldn't... drag me... to water, can't make me DRINK!"
I watched him topple from his chair and stumble towards the next table, where he grabbed a vase of fake flowers happily. As he waltzed around with them, I wondered how hard it would be to actually attach him to some wild horses. It is a thought worth some further consideration...