Oh my, said the barman. This is quite the surprise.
He was smiling at me. It was a big hearty smile, the kind of smile you smile when you run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time, like an old friend from primary school, a forgotten colleague, the checkout lady you never spoke to.
He was behind the bar, wiping the inside of a tumbler clean. He rested it on the bar. I walked over and sat down in front of him and in front of the glass. The crystal pattern around it seemed to pop like diamond popcorn.
He motioned silently as to whether I wanted a drink. I nodded and smiled thank you.
I rested my hat on the bar. It was Russian. A porkpie trilby. Red.
Where have you been Mr Writer? It’s been a very long time. Why don’t you no write anymore?
It was late … early morning late, and there was a couple sat smoking lucky stripes and drinking the blackest of black coffee.
It’s a long story, I said.
You have that writer’s block thing, no?
I don’t know, I said.
It was true, what I told the barman. I didn’t know. There were lines and lines of words, but … what did any of them even mean?
Well, maybe this drink … maybe this drink will help you write.
Maybe, I said.
I picked up the tumbler, raised it to my mouth and poured it into my mouth, holding it there for a good few seconds, enjoying the warmth and the sting of its beauty.
It started to rain, kamikaze raindrops smashing into the window.
Again, I nodded. One for my baby, one for the road.