Fuck this. Fuck waiting for this bastard. Does he think I’m his plaything?
What does he think he’s doing, leaving me in a shithole of a pub, with its corny decorations and stench of old men’s farts? I get enough funny looks as it is. There’s no such thing as a danger-free day in my line but today, in particular, is a bad one.
No, I’m not having this. I’m going to slam this glass onto the bar and get out of here. My nerves are jangling inside me. Above my head are hung flags from all over the world. I manage not to sneer. I pull my heavy jacket on and go outside to the South London street.
There’s traffic noise, and off-licences, and corner shops with rotting fruit sitting in bowls on rain-battered tables outside. Grey and lifeless. I want to go home. I lean up against the sick-yellow exterior of the pub and wish I could light a fag. I settle for re-applying my lipstick. I look up. They’ve only decorated the outside of this place with a ridiculous Guinness themed clock, with the pints looking like blushing, happy faces. I swear to God. I could puke.
There’s a man on the other side of the road, resting his bulk against the black pole which holds up the traffic light. He’s watching me; and not casually. He isn’t looking through or around me, but intently at me, to see what I do next. I feel the hair on my arms stand up. I feel an urge to run across the road, weave around the speeding cars, and rip the bastard’s throat out. But no. No. This is not a time to be drawing any attention to myself. It’s cold. I put on my hat and slope over to the side street.
The paranoia, or sixth sense, or whatever it is, that I’ve been wearing all day as surely as I’m wearing this jacket, starts to lift – but just a little bit. I feel the solidness of the pub’s pebble dashed wall as I lean back. Alright. This has all gone wrong somewhere. That’s fine. Cut our losses, report back to the bosses, reconvene for another day.
The bin, a big, blue, plastic rectangle, to my left moves. The man’s there, the expression on his moustached face showing me he’s got something to say. He sidles closer to me trying to keep the eye contact I’m avoiding. He smells like the police.
He says my name. He’s got a voice like a strangled Goose and an accent from what my old man, til his dying day, called Persia. The cunt says my name again.
“Fuck off.” I say and turn to walk away.
Self importance is filling his voice as he asks, out loud, for the third time, if I’m me.
“Never heard of the bitch.” I say, moving on. I can hear his pace quicken behind me. The tension in me is turning to anger, irrational, uncontrollable.…