I enter the public house. There is a stale dampness to the room and the floorboards moan under the step. I take in a deep, smokey breath and adjust my eyes to the faint light. There is a bar tender and a young girl working behind the counter. They are both serving the one customer at the bar. Just an ordinary Foster's it seems. He places it in front of the fat man and ushers the young girl away from the counter. She retreats back to washing out the pint-glasses from a small sink and tap at the side. The fat man takes a swig, pulls out a cigarrette, takes a drag and exhales hard. The bartender exchanges a mixture of obscenities and delivers a punchline that causes the fat man to explode in a fit of laughter. He slaps the counter in a show of approval whilst the barman sniggers to himself. The girl remains with her back turned to them, whilst oblivious to the laughter.
My body is stiff with tension, I decide to approach but the wooden floorboards echo underneath my steps and I become even more nervous. The bar man looks up and the fat man turns round to observe their new customer. A wave of apprehension sweeps over me, telling me to head back to the Wetherspoons down the road, where I left my friends earlier. My throat is painfully dry, it seems to be crying out for the perfect remedy, beer. I realise something as I come closer to the bar, I am underage. This causes my stomach to twist into a knot and my palms to begin to get clammy. I see both of their eyes set on me, studying me, they are probably thinking that I am a bit too young to drink.
I work up my dutch courage and muster the best I could through what has to be the driest throat in the world.
"One Guiness please."
The barman stands straight and tall. He looks away uninterested and blase.
"We have none." He mumbles. "Louise I want them glasses done before half ten." Instead of responding the girl cowers slightly over her work and keeps on scrubbing. I am stumped, unsure what to say but my mouth has gone into verbal diarrhea. I would write down exactly what I had said if it was not such incomprehensive jibberish. The barmen and fat man look somewhat confused yet amused by my strange and nervy display. They can only assume that what I was trying to say was, "That is alright, I will take anything you have to cure this immensly dry throat."
"There are these." He pointed to the row of various ales on tap. I study them, they all look far too old-fashioned and most of them too dark. No, they are not for me. I resign to my usual defeated self and order a coke. The bar tender responds in a quick and still uninterested fashion, the pint-glass is taken, the ice poured in, a light spray of coke, correct amount of money taken, glass slammed on bar counter, done. I walk away confused and slightly nerved but what just happened but anyway I decide to walk off and look for a chair. My eyes scan the room, they are all wooden and seems to all have walls in-between the tables in chairs probably for privacy. I decide this ideal for me to go sit down in one in the corner and not be bothered by any-one. I make a B-line for a booth in the corner, I sneak my nose round the wall but unfortunately there is a man there.