It’s Tuesday night in the Three Tuns (Community pub) in a small West Country town in Wiltshire. The time is 5.15 pm. Combat Dave, 60, is stood at the bar, by the open hatch with a half empty pint of Doom Bar
ale. The hatch is a good place to stand, as it’s away from the “Family Room“ where all the tables are laid out for the diners. He’s waiting for the “5 O‘Clock Club”. 5 O‘Clock Club is where the locals meet up after their various day‘s activities.
The regulars come in, some with their wives/partners and the conversation consists of banter and utter bollocks for two hours. Only regulars understand the “code” and the in-jokes. It only takes one word sometimes or even just the last sentence of a joke.
“…..I’m not a REAL welder, you know.”
“Brilliant, that. Wogan was so funny.”
“Yeah, those Janet and John sketches were genius.”
At 5.20 the door opens and Cider Dave walks in. He’s one of “the regulars”. “Alright, Dave? You’re late on parade, mate. Trouble at office?”
“Yeah. My fucking boss came in at 3.00 and wanted a complete breakdown of the half yearly accounts. By tomorrow. She’s off on Thursday. Kids are ill and she’s working from home”.
“Working from Sainsburys, more like. Fucking women.”
“Oy, watch your language, please.”
“But there’s no-one in, Liz.”
“Pin money, tarts”
“I’ll have a pint of Cloudy Apple, please, Liz.” Liz reaches down to find a glass with the Cloudy Apple motif. Combat Dave starts to construct a rollie for the “ritual”.
“Oh shit, I’m out of filters. Hey, Liz keep an eye on my pint, I’m just nipping down the shop for some filters.”
“OK, Dave. If I give you the cash, can you get me a couple of packets of crisps for the kids? They’ll be in, in a minute, coz hubby’s working shifts tonight.”
The “code” begins. Dave looks at the other Dave. It’s the <<Oh, fucking hell, not those brats AGAIN. It’s chaos when they come in>> look.
5 minutes later, Dave arrives back. The rollie is completed.
“No, I‘m not Dave. But I‘ll have a cigarette”
The Coldplay album on the Spotify play list kicks in for the second time over the sound system. “And the spies came out of the water…..”
Code look <<Fucking hell, not this track AGAIN.>>
The “Two Daves” go outside for the smoking ritual. Both pick up ciggie, then pint, then one waits for the other to pass by, then out through the skittle alley, turn left into the narrow back corridor outside. It’s raining and the makeshift smoking shelter, a door laid across the two sloping roofs, is dripping either side. They cram into the space that’s least wet and smoke. They’re too close to talk. No personal space. It’s sip, puff, clear throat, stare at floor, repeat until finished.
As they come back in, a roar goes up from the TV room. “I guess Chelsea have just scored then.”
Combat Dave pops his head round the corner, where the 60” screen is in full view. “Bit early for footie innit?”
“They’re playing in Russia. They’re 4 hours ahead of us.”
“4 hours? You sure?”
27 mobile phones come out and the glow could light the town square. Google google google, scroll, scroll, scroll. A phone is shoved in Dave’s face. “See?”
“Oh yeah. Anyway, what part of Chelsea were you born in then?”
“Fuck off, I’ve always supported Chelsea.”
“Not Bristol Rovers then? You know 10 miles up the road.”
“OYYYYYYY. I won’t tell you again!”
Dave wanders back to join Dave 2. The bar staff like that. “The two Daves. Tee hee”
“Who’s playing darts tonight, Liz?”
“Cancelled. They can‘t get a team up. And the Dog‘s darts team has folded, so there won‘t be a game next week, either”
“Jesus, there’s already 2 byes a season.”
“No-one wants to drive and the United match is on at 8.00 next Thursday.”
“Yeah. Mike has already made the vegetable curry for them tonight, too. He’s not best pleased.”
Coldplay grinds on and on, “…..everything was yellowwwww…”
Combat Dave downs the rest of his pint and reaches out to Liz for a refill…..JUST as the door crashes open. A twin pushchair has batterd the door against the wall. Two springers push through past it and
start running around the bar barking. Combat Dave holds out his glass and coughs. He doesn’t like to shout. But he’s lost Liz. “Oh, doggies. Aren’t they GORGEOUS.” Dave clears his throat.
“Are you doing food tonight?”
The whole fucking family from Great Granny through every generation to the newborn twins come into the pub and drip water everywhere. A free cabaret from hell.
“Oh great, where shall we sit guys?”
Code look<<NOT HERE NOT HERE NOT HERE, PLEASSSSSSE>>
“Over here looks good.”
<<FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK>>
“ Sit there and I’ll bring a menu round.”
Combat Dave tries, “Liz……”
Daddy starts “Right, what shall we have to drink. Boys?”
“I WANNA COKE”
“No, you can’t have fizzy.”
“BUT I WANNA COKE.”
Now…….dramatic pause……. I say Combat Dave doesn’t like to shout. But Dave 2 does.
“LIZ!!! WE WERE WAITING BEFORE THIS GENTLEMAN.”
Liz looks puzzled. “Oh, were you?”
“Excuse me, guys, I’ll just serve these two in front of you.”
Code <<IN FUCKING FRONT OF HIM????>>
The man doesn’t apologise for pushing in. He is now “fair game”.
“Coming for a FUCKING fag Dave?”
“FUCK, yeah. I‘m fucking gasping”
The time’s not right for the “fag” joke, anymore.
Liz decides not to mention the language. She senses something…..
The two Daves (Ha) go out for a ciggie again. This happens twice per pint. They just get dry and go out and get wet again. It’s the LAW.
Chelsea scores again and the football boys are going mental.
Chris Martin continues on the sound system “…..para…para…paradi-ise….”
Sip, puff, clear throat, sip, puff, clear throat.
They chuck the fag butts into the half filled cigarette-butt soup ashtray.
The Adams family are still performing around the only table near to the Daves. All the rest are empty. A dog hits Dave 2’s leg. Combat Dave “tries” to avoid a scooter parked at the bar but “accidently” knocks it flying. He applies Plan A: Total pisstake. “Ouch, Christ that’s sore.”
“I’m sorry about that…….TRISTAN, what have I told you about that scooter?”
“IIIIII WANNAAAAA COKE!!!!! I HATE Blueberry and Quinoa J2O”
Dave breathes deeply, “Don’t worry, MY fault. Should look where I’m going.”
<<CUNT CUNT CUNT CUNT!!!>>
The two Daves finish their drinks. “Looks like it was just us two tonight, then.”
Daddy continues giving his order to Liz, “….but I want it with chips, not rice. Oh and Marjory is lactose intolerant, so no cream.” “ I WANNNNNA COKE!!!!”
“See you tomorrow, Liz” “Oh yeah, bye guys—–and mayo instead of the coleslaw. Yes, no problem. ”
Liz’s two kids nearly trample Combat Dave as they come through the door through which he was leaving…..and his mind goes back to 1976.…and he smiles. A sad smile.