Friday 22nd June 2007. 18.30. Combat Dave, 50, and his friend Annie were sat at the bar in the Three Tuns, drinking and smoking profusely. They were having a laugh with the bar staff and generally getting merry. A young man in his 30s emerged from the toilet and walked past the two at the bar. “Oh” *cough cough* he went, wayyy too soon for it to be true. He did that wavy hand thing, under his nose. “You won’t be able to do that in here next week“, he said. Dave and Annie knew that, actually, and were a bit cross about it. “Oh DO fuck off, LUV!”, replied Annie. She didn’t normally swear at strangers, but, you know, smokers were getting a little bit tense. Realisation was setting in. Life would never be the same again. In a pub sort of way. The man scuttled off. WHY? Why did he need to say that? What was he hoping to achieve? A good kicking in a pub? An admission that we had got it wrong all this time and we promise to be really, really healthy from now on and do whatever we were told. Without question. If the word ‘wankpuffin’ had been around in 2007, he would have been one of the earliest ones. However, ‘cunt’ will have to suffice for now.
October 2026. 16.30. Combat Dave, 70, walked into the Dog (Local village pub) and walked up to the bar.
“Hi, Chris. Look, here’s £200, put it behind the bar and get a drink for everyone until it runs out. It’s a belated birthday clebration. I need to shoot off for an hour, but bung us a Bushmills. ”
There were about 4 or 5 regulars in there. Tradesmen types. Plasterers, plumbers, brickies etc.
Eyebrows were raised, “Cheers, Dave.” “Yeah, nice one, mate.”
“No problem, wanker boys.”
He downed the whiskey. “I’ll catch, you later, guys. Cheers.”
“Yeah, OK, Dave. Laters. Can I have a double Bacardi, Chris and two pints of Guiness, please.”
“And I’ll have a Guiness, too, Chris.”
“Make that 3, mate.”
Dave smiled and closed the door behind him.
At 16.50, he walked into the Three Tuns (Village community pub). No-one behind the bar, yet. Not quite 5 O’Clock. He quietly closed the door and as he walked past each window, he pulled the curtains shut.
He went up to the bar. He started to roll a ciggie. “PLEASE, MIKE”, he shouted. Mike was out the back prepping the food for the evening. He appeared at the bar. “Doom Bar, mate?”
“Yes, please, Mike. Good day?”
“Yeah, situation normal…”
“…all fucked up!”
“That’s about the sum of it, Dave. OK, I‘ll be out the back if you want me. Just shout.”
Before he could disappear, the door opened and two “guys” walked in. It was Roger and Tristan.
Tristan spoke first. “Two Doom bars, Mike.”
“No, no, no”, said Roger. “Never Doom Bar, Buttcombe is FAR superior. You should try it, Tristan. Doom Bar is for poor people.” Dave chose not to hear that.
“I’ll stick with Doom, Rog. One of each please, Mike. And a bowl of peanuts”
Mike poured the two pints and filled a bowl with the nuts. “Mmmm, delicious, have a taste of a proper beer, Tris. Try it.“ ‘Rog’ and ‘Tris’ took themselves to the table set for 10.
Roger, looked back, “We’re the advance party, Mike, booked in for a meal at 7. We want to get a few in before our screaming hoardes come in. You know what it’s like once our lot get in here, kids, women, dogs, toys, ha ha ha.”
<<Oh, yes. Yes, we did know, Rog. We knew VERY fucking well what was coming. Hell on a fucking stick>>
Mike was grinning. “What’s funny, Mike?”
“Well, I don’t have any Buttcombe left, so I’m putting Doom Bar through both pipes, tonight.”
Roger and Tristan were completely unaware. There was only THEIR world.
Mike disappeared out the back again. Dave picked up his pint and went out the front door. It was drizzling. He popped his drink on the wheelie bin in the carpark and lit his ciggie. No-one had gone into the pub as he smoked his ciggie. He stubbed it out and pulled a piece of A4 paper from his Combat jacket. It said ‘CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. FAMILY BEREAVEMENT.’ That should do it. He stuck it on the front door with some blu-tack. The pub was dark from the outside. He walked back in and closed the door. And quietly slid the interior bolt across. The pub was now closed to all intents and purposes. The wet weather had caused the smell of smoke to cling to Dave’s jacket and as he walked back through the door, he passed the two customers. And then Tristan did that wavy hand thing, under his nose. You know, the one his father had done to Dave nearly 20 years ago. One week before the smoking ban…..to be continued.