The Outing

We were sitting in the staff room, Tony Jefcut, Madge Smith, Mr Frobisher and me, when Tony suggested we went to the pub.

“For a quick one after work,” he explained.

Mr Frobisher looked at Madge, and laughed.

“Why not? The night is young,” he said. “Even if I’m not.”

So we went. On the way we ran into Mr Chivers from Planning and Tony asked him, even though they hardly know each other, just a ‘hello’ on the stairs, if that, but he said he’d like to come to the pub as well.

We made quite a party, the five of us. I hadn’t been to a pub for years.

We ordered lager, except for Madge who said she wanted white wine, and sat down. Mr Frobisher sat next to Madge, with Tony on the other side of her and me and Mr Chivers opposite on stools.

Mr Frobisher was a large man with bad teeth and a habit of breathing through his nose when telling a story. He drunk his beer with gusto, speckles of foam catching on his upper lip. The rest of us sipped our drinks. I tried to relax.

Tony stretched out his arm behind Madge’s head so she couldn’t see what he was doing. After a while he produced a nine of clubs from behind her ear.

“Quite a neat trick,” Mr Frobisher said. “Where did you learn that?”

“Fellow I know,” Tony replied.

Tony was younger than the rest of us and had a reputation for fast living. He owned a car, for one thing, and often came in to the office complaining of a hangover. He also told jokes, rather blue ones. All in all he was a bit of a wag.

“You’re a bit of a card, Tony,” I said.

Tony looked at me blankly.

 

• The rest of this story is now available in a paperback book (as are 25 others) – Unaccustomed as I Am (RRP £9.95).

It is stocked by the Hungerford Bookshop and you can place your order here.

Copies are also available at the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough, the Mad Hatter Bookshop in Wantage and through an increasing number of other retailers.

You can order it from any bookshop: they will need to know that the ISBN is 978-1-8382580-0-9 and that it can be ordered from Gardners or Central Books.

 

Brian Quinn

• For further articles, please click here
• For songs, please click here

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