Walking into the town’s dingy little pub was always an experience. Thick scents enveloped your skin as you walked through a dense cloud of smoke and beer. Darkness pressed in on you as the men of the town laughed and caroused. Walking to my regular spot I spotted Alyce and slid across the bench opposite her. Her beer was already half empty and the ice in my Diet coke had started to melt.
“I know I’m late. I’m sorry! I got held up at Akeley’s. Did I miss anything?”
Alyce laughed, a rich throaty sound that clearly meant she forgave my tardiness.
“Monsieur Peters tried to buy me a drink.”
I couldn’t help laughing as my gaze flicked to the portly Mr Peters whose infatuation with Alyce was the joke of the town.
“Again? That’s what, eight times now?”
“Nine. Maybe I should let him, He always looks like a puppy when I turn him down.”
“Ahh but if you say yes to a drink he’ll think you’re saying yes to...other things. And would you really want to wake up next to that?!”
“You never know. I like a man who’s shorter than me. Maybe he’s the one.”
“She had to say that as I took a sip. I laughed and swallowed at the same time. Coughing and sputtering, coke sprayed across the table, I tried to breathe only to succumb to the giggles once again. When air finally reached my lungs and I could speak without laughing or choking I looked up again.
“Alyce tell me you’re kidding.” She only looked at me smirking. “You have to be joking! Please dear Gods tell me you’re kidding.” Glancing back to Mr Peters who was now picking his nose I shuddered.
“Tell me you’re kidding or else I’m going to give him your number and tell him you’ve been a very bad girl who needs to be punished.”
She gasped feigning shock “You wouldn’t!”
We laughed, both taking a long drink before resuming our conversation.
“Oh did I tell you Mrs Allen came in today?”
“Did she buy more?”
“Yep another five books!”
“My God five!!! The amount of ‘romance stories’ that woman reads I’m surprised Mr Allen can walk. She must have quite an encyclopaedia up there.”
“Ahh but maybe she reads them because he doesn’t provide what she wants. A woman her age has needs and I guess that’s one way of satisfying them! Besides who can begrudge her a little lady porn???”
“A woman her age shouldn’t be thinking about sex. She’s 73 thats nasty!”
Hysterical laughter broke out as Mr Allen entered the pub. Glancing at us strangely he simply shuffled to a stool and sat down. He ordered the looked at us again, eyebrows raised in such comic confusion that we couldn’t help laughing again.