Chapter Four, Part Three
Billy hated working at the bar. It was the least favourite of his jobs. He hated the noise, he hated the smell and he hated the increasingly drunk customers, but mostly he hated that he was on the wrong side of the bar. He could watch people all night, drinking, laughing, dancing, flirting, but that’s all he could do; watch. He hated it. He hated it, but he needed the money. There was only one good thing about working at the bar, and that was talking to drunken girls. Billy was good at talking to girls when they were both sober, he was great at talking to girls when they were both drunk, but his real talent was talking to girls who were drunk while he was sober.
She waved at him from the other end of the bar. He was only meant to serve customers in his section, she was in Jim’s section, he didn’t care. He sauntered down the length of the bar. He couldn’t take his eyes off her, she was stunning. Her hair was black and glossy, her skin was gorgeously brown and her eyes were a piercing green. “What can I get you love?” Billy asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
“I’ll have a mojito and your name,” she sounded nonchalant.
Billy turned his back to her and skilfully made two drinks. He walked around to the front of the bar drinks in hand, he handed her one chilled glass, grabbed her hand and walked her over to a table.
“The name’s Billy,” he smiled as she sat down opposite him.
“Mina,” she said with a glint in her eye.
Billy didn’t know where her friends were, she didn’t seem to care so it didn’t matter; they spent the whole night talking. When he had to be at the bar, she stood at the bar; when his shift was over, they sat at a table and talked. He couldn’t help but stare at her, he couldn’t believe his luck. Billy desperately wanted to photograph her, but he didn’t think he could do her beauty justice.
The more they talked, the more he could feel himself getting carried away. He told her about the fight with the boys, he told her about his night in prison, and he showed her his stiches and bruised side.
“Oh my god,” Mina almost shouted, “that looks terrible.”
“Yeah, it does hurt. But it’s all in a day’s work,” Billy said, regaining his macho.
“I’m sure it’s not.”
“You’re right. I lied,” they both laughed, “you have an amazing smile,” he didn’t mean to say that.
“But I bet you get some crazy customers,” Mina said, trying to ignore him and self-consciously raising her hand to her mouth.
“Ha, yeah we do,” Billy said with a smile, “only the other day I picked up this guy covered in paint. He was literally drenched, head to toe. I had to lend him my overalls before he got in the car.”
“Where on earth did you get him from?”
“What a small world. I work on Old Street.”
‘What a small world,” Billy thought to himself, the image of the running blonde girl ran back into his mind, “two stunning girls working on Old Street.’
“Oh yeah,” Billy said.
“Yeah, I work for Zing magazine.”
Billy couldn’t believe his ears. Two stunning girls and one very strange man all working on Old Street for the same magazine. He decided to change the subject, he was getting confused.
“God, I don’t know how you girls do it. These cocktails are going right to my head.”
“I think it’s time I went home anyway,” Mina said looking at her watch, “and probably time I spoke to my friends. Got an early start in the morning.”
“Me too,” Billy smiled, ‘driving one of your colleagues around,’ he added in his head.
“Here’s my number. Call me,” as she got up Mina pushed a napkin across the table. It had 11 digits in her perfect scrawl in one corner. Billy watched as she walked away. He watched her tall and slender, glide through the bar. He watched her vanish through the door and into the night. He picked up the napkin, and put it in his jeans pocket. On the way home he thought of Mina, John Edward Reynolds, and the blonde running girl. When did London become such a small place?