10 Jul

Part ONE of this tale is The Sports People.

Part Two is The Real Simone

Part Three is A Drink in Time

Part Four is A Sunday Lunch for Three

Part Five is Salutary Tales and Downright Lies

Part Six is The Monster Next Door


BEER photo: beer glas-of-beer.jpg

Paula looked doubtfully at David.

It seemed that somehow Simone’s words about him being the father of her unborn child had cast a dull shadow over him, changing the cheery boy image she had previously rather liked and even respected into something darker.

He was dressed casually – a tee-shirt proclaiming his love for all things rock ‘n’ roll and clean pale jeans that were actually pulled up properly. His hair was tidy in a tousled sort of way and his teeth were even and white without being that horrible shade of Hollywood that she found so false.

She, in her turn, was dressed in a white blouse and a pleated tartan skirt, short but not so short that her dad might disapprove. Her complexion, though not exactly “peaches and cream” was clean and unmarked.

What’s the matter?” asked David, holding the pub door open and inviting her to go in first. Anyone watching might have thought how gentlemanly he was, how polite. But then, that’s how he liked to see himself. He’d been well brought up.

They found a table and David fetched drinks from the bar, a pint of beer for himself and a fruit juice for her.

So what is the matter?” he repeated.

It’s what Simone said,” she replied, looking at his face carefully, aware that he might betray with an altered expression a great deal more than subsequent words might give away.

He merely smiled. “She’s your friend, isn’t she?” he asked.

Paula nodded.

Then I’d better not say what’s on my mind,” he continued.

Why not?” countered Paula, “If it’s on your mind really and truthfully then it’s got to be worth saying because we’re nothing without the truth.”

She’s your friend and it might hurt your feelings, and I would never want to do that,” he replied.

She was my friend,” muttered Paula.

Oh, so you’ve fallen out, have you?” he enquired, his eyebrows raised.

Sort of, though she doesn’t know it, yet,” said Paula coyly.

What’s it all about?” asked David.

Paula took her breath in both lungs and spat it out.

She says you made her pregnant,” she said.

His face, from being tolerantly good-humoured, became aghast. He looked at his beer, picked up the glass, took one long swig of its contents, and stared at Paula.

She says what?” he asked, and she knew from all the signals he was giving off that he couldn’t believe his ears.

You heard,” she said, not even wanting to repeat the accusation. Then she added, “she said it in front of my dad.”

The … bitch!”

Is that all you’ve got to say, to call her names?” mumbled Paula.

What else could I say after what muck you’ve told me she’s spreading around?” demanded David hotly.

You could say whether it’s true or not,” suggested Paula quietly.

You mean, by asking that you think it’s possible?” David’s voice was rising as implication after implication hit him.

Well, is it?”

I’ll tell you one thing, Paula, and that’s I thought you knew me better than that! But obviously you don’t. Obviously you think very little of me at all if you think I’d even think of shagging that bitch!”

Watch you language, lad,” came a voice from the bar.

Sorry,” he mumbled back, “but if you’d heard what she said…”

The barman shook his head and continued serving at the bar.

Tell me what happened then,” suggested Paula.

I’ll tell you what happened!” David’s voice was still too loud, and the barman frowned at the back of his head.

Go on then, but quietly,” whispered Paula.

He got the message, and nodded. “It was the other day, when we called for you,” he said, quieter this time. “She grabbed hold of my hand as if the enforced holding hands was a new law, with the death penalty for non-observers!”

And you were like a second sweater, draped all over her!”

She was pulling me, Paula. I was over-balancing! You must have noticed! It was horrible. And afterwards … she wanted me to go off with her but I made my get-away and ran like the wind! She offered sex to me, on a plate! She wanted to do it, all right, with me – or at least said she did. But I’ve heard about Simone all right. She’s the talk of the college, all the boys who’ve slept with her bragging about it! Not that much sleeping is ever involved, from what I can tell! I don’t want … not with a girl like that … when I do it it’ll be with someone I’d be happy to marry and who would be happy to marry me if things went wrong and she got, you know, pregnant…”


I mean it, Paula. I’ve never done it with any girl, and least of all the Simone bitch!. There are ways and means for us boys to relieve any … pressure, you know, without sacrificing everything for a few muscular twitches!”

She didn’t properly understand, and yet at the same time she did.

The conversation was forced to take a break because the pub quiz began. The bar became hushed and the clink of glasses faded to silence, and David picked up the pencil.

We’ll win,” he promised Paula.

What word connects Lawrence of Arabia and King William the Conqueror?” boomed the landlord, his eyes passing over the quizzers. Sometimes, he knew, they liked to cheat and used their mobile phones to text the questions to friends with a computer.

David frowned, concentration on every line of his face.

Paula grabbed the pencil off him, and in the space for the first answer wrote BASTARD.

I am not!” hissed David, and couldn’t work out why the group at the adjacent table sniggered at him.

© Peter Rogerson 10.07.14



  1. pambrittain July 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    Wonderful, Peter. Can’t wait to find out what happens next.

    • Peter Rogerson July 11, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      Cheers Pam. I’mmulling it over…

      • pambrittain July 11, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

        Could you hurry up with your mulling?

  2. Peter Rogerson July 12, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    Mulling can be quite a ponderous process, Pam.

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