I’ve known her a couple of years. She used to drink in the same pub as me – you don’t see her in there now, I think the poverty’s starting to bite – and one time, we chatted at the bus stop for a quarter of an hour. She turned out to be a big fan of the Rebus books, and was massively impressed with my baby daughter.
Now, I see her every day I’m working (which recently is pretty much all of them), because she rolls up on her mobility scooter, comes in, buys four cans of Strongbow Super, attempts to engage me or whoever in small talk, then leaves.
Today she bought five cans of Strongbow Super.
“Special occasion?” I asked (well, you have to show willing.)
“No, I’m cooking tonight. What you want to do is, get yourself a gammon steak, and cook it in this [waggles can of Tramp Drink at me]. Bit of mustard, it’s gorgeous.”
When I started this post I was honestly intending it to be a Springsteen-esque lament about how society’s broken her down but she’s doing the best she can, but the fact is she smells of piss and cooks with cans of 9% cider, and I’m fucking glad she doesn’t come stinking up the tavern any more.
Six more months of this job and I will be a Nazi.