Thursday, November 18, 2004


We speak once, twice each week, and have done so for the last two, three years - since I've worked here; the plump, greying, always-suited, soft-voiced, smiley bar-manager and I.

Pretty much, it's either: "The usual is it? And how are you?" "Thanks. O, same as ever. Struggling on. Battling through. Yourself?" "Same. Surviving, just about." "Yeah. Thanks. See you." "Thanks, see you."

Else something like: "And how are you? Here's your usual." "O, thanks. Not bad actually. Work going well at the mo'. Yourself?" "Yeah - business is looking up actually. Good time right now." "Great. Thanks. See you." "Thanks, see you."

Last night it was one of those two again, with a "here's your change" as he passes the coins into my palm. And then a regular, sat opposite him at the bar, as I was walking away: "So you're into all that dominatrix stuff are you?" I turn a touch, stopped in my tracks, to see the bar-manager shrug his shoulder in subdued agreement.

He notices. "Problem with the change?"

"If anything," I say, "it might just be a bit too much."