The Pub

It had stars screwed into the ceiling, like the stars in a catholic church of High Street Kensington. However, the stars in the given church had started falling down during the services, causing the faithful to get distracted, so the church had to be renovated.
Paul, one of the three barmen, preferred wearing stripy shirts and blue jeans; those shirts that you imagine traders to wear when buying and selling stocks. The pub was situated at an angle right between Stockwell and Brixton, in South London, not too far from Brixton or indeed Stockwell tube station.
It had seen better years, and so had he. Not Paul, that is, but John. John was a writer from Yorkshire. Manchester was his home town, and he had been able to sell one or two of his plays to the local theatre up north. He liked eating baked beans on toast, and once in a while he would come to the pub in question, a pub like any other, which didn’t have a sign hanging above the entrance.
Carla was sitting at the angle. She wore a green blouse, one of those fluorescent ones, with long Arab earrings, and a black skirt. She sat there by herself, and seemed to mock him. ‘Look at the guy in the blue shirt. What a nerd!’ , is what they said. He seemed to overhear it. It’s true, he looked a bit like a nerd, altbyt a lefty nerd. He had poked his nose into The Guardian, and on overhearing their conversation, got his writers note-book out, and wrote down: ‘Lovely lass; the local.’
‘Mind if I join you?’ he asked, going over in the first attempt to chat her up. ‘Can I get you a drink?’ She looked a bit bewildered, but then decided to go for it, and asked him to bring him a shandy and two packages of crisps. He went up to Paul, asked him for the drinks, paid, and – carefully balancing the beer– went back to the little bench in order to sit down beside her. She had put on Musk, her favourite perfume. He had caught a hint of it.
They chatted away. He immediately noticed her French accent. She lived in Brixton, with two lady-friends, and had come over from Paris in order to find work and improve the use of her English. He was in between jobs. He worked as a coach for young and up-coming writers, and volunteered for a writer’s magazine.
He got her phone number off her. They started dating. Over the next few weeks he even vowed to take up part-time French classes at the local evening class, and eventually got round to doing so. She invited him round for a Parisian version of a bean-soup with beef.
At the same time, John’s ordinary girl-friend made lamb in a marinade. It was an easy game to play for him. She – Andrea from Germany – lived in Stockwell, and Clara was living in Brixton. He had a bicycle, and cycled from one side of Lambeth to the other, visiting first Andrea, then Clara, dating both of them by means of a parallel relationship that the girl-friends in question weren’t told about.
Once he stole a ceramic oil lamp from Andrea, and gave it to Clara as a present. He once even showed Andrea some earrings, and claimed that they were for his Mum – but in fact they were for Clara.
He opted for Clara in the end. She got pregnant. They got married.

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