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From an old website, Alien in Montreal

Cock n Bull.jpg

I had read somewhere that the Cock n Bull was a student bar, so was surprised when I entered the gloom, only to find a group of old men drinking at the bar. The best approach in such circumstances is either to turn around and swallow your pride, or march straight to the bar and order a drink.

I walk to the bar.

I have to stand between two old men, rubbing elbows with them. I scan the pumps quickly.

'Errrrrrr, a pint, of, oh, is that Sleemans, ah, yes, Honey Sleemans please.'

I divert my attention to getting my wallet out of my pocket when a man at the bar shouts, 'No! Not that! A glass! He wants a glass!' Then adds, looking levelly at me, 'He's posh.'

As I look at the barmaid, she's picking up a large pint glass with a handle on it.

'Oh, yes.' I say.

I wonder what she was about to pour my beer into that wasn't a glass? A plastic cup?

The man next to me laughs and says, 'We're just razzing her.'

I laugh. I think he says 'razzing' anyway.

He continues, 'You have to razz em now and then, don't you?'

He wants me to agree, so I say, 'Yes, yes, you do.'

He laughs, 'If you razz em, you don't have to tip em!' He finds this hilarious, and laughs a great deal. I chuckle and smile.

When he recovers enough to speak again he says, 'She'll hit me when you've gone you know.'

I assume this is wishful thinking on his part.

'She doesn't have to wait.' I observe.

No-one laughs. I sigh, and take my drink to a table nearby. For a little while I listen to their conversation, which is mostly about trucks, driving accidents and speeding tickets. They aren't planning to ask me my opinion on any of these, so I read the paper and drink my four-dollar-fifty pint.

I read the whole paper and nothing in the pub has changed. I decide to go to the bathroom, and then leave. I walk though the pub, past the line of cool-blue gambling machines and towards the hilariously titled, 'Ye Olde Toilettes'.

There is an old woman, sitting near the entrance, rocking back and forth, talking to herself. The mood starts to become surreal, flashback like.

The bathroom is long and thin, so I walk to the end, and use the toilet, so I'm not 'on display' if anyone opens the door. I hear shuffling behind me, which stops after a while.

Silence.

I finish up and turn, to find an old, watery-eyed man in a lumberjack style shirt, much too large for him, standing close-by, staring at me. He looks about eighty.

I smile and try to get past him. I assume he's waiting for the toilet, but it turns out that he isn't. It seems that he has followed me into the bathroom, just to chat.

He starts talking, but I can't understand the words that come out. It isn't French, it's English, but the kind spoken by old people who care little if you understand them or not.

'Blah blah blah ten million dollars!' He says.

'Sorry?'

'Blah blah blah eighteen blah blah blah can't claim blah blah sixteen!'

'Really?' I say, and start to edge towards the door.

'Blah blah blah why they sell it to her in the first place?'

'Tsk, I don't know.' I say. I have the door open now, and am almost out.

'Blah blah blah two years interest! Bah!' Then he laughs.

I laugh too. 'Crazy!' I say. I smile and walk away. He watches me leave, and then sits down with his wife - the babbling, rocking woman.

I finish my pint, and leave.