Nag’s Head Barfly

Christmas period 2006
Covent Garden pub on a cold evening shift
This face half lit in the midst of a breakup
Malboro, double espresso, slap and wake up
Lug this conflicted heart to the back of the bar
Take off my hoodie, hat and scarf to start
Who’s on tonight?
Please nobody stress inducing
Pulses are high and in need of reducing
Boy you’re gonna carry that weight
But now it’s lifted
Scanning through the names and my worries have drifted
House Martin Matt in the days before Tinder
Deborah, Paula, Emma and Linda
You’d never swipe left except they’d never be on it
Each one a muse of a novel, song or sonnet
I sound like a creep but these ladies were my friends
And I’d have done anything, over backwards I would bend
Even ten years later I hold so much respect
For each and every one of them
But I digress
Pop tunes blasting from the earlier manager
Get to the station set up audio pentameters
Jimi, Janis, Stones, Strokes, Blur and The Smiths
Sod it! For the first time line up Aerosmith
Why not?
Propped up by the bar an Aussie bloke
Slurring his words of inappropriate jokes
Stranded in his place a face so punchable
“Matt, that guy is making me so uncomfortable”
“Cheers Em I’ll keep an eye, why what’s he doing?”
“Just staring me up and down, his jaw chewing”
“Should I kick him out?”
“Give him the benefit of doubt, but if he tries anything I’m going to smack him in the mouth!”
The night goes on and song after song
The shift broken up so it won’t feel too long
At 8:21 comes a woman so strong
As tall as my brother and he’s 7ft1
Barfly distracted and his gaze is gone
And at the very worse time the next tune comes on;

“Danah- Danah- dude looks like a lady”

“Danah- Danah- dude looks like a lady”

Every punter in the pub is shooting me daggers
I go for the order and I stumble and stagger
But the lady with a low voice holds composure
She orders and I fetch a white wine with soda
I know she knows
The sadness in her smile
And no one in the pub has said a word in a while
This must be the same every day in her life
But right now you could cut the tension with a knife
Or a barfly
Pointing his finger to the sky
He looks at me winks and shouts “Nice, man, nice!”
Fucking twat “Nah mate, it’s really not like that”
I don’t know if I should leave it or go and change the track
If I turn it off ,that’s telling her that I’m aware
But leaving it on is a stress I can’t bear
She finishes her drink before the last chord rings
Thanks me and tells me to enjoy my evening
My heart’s in my throat and feeling awful
An honest mistake but still remorseful
Linda passes and barfly pervs
This fucking guy is dancing on my nerves
I serve the next round distracted by this clown
As he pushes out his lips and makes a groaning sound
“Knock it off mate” I didn’t mean to shout
“Your damn filthy looks are freaking all my friends out”
“No worries mate, I’m just after one”
Eyes fixed on Linda and I want him gone
You see Linda and I have had history before
She’s set me straight once and now I knew the score
But I’m a green eyed giant and a pub’s the worst setting
To get over someone with barflies sweating
And he holds his look won’t relax his leer
“I want you out of here on your last drop of beer”
An optical stand- off, he necks it and stands up
Slowly backs off with both hands up
Linda approaches to check I’m alright
“Hey Matty- boy
“Where we going tonight?”

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