05 Dec THE TELEPHONE RANG
Brian Gough was back in his home town, not through choice but it was on his route back to London. He hadn’t been there for twenty odd years and decided to break his journey and have a look around, maybe stop the night and carry on tomorrow morning.
He was amazed at some of the changes old buildings had been demolished to be replaced by modern monstrosities all in the name of progress. Streets that he had used as a lad on his bike or skateboard were no entries or pedestrianised and the one way traffic system seemed like a nightmare to understand.
Driving out of the town to visit the house where he had been brought up, nothing much had changed, except for new double glazed windows and a conservatory was visible on the back of the dining room. What would his Dad have thought of that, he had lovingly cared for the fabric of the house throughout the thirty two years that they were there, painting the windows and doors every two or three years. All that was now replaced with everlasting UPVC airtight vacuum sealed units with never a need to be painted again.
Turning away from the house he looked down the road where as kids, they had all played cricket, or football until the sun went down, or the local constable came round the corner on his bike, to break up the game and send the lads scurrying in all directions!
He had moved to London many years ago to ‘make his fortune’ in all honesty he had done rather well, except for the divorce of course, leaving him on his own. That enabled him to pour all his energy into his business, advertising contracts for large companies, mostly done on line but occasionally requiring the personal touch of a visit to the head office.
That’s how he found himself here, in the late afternoon feeling nostalgic and unusually homesick. Touring around the area looking at all the elements of his youth, his school, the youth club, the place of first loves, first fights usually over a girl. Then growing up, the Pub, discovering beer, wondering how the hell anybody could drink eight or nine pints of that stuff! Six months later, drinking eight or nine pints of the stuff regularly usually throwing it up as soon as he got home! What was that all about?
He pulled up in the Pub car park, glanced at his watch six thirty. Not too early for a pint for old time’s sake. He stopped at the door, what was he expecting? All his old mates having a game of darts? The juke box playing all the sixties music that he still loved? No! This is a bad idea. He turned to leave walking straight into a chap coming in,
“Sorry mate” he mumbled as he carried on out to the car park.
“Brian? Is that you?”
Turning round he looked at the speaker a tall man with a moustache and a trilby hat.
“It’s me Alan, Alan Ball, what are you doing up here? Are you coming in for a pint?”
Brian came back and went into the bar with Alan. Apart from the hat and the face fungus, Alan had changed very little. They had a chat about the last twenty years, the people that they both knew, the people who had died, some too young but others who survived to a great age. Eventually Alan got up.
“I must go, I’ve got a train to catch, got to be in London early tomorrow for a meeting”
They exchanged business cards with mobile numbers and email contacts. Then Alan was gone.
Brian looked around the bar ordered another pint asking the Landlord if he had a room for the night.
“Fraid not mate, but there’s a B&B about two or three hundred yards down the road”
He supped on good northern beer as he sat on the stool. A rather attractive girl came in, carrying a folder, looked around the bar, sighed then turned to go.
“Looking for somebody?” asked Brian.
“No it’s okay I’ve missed him” she said.
“Have a drink, it seems rude not to, it is a pub after all.”
“Okay I’ll have a vodka and tonic”
Brian ordered the drink and beckoned her to a table.
“I’m back in my old neighbourhood just passing through on my way home”
“I thought I knew your face, its Brian isn’t it? You were two years up from us at school, but we all fancied you.”
Brian felt himself going red.
“Well we’ve got some catching up to do then, – you are?”
“Carol” came the reply “How long are you here for?”
“Just tonight, I’ve got to book in at the B&B up the road.”
They chatted about their lives since school over another couple of drinks, then Brian said
“I must go don’t want to miss my lodgings”
“You could always stay with me tonight and if you’re lucky you might even get breakfast in the morning!”
So off they went, the short walk to Carol’s house was fairly silent, neither of them really believing what they were doing. Once there, they kissed awkwardly, then she led him up to the bedroom.
Undressing quickly she jumped into bed, Brian stripped and joined her, kissing and caressing her beautiful body.
Suddenly the noise of a key in the front door,
“It’s only me Carol,”
“My husband!” she gasped “Quick get in the wardrobe”
Brian climbed into the wardrobe and she threw his clothes after him, putting on a housecoat she turned as her husband came into the room.
“I was halfway to London when I realised I had left a file in my office,
I jumped off the train at Crewe and got on the next one back home”
“What are you going to do about your meeting in London tomorrow?” asked Carol
“I think I can still get there, I met an old friend earlier who is going to London in the morning, I can get a lift with him”
He picked up his mobile and dialled a number.
Meanwhile in the wardrobe, the telephone rang!