It wasn’t the encounter he’d expected when he filled in the relevant forms on line. 3 years since his partner had passed and his friends were persuading him to get back in the game, to get some “lady action” as they called it smugly, and imagining jealously, wild nights of passion in the open air, in a corn field under the stars. But this was Redditch, not the sunny wheat fields of The Slaughters, a murderously misnamed group of villages deep in the twee Cotswolds.

He was waiting in the Wetherspoons, where he’d agreed to meet Kim, his first date in 3 years. It was his second pint and he’d nearly finished it; Christ he was nervous. Dark blue circles had started to form underneath the arms of his light blue T-shirt, and he was starting to feel the alcohol from slightly off draught beer reddening his cheeks.

He ordered a third, it seemed the only answer and cursed himself for arriving 30 minutes too early, this was going to be a disaster, he could feel it and all the while he was looking to the door when ever anyone came in, she would be wearing a straw boater with a flower on the brim, and a floral dress, easy to spot amongst the tracksuits and crop tops of the wretched pub.

His third pint ordered, he took a sizeable swig and put it back on the table, removed his wallet and keys from his jacket pocket slung over the back of the chair and after one more look at the entrance looked for the signs to the toilets. All these Spoons pubs were massive and the toilets tended to be in the basement or up in the attic. His stomach was starting to rumble and he farted staccato as he strides up the stairs, following the signs.

“Shit the Gents was closed for cleaning” he’d have to use the disabled which were next door, and seeing the unoccupied indicator he shouldered open the door and stomped in treading heavily onto a straw boater, a flower lying on the floor next to it. On the toilet sat a lady with her dress pulled up over her thighs.

“Hello Kim” he said.


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