‘Busy day?’ Barry’s pouring me a pint.
‘You know how it is.’ I’d spent the day driving around delivering unwanted warrants to unwilling punters, chasing the bastards round backstreets and grey estates - the private investigations business isn’t all glamour.
‘You know City were at home in the Cup last Saturday?’ Barry put the beer on the Carlsberg mat on the bar.
I wiped the bottom of the glass. ‘Won easy, didn’t they?’
‘Two-nil; barely had to break sweat.’
The pub was quiet, so he joined me on my side of the bar. ‘We had a load of the other lot’s supporters in here. Giving it plenty of attitude – like they were a firm, or something.’
Barry was hard as nails. You had to be to run a pub in this city. Even though he was well into his sixties, you didn’t mess with Barry. He was old school and the pub reflected that: rough around the edges, but with a certain charm.
‘They were acting like they owned the place,’ he explained. ‘Swaggering around, all of them looking the same, all of them with their heads shaved.’ He laughed. ‘All dressed the same, too: diamond geezers; probably once watched a Guy Ritchie film and thought they were hard.’
I knew there’d been trouble at the game but I was willing to bet nothing kicked off in here.
‘Anyway, this bunch got their feet under the table, then one of ‘em comes up and orders a round of six pints. Now when we’re busy and people order a big round, I count the glasses out and put them in front of me, next to the tap. That way I know what I’m doing, see, and I won’t get sidetracked.’
I nodded. I could see the sense in that.
‘I’d poured the drinks but the ringleader said I’d short-changed him, giving him one less drink than he’d asked for. He made a right scene, shouting, making threats, upsetting the other customers.’
‘What did you do?’
‘Told him I was sorry, that I must have made a mistake, and poured him another pint. It kept him happy and he swaggered back to his mates, giving it loads about how clever he was.’
‘You poured him a seventh pint?’
Barry stood up, ready to go back behind the bar. ‘I charged him for eight, like. I might be getting on a bit Joe, but I’m not stupid.’
'Joe's Pint' was first published in the flash fiction section of Article Magazine in October 2009 - the first time a certain Joe Geraghty had made an appearance in print. Subsequently he's been Nick Quantrill's main man in the novels 'Broken Dreams' 2010 and 'The Late Greats' 2012, both published by Caffeine Nights. Nick's third Joe Geraghty novel, 'The Crooked Beat', is due to hit the streets in September, 2013.
Along with Alfie Robins, Nick Q and I will be reading and chatting all things crime and writing at Beverley Library on Saturday 23 February at 1pm.