He stood almost motionless at the end of the mailboat pier, staring out across the dark water. It had been raining for hours and the cold night air seemed to hang over him like a heavy blanket, soaking him to the skin. In one hand he held a cigarette and in the other he toyed with a single wooden drum stick…….at that moment, this relic from his past seemed more important than anything else in his life. Somehow it represented the good times that he couldn’t help feeling he’d thrown away.
The drumstick had once been part of a pair. In a fit of bravado many years ago, he’d nicked them from a band that had been playing in one of the clubs in Boomtown. Then whenever he wanted to get into the club without paying, he’d pull the sticks out of the back pocket of his jeans and wave them at the bouncer, as if to show he was part of that night’s band. Even to this day he was surprised it had worked so often.
Things didn’t tend to go as well once he got inside though. He was a bit of a loner and although that had earned him a reputation with the neighbourhood kids, it meant he’d spend most of the night leaning up against the wall, one hand in his pocket and the other nursing the single pint of Guinness he could afford, given the prices they charged in there. As the night got older, the Guinness became warmer and as flat as his mood.
Although he’d never been good with names, he had a good eye for faces and as he nursed his pint he’d gaze around, noting how the same groups tended to take up the same spots night after night. There were the bowsies over by the bar, the corner boys in the dark where no one could see what was going on and the eternally optimistic hanging around the edge of the dancefloor, hoping to score. <