This is day 16 of @mydivathings's #365daysofwriting challenge. Every day she invites you to write a short story based on the image she chooses. Today's image (below) is a |Photo by Marco Salas on Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/photos/owEGQtbvjhM)
Find out more about the challenge (you can join anytime!) here https://steemit.com/365daysofwriting/@mydivathings/day-16-365-days-of-writing-challenge
Thank you @mydivathings for the effort you put in to finding these photos, everyday. Thanks to you I have written a story every day and have two series that I wouldn't have written if it wasn't for this challenge. I wish you the very best for 2018
It has been a long, long time since they had seen each other. They agree to meet in town. A pub Mitch insists. It would be better if there are lots of people around. Al agrees and gives the name of a place, Mitch has never heard of.
It’s a typical November evening in London.
Even though it’s fucking August.
Of course it’s raining, a violent lashing rain that seems to wash all the colour out of the already drab city streets. Mitch is not dressed well for the weather. His jacket is useless against the downpour. His shirt, underneath, is already sticking to his skin. And the umbrella he took from the hotel lobby lasts exactly fifteen seconds before it turns inside out in the blustery wind. He throws it into the gutter, and is treated to a rather haughty look from a woman. ‘
“I think you’ve dropped something,” she says as she passes him.
“Fuck you,” Mitch says, throwing her the finger for good measure.
The place Al had chosen for the meet isn’t a pub. Hell, it isn’t even a fucking cocktail bar. It’s some kind of artsy-fartsy foreign themed café, with something etched on the glass that Mitch can’t read, ‘cos he isn’t a fucking ponce. What’s wrong with a good old fashioned London pub?
Mitch pushes open the doors and walks in, dripping rainwater and leaking bad humour from every pore.
It’s dark inside, or - as Mitch is sure the tossers in charge of the place would describe it - it has ambient lighting. This suits Mitch just fine. He doesn’t want to be seen in a place like this, and he doesn’t want to see the kind of arseholes who frequent a place like this, either. It’s pretty chock-a in there, and he pushes his way to the bar. He's relieved to see they don't just sell coffee.
“I’ll have a pint of bitter,” Mitch says, gruffly to the smiley woman behind the bar.
“We have several organic artisanal bottled craft beers, for your delectation, sir,” says the woman, smile still fixed in place. She tries to hand him a laminated menu.
“For fucks sake, just give me a beer, would you,” he hands over a tenner, and is surprised to receive a couple of pounds back, as well as a small rounded bottle, a strained smile and a “have a good evening”.
Mitch, back to the bar, surveys the crowd. If Al is here, Mitch can’t see him. Fucking typical! What was it Mamie used to say?
He’d be late for his own fucking funeral, that one.
Of course she didn't say fucking. She didn't care for swearing. Mitch had once said 'damn' in front of her, and had his mouth washed out with fairy liquid, and a damn slippering too.
Shit, this place is full of wankers. People who work in the City, probably. Twats, the lot of them. Look at that ponce with the the hair, over there. Pontificating, like he’s the lord of fucking everything.
Here he is now.
Mitch wondered, earlier, if he would recognise him. But there he is, still the same old Al. Smart suit, smart hair cut. He fits in here, Mitch realises.
Al spots Mitch and waves. He slips easily through the crowd of tossers, like a eel through the floating turds in the Thames. He joins Mitch, and moves in for a hug, which Mitch rejects, and Al settles for a firm handshake. He catches the eye of the woman behind the bar, and orders the same again for Mitch and something with a fancy sounding name. Mitch isn’t sure if it is a vodka or a beer, but when the drinks arrive it turns out to be a coffee.
“Driving,” Al says, by way of explanation. Mitch shrugs. Like he gives a fuck.
“So,” Al says, all smiles. “How have you been, Mitch? It’s been an age.”
“Yes, it would have been about ten years ago, wouldn’t it, Al? We haven’t seen each other since the day we buried our mother. Which was, was it not, also the day you tried to kill me.”
“Yes,” Al says, trying to look embarrassed. “Sorry about that.” He smiles and claps Mitch on the back. “But it turned out alright in the end, didn’t it, brother?”