Friday, January 25, 2008

A Toast to Tony

It was a Tuesday, sometime in the afternoon. I was meant to be at work. Instead, I was sat in a Greasy Spoon, struggling to digest a Full English Breakfast. I was still drunk from the day before and my clothes reeked of cigarettes and this week’s alcohol. No vomit yet, but it was still early in the day for that.

My attention was taken from my beans when a 50 year old woman stormed into the café, her hair flapping somewhere behind her. She moved faster than I could comprehend. It was as if I was a cartoon who had just exploded into my 2-Dimensional world. She brushed past my table, knocking my sense of balance slightly and forcing my head to turn and see where she was going.

There was only one man sat in the corner behind me, with a colourless omelette sat in front of him. He didn’t look like he belonged in a Greasy Spoon. He wore a black jacket that would have reached down to his knees if he had been standing up, a polo shirt underneath and a well polished pair of shoes. His hair was neatly groomed into a point at the front and his face looked well moisturised. He was probably in his early 40’s.

Before even reaching the man’s table, the woman, who was dressed in a long purple jacket and high-heeled boots, addressed him. “What’s going on Tony?” she said, breathlessly, before taking a seat opposite him and sliding his omelette to the other side of the table.

After seeing that, I instinctively turned away. I felt they deserved some privacy, even if they had decided to air their dirty laundry in a Greasy Spoon.

Shortly after the woman sat down they both walked past my table, gliding supremely out the door as if they were levitating. I have no idea what the woman said to Tony, but when I turned around to look at his table I saw that his omelette had been left untouched at the other side of the table. As they exited onto the street they turned right and walked off briskly.

I had no idea what they had been talking about or where they were going. All I could gather from their appearance and the urgency with which they left was that they obviously cared for time and life. As I sat there, trying to stomach my Full English Breakfast, I became aware that time meant nothing to me and life meant very little. I hadn’t washed since I’d last worked, which was days ago. There would be no point in calling in sick anymore because there was probably no job left for me. Just another wasted opportunity.

On the way home I threw up my breakfast in someone’s front garden. It was winter and was already dark so fortunately no-one saw. I wiped the vomit from my mouth with my sleeve and headed for the nearest off-licence to buy some cider.

When I got home I drank a toast to Tony, whoever he is, before drinking myself to sleep, the only way I know how to sleep anymore.

Ben Ashwell

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