This drunk guy comes up to me at the bar and says, nice jacket that, and I say, thanks, it was a bargain too, only a fiver, and I wait for some other compliment, a really of surprise or something like that, but he just goes quiet and stares at my shoulder as if the secret to the jacket’s niceness is somewhere under the pads. Then he sniffs, says, yup, and walks off.
Back at the table, I tell Ian and he says, well, he was drunk. And I say, meaning it’s not a nice jacket? And he says, like you said, it was a fiver.
I give him a look as if he’s somehow hurt my feelings, but as soon as I do I realise someone else, another drunk man, or one on the verge of trying to pretend he’s not drunk, is standing over us, and we both look up. He sways a bit and says, I like that, and points at my jacket, and I say cheers and follow that up with the whole spiel about it being a steal at five pounds. He says, where’d you get it, so I tell him and he says, huh, sways a bit more, and then staggers off.
I look at Ian and say, see? But he just sniffs, shakes his head and says, there’s no accounting for taste, and we forget about it and talk about something else, I don’t know, football or films or something, till it’s last orders and we leave.
Outside we decide to head to the chippy, but when we get there there’s a guy blocking the entrance, bent double, spewing up a mix of beer and what looks like frozen carrots and peas. We pause, deciding whether to try and go round him, or just head to the twenty-four hour shop, but before we make a move, the guy has lurched up and is looking straight at me and my jacket, saying, can I have that?
I say, what? And he says, the jacket, and I say, it’s not for sale, and anyway, it’s cold and I’ll catch my death without it, but he doesn’t let it go. He says, but it’s ace that, and I’m sick, I’m freezing. I say sorry again, but before I can go on Ian’s getting involved saying, how much, as if he’s my pimp or something. I say, what are you doing, but he ignores me and goes, he got it for a fiver. How much are you willing to pay for it?
The guy looks from my jacket to Ian and says, I’ll give you six. I say, it’s not his to sell, but Ian just goes, come on, a quid profit. Free food. I say, no and make to go when a voice behind us says, I’ll give you a tenner, it’s great that jacket, and I turn and see another guy whose face is flushed and red, and he follows his offer with a burp.
Ian says, done, and I say, hey, it’s not yours to give, but the guy’s already stepping forward angling to take it off. I pull away, and say, leave me alone, but then the puking guy’s there saying, hey, I’ll give you everything I’ve got, more than a tenner, I’ll give you more than this guy, but I pull away from them both and say, neither of you can have it, it’s mine, get one of your own, and I look to Ian for help, but when I do, he just shrugs, and says, what do you want me to do, like you said, it’s a great jacket, yeah, a bargain too, only a fiver.