"Shaun" by Jacqui Pack
‘Nothing to blame yourself for mate. She’s the one with the problem.’ Shaun rounded off his words with a burp and drained his pint. ‘Another?’
Taking Brendan’s glass he strutted over to the bar, stomach bouncing slightly where it overhung his low jeans, sweat shining on his high forehead. The Green Man was busy and, for once, Shaun’s natural charisma wasn’t enough to gain the barmaid’s attention unaided. Instead, he had to rely on a £20 note, flaunted between his fingers, to catch her eye. She acknowledged him with a wave, then turned back to the stag party which had lurched its way through the door earlier.
Poor sap, thought Shaun, taking in the slurring young man with the toilet seat around his neck. You’ve got no idea what’s coming. Better make the most of what time you’ve got left.
Settling himself down to wait on one of the bar stools, Shaun scratched at his hand, now empty of its gold ring. It was good to be his own man again. Matrimony was one trap he wouldn’t get caught in a second time. Sure, there had been times over the last ten months, times when … Still, all things considered he’d had a lucky escape.
He looked over at Brendan, another perfect example. One harmless office flirtation and a few saucy texts, hardly a crime – four years down the drain and the vindictive cow had taken his kids. Women. The world would be a better place without them.
The barmaid came over to him. ‘Same again is it, Shaun?’
He nodded, and his gaze slipped down to her chest. ‘Looking lovely , Janet. Knew I’d be in, eh?’
Janice took the empty glasses. He couldn’t see her expression as she turned to face the pump.
It would have been wasted on him anyway.
(First published in The New Writer, Issue 105 – Winter 2011)
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