A wooden table sat between the four of them. Dark creases ran along it and so too for the leather jackets hung around. The table was weighed down by a collection of skull rings, Old Spice and egos. Four pints of brown sat on it each belonging to one of the men.
“Aye, look at us, sitting here,” the first one said.
“Mmmm,” they all agreed.
“Look at us, sitting here,” he continued, “each with a pint of smooth.” They clinked their glasses together. “Imagine us five years ago.”
“Aye,” the second chimed in. “Five years ago…”
The first one continued after taking a swig. “Five years ago, we were just little pipsqueaks running around these streets.” They all hmmm in agreement again. He continued:
“I was lucky just to get one number.”
“Aye in 20 sets,” the third one poked in.
“20 sets in the freezing cold for one number.” They all nodded.
“And it would flake,” the third said.
“Aye it would flake,” the first one said. He took another gulp. “But we were happier then.” They all nodded. “20 sets in the freezing cold but that number meant all the world to me, with blisters on my feet and cracked boots and all.”
“Cracked boots?!”, the fourth came at him. “Luxury!” he proclaimed. “I used to go out barefoot with nought but me leather jacket and jeans. If I was lucky!”
There was silence for a moment. They all eyed each other up.
“Paradise!” It was the second one this time. “I used to wake-up at five am. Put on t’ jacket and jeans and walk up and down Oxford Street and do Daygame for 12 hours straight.” He paused and looked around. “20 sets and each was a blowout. And I’m not talking about your fancy 2018 blowouts either! No, no no… Each and every time she’d look me up and down and start beating me with her handbag. I had to go t’ hospital four times a week and all I could tell them was I fell down stairs.”
No one moved. The third one hadn’t spoken for a while. He looked each one square in the eye.
“Right!” he leaned in. “I used to wake up at midnight half an hour before I went to bed then Daygame for 25 hours straight. I’d no shoes so my feet would collect broken glass and each one had to be amputated for gangrene twice. I’d do twenty sets a day in t’ freezing cold and it weren’t much fun once the hypothermia set in. Every set was a blowout and after I’d told her she looked French she’d reach into ‘er bag, pull out a knife and stab me to death.”
They all nodded again and took understanding sips of their smooths.
The first one concluded: “the kids don’t know how good they’ve got it.”