It’s fucking hectic behind the bar. Every drink comes with a second, because the regulars are feeling generous, and he, I and a bunch of other staff are lining them up. Landlady’s insistence: we’re allowed to drink on shift. And it’s Christmas, so no one thinks about saving the money, we just say ‘ta’ and line them up:
Vodka and cokes: have one yourself. Have six yourself. Slur ‘Cheers’ as you’re pulling the next pint.
When I rush round tables to collect glasses, Steve (a regular – skeezy and greasy and ‘harmless’ depending on who you talk to and how many pints he’s had) sneaks up behind me. He follows me around until I’ve got four, five glasses in each hand. Then as I turn to take them back to the bar he grips me round the waist. Hard hands, insistent squeezes.