Busie Warboys, a brief description
at The Jolly Puritan
“Welcome, welcome! Sorry, we are a bit quiet tonight but I’m here if you need a chat and a beer. Or I can keep everso still and you won’t know I am here. Goodness, did that rhyme? It’s a habit I really must lose but I have been trying for what seems forever and it doesn’t get a tiny bit better!”
Alfred Smollson stood at the bar and blinked as the rotund man had appeared as if bouncing off the wall rather than through the gap from the lounge bar. Luckily the barman, the ‘licensed victualler’ as it stated in somewhat vague lettering on the grimed brass strip across the lintel of the outer door, was well used to people being surprised at seeing him. He corrected his position to the middle of the space behind the old bar and looked up at the stranger, Alfred, as he would get to know. His back was gently touching the lip of the shelving behind him and his belt buckle was just scratching on the old brass drip trays under the service bar, ready to catch the frothy overflows from the beer taps.
Busie, for that was his name and it matched his attitude despite his stature, looked up at his latest customer. His view framed by the truncheon-like handles of the pumps. The brass collars on these were bright and spotless, higher than but matching the colour of Busie’s wire framed spectacles. His eyes were glinting, his head shiny with the beads of sweat sitting between the short, sparse but still corn-gold hair. Alfred noted that the barman’s head was small, exaggerated because of the thick shoulders and barrel chest pushing down to the mighty girth of a very short man.
Feeling the surprise had passed the barman spoke again,
“I’m Busie, can I get you a drink, on-tap beer or a gin and pink?”
Alfred took the ten shilling note out of his back pocket and laid it on the wooden surface. “Walnut?” he said to himself looking at the patterning of the surface but just loud enough for the barman to hear, “If you’re busy I can wait for a bit,” he said casually.
“No, I really am Busie, ‘ave been all me life.”
“Always been that too, and short, “bit like a teapot eh?”. He grinned up at Alfred.
Alfred always had a haphazard regard of his surroundings, sometimes slow to appreciate and at that moment he was just lost.
“Bitter, half-pint. Thanks.”
Busie looked at Alfred, continued the eye contact as he gripped the side of the bar and pulled himself up onto his toes, pushing his belly harder into the tray. As his head rose slightly he pushed it towards Alfred and spoke in a hoarse stage whisper,
“Not anymore; and I do the short jokes!” then proceeded to pull the beer.
Wordparc copyright 2014