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A dish served cold

A dish served cold


It was a dirty old day, just a stop on the way

In the sleet and the fog and the rain,

Jams and diversions and unplanned excursions

And drivers with speed on the brain.

When well before noon in the old greasy spoon

Somewhere just off the M one,

(It had seen better days with a jukebox that plays

old ballads from artists long gone.)

In the corner sat Fred, with his cap on his head

A paper, and pint mug of tea.

He had set off at six with a full load of bricks

For Brum, for a quarter past three.

It was a regular stop on his way to his drop,

For a nosh up, a leak and a read -

Full of regular folk - pass the time, have a joke,

Just the place for a trucker in need.

He ordered a fry up as it started to dry up

And the waitress arrived with a smile;

Bacon beans and two eggs and a great pair of legs

That would see him through many a mile.

So he sugared his tea had a squirt of HP

And stubbed out his fag with a cough,

When from outside the door came a thunderous roar,

Like a jumbo that’s just taking off.

At the sound of the bell a vision from hell

Near took the door from its frame,

And a silence descended like the world had just ended

And would never again be the same.

He was almost eight foot of muscle and gut,

All leather and studs and tattoos.

It went still as the tomb as he studied the room

And swigged from a bottle of booze.

He growled “Get me a beer! I’ll sit over here.”

As folk pushed their chairs back in dread.

Through the rank smell of fear he stomped to the rear

And slumped down - right opposite Fred.

He just sat for a while, with a sick kind of smile

Like a pitbull that’s gnawing a bone,

And he looked up at Fred with a grimace and said,

“Guess you’re hoping I’ll leave you alone.

Well be in no doubt, your luck just ran out

I’m all of your nightmares and more!”

Then he picked up Fred’s tea with a look of pure glee

And emptied it onto the floor.

Fred didn’t move an inch, didn’t blink, didn’t flinch

As the thug snatched the cap from his head,

And with cigarette ashes, eggs, beans and rashers

He filled it, replaced it, and said,

“I’m a son of a bitch and I just got the itch

For a fight and I’m picking on you!

So don’t sit and stare get up off that chair

And show these folks what you can do!”

But Fred didn’t speak never uttered a squeak

As the egg yolk ran down off his chin;

He just walked to the till and settled his bill

And left the same way he came in.

The ape watched him go and then said, “You know,

Where I come from back in L.A.

The men are real men, real tough guys, but then

I’ve heard most of you limeys are gay.

You just ain’t got the balls when it comes to a brawl

If you could you’d have got up and ran.

You’re all soft and weak and that little geek,

Well he just wasn’t much of a man.”

Then with a rattle of cups the waitress piped up -

“Yank, you can think what you like,

Not a man, nor a driver, you could say he was neither -

He’s just reversed over your bike!”



◄ Two poems for lost love

The Lavender Path ►


<Deleted User> (24803)

Sat 18th Jul 2020 07:28

How pleasant one feels reading those remarkable days of history. Well captured and written. Memories, flashbacks, all overflowing during these new normals.

I enjoyed reading this.

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