Gin O’Clock by Jill Waters

Sally stopped herself from stumbling by grabbing at her friend’s arm. 

‘You see that? Bloody well pushed me down the stairs. Bastard,' she slurred,  'I’ll never step foot in there again.

‘Somehow don’t think you’ll be able to,’ said Steph, ‘Come on, coffee time.’ Steph guided her friend down the street. It was supposed to be a lunchtime drink to cheer Sally up, but somehow hadn’t turned out that way. She cringed as shoppers stared at her friend, staggering as if she’d just climbed off a fairground ride, and veering dangerously towards the traffic. She muttered about the indignity of having been expelled from the wine bar, using the ripest of language to describe the bouncer who’d helped her on her way. Spotting a café, Steph propelled her friend through the door. ‘Sit there, don’t move. Back in a minute.’

Sally lurched towards the chair and sat with an inelegant thump. She tried to follow her friend’s progress towards the counter, but the room was spinning. She rested her head on the table - the effort was too much. She jumped when Steph pushed a coffee towards her. ‘Drink this,’ she said, clearly annoyed, ‘What the hell was that about, Sal? I’ve known you years, and I’ve never seen you get like that, especially not at lunchtime.’

‘You know Harry’s got a new woman, I suppose. Not even young. Or pretty.’

‘I’d heard, yes, but I’m not sure what that had to do with the poor girl behind the bar. She was just doing her job.’

‘What, flirting with every man in the place. Slapper. Tart.’

‘Yes, that’s what you were shouting. But Sal, ‘fat’… ‘ugly’…? That’s not right. And not like you at all.’

Sally shrugged and sipped her coffee. ‘What can I say, Steph? Gin makes me judgemental…’

Selected - Weekly Write #12

Published in Issue #28

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