Community Spirit – Episode 07

BY the time Nate had walked over the green, the people had disappeared. The plate over the door said Debbie and Fergus Walsh, Licensees.

Inside were bare floorboards, olive green walls, cream menus on every table, and a light, airy feel. The young bar staff were occupied serving the first rush of the day, mostly professional-looking couples.

Nate nodded at the barman and asked for the landlord. He was pointed towards a man in his late forties, with russet hair and brown eyes, designer clothes and an excitable manner.

He was sitting at a table waving his hands at a woman who looked a lot younger than him with a fresh, clear complexion and pink spots high on her cheeks.

Nate was taken by her smile and wide-spaced eyes. He approached, but before he could speak the man stood up and walked away to the back area. Nate stood in front of the woman.

“Hi, I’m Nate,” he said, holding out his hand.

The woman looked up, startled.

“Oh, hello,” she said as a blush crept from the V of her neckline.

She shook his hand and Nate realised she was older than he had first thought, maybe late thirties. He was struck with how alluring she was. Fergus, Nate thought, had done very well for himself.

“I’ve just taken over at the Mucklebury Arms,” Nate said. “Temporary manager – well, you know the sort of thing.” He stuttered to a halt.

She smiled up at him and opened her mouth.

“Jeannie!” Fergus called, appearing from nowhere and dropping an apron into her lap. Walking away, he called back to her, “If you want the job, stop chatting and get on with it.”

Her neck bloomed crimson as she pushed back her chair and stood up.

“Jeannie?” Nate asked, absurdly pleased she wasn’t Debbie Walsh.

“Yes?” she said, waiting.

“Pleased to meet you,” Nate said, feeling his own cheeks burn.

She smiled and walked away, tying the dark green apron strings around her slender waist.

Nate looked for Fergus to introduce himself, but he was nowhere to be seen. With one last glance around the rapidly filling pub, Nate made his way back to the Mucklebury Arms.


Alison Cook