Mr Tony's ears were still ringing as he settled down for a pint. He had called Alice from the stairlift company anyway. She was a saleswoman through and through and he knew that her friendly and flirty demeanour were motivated by the potential commission rather than anything more personal. But still, it did him good to be flattered and flirted with. It wouldn't cost him anything to get his ego massaged and now he had a free pint into the bargain.
'So what's the problem then?', she said, lifting her diet coke and clinking the glass against his. He enjoyed a slurp of the beer and a view of a fairly considerable portion of Alice's bosom, nestling in a white bra inside her low cut top. He sighed. Of course he loved his wife but fifteen years of monogamous marriage had given him an appreciation of the delights of the infidelity of the imagination.
'Well, Sol is twenty-one inside but he's saddled with the body of a seventy year old. Fifty-odd years ago he was playing heavy-metal before the was such a thing. They made a lot of money, spent it. Made more, spent that. Now he survives on royalties from selling jeans and trainers. Mind you, surviving is relative. I wish I was down to my last half a million'. He supped his pint in contemplative silence until Alice summoned him back to the present and he described Sol's fall, his toilet problem, his attempt to get him to install the stairlift and the teenage ego that refused the pensioner's passport to the porcelain.
Now it was Alice's turn to sit in contemplation and Mr Tony's turn to sit back in the weak sunshine of the bar and drink his pint while she thought. Finally she drained her glass.
'Right, I'm off to see Steppy-G', she said.
'Who? Sounds like a rapper.' She giggled and patted his hand.
'It's what me and my sister call him - my step-dad's step-dad. He's a kind of granddad. He used to be a roadie back in the day. He's got a fabulous collection of old vinyl and I just want to check some stuff with him. What was the name of this guy's group?'
'Spiral Consciousness', Mr Tony said, feeling a little foolish.
'Leave it with me.' She rose and bent over to kiss his cheek, an action which increased his heart rate more than a little.