You’re in the bathroom and it’s the usual shit – a wild queue has broken out, so anyone trying to exit the bathroom has to stomach-suck and squeeze past you all, and all the footprints that have come in and out of this little tiled room over the past hour or two have gone from black-on-beige to a slurry-like brown to just slippery skids of filth, and you finally get in a cubicle and start your piss and here a pss and then a psst sound. You turn around. There, staring at you through a makeshift glory hole, is a single human eye.
“Come with me, my child,” the voice attached to the eye hisses, and the half-wall next to you creaks open like a door. You dip inside and find a wizard or witch there – it’s hard to tell here, in the dark dim light of this, what, tunnel? Cave? – and you can hear the pub sounds pulsing in the distance, clunkily mixed house and the sign of pisshead chatter, the surge and wane of the crowd.
“I saw you struggle at the bar, my child,” the voice says, a lamp distantly bobbing somewhere a few yards in front of you. “Vontague can help you, yes,” the voice hisses. “Vontague can help.” The light is clearing, now: the crags of the rocky underground tunnel slowly coming into view. The bar sounds rise like a swell: louder, nearer. Beneath here smells of old water and stale air. Beneath here smells like cigarette butts and coke drip. “Cross my palm with gold, sweet child, and I shall show you the secrets of the bar.” You dig out a pound coin and hand it to Vontague. “Knock on that door three times then turn the handle. Be merry…” Vontague says, retracting into the darkness. “Be merry, and wise.”
You open the door and struggle out about six yards closer to the bar than you were before. The same lad who was queueing behind you is now slightly in front of you. It still takes ten more minutes to get served, and the beer here is £6 a pint. You go home after two and play PlayStation, fuming, in bed. Fuck you, Vontague.
YOU HAVE LOST AT SATURDAY NIGHT