A little fire inside.

In vino veratis. Perhaps, albeit in Guinness and Dram another story births. The tale of the amber little flame in the great house of grain.

The best and worst numb evasion and submission droops with each swallow - 'I miss my barman, Steve'. The answer was a truth ambushed in the moment. I project and search through a cumulative mind-map of a good chunk of 18 or so months past. My Barman. Certainly a novel concept - never had need nor opportunity to have one before. There I sat, opaque in the mind's eye gazing back, a foreigner in a foreign pub, feeling heritage run strong and thick through these veins; just wishing I had the pin to point...

Indeed. I sit, or rather, slump with these two odd glasses, clutching the small short as if the hand of an old friend in reunion, inhaling the wafts that hang heavily over the liquid, contemplation collapsing in a coil within this beachside freehouse.
The atmosphere is effervecent with oestrogen, testosterone arcs threatening sparks across the wooden ceiling but I'm too numb and engrossed to pay heed to the thumping of the polymer-pop-soundtrack, shreiking vibrato, bowel shuddering bass mixes with a hundred voices spraying and colliding into a foaming fuzz of chaotic noise... I hear nothing and sift through gold and black in silence, unwilling to deviate from said solstice.

'Steve?', she says with something behind it I couldn't make out. Vander, a big girl. Tall, beyond voluptuous, a bulging charade of nonchalance and oh so cute, with a selfless offering that catches me like a blackberry, slides accross another pint of the black - 'On the house, cheer up.' I'm not fooled. I know it will not be cheer that this delivers. Perhaps it's knowing deeper down, it's the fruits that further immersion will birth being the benefit. A pair of eyebrows thrust upward accompany my silent response along with a row of teeth making the shape of a smile that fragments to a grimace as she turns.

A barmaid? I've never had a barmaid before...

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