Monday 16 April 2001

It's all pretty fucked-up, she says.

Oh really? he answers, not looking, just shaking his pint, whirling it round in his hand. Trying to fluff up a new head to replace the one he's just wiped off his top lip.

She thinks its gross how he always gets a lager moustache. Like those adverts they have in the States for milk. It doesn't matter if it is supermodels; Kate Moss or whatever; it's rank. It's not because of the fellatio imagery. Like, yeah baybee, come on my face, that just satisfies me soooo much. It's just that people who get bits of food on their faces and don't realise make her want to puke.

Well, yeah, she says, it is. I mean, I shouldn't have left it in the printer. I mean, I shouldn't have printed it out. It was fucking stupid of me.

You shouldn't have done it, he says.

She rummages around in her rucksack for a cigarette. Jeesus, Gregg. Gregor Retardo. Of course she shouldn't have done it. Quelle insight there, G-man; thankyewverymuch.

He's picked up a beermat now, and is slicing it through a small pool of lager that's spilled onto the tabletop. Criss, cross, left and right. Now he's guiding the beer towards the edge of the table; moving his legs to one side as it drips onto the floor. Don't look, she thinks, look somewhere else, look--

Look at the ashtray. God. Squished-ended Regals fill it almost to the brim. Some dumb fuck's gone and put an empty Walkers crispbag right in the bottom; then another dumb fuck's stubbed their stinky fags out all over it. That's how you can tell the smokers from the non-smokers, you see. Non-smokers think the ashtray is their own personal bin sitting in the middle of the table, designed solely for their discarded club flyers, unwanted lemon slices and greasy crisp packets.

It isn't a bin. It's an ashtray. It's different. It's round and dirty and stuff goes in there: does that make it a bin? Does that make it a toilet? Course not. You can't assume things are like other things, just because they look vaguely similar. Look at the way the barman had checked her out, smiling, when he gave her her change. He thought she was a sweet girl. He thought she was nice.

Like, doh.

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