Mickey Flies The Flag


‘Granted, it’s hard to tell but I’m telling you he’s got two suits and that one there is his best.’
‘Jeezuz! That’s the best, what’s the other one like?’ Ken says, squinting.
‘Much the same but it’s naffer, the lapels are that wide way and the kecks, well, they make him look like he’s arse-less.’
‘So do these ones.’
‘That’s because he doesn’t have an arse.’
Mickey’s leaning on the wall, not moving much, flicking through the bible trying to pick a winner but he’s listening or trying to and the strain is bending him out of shape. Fat Paul comes back from the bookies and gives Mickey his slips, money changes hands, not much money, it’s hard to fill up your wallet by trying to predict the future with The Racing Post as your sole guide.
‘Is that it?’ snarls Mickey. Fat Paul holds out his palms makes a, ‘it is what it is’ face. The disappointing payout compounded with being talked about at the bar twists Mickey’s face into that of a slightly more aggressive monkey than usual. He swaggers over, Fat Paul in tow. They look like some kind of comedy duo, end of the pier though, not funny, or liked. A tired act.
‘Somethink ’bout you I ain’t vibing,’ he says to me.
‘Yeah, gettin a bad feelin like you talkin ’bout me? Innit.’
‘Zat right? And how d’ya think that went?’
‘What you having Mickey?’ asks Queeny, trying to defuse the potential. But.
‘You’re right Mikey, I was just saying what a cheap-skate, two-suit bastard you really fuckin are.’
He’s not expecting that. The air just got so heavy Fat Paul has to take his in in big gulps. Mikey’s classic speechless and angry, so fuckin angry his face looks like its about to do something spectacular. He starts shaking. And then the tears come. He’s not crying as such, just, just fuckin emotional. I laugh. Loud. Ken starts flipping out a military beat on the bar with a beer mat. So there we are: a gulper, a weeper, a laugher and a drummer.
‘Shall we dance?’ I say, moving into a waltzer. There’s no takers though, Mikey just storms out with the fat man.
‘Jeezuz, was that not a little, erm, unnecessary?’
‘Nah man, just the opposite, necessary, necessarily truthful.’
We both start laughing, Queeny puts on a mock schoolteacher, starts wagging her finger at me and we all take a swig of our drinks. I start the count.
One hundred and eighty three and the door bursts open and he’s armed with a snapped, top half of a hefty flagpole, complete with St George’s flag and vicious looking metal spike. He tries to launch it like a javelin but it’s not aerodynamic and obviously too heavy for him so it just lands with a clatter.
‘Cunts!’ he shouts and disappears back out.
‘Jeezez, I never took him for the patriotic type.’
‘Oh yeah,’ I say, all wistful like, ‘Mickey flies the flag.’

© zenbuddhist 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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I enjoyed the honesty in this piece, you convey the reality and tension really well, I also liked how you bounced the characters off each other. The ending Made me laugh, wistful was a master stroke. Best Keith


haha, and this is why I like your writing, young Charlie. :^) Great comic-timing and vernacular, really loved: ‘So there we are: a gulper, a weeper, a laugher and a drummer’. Good to read your words again.

Kim x


I laughed out loud at the end too. Richly sarcastic. The characters do seem to play off each other well, as many long time/good friends do. Nicely done.

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