WTF Were They Talking About?
As requested: Third person – second person – first person. This is more of an exercise in writing than a story.
The final rays of the setting Sun angled through the dusty smoke free atmosphere of The Thatcher’s Arms. There were still two hours of drinking time left, but the kitchen was already closed. In a corner, next to a window overlooking a crowded car park, three men sat evenly dispersed around a large circular table. Each one’s gaze switched from one face to the other in deep discussion across the remains of three “Wednesday Tandoori Special” meals and their part emptied elegant Peroni glasses, oblivious to the music and the white noise of a busy pub. The guy with his back to the window looked from one to the other nodding, but saying nothing.
On the next, much smaller, table a slightly younger man wearing a dark suit sat alone, also with his back to the window giving him a view right across the bar area. The table top seemed crowded even though it only held a plate bearing a crumpled lettuce leaf and crumbs left over from his tuna-mayo baguette, a pint “skin” half-full of a Becks Blue shandy and his iPhone 7.
Although the lone man couldn’t see the faces of the three men near him without turning his head, he could hear their conversation. They were not talking loudly, but the voices of the two speakers invaded his consciousness. Involuntarily, he listened to the guy nearest say his piece although he tried not to, and then he heard what the other one had to say. After a few minutes the iPhone bleeped and vibrated; he picked it up and held it close to his left ear. After a muttered, ‘OK,’ he downed the remains of the shandy in seconds and departed with the words of two the monologues and a question mark bouncing around in his head:
‘Yer just gotta go for it these days. Can’t be no pussyfooting around. Yer just gotta make yer mind up and do it. No fucker’s gonna thank you for changing course after you say you’ll do it. It’s better for everybody. That’s what yer gotta tell yerself. If yer don’t, yer ain’t gonna be able to live with yerself. Even if it all goes tits-up you’ll know yer followed a path yer decided on. Whatever happens yer’ll know if it was right or if it was wrong and yer’ll be able to deal with it. Pick up the bits and move on or enjoy the result. Either way yer’ll have peace of mind. If yer let yerself have second thoughts it’ll fuck yer head up fer the rest of yer fucking natural.’
‘I’m not sure about that, John. Harry, here might have a point, but there are times when it’s necessary to be flexible. I always tell myself, “listen boy, this is a serious decision you need to make. You really should think the whole thing right through.”
If you’re going to push ahead regardless, you won’t have a back door. I always try to have an escape route planned. Remember that time in Leeds I told you about? Now, if I hadn’t have gone through all the options and pitfalls, I’d have been in a heap of shit. I was able to curve round the problem because I had a back-up plan. No, John, make your decision, but be flexible. It’s the only way to go.’