Trog slammed an empty pint glass down on the table. “You up for another drink then, Don?”
Don shook his head. “Nah mate, I’m skint. Giro doesn’t come until next week.”
“No worries, I’ll get you one. You can pay me back at the Cockney Upstarts gig. Anyone else want one?” Trog added, looking at the other faces sitting around the table. He was inundated with requests for drinks, and pulled out his wallet. “Here’s a tenner, get a pint for everyone. I got a good bonus this week, might as well share the wealth.”
Don took the ten pound note and rose to his feet. “Cheers Trog, you’re a star.”
“No worries, mate. Money’s for spending, innit? Get one for Mandy as well.”
Don smiled. “You want me to give Mandy one? No fucking problem, mate.”
Trog watched Don swagger to the bar and place his order. Mandy laughed and looked in Trog’s direction. He raised a hand and smiled back. Don returned with the drinks on a round metal tray and placed it down in the centre of the table. Trog scooped up his change from the edge of the tray and put it in his flight jacket pocket.
“I told Mandy you said to give her one from you,” Don said, “but she said she’d rather you give her one yourself. I reckon you’re in there, mate.”
Trog laughed. “Yeah, right. Chance would be a fine thing.”
“No, straight up. But if you’re not interested I don’t mind slipping her a length for you.”
Trog looked across at Mandy. She smiled and waved, then opened the bar flap.
“Aye up,” Don said, “she’s coming over. I hope you’ve got your clean undies on.”
“Piss off,” Trog said, smiling, “you’re just fucking jealous.”
“Who fucking wouldn’t be, fit old bird like that?”
Mandy walked up to the jukebox and put a coin in the slot, pressed buttons on the front. An old ska record started playing and Mandy’s arms and hips swayed to it as she mouthed the words to the song.
“Go on then Trog,” Ian said, grinning. He winked at Don. “Now’s your chance, mate. Get in there and show her some of your fancy footwork.”
Trog took a gulp of lager and shook his head. “What, and have you cunts take the piss? Anyway I don’t like that fucking ska stuff, never have.”
“Yeah, it’s a right fucking horrible noise,” Don said with a scowl. “What’s she doing dancing to that fucking shite?”
“Shows what you know,” Ian said. “It’s better than that fucking Oi bollocks you listen to. Can’t even fucking play, most of them.”
“What, and these can? They all sound the same these fucking bongo bands.”
“Fuck off bongo bands. This is proper skinhead music, this is. And they’re not fucking bongos anyway. Sounds nothing like bongos.”
“Is it fuck proper skinhead music. They’re not even fucking white, never mind skinheads. Bunch of fucking wogs, half of them.”
“I don’t like it either,” Stew said, “but they didn’t have no Skrewdriver in the olden days, so it stands to reason old birds like Mandy over there would be into it.”
“Great, another fucking commie,” Don said, shaking his head.
“Fuck off, I ain’t no fucking commie. I’m just saying it were different in the old days, that’s all.”
“Oh, give it a fucking rest,” Trog said. “Who gives a fuck about any of that bollocks?”
“Yeah well,” Don said, reaching into his flight jacket for a pack of cigarettes, “I’m only saying skinhead bands should be white or there’s no fucking point to them.”
“Crash the ash then, Adolf,” Ian said. Don took out a cigarette and tossed the pack across the table. Ian smiled as he picked it up. “Redistribution of wealth in action. So who’s the fucking commie now then?”
Trog sighed and shook his head. He turned back to watch Mandy dance.
* * *
Continued next Friday.
Punk Faction by Marcus Blakeston is also available in paperback and ebook if you don’t want to wait that long.