The big screen flicked to darkness. A numb silence swept the pub.
“1-0. Fucking 1-0 to Newkie. That fucking ref was blind as a fucking bat, for fuck sakes.” said a voice from the depths of the face-painted throng. Nick sat quietly, propping up the bar, relishing his pint of Thurston’s, half full. Mentally he thanked Newcastle for lowering the decibel levels in the crowded room.
A young lout, sporting a Chelsea scarf and a thunderous expression pushed his way through to the bar. He stumbled into Nick, mid sip. The tankard rang against Nick’s teeth as premium bitter sloshed down his front; a few splashes landed on the sleeve of the oaf’s royal blue football strip. There was no way that was an accident.
Confirmation followed “What the fuck d’you think you’re doing pouring beer all over me, tosser?”
“Sorry, I must have slipped with all this jostling.” Nick shouldered the blame though he knew it was pointless. I know your type sunshine, I know what you’re after. “Allow me to buy you a beer.”
“You wanna buy me a beer faggot. What? You fancy me don’t ya poof? You like my arse faggot?”
“I don’t believe my sexual proclivities are any of your business, but if I were gay I’m fairly confident that you wouldn’t be my type. Please excuse me.” He abandoned the remainder of his beer.
“Oi, poofter, don’t walk away while I’m talking to you.”
Nick kept going, weaving his way through the crowd to the men’s room and opened the door. A trainer squeaked on the linoleum behind him. Another. Rapid footsteps. Nick spun, fist bunched and made contact with the kid’s concrete abdomen. Damn that hurts more than I remember. Nick’s fingers tingled but he smiled at the boy. Smiling always seems to put them off balance.
“I wouldn’t have thought that a homophobe like yourself would want to share a bathroom with a faggot like…”
The kid shoulder charged Nick into the tiled wall, taking him completely by surprise. Man, was he out of practice or what. This kid had more brains than Nick had given him credit for. He raised his knee swiftly to the kid’s genitals, but they were no longer there. The youngster danced on the back foot, fists raised like a boxer.
“Of course you’d go for the gonads, queer.” He was having fun. Nick didn’t respond and a punch flew, too fast, crashing him on the side of the head. Why do these punks always go for the head? It’s the hardest part of the body, that’ll have hurt him more than me. At that moment Nick knew he would win. He regrouped and hand still by his side but knuckle extended into a phoenix fist he waited. Not for long.
The kids’ right fist rocketed towards Nick’s head again. Nick swayed to the side. At the same moment the fist connected the wall with a sickening crack, Nick pushed his own fist through his opponent’s solar plexus. The kid’s breath exploded like a popped tyre and he doubled over. Nick clasped his hands behind the kid’s head and heaved his knee into his chest.
The kid dropped to the urine soaked floor. Nick leaned over him.
“I went for the chest. It could’ve been your nose.” He offered his hand to the gasping youth, “Now let’s head back to the bar and I’ll buy you that beer. Let’s act like the gentlemen that neither of us is.”