Jack dug his hand deep in his short summer jacket, leaned into the rain and walked quickly to the pub. He dodged women with shopping bags and buggies, and men on their way to important places with suits and briefcase style bags. They didn’t actually seem to have briefcases any more, but every body had a bag of some description.
The rain came from every direction, as did the wind. His light shoes were soaked through already, but he'd just a little further to go. All the time the flashes from last night went through his head. He would soon not have to worry about them. He walked into the dip and pushed the inner door.
The sounds of the street outside disappeared, and the warmth hit him. It was just after ten in the morning but there were already four or five groups of men huddled around tables, with another dozen along the bar. Conversations were muted at the moment. It would take an hour or so.
“howeya mick, give us a pint will ye!”
The Barman selected a pint glass and gave it a quick check for smudges before snapping down the handle on the Guinness Tap. The hiss was reassuring. He placed the pint glass up on the counter between the taps and Jack. He would have to wait a little longer. Swirling clouds of creamy coloured gas, arranged themselves into ever darkening cascades that swam to the bottom of the glass, disappearing into a black oblivion. The hurried and excited gas cascades became more gentle as the black oblivion misted up the glass till it rested completely still beneath the creamy head. The Barman then took the pint, filled it to the top and placed it in front of Jack. He paid him and took the pint to a table opposite the bar.
He laid the pint down and walked to the front door for a cigarette. He smoked it quickly sheltering almost fully from the weather in the alcove. When he was finished he flicked the cigarette into the street and walked back inside.
He sat down picking up the pint as he did so, and pulled hard on it. It was cold, and the cream cooled his upper lip. The cool stout quenching a wild thirst, and soon other fires. He closed his eyes as he drank, afraid to breathe even. This first drink today, the fixer as he liked to call it, would be the best. No other drink today would be this good, he had to savour the intimacy, between his soul and this black beast that gripped him every day. He took three more drinks consecutively. He relaxed. There were 6 messages unread on his mobile. He had a feeling who they were from, and maybe after another pint he would read them.