It didn’t augur well

Another short story from my fictional village of Angle Mort, part (i) – the final instalment tomorrow!

It didn’t augur well from the start that Max wasn’t listening properly and so when he went to see his mate who painted pub signs, by hand and eye, and would have charged a fortune except he owed Max for unmentionable reason, he accepted a snifter. One snifter led to another and by the time he left the pub he and the mate had decamped too, they well sniftered up.
Afterwards it was never clear whether Max had not made himself clear, or his mate Pavel hadn’t been listening properly, but either way, Max got the blame. Things had not been quite right in Angle Mort since the unfortunate incident with the now disbanded amateur dramatics group’s disastrous choice of a new director for their production. Water under the bridge, most people agreed. The whole Angle Mort Am-Dram horror thing had been distanced and almost forgotten after the sinister sickness, lockdown, compulsory isolation and then the potentially frightening European contretemps, leading to disruption and dislocation to everyday life.
As in many places, things had changed in the new world and when the previous landlord of their local, the White Hart had retired to Bournemouth, a group of locals and regulars had come together to take over the pub. It was pretty certain that otherwise it would have closed permanently. Max and Jessie and their friends Alex and Lissa had become part of the Hart in Angle co-operative. Although the pub had remained open while all the negotiations were proceeding, a big celebratory re-opening was to take place, with bands, magicians, a BBQ, a hog-roast, fancy-dress competition… and an unveiling of a beautiful metalwork hart.
Another, different mate of Max’s been an architectural metalworker and when on a different evening in a different pub, he’d learnt of the pub’s sign, he had a great idea.   He would make the sign, based on the name of the pub. The sign would be on a freestanding post outside the pub, next to the road to attract customers. Max was sufficiently aware of what was being said to mention that the pub was directly on the road, apart from a couple of tables and some decorative flower pots. Fair enough, the sign could go on a post on the village green.
A simple but arresting sign, he told Max who communicated it back to the committee. This was met with enthusiasm and appreciation from all except Jessie who knew Max’s choice in friends was sometimes not the best.
“I need to meet this bloke, Max,” she said as they walked home across the triangular green.
“Which bloke?”
“The bloke who’s making the sign, you dunderhead!”
“Which sign?”
Jessie stopped and pulled him to a halt beside her, when, even by moonlight, she could see a familiar expression on his face. Something was beginning to dawn on him, and tipsy as he was, he was realising that somewhere something had gone wrong.
He tried to brazen it out. “Do you mean the sign on the wall or the sign on the green?” he tried not to slur and tried not to sway.
She said nothing but stared at him so fiercely that he shut his eyes and when he opened them, she was striding away from him through the darkness towards their cottage.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.