The beginning is still neither the end nor the beginning (ctd)

He left through the front door, resisting another urge to climb the garden wall. He yearned for achievement and he had more chance of success in physical challenges.
He took a convoluted route through housing estates and alleyways to arrive at a place that looked like it should have been boarded up. Soulless, flat-roofed, the reek of lives put on hold. There was a brick propping open the heavy reinforced door. He slipped inside, furtively, almost ashamedly.
The lights in their cages flickered in the hallway, delineating the silhouettes of dead insects. He took long strides, passing myriad coats on hooks, cardboard boxes and empty 5L yoghurt containers.
The buzzing stopped when he entered the large room. The bar was ahead of him and the tables were arranged in a square shape at the room’s perimeter parallel to crimson upholstered benches. A village hall arrangement yet far less innocuous.
The walls were grimy with ghee, turmeric and nicotine. A fur of dust shrouding the sticky sandstone.

Nobody was there yet he could hear the muffled conversations, diffusing in through the back door that led to the smoker’s patio.
Behind the bar Raj looked up from his Sudoku, lengthened up, his spine cracking him to upright and his flip-flopped feet dragging him across the bar muck.
“K’da?” he exclaimed, “theek hai?”
A perfunctory handshake.
Raj poured the pint and placed it on the drip tray. He watched the customer lose half the contents in one swig.
“They’re out back” Raj said.
“Cheers” came the response.
“Oh and Deep is on one. Just so you know” Raj added.

He could have left at this point if there hadn’t been the offer of averting a crisis. Somebody else’s crisis becoming more and more appealing.


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