“I’m sooo skint.”
Resting his head on his hands he leans on the bar, slowly rocking his head left to right as if trying to wake from a bad dream. When he looks up he seems lost. A little boy adrift in the world. Like this cruel world has been designed exclusively to torture him. There are dark bags under his eyes. He inhales deep and then lets out a long breath of resignation.
“I don’t even know how I’m going to get the kids presents this year.”
She looks at him as she cleans a glass and reaches to put it back in its place above the bar. She flips the cleaning cloth over her shoulder. Her face has the look of a wise school teacher who knows the answer but knows the child just can’t see it. She shakes her head slowly with a sorrowful look in her deep brown eyes.
“Oh Jonny… Jonny. When will you learn? How many years has it been? You keep thinking things will change but then you keep doing the same things? Again and again. Isn’t that the definition of madness?
“Doing the same things and expecting a different result? How many years have I worked here?”
“A couple I guess.”
“During that time how many ideas have I had to help?”
“Quite a few.”
“How many have you actually implemented?”
“Maybe a couple.”
“Be honest, Jonny.”
“Ok one. But that was a big one.”
“Jonny, putting a sign up to advertise your business is kinda business 101. You don’t get points for putting a bloody sign up.”
“What are your problems Jonny? To recap. Are you good at taking other people's ideas?
“Are you good at asking for help?”
“Is what you’re doing working?”
“No… it’s not.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I gotta change.”
“Yeah, you gotta change Jonny!”
“I’m an idiot. I know...”
“You’re not an idiot. You just got to turn those ideas you got into action. You gotta push Jonny. You gotta fight. If you want it - and i think you do - you gotta fight. This is your kids Christmas Presents. This is your future. This is your retirement. You gotta fight. If you don’t fight. No one can fight for you.”
She looks at him with a lingering gaze. Her eyes tell a story only another woman can read.
“I’ll help. You know I will. And the rest of them will pitch in. There are people who care Jonny. They wanna help. But you gotta be the captain. You gotta tell everyone what you need.”
“Tonight Jonny I want you to rest. But tomorrow you fight.”
She saunters round the bar. He stands with a slightly lost look in his eyes and she hugs him. Her eyes closed tight, the faintest smile on her face.
“Now go home and I’ll meet you back here at 10am and we start the fight back. Do you hear me Jonny?”
“I hear you.”
“What time does the fight back start Jonny?”
“10am. I got you. … Cath?”
And he kisses her lightly on the cheek.