Lily and Joe had not been to many Quiz Nights before, and Lily wondered just what the attraction was. Rick had managed to whet her appetite however – though not for the food that went with it! The thoughts of all those rats hiding in the drain that ran at the side of the pub made her cringe – though according to Babs she knew some of them personally!
As Lily and Joe entered the pub, people were beginning to gather. Not knowing anyone all that well, they did not quite know where to sit – but then Lily spied Rick, and made a beeline for him. Though he could be touchy, and lovedhe Beatles, whom Lily hated, they did at least have bird watching in common. And writing poetry!
“Mind if we sit with you?” asked Lily.
“Not at all,” replied Rick. “Glad you could make it. We’ll make up a team.”
Everyone fell silent for a moment, not quite knowing what to say. Then Lily piped up,
“Seen any good birds larely?”
That got Rick going!
“Yeah. I saw a goshawk the other day,” replied Rick, and then he proceeded with a long, and much blown up story, Lily suspected, about seeing the only goshawk that had ever been seen in the area. He recounted the story of how nobody would believe him, and how hard done by he felt about this. Lily and Joe gave each other a quick glance, knowing that they mustn’t say anything to Rick that might make him go off on one. They didn’t want to ruin the evening right at the start!
“Well I’m sure you know what you’re talking about,” said Lily, attempting to flatrer him concerning his knowledge about birds, especially those of the rare variety.
“We might get some questions on the Beatles,” suggested Joe. “And that would put us in good stead for winning, with your knowledge, Rick,” once again trying to smooth down Rick’s permanently ruffled feathers.
No one knew quite what chip Rick had on his shoulder, but he was always taking the huff and going off in a mood. And this wasn’t the night for upsetting him, especially as Col was sitting next to them with The Brothers. Always ready to enter into the fight for a just cause, who knows what they might have done if Rick had allowed his permamently ruffled feathers to get the better of him and started spouting about the injustice of everything!
Lily’s eyes suddenly alighted on Babs, sitting a few tables away with Tim and her daughter Michelle who worked for a Travel Company and got to travel round the world sampling different holidays. Lily and Joe didn’t know Michelle very well, except through Babs’s constant chatter about her, regaling them with tales of the phenomenally high temperatures she was enjoying in some exotic part of the world. For once though, Babs was looking strangely downcast. It was obvious that she was not quite herself, and her saucercer eyes had dwindled to being tiny coffee cup sized saucer eyes.
“Wonder what’s up with her,” Joe remarked.
“Oh I don’t know,” said Lily. “ Probably Tim left a leaf on the pavement when he was sweeping up.”
“Yeah, probably,” replied Joe. “I wouldn’t like to have to live his life. Never a moment’s peace.”
But Lily kept glancing at Babs, feeling quite worried about her. Something wasn’t quite right, and Lily felt decidedly apprehensive.
“Ooh look. There’s Harold and a couple of his cronies,” said Lily suddenly, her mind being taken off Babs and whatever had befallen her.
“Good job he’s a couple of tables away from Babs,” said Joe.
“Yes,” said Lily. “Especially with Babs in the mood she seems to be in.
Lily looked at Babs again, and wondered. She had never seen Babs quite like this before.
Suddenly, Rick, who had been akmost asleep, having worked three long nights in a row as a Security Guard, came to life again. rambling on about the Beatles.
“Can’t say they’re my favourites,” said Lily. “I’m more of a Rolling Stones fan myself.”
Rick started to bristle , and Lily realised she had said something wrong. Col and The Brothers shifted in their sears, and held themselves in readiness to sort any trouble out.
“Aww come on Rick. Live and let live,” said Joe. “Let’s not spoil the evening.” Rick looked a bit shamefaced and began to settle down a bit.
The place was really starting to fill up now. Connie, the landlady came round to each table placing condiments on them ready for the food that was to follow the Quiz.
“We don’t want any food thanks,” Lily said, when she got to their table. “ We hear you’ve got a bit of a problem with rats. Some of them turned up in our garden the other week.”
“Oh dear,” said Connie. “Well everythingis under control now, I can assure you.”
“Thanks but I’dcstill rather give it a miss if you don’t mind.”
Connie shrugged her shoulders. Abd then left them alone.
Shortly after that Lily notuced that Mrs. Gill had turned up, along with Dawn from down the road, and Tina who owned the hairdressers shop next door to Mr. Singh. Dawn suffered badly from depression, and Tina had been known to give her a free hair do to try and cheer her up a bit. Lily stood up and waved at rs. Gill, and Mrs. Gill waved back.
“She’s having a late night out,” said Joe.
“Yes, jt’ll probably do her a power of good,” said Lily. “I understand she’s never really got over her husband dying. He was a tad religious by all accounts. Wenl regularly to Mass at the Catholic church. Mind you, some say he did it to get away from her a bit. She was so fussy and he couldn’t get a minute’s rest. She always had him doing jobs.”
“Well he’s certainly got his rest now,” said Joe. “He probably died of exhaustion.”
Suddenly, Connie was banging loudly from behind the bar, to get everyone’s attention. Rick, who had fallen into a deep sleep, woke up with a start and an exclamation.
“Can we all just be quiet for a moment or two please. Babs has an annuncement to make.”