The Badger and Compass
The clatter of the wooden pub door, shoved open and inwards against the fruit machine brings a sudden lull among those gathered in the Badger and Compass’s faded, gloomy charms. Assorted tourists seeking some West End charm who ended up here, nursing non-alcoholic drinks, now stare wide eyed at the looming figure in the doorway, silhouetted by deep winter afternoon streetlights.
Cold air whistles in as he points with his huge hand, like a pound of sausages, accusing someone across the room.
“Well look who it is. You massive Muppetcunt!” he roars across the crowded room.
“Piss off, you facking Cockwomble.” The reply comes from an equally hulking man sat at a table his mass dwarfs. He stares at his accuser, then casually gulps a mouthful of dark beer from the dimpled glass jug he holds easily in one hand.
The leather clad man walks in, allowing the door to close, cutting off the little slice of cold London.
“Fucknugget” he growls at the other man, who holds his gaze as he rises from his stool, having placed his now empty pint pot down.
Dimly lit tourists huddle in their separate groups, countries represented by their individual languages, spoken in hushed and fearful tones. It’s one of the smaller London pubs, with only one door in and out. It would have initially seemed quaint to them, but now feels entirely like a trap. This sentiment is quietly echoed in Japanese, Spanish, Italian and German.
The two giants now face each other across the room, like mythical figures that burn out each other’s eyes. Staring. Brows furrowed. Eyebrows like V’s.
They take turns, rumbling insults at each other, moving forward another step each time, tectonic plates of bubbling rage.
“You’re just a Jebend. Why aren’t you dead yet?” Snarls one.
“Too busy hanging out the back of your Mum, you cunting Wankstain” the retort delivered through gritted teeth.
They are now two steps away from each other. Seizing the opportunity, half the world exits the pub via the now available doorway. They don’t utter a word as they escape, the potential that they could be that innocent passer-by in a newpaper story in a land foreign to them mutes their voices.
“Get fucked, Cocksnot” another step.
“No, YOU do one, you Shitstain of a Thundercunt”. Another pace forward.
They are within reach of each other now, all eyes in the pub are on them. The bartender even stops pretending to wipe the greasy wooden bar. It seems like time slows.
The pub’s new arrival does not blink as he reaches into his jacket pocket, taking hold of what bulges there. He stares into the soul of the man stood before him.
Not one breath goes in or out as he pulls his hand out of his pocket and booms;
”I’ve got something for you, you bloody Cocklord”
“Bring it, Cuntnugget,” is the fumed reply from the mammoth man squared up to him, audible only because of the silenced pub.
“Happy fucking Birthday, you old cunt” shouts the leather clad guy as he hands over a pink envelope with a small silver package sellotaped to it. Cheap ribbon curled with the edge of scissors bounces as it exchanges meaty hands.
“Fuck you, Arsewipe!” the other laughs, and they embrace with back slaps that could shake a planet. The collective sigh of relief gives way to pub-babble, conversations starting up once more as if nothing happened.
Just two lifelong friends engaged in the very British pastime of insulting each other on a night of bonding. There will be beer. There will be insults. And there will be confused looks from every nationality that happens to understand what they say to each other.