Three years is it? That’s the last time you think you saw each other. It was the time you met his new Belgian girlfriend, her rucksack clinking with the bottles of Orval that she’d brought for you. Now you’re in the Harp. First friday after payday. Five deep at the bar, shouting your conversation over your shoulder as you order. Two pints of Brewers Gold. First gulp. The best part of any nights beer. Fresh and hoppy. What happened to your hand? Fell off the roof. Lucky. Could have been brown bread. You always were lucky. Much busier than when we first used to come in. Won a few awards since then. Never any trouble getting served. Back in Munich, man could die of thirst some nights, looking out for a waitress. Checking printers proofs in the HofBrauhaus, the courier orbiting tables until he found us. Took him half an hour sometimes. He’d have a litre while he waited. Some nights he’d wait a long time and we’d have to pour him into a cab. Wobbling home on our bikes. Diverting to Cafe Johannis for pizza and Hank Williams. Big nights at the Augustiner Garten. Smoke from steckerlfisch teasing us. Grousing with the next table about short measures.
Three pints in. Brewers Gold just gone off, lads. Flying out. Redemption Big Chief then. Strong is it? Don’t worry about us. We’re big boys. Remember when you knocked off that crate of Edelstoff when we worked late? That was the night you got a message about the boss hidden in a design. Runs a surf shop in Coolangatta, now. Ever meet a bigger dickhead? No. He was the dickhead’s dickhead. Still is, I bet. Another Redemption. Big and fruity. Something special about the Harp’s beer. What is it? Tastes like it’s on stillage to me. Like being in a beer tent at a country fair. The smell of crushed grass and soft rain drumming on the canvas. Look, grab those seats in the window. Evening light sliding through the coloured glass. Three tourists appear. Rucksacks on their front. Quick glance in their guide to Londra, and leave. Why do they do that? Should go myself, really. Me too. Cutting it fine for the Eurostar. Go on then. Quick one. Cheers. Good health. Let’s not leave it so long next time.