Monday, December 31, 2007

O'Level English Composition

Character Study

The pub door opened and everyone turned to look at the figure that walked in. He staggered into the pub and draped himself over the bar. His beady, round eyes took in his surroundings and after a moment or two he raised his sweaty palm to summon the barmaid. She walked warily over to the stranger. He was smiling broadly, dribbles running down his stubbly chin.

“Pint o’ bitter an’ a nip o’ whisky please, darlin’”

She wished deep down that she had the bravery to order him out but, resigning herself to the fact that she was a coward, she set his drinks on the bar.

“That will be £2, please.”

“There you go, darlin’, keep the change.” He handed her a tenner and she returned with his eight pounds change.

“Look, darlin’… I telt you, keep the change,” he shouted loud enough for the whole bar to hear him. They all looked round at him and he shifted his bulk to return their stares. “Nosy twerps… can’t keep their noses oot o’ folks’ business…” he muttered.

The barmaid kept pressing his money into his hand and he suddenly flew into a rage, breaking glasses and sobbing…

“Nobody listens to Tom… nobody cares about Tom…” His round, pink face grew red and he seemed to settle, but a minute after he started talking to himself again…

“Old Tom’s wife died last year… Old Tom’s 63 and lonely, nobody cares about old Tom…”

By now the barmaid was worried, but the manager was out. He wouldn’t be back till tomorrow, she was on her own.

“Old Tom’s got no job, old Tom was sacked twenty years ago. Match factory didn’t want Tom… Didn’t want old Tom…”

He sat on the stool, his vast bulk balanced on the neat seat of the stool as though he was afraid he might fall off, but was determined to sit there and not to move.

“Would you like me to call a taxi to get you home, sir?”

The barmaid was trying to get rid of him – He knew it and she knew it, but she didn’t care. He was just another sad drunk… She had seen many of them in her time.

“You wants to get rid of old Tom. Old Tom came from Edinburgh to find his son because he ain’t got no home to go to. Old Tom’s lonely… Let me talk to you.”

The barmaid couldn’t help but feel sorry for him, so she poured him a pint and smiled.

“On the house, Tom”

Tom looked at the pint, then the barmaid.

“I ain’t no charity case,” he said, then set the money on the bar, “… ain’t no charity…”

He downed the pint and the barmaid smiled as he clung to the remnants of his shattered pride. Then he picked himself up off the stool, shook the barmaid’s hand and walked out.

The barmaid was relieved to see the old atmosphere return to the pub now that the focal point of the evening had walked out the door.


AllyBally said...

Teacher's Comments:

"A well observed slice of a life in tatters. I found his sense of self-pity sad and hopeless. Again, you have produced a good piece of work. Keep it up."

Anonymous said...

Hey! Nice composition...await more...