I took a job as a barman, just to get a little money. I only expected to work for a few weeks. Through sheer inertia, I end up staying, and rise to the level of manager by default.

One customer comes in at 4pm every day. He is bald, with square glasses, wearing a shirt with its collar always up. I come to hate him. No, not just because of the collar thing, but because he never says please or thank you, just “Fosters.”

One day, whilst pouring a pint of Fosters in secret fury, the flow sputters and stops. I offer him a Carling instead. His silence gives me his answer on that offer. I say “I’m off to change the barrel, then” and he tuts. I run down to the cellar, and see that we are out of Fosters.

There are five kegs of Carling, though, so I just attach the pipe to one of those. I run back upstairs and pour him a pint of “Fosters.”

“Ah! You can’t beat the great taste of Fosters!” The twat declares, like he’s auditioning for an ad or something. I decide to see how far this substitution can go. When you’re out of rocks, just give them real soap…

For his second pint, I attach the pipe to a barrel of expired ale. The next, I dangle the pipe into a bucket of cellar slops.

He stands at the bar, collar up, staring at the TV and scowling, taking swigs of the rancid brews. He grows bold on the rotting fermented hop scum. He barks “Fosters!” again, without the knowledge that I’ve already linked the pipe to the urinal outflow.

The urinals have been giving me trouble, backing up and blocking. I’ve been trying to clear them out with caustic soda and bleach, but the fetid uric acid of the local drinkers keeps crystallising in the pipes.

It’s a hard job, so you have to get your fun where you can. I pour the pint and place it on the wooden bar top, adding a cheery “Cheers mate!”

He takes a long draught. He picks something from his teeth. He looks at me. Then he clamps his hand over his bursting mouth and runs towards the toilets.

Apparently you can tell the difference between Fosters and piss.


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