Barry was up early for his new job on the bins, he’d been doing it for a few weeks, pushing the intensive pain barrier to the limit and at his peak fitness level. Barry actually quite enjoyed the camaraderie with the other lads, it was almost like being in the army again.
Early starts and early finishes, he was usually done by lunch time with the rest of the day his own.
“You do the odds, I’ll get the evens.” Bernie nodded and winked, Barry wasn’t sure what that was about but did as he was told.
Numbers 67 and 69 had really long drive ways and both were uphill.
“The jammy sod!’ muttered Barry as he had to carry the heavy bins further to the dust cart.
The gravel was slippery and he stumbled…crash! Bang! Rattle!
“Bugger! What a mess.” He cursed as the contents spilled out.
Following the bin mens code he made the drive tidy, Christmas bonuses were a serious perk of this job.
Number 69, the big red house on the hill.
“Excuse me…wait.” The lady called from the open door as he examined the bin and its unusually heavy contents.
Waving another empty bottle she shimmied over to Barry.
“I forgot to throw this in.”
“Been having a party then?” He commented, luckily Barry was fit and strong as this bin was full of clanking glass.
“Oh, just one of my soirées.” She laughed, gazing at him in an appraising way, studying his form as you would a prize race horse.
Barry couldn’t but help notice she wasn’t wearing very much and her tiny negligee was practically see through; feeling flustered, he clattered the bin lid down loudly.
“Oh you are SO strong, you must come around one evening and show me your muscles.”
Barry mumbled some incoherent excuse about keeping the others waiting and quickly dragged the bin loudly clanking along the gravel drive.
He wished there were wheels on these things, that would make his job so much easier!
The notorious man eater at Number 69 watched her chosen prey disappear behind the hedge before sheepishly returning her now empty bin and bidding her good day.
“Mmmm…new blood.” She thought lustfully, licking her luscious lips.
The other bin men winked and nudged each other while they waited for Barry to return, they had all been initiated when they first joined the crew.
A couple of hours later Sindy was waiting impatiently in ‘The Jolly Sailor’ pub, Barry was usually here by now, ‘What could be keeping him?’ she wondered.
The pub door swung open with a bang and a whistle as Barry swaggered in still in his work gear and looking a bit hot under the collar; Sindy beckoned impatiently from the bar, making it obvious she was annoyed he was late.
“What do you want Barry dear, your usual?”
“You haven’t changed clothes?” She wrinkled her pretty nose as if there was a nasty smell (which may have been partially true)
“We had er…delays this morning.” Was all he replied, there was really no need to explain, what she didn’t know would mean a quiet life for him.
Barry scanned the pub which was busy for a weekday afternoon, he nodded to Burt at the other end of the bar, deep in conversation with…what was her name again, that redhead he was knocking around with?
Casey or Stacy, something like that.
Then there was that Ken with another one, drinking cocktails and giggling by the dartboard.
Barry wasn’t a fan, he couldn’t work out what all the girls saw in Ken, apart from being a hairdresser and liking fashion and musicals.
The street door opened quietly.
Carrying his heavy case and looking hot and tired, a stranger entered the cool pub, he seemed road weary as his thirsty eyes sought the draught beer selection while licking his lips in anticipation.
It was almost the same look that Ken and his companion gave this handsome bearded stranger, they instantly stopped gossiping and relished his full manly physique from his worn out walking boots to battered cowboy hat (and all the bits in between)
One nudged the other to talk to him first, while the stranger was busy relieving himself of his heavy load unaware he was the object of their attention.
Catching the barmaids eye, he nudged between the customers to lean in thirstily requesting,
“A pint of best, please Miss.”
Barry immediately recognised his voice and spun around in shocked disbelief.
“When?… What?….Where have you…? It’s been years!” Barry could hardly contain his shock and surprised questions blurted out.
“It’s a long story little brother.” replied Neville with a deep sigh. “I’m back now and its good to see you.”
The emotional reunion was almost too much for Barry, the brothers grappled and hugged, no words could describe all the feelings that overwhelmed them.
Sindy stood open mouthed at the sight of her recent hitch hiker…no wonder he looked so familiar!
Burt remembered Barry mention his wayward older brother who disappeared a long time ago, no denying they certainly looked like brothers.
Ken and his chum exchanged knowing glances with pursed lips, nods and cheeky winks.
“But where have you been?”
“All over the place Barry, just back from America, its crazy out there.”
“How long are you here for? You must stay with me.”
“Yes sure, it’s good to be back, at least this town never changes.”
Burt remembered the old rumours about Neville and wondered if that was how he got his nickname ‘Neville the Devil’?
“You stink little brother!” Neville got a pungent whiff of Barry’s recent occupational residue.
“You’re a bit ripe yourself, Nev.” Laughed Barry as the brothers hugged again smiling.
Sindy coughed delicately so as not to be forgotten.
“Ah, this is my best girl, Sindy.” Barry introduced.
“We’ve already met.” She replied smugly as Neville nodded.
“How do again and thanks for the lift.” he winked at Barry, “You lucky boy.”
This made both Sindy and Barry smile, soon enough it was drinks all round and loud chatting with so many years to catch up on.
But why did he go?
We will have to wait to find out.
©Juliette Dodd 2019