No. 52 A policeman, a bomb and the #Bermondsey #Rasta

Marni and I were packing rucksacks for our summer of travelling when a policeman knocked on the door.
“Who’s died?” asked Marni.
“You need to leave the flat immediately. A bomb from the second world war has been found in the vicinity. We are evacuating the area while bomb disposal deal with the matter.”
“How long for?” I asked, we were flying to Corfu the next day.
“It could be overnight, the community centre can accommodate residents but we suggest you stay at family or friends if that’s possible.”
“Have I got time to get some spare knickers?” Marni asked.
“If you’re quick.” The policeman smiled.
Most of my decent knickers were already in my rucksack. I pulled out a few pairs, deciding which to put in my bum bag. Marni did the same.
“Lizzy, will these ones do?” she held up a leopard print g-string. “Or my safety knickers?” In the other hand she dangled a pair of black french knickers.
“Come on girls.” The policeman turned away from the knicker display and escorted us off the estate. There was only one thing for it – from our original plan of staying in and having an early night to prepare for our big trip – we went to the pub.
The local was packed with displaced Arnold Estate residents. We sat on the kerb outside the pub, slurping pints of snakebite. It was a beautiful sunny evening.
“Alright!” The bar man’s dreadlocks lurched into my nearly empty pint, he swung them out and about and drips from a dread landed on my arm, he smiled and I licked them off. He picked up a dozen or so empty glasses from the kerb and went back into the pub, stacking them theatrically like a circus stunt man. I followed him, avoiding the leaning tower of pints and ordered another drink.
“I’m not alright, we can’t get back in our flat and me and my mate are going away tomorrow.” I smiled the smile that always worked – if I was in the right mood.
So – Marni left to stay with an ex boyfriend and Mike (the barman) didn’t charge me for my next snakebite, or the next. When the pub closed he led me to his flat, on the same estate, just not cordoned off.
“Man, this just always happens.” Mike said after a night of sex, spliff and listening to Terminal Cheesecake. “You meet the woman of your dreams and she’s about to fuck off travelling.” He smiled and skinned up, I put on my clean knickers and put the others in my bum bag, they neatly nestled against my passport and traveller cheques.
“I’ve never been proper travelling before.”  It was about 5am and despite Mike’s attention and my curiosity with how things may have played out with this cool, Bermondsey Rasta – I was already on the plane, flying over the alps.
“Will you write?”
“I’ll send you a postcard.”
Only Fraser would get letters.

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