The Day Brian Became Somebody . . . Brian came into the club as usual on Friday night, and ordered his pint at the bar. Nobody noticed all that much – nobody ever did with Brian. He was the quiet sort, lived on his own, sat on his own, and apparently worked on his own as a sort of accountant and sales rep and telephone answerer and record keeper at some local builder’s, in an office of his own.
But then we saw his that his back was plastered with green paint. One thick sticky stripe across his backside, and a couple more slightly less marked, across his jacket. Then when he got his money out to pay he didn’t just shove his hand in his pocket as normal but very carefully held the pocket open with his other hand first. On account that both of his hands were littered up as well.
Obviously he’d got tangled up with some wet paint somewhere. We waited for Mick the Club Secretary who was behind the bar, to notice, grinning a bit, when he did. When he went to take the money he spluttered, ‘Crisakes! Brian, where’s all that come from?’ he demanded
‘Sat in some wet paint, didn’t I? All over those benches in that bit of a park on the way here. Was a bit early so I sat down for a minute, F**king Council!’ ‘Yeah! wasn’t there any signs warning you? – Wet Paint, sort of thing?’ ‘Oh yeah, there was signs chalked all round saying wet paint. But they don’t mean nothing do they? I mean nobody comes along and rubs them out once the paint is dry, do they? Last for weeks sometimes, them wet paint signs. You can’t take too much notice of them!’
‘That’s right enough,’ said Perfumed Lil. ‘Don’t mean nothing, them signs. Ruined my dress same way, couple of weeks back, just brushing up against a fence.’ Mick gave her a look, but didn’t say anything. To Brian he said ‘better pay next time. Don’t want my cash till littered up with green paint. And you better not sit down neither.’
So Brian carried his pint to his usual table but stood next to it instead of sitting. With the result that as the regulars came in during the next hour or so, instead of greeting their mates with a grin and scarcely glancing or nodding at Brian, they all stopped said and said something like – ‘B*gg*r me Brian, what you been up to?’
To which Brian said back, ‘Bloody Council! Painted all those seats in the park, ain’t they?’ But we couldn’t help noticing, despite him looking all scowly and put-upon, he was enjoying being the centre of attention.
Not surprising really, seeing it was the first time anything like that had happened to him in all his invisible life. Later on, when someone pulled his leg a bit with remarks about Jolly Green Giants, and The Green Man, he even said something sarky back. Don’t remember what it was – it weren’t all that clever to be honest. But coming from Brian it was quite startling.
When he left, not daring to ask for another pint, Nice Suit picked up his green smeared glass, looked at Mick and said ‘ Alright?’ To which Mick just nodded, and Nice Suit wrapped the glass in a newspaper he found laying on a chair and took it home with him.
The next night he returned it, all clean and shiny and with the legend ‘Brian’ signwritten up all neat on the side, in Council Green. He said nothing just plonked it on the counter. Mick also saying nothing either, picked it up, examined it and placed it on the special shelf with all the other personalised glasses.
Alongside that of George the fifth who had one, on account he was the fifth Secretary at the club, and Pikey Harris because he’d kept his caravan at the back of the car park while he was doing up the lounge and a couple of yobs had shoved some fireworks in one night and burned it – and very nearly him – to the ground. Plus half a dozen others there, all the same with owners of renown. Brian has earned his stripes or should that be his colours?