ID-10033357“No luck, mate?”

“Nah, they won’t let me in. Confiscated my membership card, then said I don’t belong. Gits.”

“I tell you that Society place used to be alright, you know, but it’s gone downhill. It’s got so they’ll only let a certain sort in, yeah? I remember going there all the time when I was younger. ‘Course it’s changed hands a few times since then, and the new owners always want to shake things up a bit, don’t they? Never heard the saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, have they? Oh, no! They take a perfectly okay club and want to change stuff just to leave their mark on it. Never change the name though, do they? Oh, I know the last lot tried to sex it up by putting BIG in front of the name but it didn’t fool anyone, that. No one used it except if they were having a laugh about it and how up their own arses the new owners had got. I don’t think the likes of you and me’ll ever get in again. I shouldn’t wonder if more of our sort’ll be joining us here soon, and where will we go, eh? There’s precious few places left, not ones where we’re still welcome, rather than simply tolerated, at any rate.”

“You ain’t wrong there.”

“Have you tried round the back? You could sneak in. You look in fairly good shape for your age, I’m sure you could manage that fire escape. It don’t look too legal but I reckon it’d hold, if you took it gradual, like.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that. It wouldn’t be right, sneaking around like that. I just… no. No. How could you even suggest that?!”

“Alright, alright, keep your hair on. It was just a suggestion. No need to get so uppity. You just seemed a nice bloke and like you really wanted to get in.”

“I do. I always have before now. I don’t understand why I’m suddenly no longer the right fit for Society’s clientele.”

“Oh, come on, mate, it can’t have happened overnight. I mean, you must have noticed the vacant expressions, the cold shoulder, the frosty reception. You can’t seriously tell me this has all come as a shock to you. You must have seen the cards were on the table.”

“You really don’t know me at all, do you? If you did, you would know that I would NEVER gamble.”

“I’m beginning to see why they don’t want you, mate. You’re a bit uptight.”

“Look, I don’t mean to be rude but I’m not your mate. We barely know each other. Would you mind not calling me ‘mate’?”

“Oh, blimey, sure, whatever you want, your Lordship. Didn’t mean to offend, I’m sure.”

“Sorry. I’m sorry if I was abrupt. I didn’t mean to be rude. I know you were only trying to help.”

“Forget it, no harm done. So… what are you going to do now? Where will you go?”

“I don’t know. I’m not used to being unwelcome. It’s a new one on me. It might take a while for me to sort out how I feel about this. I was never the last kid to be picked for teams.”

“Unless the team was political, or journalists, or sales and marketing, eh, eh?”

“Good God, no, those were never options for me. My parents made that crystal clear. There were some teams I could never join and where my talents would be totally wasted.”

“Yes, well, good on your folks for setting you straight early in life. I always had to find my own way. Talking of which, it’s time for me to get on my way. It’s getting late. I should be getting off home. Thanks for the chinwag. Maybe see you around again, Ian, was it?”

“Close but no, it’s Integrity.”

“Integrity, that’s right, I remember now you mention it. Not a very common name, is it?”

“No, it used to be but I seem to have gone out of fashion. Well, thanks for the chat.”

“Don’t give up, maybe it’s just a phase and you’ll be back in with the crowd in Society before you know it. Cheerio! Have a good evening.”

“You too, sir. You too.”


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