‘I Think I’ve Just Seen Bob’

“The strangest thing happened on my way here, I thought I saw Bob,” said Pat

“You can’t have he’s dead, we all went to his funeral,” said Harry.

The three men were best friends, worked together and at weekends were drinking buddies. Until recently Bob Dixon had been part of their little group. Each Friday after work they had a night out, pubs, bands and a curry.

“I know but that’s the fourth time I’ve seen him this month. Only from the back, I could have sworn it was him,” said Pat

“It was a car crash wasn’t it,” said Des.

“Yep there’s a wall in town that will always have Bob’s name on it,” said Harry raising his glass in a toast to their friend.

The group had reached their favourite pub in the city. The ‘Ewe and Lamb’ had been there since Victorian times and hadn’t really changed much. It was typical of the pubs that were once widespread in Leeds. It was tucked out-of-the-way between the cities market and railway viaduct. It was very traditional with floorboards, lots of brass, dark wood counters and many mirrors. The three friends were having a good night. Drinking, talking and waiting for the band start.

“Yes, he drove into a wall on the inner ring road. They reckon he was doing about seventy, he flipped one morning and ended up in a big chase with the police. It was carnage people hurt, damage to cars. Then in the end he drove straight into the wall of the multi-storey car park. Took them hours to get him out of the wreckage,” said Harry.

“Terrible you can’t imagine can you. What would drive someone to do that?” said Des.

Pat got up and headed to the bar, “I’m getting the drinks in, let’s have a couple of shots it’s unnerved me a bit. It didn’t half look like him from the back,” he said.

Harry and Des sat at the table finishing their drinks. Eventually Pat appeared with a tray full of strong lager and shots.

“For fucks sake Pat, there’s enough booze there for half the pub,” said Harry.

“I know but this band are cracking you won’t be able to move once they start,” said Pat sinking his first shot.

The noise and heat in the pub was rising as it filled with customers.

“You know I was seeing to his wife,” said Pat.

“You what, when? You mean since he died,” said Des.

“No, I wish it was that. It was on that morning he flipped,” said Pat.

The two men sat staring at Pat, sipping at his lager and reaching for another shot. They discussed most things on their nights out, including now it seemed illicit relationships. A bombshell like this had never cropped up before.

“I knew her from the gym and started going around on Friday mornings after he had gone to work. She wasn’t happy and was talking about leaving him. I didn’t want anything complicated just my two hours on a Friday,” said Pat.

“Did you tell her that,” said Harry.

“Yes, she told me it was fine, that she was only using me for sex,” said Pat.

“What happened?” said Des.

“Well, there we were in Bobs bed. You know at it and everything, when in he walks. Seems he suspected she was having an affair and had parked a few streets away before coming back home. It was as bad as you would expect I suppose. He had a go at us both, I thought he was going to kill us. Then his demeanor changed and he ran out the house crying and screaming, the works. He seemed to take it quite bad,” said Pat.

“You don’t fucking say, that’s a terrible thing mate”, said Harry.

“I know I felt pretty bad, we thought it best to stop seeing each other. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say to him. I never expected the dickhead to go and kill himself,” said Pat.

As Pat spoke the five-piece rock band struck up the first loud chords. The crowd stood and conversation was over for an hour. Pat didn’t see much of the band, once again he thought that he had seen Bob Dixon moving through the crowd toward the toilets. He gestured to Harry that he was heading there himself and began pushing and jostling through the throng of drunken rockers.

The toilets were always cold after the heat in the bar. Pat shivered as he entered the room.  The toilet was old-fashioned like the rest of the building with a stone floor, white tiles, brass, glass and polished wood.

There was no one else in the toilet. Pat leaned against the wall aiming at the urinal. He was quite drunk and beginning to wish he hadn’t told his friends the full account of what had happened on the morning Bob had died. No one else had ever need know, the guy was dead it was over.

Pat froze as he turned to leave, one of the cubicle doors opened and a man walked out. The room was so cold now, this was not possible.

“Bob, is it you,” stuttered Pat.

“Of course, it is you miserable lowlife scumbag, get used to this. You’ll be seeing a lot of me during the rest of your miserable existence on this planet,” said the man standing in front of him.

Pat knew now that it was Bob although it was hard to tell. The entire front of his body was mutilated with cuts and broken bones. His face was damaged almost beyond recognition from presumably hitting the windscreen. His broken arms and legs flailed around wildly and he was spitting blood and puss whenever he spoke.

This was the single most shocking thing Pat had ever seen. It was though most definitely Bob. He had no idea quite what he was or how this had come to be. It  was though his friend who he had betrayed.

“Pat that was a terrible thing you two did to me, I trusted you and loved my wife. I wished at first that I hadn’t rushed off and killed myself. Maybe I could have taken some sort of terrible physical retribution against you. I’ve had some time to reflect and I see now that this is going to be far more satisfying,” said Bob.

“What is? Spluttered Bob barely able to get his words out.

“Following, stalking, tormenting every waking hour that you remain alive you miserable piece of shit,” said Bob. He followed Pat who was now rapidly returning to his friends in the bar. Of course, Bob had joined them too. It was just like old times with the four of them out together on a Friday night.


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