A London Chippy

Ben H. Swett
London, England
6 January 1964

I was standing at a street corner waiting for the light to change, when a young woman stepped up beside me and said, "Afternoon, g'vner. Do you like Scot's whiskey?"

"On occasion," I said, "Why?"

"I've a fresh bottle t' the flat."

I looked at her. She was a saucy imp. "What goes with the scotch?" I asked.

"Anything you like, g'vner."

I thought about it, then shook my head. "Sounds interesting, but I'm married."

"Everybody's married, ducks."

"But I'm really married."

"I'll not tell if you'll not."

"Well, that's just it. I've got more invested at home than I care to gamble, and I don't want to have to worry about talking in my sleep."

Then she really looked at me, and her expression changed. She seemed serious, not saucy. Finally she asked, "Would you have a drink with me?"

"Where?"

"Just here. There's someone I'd like you to meet."

"Alright," I said.

She led me a few doors down the street to one of the local pubs. One of her girl friends was sitting at the bar. As we approached, she said to her friend, "Maisie, I'd like you to meet a truly married gent." And she bought me a pint of beer.

I felt truly complimented. She helped transform my cowardice into conviction, and it was good to know I did not, in fact, have to worry about talking in my sleep.