A nose like Rudolph

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He would down a can of full strength cider in the phone booth outside, then stagger into the pub a few minutes after I opened up and order a beer with all the courtesy in the world.

‘A pint of your finest lager dear boy’

He slurred his speech and sometimes had to wipe the spittle away from the corner of his mouth with his shirt sleeve.

Once on my morning off, I walked up the street to buy a newspaper and saw him  in the booth finishing his can.

He turned and saw me.

His expression was pitiful

A nose like Rudolph.

It was the first time that he had seen me seeing him

‘Good heavens boy, won’t you have some more decorum?!’

But I didn’t just see him. I saw him, the can and the smiling cider coloured devil

We never talked about it and I went on serving him with a smile and making small talk.

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