Proposed storyline: Sid, a platonically-lovable loser who spends most of his time feeling embarrassed about himself, learns what real embarrassment is when his negligence leads to his mother being seriously injured.

Please help me build it by adding sections or discussing how it could be added to or improved.

Requests: please don’t add too many characters. Try to expand on the ones who are already present within the story.


There's nothing as embarrassing as embarrassment itself. Being embarrassed can be quite humiliating, your body flooding itself with visual clues of discomfort at the very time when everyone is looking at you with disapproval. Red cheeks and burning ears, sweat gathering at your forehead and armpits, your hands shaking and your voice faltering. Your mouth dry and your palms wet and your bowels clenched tight. Sid knew the feeling well, but that didn't seem to make it easier.

The worst bit was that he couldn't go anywhere. He was stuck there unable to escape from gaping mouths and eyes. Instinct told him to run away and bury his head in the sand. Physics told him he would have to get his head out from between the stair railings first.

Frantically, he tried again to pull himself backwards but nothing had changed. His ears were still in the way, blocking his progress like hooks on a grappling iron. He had the feeling that the blood in his head had bloated it to an enormous size so that not just his ears but his entire skull was too wide for the gap he had previously managed to squeeze it through.

The initial awkwardness of the onlookers had passed and Sid could hear the first waves of laughter break over him. His shoulders sagged with the pain and effort of trying to escape from his wooden prison. Tears appeared in his eyes.

Not everyone was laughing. Some were just arriving on the scene, having heard the commotion, and therefore simply hadn’t seen Sid’s ridiculous predicament yet. Others were busy marshalling more spectators. And one person had been there from the start but stood frozen, her eyebrows tilted in confusion: Jenny.

In a sense it was she who had put Sid in this mess. He had retreated to the stairs to muster the courage to talk to her. He had been choosing his words, pressing his temples against the wooden posts in an effort to massage inspiration into his mind. As his frustration increased so, unconsciously, did the the force between skin and timber. And that’s when she called his name.

“Sid?” The surprise caused an involuntary jerk which pushed him past the critical point. He knew straight away he was stuck. “Um…hi,” he said, without looking up.

There had been no time to explain before Brian had called out for people to “come look at this clown!” Perhaps that was lucky, because the explanation would have been weak at best. The next half hour crawled by in a trance-like state for Sid and seemed more like half a day. He tried to blank out what was happening and responded as little as possible. Key sentences floated in and out of his mind.

“I’ll go and get some soap.”

“…I’m not cutting up my staircase just because this pansy doesn’t know how big his head is…”

“Quick, get a towel!”

Only when the pain subsided to a manageable level did he realise he was free.

“That’s nothing,” said his new friend as he stood up and signalled to the bartender. “I once woke up naked next to the water cooler with my whole office taking photos of me.”

“Really,” Sid asked.

“Nope,” he said as he downed his whisky. He patted Sid on the head, just above the tightly-wrapped bandage, and walked out into the night.

In the silence that followed, Sid tried to think through the conversations and choices that had led him from sitting here drinking with Jenny to sitting here drinking by himself. The pain, trauma and stress of the staircase incident, coupled with an uncertain number of pints of Guinness, made this a difficult task.


The party at Jenny's flat was the 14th time Sid had seen her. He'd considered asking her out the week before when she had been tipsy and had guided him onto the dance floor for some awkward shuffling. Knowing it was the 13th time, he decided not to risk it.

Later that night, she'd invited him to her flatmate's birthday party. He spent the next week see-sawing about whether she really wanted him to go, or if she'd just blurted it out in a moment of drunken excitement. On the day, he decided to flip a coin for it - heads he'd go, tails he'd stay home and curse himself all night for being a wimp. He looked down at his palm to see Queen Elizabeth looking up at him, her severe expression telling him to be a man. Sid had never had much respect for royalty. He flipped again and there she was, refusing to go away. "Best three out of five," he muttered and flipped again.

He regretted trusting the coin as soon as he entered the flat. The only person he knew was Jenny, and she was surrounded by a closed circle of boisterous characters. It was hard for someone of Sid's height to make himself invisible, but he did his best by moving constantly through the flat with an expression that he hoped said he was on his way to rejoin a conversation in another room. "Sid, stop," a voice called through the kitchen. "Boy, you sure are hard to catch up with," Jenny said. "You don't stop moving."

"Oh, there you are," Sid replied. He started to make his way through the crowded kitchen when a hand wrapped itself around Jenny's arm and dragged her out of the room. She shouted an apology and was gone. So he retired to the stairway to gather the courage to ask her to dinner, knowing he wouldn't stay long at the party.

Jenny volunteered to clean him up when he was delivered bleeding from the wooden womb of the stair railings. Sid hadn’t appreciated the parallels with childbirth at the time and he hoped she hadn’t either. He sat there mortified as she applied a warm, wet towel and a cold cream with unknown mystical properties, all the while shooing the bystanders with a firm but gentle tone. He heard Brian singing cheerfully as he strode from the hall, “Halfway up the stairs is the stair where I get stuck...”

She patched him up, wrapped a bandage round his head – unnecessarily, in his opinion – and invited him to come for a drink. “Anything to get out of here,” he said. And she snuck him out the back door and they crept along the hedge at the side of the house and ran along the street towards the Donkey pub and even laughed about the appropriateness of the name. And he insisted on buying her a drink for saving his life.

She said he was being melodramatic, it was just a scratch and would heal in no time, but they both knew that wasn’t what he was talking about. She changed the subject as he began to feel the beer going to his head. That should have made him slow his drinking but it didn’t. He wanted to feel happier and to feel confident. Instead he had felt bitter and upset.

"So how come you're not back there with your mates," he asked. "They seem like good fun. Brian's hilarious!" Sid screwed up his face as he did a nasal impression, "Let's take his head off!" Jenny looked at her wine glass. "Did you think you'd come along to see if I did something else stupid? Maybe I could set my bum on fire.”

“Well that would probably be better than you complaining and being sarcastic. Honestly, Sid, it’s not such a big deal. So you got your head stuck…” Jenny didn’t manage to stop a giggle and clamped her hand over her mouth.

“You’re laughing at me too,” Sid said. “I expected your stupid friends to make fun of me, but not you.”

“My friends aren’t stupid, Sid. And they didn’t mean to be cruel, it’s just… it was pretty funny. From their point of view.”

“And yours, I see. I guess that explains why you can stand to be around such a pack of mean-spirited, ignorant bastards.”

She had been good to him that afternoon and didn’t deserve to hear the ugly things he had to say about her friends. He couldn’t blame her for making an excuse and standing up to leave. If only he’d just let her go, instead of pleading with her to stay, worsening the situation with his pathetic apologies and sulking. She was angry by the time she left.

He didn't notice someone taking Jenny’s place beside him at the bar until the man said “you’re going to have to send her some flowers.” Sid took his face out of his hands and looked sideways at the intruder. He was about to say something unpleasant when a glass of Guinness was presented to him.

They only spent three rounds together, but Sid felt that the stranger knew him better than any of his friends. He wanted to see the man again but there was no way to arrange it without ruining the moment, and so it was that he was now alone with a long, dark drink and a sense of loss.

Back at the flatEdit

The keys to his flat didn’t seem to fit the lock that night. When he did get through the door, the light switch had been moved. Out of habit, he walked a boozy line to the answering machine where he noticed its flashing light. “Jenny,” he thought. “How did she get my number?”

His Mum had left a stupefyingly long message to which he paid very little attention as he tried to find something greasy and edible in the fridge. Her voice was cut off by a beep during a sentence about a light in her hallway. “No, I haven’t forgotten,” he said aloud. He felt like calling her back and berating her for passing him these graceless genes which would probably die out when survival of the fittest ensured that no woman would ever feel more than sympathy for him. Instead he ate half a block of cheese, went to bed and watched the ceiling spin until he fell asleep.

Sid woke up the next morning with a terrible headache, his mouth was dry, and even though it was already midday, he was still tired. "Oh, just my luck," he thought, "A hangover. I can't even fall into a miserable pile of drunkenness without regretting it later."

Thinking only made matters worse, he noticed, so he decided take an aspirin. Only there wasn't any aspirin. He wasn't about to face the bright light of day in this condition, so he decided to drink liquid, as everybody told him this was a good thing to do when one had a hangover. He decided for the rest of the old bottle of Scotch he'd kept in the fridge since last week.

He revelled in the burn as the whisky went down his throat. He sometimes liked to think of himself as a character in a film – dark, gritty and not giving a damn about anything or anybody. Maybe I should take up smoking, he thought. But he knew he would never really be a smoker, just as he knew he wasn’t tough or mysterious. He was who he was, someone people laughed at and made fun of. He took another drink.

He sat on his couch and watched meerkats on TV while he waited for the alcohol to numb his self-loathing. It was bad, he knew, to be drinking so early in the day. He was in danger of going off the rails and, much as he despised himself, he didn’t want that. He wanted people to respect him, not feel sorry for him. He returned the bottle to the fridge with little more than a mouthful left in it. “Thank God I didn’t call Mum last night,” he thought as he washed his face at the kitchen sink.

Memories of last night came back to him, in a flash...He had to make it up to Jenny somehow, preferably in a way that didn't make him look and sound like pathetic loser...again. He didn't think he needed a new bout of shame so soon after the last one. He paused, looking at his face on the mirror. What did the stranger say? Flowers?

That's it, he would send flowers to, no no. He would bring the flowers to her, to her doorstep. And he would also write a poem . Actually, on second thought, he decided to just read a poem by another guy. After they entered the house, of course. He wasn't going to read a poem on someone's doorsteps with every passer-by on the street looking at him.

And he would have to say he was sorry, of course. Before the poem, when she would not dwell on it very much. He didn't feel like explaining everything to her.

A sharp pain on his head reminded him of buying aspirins. Maybe he could pick some up on the way to the library, where he could find a poem that would undo the damage done yesterday and perhaps reveal Sid's inner sensitivity and depth that people so often missed. Inspired, he began the routine search for his keys.

When sober, he was prone to put them down in one of a number of places without noticing. When he came home drunk, they could end up anywhere. Once he had been forced to leave the flat unlocked for two days until eventually he found the keys on top of a tin of corn in the pantry. This time, the more places he looked, the more his head throbbed until he abandoned any plan of leaving the house.

Okay, maybe he did give up too easily, and maybe didn't abandon the search only because of the throbbing pain, maybe he really didn't want to go through the whole ordeal of buying flowers, finding a poem, going to Jenny's so soon after acting like a pathetic loser in front of her again, and maybe he found the prospect of going to her house with the flowers on hand and stand there reading a poem to her, while she'll probably be laughing at him, too daunting ...

Well, he decided to wait until things cooled down, yes, it was for the best. Maybe then he would send the flowers to her, with a card, where he would write the poem. This way, if she was ready to forgive him, she would, and if she wasn't, well, at least he wouldn't be there to see her laugh at him. He went to the kitchen to fix himself an egg sandwich and a glass of orange juice. Or would he fry the eggs and eat them on toast and maybe have a coffee? His indecisiveness demoralised him even further and he went back to bed in search of oblivion.

He awoke to the sound of someone rifling through his kitchen drawers. He scanned his bedroom for a weapon. The best he could find was a chair. He picked it up and crept across the room and listened at the door. Muffled voices and the clanging of pots and pans could be dimly heard from the kitchen. He tried to open the door without putting the chair down but his weaker left hand couldn’t hold it and it bumped the door before hitting his wooden floorboards with a thump.

He dragged the chair out of the way and flung open the door. He grabbed the chair and held it in front of him as a shield and stepped through the doorway. “Who’s there?” he yelled, hoping his voice sounded steadier than his nerves.

“Hey Sid,” said Cousins. “What’s with the chair?”

The light in the kitchen was too much for Sid’s bloodshot eyes, so it was a moment before he could reconcile his friend’s voice with the shape in front of him. “What are you doing here,” he managed, while trying to squint the other shape into focus. Slowly, his stomach climbed towards his throat as he recognised Jenny’s figure.

“I came to see if you were all right,” she said. Are you going to put down that chair?”

The sound of Jenny's voice made Sid jump back in surprise. He clumsily tried to put the chair on the ground, at same time explaining what in the Lord's good name he was doing. He failed at both. The explaination sounded too much like stammering nonsense, and the chair fell to the floor making a loud noise.

When all was said and done, he tried a "J-Jenny? I was just..." but stopped. He was going to say "I was just going to visit you," but then he remembered she didn't know that, and it was not like it was an appointment anyway. Flushing heavily, and feeling his ears warm, he tried a third time, "I-I...I am awfully sorry for yesterday, I don't know what came over me."

Jenny, who seemed to be trying not to smile at this, said in what was for her a stern tone, "Well, Sid, I do. Alcohol. But at any rate, that's okay, I'm not mad at you. You don't need to like my friends...just try not bug me about them every time we're together, okay? Besides, I can be their friend and yours at the same time."

Sid just nodded, but he felt much better, and he remembered why he liked her. She made him feel so...did she mean she was his...friend? Whatever he wanted with her, it certainly wasn't for her to be his friend. Not only that, of course. He was still thinking about that when Cousins, with his arms crossed, said, "Oh yes, let's all ignore the person standing beside the door."

Sid looked across at his friend. Cousins wore a wide grin, accompanied by twinkling eyes. "Sorry Cousins. I should have asked what the hell you're doing here."

Cousins was a short, mischievous-looking man with a balding head and an unfashionable dress-sense. At that moment, he was holding a mug of coffee and a spatula, which he waved around wildly as he spoke. "I came to say hi and you weren't home. Or at least I thought you weren't home since you didn't answer. Your door was unlocked, so I let myself in to check my emails."

"You appeared to be browsing adult websites when I came in," Jenny corrected.

"Yes, I had just unwittingly opened some spam when this lovely lady came knocking," he countered. "It must have launched some terrible video while I was getting the door. Absolutely awful. Anyway, she said she was a friend of yours so I encouraged her to come in and write you a note. Although from the state of the place I guess you weren't expecting visitors."

Sid ignored the jibe. Jenny seemed to have forgiven him, and he was feeling good about himself. It was an amazing feeling, and it lasted until he glanced down to see that he was wearing dirty, frayed pyjama pants and a faded T shirt featuring a picture of a dead cartoon cat with the words "8 to go" beneath it. He folded his arms to obscure the image and stepped backwards over the fallen chair in an effort to hide his unflattering trousers.

"I was just making some coffee if you want some," Cousins offered.

"With a spatula?" Sid asked.

"Oh, well I thought if Jane here smelled my patented Omelette Extraordinaire she might be tempted to stick around for a while in the hope that you'd be home soon."

"It's Jenny, and if she'd tried your cooking she'd have had to leave in an ambulance," he said. Sid knew Cousins' had his heart in the right place but he would have appreciated some warning of his visit. He didn't want Jenny to see the flat, or him for that matter, in this state. "Coffee would be great," he said. "I'm just going to change into...something else. Hang on a minute," he said to Jenny and dragged the chair back into his bedroom, closing the door behind him.

The Control FreakEdit

Helen worried almost as much about Tammy as she did about Sid. At least Sid meant well, even if he did get caught up in himself sometimes. He took life too seriously and needed to laugh more. Tammy, on the other hand, was ruthless, a trait Helen was sure she’d inherited from her father. A control freak, that’s what Sid had called her. Helen had scolded him for that but it was hard to deny she was controlling, even if “freak” was a horrible word.

They’d been totally different even as children. Tammy had been a demanding little thing, yet selfish with her own time. Sid had seemed happy to sit for hours helping his mother in the garden or in the kitchen, raking leaves, peeling potatoes or polishing silver. That was why she usually went to Sid when she needed help. She almost felt guilty bothering Tammy, who had made it clear that her responsibilities to her husband and daughter were as much as she could handle. But that light globe in the hall needed changing. It was becoming a hazard at night when she couldn’t see the step up into the kitchen or the bathroom. And sometimes she nearly tripped over her crutch.

She was on the phone for less than a minute. “I’ll call you back,” Tammy said and hung up the phone. But when, Helen thought, when?

Afternoon TeaEdit

Sid leaned against his bedroom door. He was glad to be hidden for the moment but now he had another problem. Jenny would expect him to come out looking presentable. He rifled madly through his drawers in search of a clean shirt and a decent pair of jeans. His favourite shirts were all lying on the floor in the corner. He picked one up and gave it a sniff before flinging it back on the pile. He bit down on his top lip, wondering how much time had already passed. Was she starting to think he was weird for taking so long?

He ripped off the cat shirt, put on a harmless white T shirt from the drawer and looked into the mirror, bending down so he could see the reflection of his torso. “Damn, you can see my nipples,” he thought. He tangled his arms and head as he desperately tried to take it off again. Sighing, he picked up what he hoped was a smart polo shirt from the floor and sprayed a generous amount of deodorant over it before pulling it over his head. His hair had become critically fuzzy and he tried to pat it down with his freshly licked palm. “Ugh,” he moaned as the effect only served to highlight the trouble he had gone to without success.

He grabbed his cap from the top of his wardrobe and smoothed the rogue strands inside it before pulling the hat down tightly onto his head. He yelled in pain as the cap pressed against the sensitive areas of his head where it had passed between stair railings the day before. He pulled the cap off again and glanced at the door, wondering if they had heard him in the kitchen. He turned his attention to his trouser situation, choosing the jeans he had been wearing the previous night. He managed to find two socks of similar colour and pulled them on, remembering that his trainers were probably beside the couch.

He was still absently patting at his hair when he pulled the door open and walked back into the kitchen. “Sorry about that,” he said, looking at Jenny. “Um…would you like to grab something to eat somewhere?”

“It’s 4:30,” she said, grinning. “Which meal were you thinking of?”

“Afternoon tea I guess,” said Cousins. “No need to go anywhere.though, the omelette’s just about done. Here’s your coffee.”

“Great,” said Sid, wishing that Cousins would leave.

Therapy or not?Edit

Sid had to admit to himself that he felt a whole lot better after the omelette and coffee.

"I have a suggestion for you, Sid," said Jenny. "Please don't take it the wrong way, but I think you're really stressed out and you could use a counsellor - you know, someone to talk things through with, someone who can help you with relaxation techniques." Cousins laughed.

Sid froze. So that's what she thought of him ... that's why she was here - she thought he needed a shrink. "Okay," he lied. He'd play along with her for now. "Do you know anyone?"

"As a matter of fact ..." She handed him a business card. "He's a friend of mine. He'll fit you in."

"You've spoken to him?" Sid was mortified. "What did you tell him?"

"I just told him I had a friend who needed help handling stress." Jenny stood up. "I have to go," she said. "I promised my supervisor I'd have my notes typed up by tomorrow. Another late night - what a weekend!"

"I'm sorry if I've made it worse," said Sid. She had given up her valuable time to look after him. And now she'd probably have to work into the night to write up her notes from the information they'd gathered last week. She must actually care about him, even if it was only platonically. Somehow, this knowledge gave him the courage to want to change. Yes, he would go to counselling. He'd become a new person. One she could be proud of. Hell, one he could be proud of! And then, you never knew what might happen with Jenny!

And yes, he fully intended to get her attention when he was done with the counselling. She certainly cared about him, if she gave herself the trouble of asking her shrink friend to help him. He wanted to tell her that he was the man for her! But he would only do that after the counselling was over, not because he was afraid of telling her ... not really ... but he just wanted to be the best he could be before he did that.

That made sense. He wasn't making excuses any more.

The Therapist Edit

The room was filled with cigar smoke, so Sid couldn't see Mark Jensen clearly until he approached his desk. He looked familiar. Where had he seen him, and when?

Jensen waved his arm, an invitation to sit down, and coughing, Sid did so. Great, he thought, I leave here a new man ... with a lung condition. But he reined in his negative thoughts and sat up straight in his chair. It was a comfortable seat, with a head rest. "Let's begin," he said.

"Isn't it up to me to say that?" Jensen said. He dabbed his cigar into the ashtray, watching it expire. He pushed back his chair and reached for Sid's file, then glanced at the clock. It wasn't quite eight am, so he stalled.

Sid didn't know what to make of it. He was feeling quite uncomfortable already.

Sid waited, his confidence crumbling with every second. Was this a power game they were playing? Or was Jensen already trying to assess him? Surely his problems couldn't be read from his face or posture? He was sitting perfectly still, so there wasn't a lot of body language. He tried to relax, but almost jumped when Jensen spoke.

"So you're Sidney Stubbings?" There was a hint of sarcasm in his voice. This wasn't going well. What had he heard about Sid? Had Jenny lied to Sid about what she'd told Jensen?

Sid's turned red again. He knew that he had to get over this somehow. He gathered his courage. He was here to be helped. "Sid," he said. "I'm called Sid Stubbings."

"So what's your problem?"

"I don't know. I thought you were supposed to tell me that ... you know, draw it out of me with insightful questions."

Jensen sighed and looked at his watch. He took a deep breath. "Why have you come to see me?"

"It was Jenny's idea. She thought you could help me relax."

"So you have a problem relaxing? Or is it Jenny's problem, that you can't relax?"

What did he mean by that? What had she said to Jensen? "I don't know," Sid said. "I've never tried .. you know ..."

"What?" Jensen's voice had risen.

"To ... you know ... relax."

Jensen let out a sharp breath. "Okay. We'll start you off with some deep breathing exercises. Sit up straight in your chair, head back. Hands loose on your lap. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in ... "

Sid woke to the clang of a desk bell. "It's time," said Jensen.

"But I must've been asleep the whole time," said Sid. "We haven't achieved anything."

"These introductory sessions are always less productive from a therapy point of view than regular sessions," said Jensen. "And it would pay you not to come for a consultation when you're getting over a hangover."

Great, thought Sid, as he interrupted the receptionist's reading to pay out a third of his week's salary. He hadn't even thought about the cost. Which, of course, only served to humiliate him more.

A Little Trip Edit

Helen stood in her hallway, looking at the boxes and piles of books she'd collected for Lifeline. That guy hadn't come around yet either. She placed a few candles in strategic positions. Then she thought, "I could probably just reach that fitting if I put some books on the kitchen stepladder." She knew she wasn't ready to climb anything - it was only a few weeks since her hip replacement - but she was so fed up with depending on other people.

It took her a little while, since she was still using a crutch, but she positioned the stepladder, and carried over two phone directories, an atlas and a couple of other large books. She placed them on the stepladder, making sure that the uppermost one didn't have a slippery surface ...

Suddenly there was light! She pulled her hand away from the globe - she'd forgotten to make sure the switch was off - and the impact nearly made her topple over. But it was okay. Hurrah! She moved her right foot down onto the top step. Okay. Then her left. Fine. Then her right foot onto the next step. But her foot slipped and as she came crashing down she told herself it was only a small drop.

But the pain brought tears to her eyes, and she allowed herself to sob. She'd fallen onto her new hip joint, and prayed it wasn't damaged. She tried to move herself into a more comfortable position, and rolled onto her back. But that was as much as she could do. Her muscles weren't strong enought yet to enable her to stand, and there was nothing nearby to hold on to.

Failure 202 Edit

“How did it go?” Cousins asked.

“Not great,” Sid said without enthusiasm. He did not want to talk about it, even with Cousins. He ordered a Guinness, avoiding eye-contact with his friend.

“I still can’t believe you went. It’s all a big con – my dad yelled at me as a kid, I’m in love with my mum, I didn’t crawl properly as a baby. Rubbish. It’s all about avoiding blame. I can tell you what’s wrong with you – you’re a clutz. And you get worked up about it. If you stopped and calmed down a bit you’d realise there’s nothing wrong with you at all.”

“I fell asleep,” Sid confessed.

“What? You fell asleep? For how long?”

“About half an hour. Pretty much the whole session.”

“And he didn’t wake you up? The guy just let you sleep through the whole thing?” Cousins was laughing now.

“I’ve failed therapy,” Sid said. “It’s official – I’m a loser among losers.”

Cousins stopped laughing for a moment. “And how does that make you feel?” he asked, putting on a deep voice. Then he burst out laughing again.

“A great help you are,” Sid said, and paid the bartender. He took a big gulp, not bothering to wait for his Guinness to settle properly. There was comfort in the beer, and Cousins’ laughter was contagious. “The funny thing is,” he said, “I did feel a bit better afterwards.”

“There’s nothing like a good snooze. And it's good to see you laughing. Did I ever tell you about the guy who woke up naked next to the water cooler in my office? And we all took pictures of him?"

Sid's glass stopped halfway to his mouth. "What?" he said. "Who was he?"

"Damned if I know. He didn't seem to know either, at the time. He did laugh about it later, though. Someone brought him a coat and a coffee. Never saw him again."

"Damn!" said Sid. He didn't know what to think, or believe, or hope.

The two men settled into their beers. Sid had suggested the bar near Jenny’s flat in the secret hope that he might run into the mysterious stranger again. Therapy had been a disaster and Sid had thought that the stranger could help him more than Jensen. Maybe he was wrong. He chatted with Cousins for a couple of hours, always keeping a distracted eye out for anyone entering the bar.

Suddenly, Sid's glass tumbled on the counter as he sprang from his stool. Cousins looked at him, and followed his gaze to the entrance of the bar. There was Jenny, wearing a simple green dress and a smile. "I figured you'd be, did you go? How was it?"

Sid's eyes darted around the room looking for a good answer. Finally, looking at a table behind Jenny, he said " know...fine!"

If she was disappointed she didn't show it - she just nodded, still smiling. "Well, I was just passing by. Enjoy your drunken haze," she told him, waved, and left the bar.

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