"You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I met you."
I wait for the large, rust coloured bin lorry to drive past me before I embark on my journey across the road and into the café. The front left tyre is nearly as tall as me, and it is stained with a dirty cream colour after months of travelling on the same dust covered roads that surround The Den. As the tyre falls into one of the many pot holes outside on the road, the driver's cabin is betrayed by the old suspension unit and falls slightly under the lorry's momentum. The driver's lit cigarette flicks in his mouth, trying it's best to imitate the 26-ton vehicle it is sitting in, but the driver manages to control both his lorry and his Marlboro Light and drives off in the distance. I cross the road, straighten up one of the china plant pots that is covering the ashtrays on the wooden benches outside the door, and make my way in.
The door slamming shut behind me announces my arrival. I make my way to the till and over the loud noise of the soiled tracksuit wearing workmen, I speak with Sandra. "Usual please Sandra my love," I say, "and breakfast number four if you'll be so kind?"
"No problem Mike," Sandra says as she picks up my ceramic white mug. After rinsing the inside of my mug with steam from the hot water tap and then wiping with her brown stained, tartan tea towel she continues talking to me. "Want me to make 'Arry his one too? He's going for something a bit more normal this week he said to me."
"What's that then?" I ask intrigued. "It's not the venti pumpkin spice latte with eight shots of espresso, seven pumps of pumpkin sauce, and one pump of maple pecan sauce he ordered the other day is it?"
"No don't be stupid," Sandra replied, "it's nothing that ridiculous. He asked me for a venti coffee frappucino with two scoops of ice, five pumps of frap roast, and double blended instead."
"I bet those aren't cheap neither!" I laugh, imagining my black cap wearing mate drinking another strange creation. "So it's a good thing the season ticket prices haven't gone up too much ay Sandra? They are really good value, and an absolute bargain I think."
"They are certainly that Mike," Sandra says as she takes the green topped lid off of her plastic milk bottle. "Grab yourself a seat and I'll be over quicker than the time it took Tim Cahill to get booked after coming on as a sub against Hull."
I take my seat and get my iPad out of my rucksack to check the Millwall news. Pressing the small circular button at the bottom, the page illuminates to eagerly tell me what has happened at the club that's not too far from where I am sitting.
"Oh flipping hell!" I exclaim, looking in the top right corner at the red battery logo, telling me that my Apple device doesn't have much life left, "this bloody thing is going to be knackered in no time."
"Bit like the boys on Saturday Mike!" came a voice from behind me, I turned round and see 'Arry holding a major coffee shop branded travel mug in his right hand. "They seemed a bit off the pace against Sunderland, maybe the unbeaten run has taken it out of them and they needed a re-charge?"
"Probably 'Arry," I reply, taking my rucksack off the chair that 'Arry quickly sits on, "may not have been one of our best, but Chopper said it was a wake up call and he expects more from our side from now on."
"Well that certainly was the case at the Hull game weren't it mate?" 'Arry said, sharply moving his elbows out of the way so Sandra could put down another extravagant coffee, "I can't believe we went up there and won! Last time we went up there my old man was listening to Duran Duran and the Human League! Speaking of people turning up from nowhere, where's Dave? Has he not stuck his head in since the other week?"
"No he hasn't," said Sandra solemnly, struggling to keep the weight of her heavy chin firmly being planted to her small chest, "the doors always open to him and he knows we are here for him, but he hasn't come been back in since all that with that fella outside by Mike's car."
"Well that's really kind of you," I say to Sandra as she walks back to get our fry-ups, "bit like what it says here on NewsatDen. Ben Thompson, Shane Ferguson and Harry Toffolo aren't in the first team picture at the moment, all top fellas who would be welcome back with open arms."
"Well not like Dave then?" says 'Arry, whilst struggling to pick another glazed cherry seed from his back teeth, "I wouldn't welcome him back with open arms!"
"Leave it out 'Arry!" I reply to my friend through my gritted teeth, "you know Sandra's still worked up about Dave going missing!"
"That I am lads," said Sandra said with a sniffle, before putting down our large oval plates and cleaning the bean juice that has spilled off 'Arry's plate with her stained apron. "I was even debating putting something in the Southwark Press or on the back of a milk bottle or something?"
"Well I'd give the media a wide berth at the moment Sandra my love," I say with half my mouth full of crusty white toast, "Chopper is up for manager of the month after his recent run. That's where all the attention is at the moment, not on Dave and whoever bundled him into the back of a motor."
"Well he deserves us putting in the effort to find him!" Sandra shrieks over the Spice Girls' Wannabe that was blaring out of the café speakers, "just like James Meredith who has managed to make the Australia squad, we need to keep putting in the effort and then we will see results! He might come back!"
"Alright Sandra, calm down will you?!" I ask, "similar to Neil Harris who promised after the Hull game we won't switch off, I promise I'll help you keep looking for Dave."
"Thank you Mike," Sandra replied, "I just want to make sure he's alright."
"I know Sandra," I say, taking her bony fingers in my hands, "lets just have a breather and listen to 'Arry tell us what's been happening with the Lionesses."
Now I’m not saying it’s that time of year again, but the squirrels are out and not to Charlie Devlin’s delight! Not one, but two squirrels squared up to Charlie before one pounced upon her leg and went to injure the forward. She may be untouchable on the pitch, but the squirrels have worked out her game plan: CLIMB THE LEGS!
Drinking my caramel Frappuccino slowly, I looked through the news to see what’s going down in South London. The Lionesses made it a year unbeaten against London Bees and celebrated it at The Den on Saturday, "maybe a game there soon Mike?" I curiously asked with a big grin.
"You just want to sit in the press box don’t you?!" Mike laughs while slurping his builder's strength.
"Well since you asked so nicely..." I said with smooth big of sarcasm
"I didn’t say anything mate!" Mike chuckled. "Anyway after not seeing Dave for a while now I’m starting to get a bit worried."
"Worried?!" I bellowed, "You’re Millwall you cant be worried! There’s been no fear in this Lionesses side all season, and there won’t be any fear any time soon."
"A season unbeaten would be something else," Mike said while scoffing another piece of bacon in his mouth, "saying that Sandra went a year unbeaten on Lips on the Xbox 360 and she celebrated like mad. The Lionesses are very professional though, Maybe we should invite them down to the café for a celebration?"
"Don’t think that’s the best idea you’ve ever had!" I said, "Rianna Dean won goal of the month, its them GSF boots we gave her after the interview."
"Scored some good goals in February," Mike agreed, "and I reckon she’ll get more this month."
"I think she will, but with 3 hard away games coming up we still must get nine points." I continue, "I hope that Donny drop somewhere along the line, which I think they will. Either way though it’s been a season with a lot of promise and positive progress."
"I can’t be to blame for the chewing gum in the buckets on Saturday when they were collecting the money," Mike said, "maybe it was Dave, maybe it was a sign? He’s always been a juicy fruit!"
"Go back to the drawing board that was a shocker," I laughed, "I donated, it will go to a good cause and help the team so much. Dave is not a juicy fruit either he’s more a gherkin in a burger: wet, soggy and always asking to be removed."
"I don’t mind a gherkin actually," Mike says. "How many points will the Lionesses get from the three games in eight days?"
"Seven would be good, but nine is achievable."