"Well, the party was nice, the party was pumpin'! Yippie yi yo!"
Our eyes meet across the steam that is rising from my freshly made mug of Builder’s Strength tea. We are oblivious to the noise surrounding us and her large hazel eyes have not been interrupted by the flash of her eye lids since the moment I took my usual seat by the fire exit. She slowly licks her lips in anticipation, waiting for me to nervously break our visual embrace and show that the fairer sex is dominant. Her hair is long and black, and her nails are perfectly filed to manicured precision. I can’t take it anymore, I look towards Sandra and think of something clever to say to show I’m not intimidated by this new young lady who is within just a few metres of me.
“Seriously Sandra,” I shout over, “this new Rottweiler you’ve bought hasn’t stopped staring at me…”
“She’s the new guard dog Mike,” Sandra laughs, her voice echoing from the store cupboard that she is getting yet another box of hash browns from. “Lovely thing she is but wouldn’t get on the wrong side of her. They make great guard dogs apparently, good thing Dave still hasn’t been back for a while, he hates dogs doesn’t he?!”
“That he does Sandra, my love,” I reply, still maintaining eye contact with the drooling 11lbs of pure muscle that seemed to be eying my throat as a chew toy. “’Arry’s not too keen neither I’ve heard, he had a bad experience a while back on his way to training. I told him that the yellow away kit from last year was a bad idea running through that estate, but he didn’t listen to me, next thing you know there’s a Jack Russell chasing after him. The locals thought it was a little girl screaming at first.”
“Ha-ha, I remember him saying that now!” chuckled Sandra, as she made stepped over the chewed beige rubber bone that was outside her new canine’s basket. How she manages to never spill even one bean off my plate when it’s that busy still baffles me.
“He was quick that day,” I reply, as I look on the screen to my iPad that I fired up during the staring competition with the demonic Hound of the Baskervilles, “bit like these tickets for Fulham and Aston Villa. They are going quickly, but you can see why can’t you? This has been a tremendous season, and everyone wants to watch the boys play.”
“No, you’re right Mike,” said Sandra while she stooped down to give her new pet the leftover, half-eaten bacon rashers on the table closest to us, “Jake Cooper said it on NewsatDen didn’t he? The players love playing at home because of the connection with the home fans, he can feel the admiration apparently.”
“He’s not wrong there Sandra” said a voice from behind us. We turn to see ‘Arry walk into the café with his nose buried in his Smash Hits magazine. “It’s a brilliant time to watch the lads at the moment and OH FLIPPIN’ HELL WHAT IS THAT?!”
“Keep the noise down ‘Arry,” I say through gritted teeth, “that’s the new guard dog. Apparently, Steve Cavalar noticed that there’s a way in through the back door that no-one knew was there.”
“Oh r-r-r-right,” said ‘Arry, “reminds me of us after winning away at Bolton the other night. No-one has paid any attention to us and now we’ve snuck in the back door of the play-offs. Sandra, any chance you can make me a drink to calm my nerves a bit? Not anything extravagant though, I don’t think I can stomach it.”
“Alright ‘Arry,” Sandra confirmed as she slides back behind the till, “what is it you want this time? Just an instant decaff?”
“No thanks Sandra,” ‘Arry replied, “just an iced half-caff venti ristretto, cinnamon dolce, soy skinny latte, four pumps please?”
“The day you change from anything stupid ‘Arry is the day Neil Harris changes his line-up!” Sandra said with her eyes rolling to the back of her head.
“Didn’t you see Sandra? He did change the starting eleven the other day!” I say as I guide a petrified ‘Arry to his wicker seat as he refuses to take his eyes off the Metzgerhund puppy, “Tom Elliott started in place of Steve Morison, had a blinder too apparently and got a great goal. Elliott looked good in training Neil says here, full of praise for the striker and said he looked ready.”
“I’m not ready for that dog over there Sandra,” said ‘Arry, who was trying to read what was in the singles charts in his music magazine but struggled to regain his concentration, “brings me loads of bad memories back of that time when I was chased through those flats. That bloody mutt that chased me that night wouldn’t stop.”
“Someone else who just couldn’t stop running was Mahlon Romeo!” I say after a slurp of my builder’s strength beverage, “what a run that was for our second goal and he said after the game that Millwall feel unstoppable now.”
“I’m debating whether to have a breakfast or not Mike,” said ‘Arry nervously, “that dog over there looks like it’ll eat my fry-up and then me.”
“Stop being such a wimp,” I reply, “while you make your mind up, what’s been happening with the Lionesses?”
Another delivery from Stephen Cavalar of B.Taylor Deliveries! He comes every Thursday now, supplying the cafe with the vital parts for my coffee. Always pull his sleeve up so you can see his watch though….
Sandra slowly stirs my coffee a few more times while she gazes through the window at her navy polo shirt wearing hunk, just to make sure it was all mixed together before finally adding a final layer of whipped cream to top it all off. A bit like some of the Lionesses goals this season, greatness in the middle before a cool finish!!
Michael was back on his builder’s strength tea and on about Stephen Cavalar yet again, “It’s not that I’m jealous,” Mike deduced, “I just don’t think he’s a good-looking lad. Look, I could wear a suit and look a whole lot better.”
“Mate I only ever see you wearing your old reeboks,” I reply, “that with your dirty Umbro tracksuit bottoms and a hi-vis that you stole from S.Rashpole.”
“I’ve got class about me,” Mike said proudly, “just ask Ellie Mason! She saw my penalties!”
“Let’s not talk about that,” I reply while chewing on the cherry that Sandra has placed on top, “I don’t want to embarrass you!”
“The Lionesses next Wednesday, aren’t they?” Mike asked, “I’m really looking forward to it, much more than the new Rottweiler we have, it’s a pain in the backside. I’ll be going on Wednesday to watch some good football but also get away from the biting machine.
“You got to stop mentioning your missus in everything!” I laughed
“I didn’t?” Mike replied confused.
“Right....” I said awkwardly, “I’m feeling positive about next Wednesday. The team seem in good spirit when we went down there and if we can start fast we should be ok.”
“Right now, as much as a good performance is good to watch, it’s about getting 3 points and moving onto the next one,” Mike concluded, “if we can just keep on rolling and getting wins then it will set up a cracking end to the season!”
I noticed that my bacon was slightly undercooked, so Mike suggested to give it to the dog to take it’s attention away from us.
“What is that dog’s name Mike?” I asked nervously.
“Jean-Luc Kelly” Mike replied.
“What is she French or Irish with a name like that?” I questioned.
“Not sure mate” Mike said, “I got it off my good mate Leigh Nicol.”
“Tell you what,” I say, “you might be able to get Sandra’s eyes off of Steve Cavalar with that dog, she said she’s always had an eye for a man with a dog.”
“Only eye will be the one in that dog’s mouth!” I say, “it does half bite a lot, a bit like the Lionesses with their bite going forward!”
All of a sudden Jean-Luc bolts up and runs towards the main door barking and growling.
“Who is that at the door?!” I ask.
“It can’t be….” Mike says startled.