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A Single Ticket to Infinity
The cheerful landlord
It was a particularly heavy snowfall and despite being a very competent driver Dr. Webster was beginning to find it difficult to go on, even with the wipers on at full he was the snowflakes were still filling the windscreen almost as quickly as the spread of bacterium. He had just passed a sign for a Pub which did B&B and decided there and then rather weather the snow he’d sit it out, after all he wasn’t in a hurry for anything. He pulled into the car park of The Golden Egg noting that there were precious few other cars on the car park, not really a surprise out in the sticks with the weather the way it was. He checked himself in for the night and luckily found it was one of those places which wisely stocked toiletries for those who find themselves caught short. After a quick shower he set himself down in the restaurant for an evening meal and a quick pint of Porter before he reworked his plans for the next couple of days, there wasn’t too much to alter, a quick meeting with Liz and Sarah in the morning and an opticians appointment. His meal was promptly served to him by the buxom waitress and he tucked into it with enthusiastic aplomb, Steak and Kidney pudding with mustard mash, his favourite. Once the meal was completed and another two pints of Porter were consumed, Dr. Webster studied his location with a bit more detail. It was a pleasant enough pub, nice oak panelled walls, a grandfather clock in the corner and some interesting portraits on the wall. Through the rear window he could see that there was a railway station just around the corner from the pub, looked like an unmanned one which only had one train each way every hour, if any at all- it could be an abandoned one for all he knew. One or two of the die hard locals had come in for their nightly session and they sat at the end of the bar talking loudly about nonsense of the day, about ten minutes later the two left after both receiving phone calls from their estranged partners, leaving the pub pretty much empty save for the impossibly cheerful landlord, the waitress and few patrons hiding in a corner nursing two cups of coffee for an eternity.
“I take it the bad weather hasn’t really helped trade tonight,” said Dr. Webster breaking the silence.
“I’m afraid so old chap, damn shame when it turns this way,” replied the landlord. “Still it could be worse, I’ve at least had some trade today thanks to yourself.”
“My pleasure,” chirped Dr. Webster. “I didn’t fancy the drive home. The radio said there were three hour delays on the motorway.”
“Not really what you want is it?” Asked the landlord rhetorically, “now if you‘ll excuse me I‘ve just got to sort out some empties in the cellar. Give us a shout if anyone needs serving.” With that the landlord followed by his cheerful smile disappeared into the cellar.
The young waitress by now had closed down the restaurant and joined Dr. Webster at the bar looking somewhat disgruntled.
“What’s the matter miss?” he inquired politely.
“I can’t get a taxi home, none of the firms are prepared to come out with the weather being so bad,” she grumbled and added with a sigh, “I’m going to have to bloomin’ walk home.”
“How far away do you live?”
“About three miles… Maybe two if I cut across one of the fields.”
The doctor stroked his chin thoughtfully, he’d had too much to drink to take her home and besides the reason he was here was because of the snow which was showing no signs of letting up, so he couldn’t blame the taxi drivers really. Equally he did not like the thought of letting her walk three miles through the snow at this time of night, perhaps the landlord would be nice enough to take her home or perhaps the cook would be. One of the lurkers from the corner had come to the bar and interrupted his train of thought by bellowing service very loudly.
A moment later the landlord emerged from the cellar covered with froth and sediment from a barrel and doing his best to wipe himself down.
“Hello there, just tapping a few barrels. What can I get you?” the landlord asked.
“Two more large black coffees,” muttered the man.
The landlord disappeared to the coffee machine and bought back a tray with two large steaming cups on it, The money was exchanged and the lurker returned to his corner. The landlord served the waitress a glass of coke when he noted her glum expression.
“Hey up Sara, what’s the matter?” He asked sincerely.
“Can’t get a taxi home so I‘ll have to walk” she answered fed-up.
The landlord pondered for a moment and then with an even broader smile appearing on his face he made a very kind offer.
“Well I have plenty of rooms free tonight so you can stay overnight,” he said eyes beaming.
“But I don’t have enough cash on me to pay…” she began but was interrupted by the landlord.
“…who said about paying? It’s not your fault the taxi’s won’t come out. You’ll have to do potwash at breakfast though, I’m not a Charity.”
“Thank you Terry,” Sara beamed in reply. “Of course I don’t mind about washing up”
It was moments like this, reflected Dr. Webster, that restored his faith in humanity.
“Is it okay to take a nightcap up with me?” Inquired Dr. Webster, “the consumable kind I mean.”
“I bally well don’t see why not,” answered the landlord.
Dr. Webster order himself a large brandy and soda and bid goodnight to Sara and the landlord.
The room was compact but perfectly comfortable, there was a desk and an arm chair, the usual tea making facilities (unusually with a mini fridge to keep fresh milk and cream in), a large comfy double bed, a sky light window and a wall window which overlooked the snow covered countryside and a dainty railway station. He drew the curtains on the window and made a quick phone call to Liz to tell him he’d be late tomorrow, once completed he make himself a cup of tea and lay down on the bed looking up at the snow covered skylight, this annoyed him slightly so he opened the skylight to it’s highest elevation and watched the snow crumble away. A bit of mistake as in opening it a small avalanche of snow fell through the gap and landed on his face. Dr Webster cleared his face and closed the window, the snow was still falling and by morning it would be covered again but it allowed more natural light in the room for the moment. He lay back on his bed and realised he had a view of the room adjacent. The landlord had said it was nearly empty so didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later the light popped on and Dr Webster shuffled to his feet. It was Sara was using and she had unwisely chosen not to draw her curtains and she was at the window undressing to her underwear in her own little world listening to something on her iPad back to the window blissfully unaware of the mild strip show she was performing. Dr. Webster, ever the gentleman, attempting to pull the blind down with his eyes shut and making a total bog of it. Hoping that she wouldn’t of realised that she had an audience he quickly snapped his eyes open and figured the correct chords. He was slightly too late though as she Sara had unfastened bra and slipped it off was turned to face the window, her large bosom on display. She made eye contact with Dr. Webster who blushed and held up an apologetic hand as he started to wind down the blind. Sara just smiled sweetly and quickly covered her breasts with her arm. Not a good way to cement relations, Dr. Webster lamented to himself. Still too late now, he undressed to his boxer shorts and slid climbed into his bed, downing his nightcap in one he pulled out a battered paperback from the bedside table and proceeded to read. About twenty minutes later, the book laid discarded on the bed and he was asleep.
About forty five minutes later he woke up, slightly disorientated and made himself a cup of tea. He took a peek through the curtain, the snow had finally stopped falling and the fields now looked like a classic Christmas postcard image, clear sky and the trees silvery white in the moon glow. In spite of himself, he quickly glanced towards Sara’s room, the girl had sensibly drawn the curtains now. The kettle boiled and he went about brewing his tea, when he heard a knock on the door. Quickly he slipped on the T-Shirt he wore under his shirt and approached the door and opened it a jar. It was Sara. Oh dear, she was about to lamblast him as a peeping Tom or some such and here he was, answering the door in his boxers and a T-Shirt, you really put yourself in it. Well try to make amends, best thing to do.
“Hi there,” he began sheepishly, “look I’m very sorry about… I didn’t realise I’d… well…” he cut off feeling a bit lost for words.
Sara merely smiled and pushed the door slightly.
“Oh that’s okay, it was my fault for not closing the curtains,” she answered in the bubbly cheerful voice she had spoken in whole serving.
“Well, why are you here?” asked Dr. Webster.
“It’s simple,” she replied, “I’m bored and can’t sleep. Wondered if you’d fancy a chat.”
“Oh,” said Dr. Webster somewhat relieved, “just give a second to put my trousers on.”
“Don’t be so modest, you’ve seen a lot more of me.” She laughed and entered his room, carefully shutting the door behind her. A little embarrassed, Dr. Webster clumsily sat on the arm while Sara planted herself on the bed. Dr. Webster quickly examined her attire; she was wearing loose fitting T-shirt and what were evidently her work trousers, her blonde hair slightly crumpled.
“So,” he began elongating the word as he struggled for a topic of conversation , “how long have you worked here?”
“About a year and a half,” she answered in reply, “will be off to University in the autumn if I get the grades.”
“You strike me as the arty type,” answered Dr. Webster feeling a little less awkward.
“I’m sorry but I forgot your name,” said Sara sheepishly.
“Benjamin, Benjamin Webster,” he informed and pre-empted the next question, “I’m a doctor.”
“Awesome,” smiled Sara leaning forward slightly, “how long have you been qualified?”
“Three years in June,” he answered and gave a brief history of his work life to date, omitting only the work with the Ministry as he felt that’d sound like he was bragging and making things up. Sara then told him a little about herself; she had been bought up in the small town of Bessington, which was about ten miles away and later moved to Penton, the small hamlet where she now lived. She lived with her mother, had one brother who was at University Wales , she was studying A-levels in Art, Theatre and Music at college and enjoyed working in the pub.
“I like the whole social aspect of the job,” she explained trying to sound less like a profile on Match.com, “give people a warm welcome and generally people are nice.” By now, Sara was relaxed leaned forwards on the bed and Dr. Webster laid back more in the armchair.
“I suppose so, I wish I could say the same for the medical profession,” Said Dr. Webster. He paused for a moment, Sara looked as if she was examining him and he twitched his legs nervously. Sara smiled at his twitch. “Sorry, I was staring a bit then wasn‘t I?”
“A little yes,” answered Dr. Webster nervously.
Sara sat up and moved so she was sitting virtually opposite him.
“You’ve got nice legs,” she smiled sweetly.
“Thank you,” he replied and started to try for a compliment in return quickly going over her form, “you’ve got nice… eyes.” He blushed slightly.
“It’s okay. You can comment on my chest, everyone else does” she teased and placed a hand on Dr. Webster’s leg.
“Yes, I see…” flustered Dr. Webster, “well… you certainly do… erm… that is to say.”
Dr. Webster looked at her cheeky smile and her big almond eyes, she had somehow slid his hand under hers. She’s definitely being quite a tease now, he thought. He looked into her eyes, they were quite bright and full of cheekiness. It must be the mix of drinks I had, he told himself, she’s just winding me up. He put this to the test and lent in towards her as if he was going to hug her and to his surprise, found her placing her warm lips on his. The kiss lasted for a few moments, then Sara lent back and lifted off her T-Shirt revealing her naked breasts. Dr. Webster took her hand and slowly lowered the girl onto the bed.
It was three hours later when Dr. Webster woke up with a dry throat, he got out of bed and went to the bathroom to pour himself a glass of water. When he returned Sara had stirred slightly, pulling the duvet up where he’d accidentally exposed her buttocks. Well, it certainly gave a new meaning to the phrase of giving something for the waitress he thought to himself guiltily. As he leaned to get back into bed, a noise from outside caught his attention, he crossed to the window unknowingly knocking Sara and waking her up. He peered through the gap in curtain, there appeared to be a train pulling into the station. He checked the clock, 02:34; surely a station like this wouldn’t have trains at this hour. He watched for a moment as the train waited at the platform, his concentration was diverted for a moment as Sara noisily yawned and stretched.
“What’s going on..” she asked groggily.
“Odd time for a train,” he muttered not really paying attention to the question. He turned back his attention back to the window, the train was pulling away leaving two people on the platform. Dr. Webster scanned for any sign of a car but to no avail and he returned to watching the figures, they appeared to having a very animated conversation. Sara crept out of bed and walked towards the doctor, he gave a silent gesture to stay where she was.
“What’s going on?” she whispered half awake. Dr Webster shushed her and continued watching out the window, Sara was determined and peaked round the curtain and watched the display. Odd to see people at the station at this hour, the last train was at midnight, perhaps they didn’t know that.
“Just been dropped off by a train,” whispered Dr. Webster.
“There aren’t any trains until morning,” answered Sara, deciding to return to the warmth of the duvet.
Puzzled, Dr. Webster returned to watching the figures, they were gesticulating wildly now. One looked like he was fed up and turned to walk down the platform, the other seemed to reach in his pocket and out stretched his arm. Odd behaviour thought, then there was a quick flash of flame from the end of the man’s arm, followed by two more flashes causing the other to jerk violently before falling to a twisted heap on the floor. Alarmed, the doctor sprang into life quickly dressing himself, startling Sara in the process.
“What’s happened?” She asked.
“Stay here, I think I’ve just seen a shooting,” he informed her.
“What?” she half exclaimed and asked.
“Just now at the station,” he answered by way of explanation.
Sara crossed to the window and peered out, she could see the man lying on the platform, the other figure had disappeared.