Henderson’s final bow

“What do you think happened to him?”
“Henderson? Fuck knows! Just flipped, I guess, he has been here for like, forever.”
Jacob loosened his necktie and took another sip of his whiskey and coke.
“Yeah, but still, something must have happened.”
“Debbie reckons it started a few years back, when his old lady left him, said he just kinda changed”
Charlie knocked the ash from his cigarette, took another drag and exhaled slowly.
“Listen to this, she says the week it happened they found a shit, a proper human shit in the store cupboard.”
“Fuck off!”
“No really, head office had to call someone to come and take it away.”
Jacob cracked-up mid-drink, bubbles fizzing out of his nose, spraying whisky all over his trousers, and Charlie fell over himself laughing. A massive cheer went up inside as the first few syllables of Agadoo assaulted the night.
“So this is where you two love birds are hiding.”
Angela was leaning against the panel of the doorframe, her skirt hitched up an inch or two too high, eyeliner smudged clumsily under her right eye.
“Come on then,’ she drawled, “which one of you is going to show me a good time, I want to dance.”
Jacob shot a reluctant look at Charlie, who slapped him on the back and turned towards Angela.
“Well Ange, I do declare that it looks to be your lucky night, but I must warn you, you haven’t seen moves like mine before.”
“Is that because they’re shit?” Angela quipped, and they locked arms and headed inside towards the dance floor.
Jacob sat on the wall and watched the party for a while; the dancing and drinking and scoffing of snacks. On the drinks table sat a dozen half empty bottles of spirits surrounded by “Best Wishes” cards and “We’ll Miss You” cards and “You Lucky Bastard” cards.
Inside they’d started a conga.
Henderson was nowhere to be seen.

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Tim Waltho

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