“How’ve you been then?” Asked Neil, before lifting his pint and beginning to drink.
“Yeah, fine.” Dom lied reflexively. “You?” Neil, still gulping down his ale, raised his fist and gave Dom a thumbs down. Neil looked much more familiar with half his face covered by a pint glass. Dom took a swig of his beer too.
“Shit.” Gasped Neil, finally stopping for breath. “3 months unemployed.” He started to drink again. Dom winced. That was shit. And also probably explained why Neil was available for a pint at lunchtime on a Wednesday. Dom felt a pang of guilt for sacking off his own job for the day after… Why was it? Sleeping in and getting wet? He took another swig.
Neil could handle his alcohol. He had always been the first one to suggest a trip to the pub or a few clubs and once those trips had inevitably happened, he had always been the last one standing. He was a big bloke. Not particularly overweight, just very broad and quite stocky. Yes he’d put on a bit of weight since uni, but hadn’t they all. Neil’s face was rounded and usually quite red and he had a mop of blonde hair that hung lazily down over his eyes. Or he used to. It seemed that the mop had fallen foul of an electric razor since Dom had last seen him.
It was a shame. The blonde mop, combined with Neil’s large frame, had used to remind Dom of a cartoon show he used to watch when he was little about a couple of dogs. One was big and quite slow, with hair that came down over his eyes and the other other was small, skinny and excitable. Dom used to suppose that the other dog was him, although he was no longer quite as skinny or as excitable as he had been back then. They had been a bit of a double act back in uni actually. The thought made Dom quite sad, so he took another swig of beer.
With Neil still unable to talk due to the almost empty pint glass he still held to his lips, Dom considered mentioning the loss of the mop, but as he absent mindedly glanced towards the bar, he saw something that made his heart stop. There, sat on a bar stool, was Graham. He was sat with a couple of team leaders that Dom recognised from the office and although they seemed to be in the middle of a light hearted conversation, he could tell that Graham wasn’t paying all that much attention to his colleagues.
Dom could tell this because Graham was staring directly at him.