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by Arthur Mackeown

“You’re lookin’ a bit tired, sir. ’Ard day at the office?”

“You could say that, landlord.”

“So what can I do you for?”

“Whiskey, no ice.”

“Your wish is my command.”

“And make it a double.”

“You sure about that? You don’t seem the type.”

“I am tonight.”

“Is anything wrong, sir?”

“I’ve just seen a ghost.”

“You don’t say?”

“The customer is always right, my friend.”

“So I’ve ’eard, sir. Can’t say I believe in ghosts, meself.”

“Neither did I, until now.”

“All right, sir, I’ll bite. Whose ghost was it, then?”

“Remember the bag lady who got run over?”

“Old Rose? The one what ’ad a pitch across the road from my pub?”

“I still see her every morning on my way to work.”

“Don’t be daft. It’s someone who looks like ’er.”

“I saw her again just now. She spoke to me.”

“Rose never spoke to no-one, mate.”

“She never spoke to me, either. Not when she was alive. I gave her a little money, once, and she didn’t say a word. Like I wasn’t even there.”

“You’re better than the telly, you are. Go on, then. What did she say?”

“She said, ‘You was kind to me, you was, so they sent me to tell you’.”

“Tell you what?”

“That I mustn’t be afraid, that I was... ‘expected’. Then she smiled at me and vanished.”

“You’re ’avin’ me on, aren’t you, sir?”

“I wish I was. I saw my doctor this morning. He said I’ve got six months. If I’m lucky.”

“Well, I’m blowed. You should be ’ome in bed, you should, not swiggin’ down the ’ard stuff.”

“Can’t argue with that. Time to be off.”

“P’raps you ought to sit down for a minute. Before you go.”

“Not tonight, thanks.”

“You’ll be all right, then?”

“Oh, I think so. Rose will look after me.”

Copyright © 2010 by Arthur Mackeown

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