Entering the pub, they walk towards the bar to see the weary pub owner sitting on a rocking chair. His lifestyle causes him to look shriveled up and dry, like an old raisin. As they both walk forward, the pub owner scrambles to his feet and starts to wipe a glass from the shelf.
He makes himself look busy as the two guests sit on stools. Herbert takes his wallet from his pocket, and his leave papers fall out. He bends down to pick it up when another man enters the pub. A scraggly man with an unkept mustache goes forward and takes a seat, his shirt almost torn to shreds.
He flags the owner to give him the towns best… Watered down spirits.
”This is shit! ” The man sputters, unable to accept this countrys poor beverage quality.
Eleanor smiles politely as she waits for her drink, and the guy, with his back on her, doesn even acknowledge that she is there. She takes the menu and looks at the prices of most of the dishes. Her mind wanders somewhere else.
”I heard the citys economy sucks. ”
”What? ” the man replies.
”I heard the city has gotten hit hard. There aren many people here anymore. ”
”Yeah… They say the government is bankrupt now. ” He chuckles.
”Yeah, yeah, ” she responds.
Herbert nudges her on her shoulder. ”What the hell are you doing? Why are you talking to him? ” he whispers in her ear.
”Relax, I know what Im doing. ” She whispers back.
”No, no, you don know what you
e doing, ” Herbert replies, raising his voice. ”He might not have anything nice to say to you. You
e crazy! ”
”Oh, please, ” Eleanor laughs. ”Don tell me you care? ”
Herbert sighs, frustrated. ”Look… you shouldn waste your effort. What did you think this trip would be like? ”
”I don know what you mean. ” Eleanor frowns slightly and sips on her whiskey.
”Its nothing. I thought you would talk about something more than your studies. Look, youve even brought your Laboratory Manual with you. ”
He gestures to the black book lying next to her on the counter.
”I wanted to get some inspiration, ” Eleanor smirks.
”For what?! To work on your thesis?! ”
”Hey! ” the girl raises her voice to defend herself.
”Well, Im… I need to focus on my studies, ” she finally says.
”This trips going to take a month, Eleanor; I want you to relax for once. Youve been working on that every day for the year; weve both got the job! ” Herbert sighs.
She stares daggers at him, ”You need to grow up! Ive spent this whole damn summer getting ready for this project. You don even realize how important this is! ”
”What if you don make it? ” he retorts.
” she yells,
e supposed to be my friend… ” she says in a depressed tone.
Herbert sighs. ”Ok, ok. Ill support you. I just… I want you to take a break sometime. ”
Eleanor nods in understanding and then glances around the pub. The pub patrons look away as they whisper among themselves.
”All right then, ” Eleanor smiles weakly. She takes a deep breath, calming herself. ”Lets start eating. You know, maybe try a few different things? ”
The day passes like an eternity. The sky becomes gloomy as the sun sets, the lights flickering in the distance. Herbert takes notes diligently, while Eleanor does as well; her Laboratory Manuals pages are again subjected to the tip of her pen.
After loitering in the pub for three hours, the sun starts to set. Herbert stands up and puts a hand on Eleanors shoulder. ”Its dark; we have to look for lodging now. ”
”I know; lets go. ”
They walk past the pub until they reach a small alleyway. A few stray dogs run away from the sound of footsteps while Eleanor and Herbert continue walking down the narrow street.
”Theres a nearby hotel, right? ” she asks, putting her hand on her forehead.
Herbert looks back at her. ”Do you have a migraine? ” he asks.
”Um, a what? Whered you hear that? ” she asks, sounding defensive. ”The book was not that hard! And… focus on looking for the hotel! ” she says, refusing to look at him.
”Fine, fine. ” He gives her a sarcastic smile before turning around. He looks around the empty alleyway before heading to the end of the road, stopping in front of a large white wooden door. He knocks on it multiple times before walking inside.
”Hello? ” he calls. He sees a dim light coming from behind the door.
A well-dressed man opens the door.
”Um… We want to get a room. ” Herbert says.
”Yes, yes. You can get a room. ” the man says, leading them to reception.
”Thank you so much, ” Herbert bows slightly.
”How long do you plan on staying here? ” he asks.
”A night, perhaps. ” Herbert answers.
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