Ramble Inn regular, ‘early drinker’ & crossword fanatic Thomas J. Guiney, gazed at the barely touched cryptic grid, for the third evening in a row.
Although apparently closed, the pub continues to provide a lockdown service to a handful of its most loyal customers, with the aid of blackout curtains.
“We few,” Guiney said, raising his first pint to toast owner & proprietor Eamon Halligan and the five other customers present.
“We happy few,” Halligan answered, raising the single malt it was his habit to nurse throughout the evening.
Talk amongst the Ramble Inn’s band of brothers quickly turned prehistoric, as it so often did.
Specifically, on this occasion, to the tragic but colourful tale of a man whose body was found inside a papier-mâché model of a Stegosaurus, just outside Barcelona.
A restless Guiney eyed the floor, unable to concentrate, as he listened to the others recite the facts.
The thing has a removable slab in its stomach.
Homeless often slept in it.
A winos’ guesthouse.
Guy fell down inside one of its hollow legs.
Police called when passersby reported a sour smell.
This detail prompted obese, post office clerk Gerry Burke to wail, “Chrisht, could they not a left that bit out”.
But his objection sent Guiney scribbling in the margins of the paper, before he eventually pointed out the results of his anagram search to the owner.
Stegosaurus: ‘A guest sours’.
As Halligan gave him a military salute, Guiney excitedly picked up the crossword.
“I’m back Eamon,” he said, “Jesus Christ, I’m back!“