It’s gone 12 o’clock and we are getting hungry. I fancy a Chinese meal and so does Alan. I ask Sam what he wants. Without hesitating he says pork and rice. We all settle for pork and rice. I volunteer to go to the restaurant.
It’s a warm afternoon. The pavements are dusty. A couple my age are walking in front of me. They are holding hands. She is wearing shorts. Her legs are shapely. The man has long hair. Longer than mine which is shoulder length. He wears a bright flower-power shirt and jeans, frayed at the bottom. They both wear sandals. I cross the road and head for the restaurant, which is 50 yards away. The proprietor knows me. I have ordered food there many times.
Entering the restaurant, I ask for three portions of pork and rice to take away. The manager approaches me. He smiles. We talk. He is wearing a suit with an open neck shirt. It has gold rings on his fingers. His hair is dark and combed back. He has a gold tooth in the upper front of his mouth. He says his daughter would like to learn how to play the guitar and wondered if I would teach her. I say I would be glad to. Maybe a couple of lessons a week. He asks me when I can start and I tell him tomorrow afternoon. I will nip in around 3 o’clock. “Has she got a guitar?” I ask.
“Oh yeah, she got guitar. Good guitar. Many thanks. Excellent. Free dinner.”
I thank him and move over to the counter where they are chopping up the pork. I’m enthralled by the way the cook slices the meat up with a chopper. I’m thinking to myself: “God, that chopper is sharp. It’s heavy too.” The cook — who is dressed in a T-shirt and wears a blue apron — puts rice in the containers, then scoops the pork up with the chopper and lays the slices on the rice. He adds some green leaf, like cabbage, and pours gravy over-the-top. Sealing the containers he passes them to me. His face expresses no emotion. I pay him and walk out the shop.
Back in the workshop, we pull up chairs and eat. Sam tells us about the lead guitarist in Slade. “Did you see him on television last night?”
I tell him, “Yes. He was playing a spiky guitar.”
“I made that guitar,” Sam says, proudly.
“You made his guitar?”
“I didn’t make the guitar specifically for him. It’s made up of lots of different parts that I had hanging around the workshop. He liked it and bought it. Simple as that.”
Who’d have thought it. I’ve often seen guitars that I’ve repaired on television. It’s a small world. I guess it’s inevitable if you’re in the circle.