On The Pull
Tom clambered up the ladder, slammed the trapdoor, and bowed in response to the cheer his customers gave when he popped back up behind the bar. “Right, that’s a new barrel of Old Growler and one of Bishop’s Finger,” he said as he reached for a fresh glass.
“’Bout bloody time.” Brian, Tom’s team captain, put his empty glass on the bar. “Stop fannying about and pull me a pint.” The rest of the team made encouraging noises, but fell silent as Tom approached the pump.
This was a ritual they all enjoyed. The first pint off a new barrel had to be pulled just right; there wasn’t a man there who would rush him or complain about the delay. They would watch, their eyes fixed on the glass as the rich, dark brew trickled then gushed from the spigot, the creamy swirl separating as the head formed. Tom enjoyed putting on the show. He didn’t think anyone there realised he had an agenda of his own.
Glass in his left hand, he wrapped the long fingers of his right around the satiny mahogany handle of the beer engine. He pulled, enjoying the resistance of it, knowing that the taut muscles of forearm and bicep were shown off by the motion.