The Ladder

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
The foundations of a groups friendship are addressed as they sit inside their local pub on a weekend.

Submitted: March 28, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 28, 2017



The Ladder


Yeah but to say you were so damned adamant that this was only a temporary job, how long have you been there now? 15…18 months?” Gary says with a grin on his face, holding his excitement in waiting for his response.

“Well, it’s just the money side of things at the moment; I’m close to having enough cash, so rather than look for another job and have to go through the training period again on a low wage, if I can put up with this donkey work for just a short while longer, I’ll have what I need. As Jake replies to Gary’s strongly worded question, he makes sure to emphasise the words enough and need in the hope to just tease his friends into believing he’s onto something big. It’s almost like lying to his friends; he doesn’t actually have much of a plan pieced together – but he’s trying to bring his friends under the illusion that he is going places in an attempt to win the petty, point scoring discussion they’re having.

Stuart wipes the puzzled look from his face and points out that at least Jake has something to aim for – as opposed to Gary who works and lives for the weekend so he can drink away his money with no savings or any achievable or realistic plans for the upcoming future. A strong silence occurs as Gary takes a big gulp of his pint in order to gain a small time to think. He wipes his mouth and tries to bring it to everyone’s attention that he gets his work done during the week so he can enjoy himself at weekend without worrying about where more money will come from – his stammer is clearly getting the better of him throughout his speech. Gary’s provoked lectures on justifying his drinking habit goes on for about 30 seconds and by this time people lose interest and start finding different sources of entertainment – Stuart watches the darts on the television and Jake lights up a cigarette. His speech ends abruptly when he realises people are only ‘half – listening’ to him and so he finishes the last mouthful of his drink. Gary slams the glass down on the table and in a circular motion, slides his glass around in circles to melt the ice quicker – and to hopefully take some heat off himself by creating a very annoying and repetitive noise. Gary is very selfish and self – centred and becomes a very defensive person when it comes to personal issues, but he has no problem unveiling his supposed ‘closest friends’ personal lives. In a petty manor, he reminds Jake that it’s his turn to buy the drinks in and takes that as a way out of the conversation that he has lost all control over and in revenge for Stuart’s outburst to his own personal lifestyle, his close friend buying his drink is a victory and the perfect way to conclude this conversation – Gary wins – in the most pathetic, minor way possible.

A silence swarms the room amongst the few that are there – apart from the few intense noises coming from Stuart as he watches darts – the noises were purposely done to fill in the silence. Jake returns with the drinks, in a way to rapidly move conversation on, he announces the drinks as he hands them out to his friends at the table to break the atmosphere;

“Colin and Helen – Bacardi n’ coke each, Stuart – lager, my bitter and your vodka Gary.”

Gary’s drink was left until last intentionally – on account of how childish Gary himself can be, it’s now dragged Jake down to his own level. The group of best friends who know dark secrets about one another are determined to ‘one up’ each other on any level – financial or social. Stuart attempts to spark a conversation with Helen about politics, he knows how different their opinions are on the matter and every now and again, Stuart likes to ‘test the water’ to see how much he can test Helen’s patience before she raises her voice – just for his own amusement. With this conversation already flowing, Jake knows he’s in above his head with politics talk – he announces he’s going to the toilet in an effective way to avoid the humiliation of sounding stupid and keeping his dignity intact. Gary avoids eye contact with anyone on his table as he too seeks any plausible excuse to not pay attention. The bait that Stuart has thrown Helen is a quote from their local MP that was said that week, and she’s very close to biting. Just as it’s getting to the point of talking over one another – Colin, Helens boyfriend senses that it’s getting too deep and heated for his liking, so quickly interferes by muttering something in Helens ear and kissing her cheek to deter her from getting worked up at Stuart’s obvious, mocking attempt at winding her up. This has revealed a hidden bitterness from Stuart - bitterness towards couples – or more to the point, couples that flaunt their closeness in everyone’s face. A slow glare from Stuart pierces through the couple who aren’t even looking in his direction; they’re preoccupied muttering in each other’s ear – which triggers Stuart’s temper more. Through observing this, Gary can relax and simply watch Stuart tick over this has almost a soothing effect on Gary, he gets to see his friend who embarrassed him earlier seethe. – He can practically see his temper building. To say they are all close friends, no one knows exactly why Stuart is so disgusted with affection – and no one ever seems to ask.

“Do you know how ignorant that is?”

Stuart remains calm on the outside, but the fact his jaw is slightly shaking is a dead giveaway that he’s raging. Colin just wants to keep the peace between the group, but Helen has found a way to make Stuart bite herself, as she looks back in an almost arrogant way. Once again, there is an unbearable tension between the friends with only the roaring noise of the bandit in the corner being played soaking up some of the atmosphere. Helen gets Jakes attention as he returns from the toilet to inform him about a film her and Colin had watched together the previous night.

“Oh, Jake, you like horror films, we watched one last night – it was absolutely brilliant, I’ll lend it you.”

Helen has worded this to intentionally sound like she is filling the silences – for no reason other than to annoy Stuart – just to stir the pot of him resenting couples and the fact that Helen and Colin were together last night – even though they’re a couple. The roar of the bandit being played echo’s though the tense atmosphere, the ‘pinging’ noise from the ice colliding with the glass as someone takes another drink seems louder than ever before. Jake pulls another cigarette out from is pack and soaks in the secret resentment each of his friends have for one another, he lights a cigarette and blows the smoke directly down the centre of the table they are all sat at.

Who’s going to be the first to give in and make constructive conversation? The entire social etiquette when boiled down is based on where everyone stands on the social ladder they have created – there is a veil of false trust and happiness for each other that has surrounded each person and a general bitterness and dislike for anyone doing better than themselves.

Why are they friends with one another? Coming to the pub with your friends is supposed to be an ‘escape’ from the brutal reality of work and a place to avoid the politics and social divide – but this is where it happens on a more personal level. The drive to appear like you have your future planned out for yourself is something they all desperately desire. The reality of this situation is as a twenty-something year old, not one of these people have a clue what their future holds – but thrive to have the image and persona that they have everything laid out for themselves. Being in the pub with their closest acquaintances, none of them can ever fully relax or let their ‘guard’ down for the fear and humiliation of being viciously pounced on or have a lecture forced down their throats about how they should live their life – this is from the group of people who are considered ‘friends’. Subliminally, they all know the games they are playing, but are too proud to address this fact, thus; everyone quietly away keeps attempting to better themselves at the same time as putting their friends down so their own stature remains unblemished. It’s the social competition and struggle that they all feed off in order to land what they believe to be their rightful place on top of the heap – whether it is financially, physically, mentally or socially.

The silence is killed by the barman yelling ‘last orders’ throughout the bar – time to go home, time to go home where they can finally unmask and accept who they truly are as opposed to the role they have forced themselves to portray all day.

“Same again next week?”


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