For Layton it was like most days it was a quiet and uneventful day. He looked out the front window of Castaway’s Pub to grey-blue clouds slowly creeping in from the northeast. Boats dotted the harbor and fishermen rowed dories out to their vessels. Many of the fishermen wanted to break harbor and be on the fishing grounds immediately after the weather broke.
It was an exciting display watching them hurry from their homes, straddle over the seawall protecting the village, and push their dories into the harbor. This a quiet pub for the next few days. It was a fishermen’s pub and they would all be out to sea. Yet it stayed open for some of the men who worked at the processing plant and a few merchants who tired of their wives’simple meals.
Shepherd’s Pie, lamb stew, cod chowder, and fish and chips were the common dish supported by a hearty tankard of ale and an after dinner shot of brandy to warm the innards for the journey home.
Layton found his way to this small fishing village on the coast of England three years ago. He was told it was the home of his ancestors, but a Sexton had not lived in the village for at least 200 years. He speculated they were the only family by that name at the time and moved on to America.
“Are you good to stay here while I take the night off, lad?” Bernard, the owner, said to Layton. He grabbed his coat from the hook on the kitchen door.
“Sure,” Layton said wiping the bar, “the last fisherman has just climbed aboard and the fleet will have cleared the harbor before the sun touches the water.”
“You’re a fine lad,” Bernard said. “Sleep-in, if you like, tomorrow.”
“That’s all right, Bernard,” Layton said, “I’ll be in at my usual time.”
Bernard snickered. “That’ll be 10 minutes late.”
“I keep telling ya, Bernard,” Layton smiled, “jetlag is chronic.”
“It is good it’s not epidemic,” Bernard said, “or I’d have had it long ago.”
Bernard slung on his coat. “Are you still waiting for the letter?”
“I’ve given up hope,” Layton said and whipped the bar towel over his shoulder.
“You should have taken a teaching job,” Bernard said. “At least that would have put you in a class room. Working at a pub in a fishing village is not exactly the kind of background that it takes to be a college professor.”
“You did give me a good recommendation didn’t you?” Layton smiled.
“Swear to God, lad” Bernard said holding his right hand up. “I want to see you go. Then I can hire the Worthington lad; at least he’ll show up on time.”
“He works at the boatyard right now where they’ve dubbed him Worthlesston,” Layton said. “You’ve got it good with me even lacking my ten minutes of serfdom.”
“I have never quite figured out why you have stayed, lad,” Bernard said. “You could have applied for a teaching job at our school. That would have looked a bit better on your employment history than a bar tender, cook, and waiter.”
“I only thought I’d be here six months before receiving an offer,” Layton said. “Now it is three years, but I have not regretted it one single moment. I enjoy coming to work. No one else would put up with my tardiness. Did you write that in your letter of recommendation?”
“I may have mentioned it in passing, but never made anything extraordinary of it,” Bernard said. “Well, I shall be on my way.”
“Say hi to the Mrs. for me,” Layton said.
“I’ll be sure to,” Bernard said. “And if no one shows in the next hour or two lock up tight, will you.”