The White Horse pub was busy as it usually was on a Saturday night. People steamed through the entrance to sit down at grubby tables or wait in the ridiculously long queue for the bar. It wasn't uncommon behaviour for a Saturday night in Birmingham, the city was notorious for its weekend night life, but Ian Grant couldn't help but feel irritated by it all. Ian knew that by the end of the night someone in the pub was going to get hurt or witness someone getting hurt.
It was a cynical opinion, but that was opinion that people like Ian Grant had, for he was a police officer and after fourteen years on the force Ian knew that his fellow officers would spend the night darting around Birmingham sorting out fights, muggings, accounts of rape and possibly even murder.
He hated all of it; the violence, the tears, the anger and the pain, all which could be avoided if people were a little less stupid and a bit more sober.
'Did you know, that apparently tour guides say that if you go out on the town in Birmingham then they suggest that you should get a guide because it is that dangerous?' Ian asked his friend Thomas, who was currently sitting with him at one of the grubby tables with two pints of beer in between them.
'Yeah. You told me.' Thomas replied quietly as he sipped his drink.
Thomas was one of the few people Ian had for friends outside of the force. They had met in school and had stayed in contact for years. Ian still couldn't believe the drastic change that had occurred in Thomas in the short time he had been sent off to Iraq. Before his time in the war he had been a tall handsome gentlemen with neat dark hair, hazel eyes and a delightful smile. He had come back years later with long shaggy hair, a tremble in his hand, despair in his eyes and a bullet in his shoulder.
He never asked what he had seen. He figured that was between Thomas and his psychiatrist. He had considered asking once during a night out, but that was before he had had to wrestle Thomas off the beaten face of some drunken idiot who had made an offensive comment about the war.
'You look glum.' Ian asked, 'Didn't you enjoy the film? Thought you liked super heroes.' He said with a smile, his blue eyes searching for some hint of happiness in those dark eyes.
'Just...couldn't relax.' Thomas replied and offered a bitter smile before downing his pint, 'Effects were good though. I liked what they did with his costume.' He spoke and managed a chuckle before going back to staring at his empty glass.
'I'll get you another.' Ian spoke and got to his feet. As he walked towards the bar he couldn't help but sigh and run a hand through his blond hair. He had training to deal with lots of situations, but a shell shocked friend was not something he had been trained to cope with.