Elizabeth Caitlin Jones…
Had had a tough life from the start.
Her mother had died at childbirth, and her father was left holding the baby. It was painful for John Jones, who didn’t have any other children other than Liz.
Things were OK for a while. He got on with it.
But naturally, the death of her mother had taken its toll on the desperate father, whose life descended in a downward spiral into the bottle.
Liz took it upon herself to become the carer.
But, after a while, caring became too much. There’s only so much you can do for someone who won’t help themselves, isn’t there?
She was raised in a small town, but it became obvious to Liz that the opportunities in the compact mining town would not be enough.
She decided to take off and head for the bright lights of a bigger city and try to find the life she had dreamed.
Her father had often told her stories about her mother. She was a spirited woman who never took “no” for an answer. She always fought her own battles. Had the conviction to stick to her principles. And would not take mess off anyone!
It seems Liz had inherited some of these traits.
She was a fighter.
She never gave up, even when she was beaten. And she was always up for a fight.
Heading down to the bright lights of a new town was tough. She had had some rough rides.
One time, she was staying in a hostel outside a big city, and she naturally had doubts.
“Is this the life I dreamed,” she asked? With no money, and surrounded by memories of her father, with people who could only slur the words “beer” and “now” she had to take off again.
City after city and town after town, she traveled trying to find solace. There were a few boyfriends along the way.
More “clients”. To make ends meet, she was forced to live a life of making money for favors. The oldest profession. And she didn’t like it.
It made her sick.
One day, lying in a room, God knows where, she thought,”I need to do something”. She sprang up and went out. She was in a new town. Wandering around her new habitat, she observed the surroundings. There was a tatty car garage on the right. Opposite was a ransacked building that looked like it had been a pub.
On her left, as she wandered yards up, there was a burger joint. “I’m hungry,” she said. She popped in to see what she could pick up for a fiver.
On her way up to the counter, a big bruiser of a woman was writing something down.
The place was a bit of a dive. In the corner were two men who looked like they were truckers.
A woman was sat in the corner doing nothing. It looked like she was in a trance. Liz was shaking a little. This place hadn’t seen life for a while. Tired. Rundown. Lifeless.
“Excuse me,” do you know if there’re any jobs around here, she asked in a timid voice.
The woman brusquely replied. “Only job round here girl is for a cleaner. There ain’t many jobs around here.”
Liz replied: “I’ll take it.”
The woman then said: “Don’t you wanna know the pay, girl? It ain’t that great chuck.”
“A job is a job,” retorted Liz. I ain’t fussy. I need the rent. “I’m Liz, by the way. ”
“Brenda.” Said the curvaceous waitress.
“So when do ya want me to start cleaning”? Liz piped.
Brenda looked her up and down for a second. And rolled her eyes. “You seem sad, girl.”
“You running from something?”
“I ain’t running from anything. Just need a job. And I’d kill for one of them burgers there too.
“It’s on the house,” duck. And you can start right after you’ve eaten. There’s cleaning gear over there and a bucket.
“Ta,” said Liz.
She sat down eating her burger. Brenda wobbled over and sat down. “So, where you from, duck?”
“Long story, ” replied Liz. She gobbled the burger. Some of the onions dropped onto the plate. The sauce was dark brown and looked like thick sugar.
“Anything to do round ‘ere,” asked Liz, as she wiped her mouth with a serviette.
Brenda had this thing of rolling her eyes. “There ain’t a lot to do round ‘ere, chuck. Unless you’re a trucker and ya want a game down the club.
“Game, what game?”
“The truckers and roadies generally stop off for a pint in the local snooker club. But it ain’t for you, dear.
Liz loved a challenge. She had been around a while now to know that she could hold her own against the meanest and toughest of blokes.
She had, after all, been fighting them off for the last year or so. The game had made her tough.
“Yeah , I know snooker,” Liz said. “But I never got to play it back home.” She told Brenda a brief life history as Brenda had half her attention on Liz, and the other on the trucker just about to pay the bill.
“It’s rough there gal. Ain’t for a pretty duck like you. There’s known to be fights. You watch yourself, chick.”
Before her old man became hooked on the booze, he used to play snooker down the club. He didn’t want Liz there, though. Naturally, a father wants to protect his daughter as far as possible, doesn’t he?.
Liz always had an inquisitive nature. But she had to do what her father told her to when she was young. Things were OK for a time until the demon drink took over.
It became too much.
A week passed.
And Liz had been cleaning in the burger restaurant. But her craving was to check out the snooker club, “Nets.”
One day at 4PM, after a shift at the burger joint. She decided to go down to Nets.
This was the first time she had stepped foot in a snooker club.
But it wasn’t to be the last.