East End Shanter

The honky piano in the corner squealed it’s discordant shanty jig as it’s tormentor bruised its ivory teeth with his thick dirty paws.

Grinning wildly, the gin soaked face snarled in my direction with wild piercing eyes of coal.

I had trawled the local bars after finishing late before but had never come across this grotty dive.

Still, a late drink was a late drink, and there certainly seemed to be all kinds of spirits on offer here.

I couldn’t tell if he was local or not but apart from an instinctive repulsion I had little interest in the accompanist.

However the raven haired young gypsy kicking her heels high in time to the throttled melody was another case entirely.


I looked across the spit and sawdust and was engulfed in her radiant orbs as she stared wildly in my direction. All of a sudden I was, quite literally, at sea.

With my insides spinning I knew I needed to make a quick exit, and after a brief visit to splash some cold water on my face, I stepped into the damp east London air.


I hit my key fob and my car obediently chirped back at me. Pulling the drivers door open, only then I noticed the gypsy girl slowly sauntering towards me from the shadows at the side of the pub.

Shocked but not dismayed I waited behind the door as she approached


Eyes still on mine she trailed her right arm across the car’s bonnet.

From the darkness behind her something reflected in the streetlight and suddenly I caught sight of the leering pianist in his shabby pinstripe suit approaching from behind her with an extended cut throat razor.


Catching my glance her expression abruptly turned harsh and she lunged towards me. But I was already behind the wheel and struggling with the ignition.

The car’s engine roared to life and I threw it into reverse.

Eyes filled with fire and hate, she scraped her long nails across the paintwork as I withdrew and her hand smashed against the Mercedes insignia pulling it clean off.

My tyres squealed on the wet cobbles as I turned and thrust into gear.

In my rear view mirror I caught one last glimpse of the gypsy wench cuffing the lumbering brute with one hand while ruefully holding the cars stolen insignia aloft in the other.