Staring right in front of me in the window was the old favourite, the Bloody Finger.
"Can we get one?"
I started laughing as my mind leapt back to a weird weekend not so long ago...
My friend Sharon, a rep with a brewery in Newcastle, invited a few of us to join her for a girl's weekend.
We didn't need to be asked twice.
We met up in Sharon's hotel room for a drink when Sharon announced that her colleague Tracey, from Newcastle, would be joining us for the night.
"Great," we said. "The more the merrier."
Only for Sharon to go on: "I should just mention something before she arrives. She has a prosthetic finger. She is quite self-conscious about it, so say nothing."
"A what finger?" says Lesley.
"How did that happen?" Says Alison.
"She was feeding her horse when it bit off her finger and ate it," replied Sharon. "Apparently the prosthetic one cost her a fortune."
Lesley: "Which finger is it? Has she still got the horse?"
Sharon: "How would I know if she's still got the horse. I never asked. It's her right hand index finger. You would never know to look at it. "
We were intrigued.
"OK. That's a shame. We'll pretend we know nothing about it," I said.
In comes Tracey, we get introduced and Sharon pours her a drink. But I am conscious that with every drink she takes, no matter how hard we try, we are all staring like Meerkats as her hand goes up and down to her mouth trying to spot 'The Finger'.
"Time to head," says Sharon, trying to distract us from our unsettlingly poor behavior which, mercifully, Tracey had failed to spot.
We pile into a new, trendy wine bar and call the waiter over.
All is well. We are getting to know Tracey and everyone is conscious not to mention the 'F' word, and thankfully we've now pretty much got our eyeballs behaving themselves.
The bar is filling up and Tracey heads to the toilet. But after a while we realise she has been gone for ages.
Sharon investigates and reports back: "You're not going to believe this. Tracey's crying her eyes out. She's lost her finger!"
We are speechless and after a few moments we all agree to help find 'The Finger'.
"But then she will know we know," says Lesley.
"Just start looking," growls Sharon.
The bar is now crammed. We go our separate ways and start searching for 'The Finger'.
It's obvious we are looking for something when one fairly
inebriated member of a stag party asks me: "You lost something?"
Me: "Nothing important." Got to keep the secret.
Guy: "Tell us what you've lost and we can help you look for it."
I couldn't argue with that logic. We'd been looking for a while now with no luck.
Me: "Well … it's a finger."
"Way aye, man. You lasses usually canna find yer handbags but never a finger," he says in disbelief.
The guys think this is the funniest
thing they have heard. Jokes are flying and soon every person in the bar is searching for 'The Finger'.
Forty or 50 people on their hands and knees hunting the missing digit. Some seriously searching, others betting on who will be first to get their hands on 'The Finger'.
Well, where do you start to look for a finger in a packed, dimly lit bar?
We search everywhere, under tables, behind chairs and bar stools, squeezing
between legs, pushed and shoved in all directions. No handbag was left unturned - but no sign of 'The Finger'.
"Finders keepers," says one guy, trying - but failing - to be funny.
"And what use is a female index finger with red nail polish to you," I snarled, losing patience.
My white jeans aren't so white anymore with crawling under tables, my hair is rather unkempt, painfully, I feel a stiletto clip my hand and cold beer drips down my new credit-card-still-to-be-paid-for top.
This isn't turning out quite the fun night I had imagined!
On seeing the commotion and hearing the laughter, Tracey realises the cat is very out-of-the-bag and joins the search.
"You Scots lasses are up for a laugh," says one guy. (As if this was a party trick).
We search and search, but no sign of 'The Finger'.
As I stand up, knees creaking, from the floor, a girl taps my shoulder.
"Is this it?" she asks (could she really have thought there might have been more than one?).
"I was outside having a cigarette when I spotted it on the pavement inches away from a drain.
"With so many people coming and going, it must have bounced its way out of the bar," she concluded.
Tracey was over the moon. Her discomfort and embarrassment outweighed by relief. Finally, we headed for a well-earned drink.
Sunday morning and I woke with a fuzzy head and a smile on my face at the most bizarre dream I had had … until I felt a sharp pain in my hand.
I spotted a pair of grey (formerly white) jeans on the floor beside a grey (formerly white) rag-like top.
The smell of stale beer was overwhelming and I realised, this was no dream. We met for breakfast. The morning-after post mortem began and we laughed till we cried at the most bizarre evening.
An hour later and we hugged and said our goodbyes to Tracey.
Tracey turned as she exited the hotel foyer.
"Brilliant night girls," she said. "We must do it again."
No one replied...