The short story “May the Best Man Win” by Kit de Waal takes place in a pub called The Carpenter’s Arms in Birmingham, England. Since the events described in the story take place during a famous boxing match, we can pinpoint the exact date of the story as December 11, 1981.
The pub is described as a place which the regular customers have made their own, and where outsiders are not welcomed. The regulars know to use the side door, which makes the new arrivals more noticeable when they use the main entrance (ll. 1-5). The fact that one side of the front doors are boarded up (ll. 4-5) also suggests that strangers are not welcome there.
The tense atmosphere in the pub at the beginning, where everyone is unnaturally quiet, and everything moves at half speed, radically...