Sunday, 27 December 2009
Sex Gods From The Planet Metal - Chapter Two
As I lay in bed on a cold Friday morning, all I could think was that my head hurt. It wasn’t a normal type of pain, instead it was an agony that deserved a special name so that sufferers in the future would know exactly what it was that was causing them to wish they were dead. I would have made a name up myself there and then, but my head was hurting, so I couldn’t be arsed. It was a very sad sight, I imagine: poor old me, lying in bed, duvet pulled up to my nose, groaning for England, really not ready, willing or able to go to school. I decided that school was definitely not going to be on the cards that day, so I started rehearsing my “Uurrrrgghhh... I’m ill!” speech ready for when Mum came in to kick start me out of bed, only for the door to creak open and my brother Nick to stick his ugly head round it. I tried to snarl at him, but the effort was too great, so I settled for mouthing “You bastard” at him weakly, because it was all his fault, of course.
It had all started the night before, as Mum and dad had gone out to see a play in London and were saving on a hotel room by driving back afterwards. This meant that they weren’t expected back until the small hours, and in their infinite wisdom they had decided that Nick was mature enough to hold the fort. Unlike me, they obviously hadn’t realised that Nick wasn’t mature enough to hold a conversation, but there you go. Of course, in the spirit of supposedly responsible seventeen year olds everywhere he decided to invite a couple of his Neanderthal mates over, but not before they’d availed themselves of a couple of flagons of local cider from one of the many local farmers who happily flogged the stuff to teenagers hoping for a head start on their liver damaging years. You must be familiar with farmhouse scrumpy, because it is a liquid like no other. The colour is usually a worrying mix of piss and vinegar (not a coincidence, given some of the ingredients), and there are things floating about in it that wouldn’t be out of place in a John Carpenter movie, even one of his more recent ones. The advantage of it over normal, tasty fizzy cider was that the farmers would sell it to anyone with a five pound note, and also that it was so strong it made vodka seem like tap water. If you could still walk after a gallon of the stuff then you had officially died and been resurrected.
My brother’s partners in grime were Bumble and M’eh, which should say it all really. Bumble was so called because he used to wear a yellow and black stripy jumper (well, it worked for Sting), and M’eh had a goatee, so they called him M’eh, as in the sound a goat makes. Possibly. Look, they were morons, so it could have been something else completely, but that was all I could think of. Of course, my parents called them James and Robert, but that was fair enough. I couldn’t imagine my Mum meeting them in the street and trilling out “Good morning, M’eh, Bumble.” Just wouldn’t happen, would it?
So there they were, chucking the vile stuff back like pros, and I was fulfilling my role as annoying little brother, which I was very good at.
“Oh go on. Let me have some,” I would whinge. “I’ve had it loads of times before, honest.” As if I’d ever even heard of “Jonesy’s Old Bollock Retractor”, let alone quaffed a few pints with my schoolfriends down at the gentlemen’s club..
“You won’t like it,” said my brother sagely. “You’ll get ill.”
“I won’t!” I insisted, sensing a victory. “I promise.”
In the end, they relented, amidst much sniggering, and decided to make bets on how long it would take me to drink a half. Wagers placed, they put a glass in front of me and gave me expectant looks. I didn’t want to look like a complete lying pilchard (which I was), so I took a deep breath and chucked it down in about ten seconds, feeling very proud of myself afterwards, if rather nauseous. Nick seemed proud of me too, but only as he’d had the lowest time. His mates looked awe-struck, which made me feel like I’d been run over by a train (chuffed to death, ha ha), and bet him that I couldn’t do it again. Another deep breath preceded another half, and me sat in the middle of the living room starting to feel the effect, whilst around me were concerned mumblings of “It’s seventeen bloody percent for Christ’s sake. We’ll kill him,” and “Let’s make him do it again.”
So I did it again. And again. Two pints of Somerset’s finest rotgut in a body unused to anything stronger than Panda Pops. Unsurprisingly, it was about this time that my bodily functions decided they’d had enough for one night, and left me collapsed in a heap, wondering where my legs had buggered off to. I was carried off to bed and left to experience my first ever bottomless pit effect whenever I closed my eyes, before I mercifully fell asleep.
The next thing I knew was Mum waking me up as usual, my decision to stay at home and whimper for a day or so, and Nick’s unwanted head around the door. Of course, he looked fine as he leaned over my bed with a look more menacing than Margaret Thatcher during a particularly bad period.
“You’d better not be thinking of going sick, shitface,” he said, using his pet name for me.
“But I am sick!” I protested weakly, adding sulkily: “It’s all your fault – you poisoned me!”
“Hey!” he said in a low growl. “You drank it, you pay the price. If you tell Mum you’re sick she’ll do all the usual tests, and believe me she’ll know you were drinking. She has an alcohol radar or something, I can tell you from experience. Once she’s worked that out, you’ll tell her under interrogation what happened last night, because I know you for the spineless little grass you are.” To be fair, he had a valid point there. “When she finds out,” he continued, “that not only did I have booze here last night, but also that I gave some to you, I will get an almighty bollocking. Trust me, David, if that happens I will fucking kill you, and I won’t get you any bangers tomorrow, you can count on that.”
With his big speech over, he gave me a dead arm as a down payment on the kicking he would give me if I grassed, then slunk out of the room like a fat secret agent. So much for brotherly love.
So there I was, sitting in bed, mulling over his words. I knew that he wouldn’t seriously hurt me, even though he would try his best to make my life a living hell for a couple of weeks. I could handle that, though. What I was really worried about was they he had said he wouldn’t get me any bangers the next day. As a thirteen year old boy, I was keen to show my maturity and intelligence by blowing things up. Last year, my brother took this natural compulsion to extremes by throwing bangers at cars, without realising that one of them was a police car. Cue a visit from plod, a stern warning and two very angry parents. Because of this, he was totally banned from getting any that year, which of course was not stopping him, just making him keep them well hidden. As a bribe to me, the aforementioned little grass, he was to get me a couple of packs in exchange for keeping my gob shut. I was planning to use them to conduct research into my own private theorem: “Blowing Things Up - Fun Or What?”, and was looking forward to the experiments. It would be my only chance, as it was the only time of year that newsagents willingly sold explosives to sniggering youths with manic glints in their eyes. I really wanted the bangers, so I really had to go to school. Shit.
“Are you all right, love?” my Mum asked as she took away the virtually untouched bowl of Cornflakes from in front of me. I mumbled something vaguely resembling a yes, trying not to make any sudden movements. Sudden movements, I had discovered, tended to do strange things to gravity. I hadn’t been able to eat the Cornflakes because that morning they had tasted like shit, much like my toothpaste, which seemed to have been marketed with the phrase “New Freshclean - for that extra vomity tang!” Thinking only of the fireworks, I managed to maintain a thin veneer of wellness long enough to get me out of the door and down to the coach stop. All I could think was that the bangers had better be really fucking loud.
The bell rang, thank God, and relief thronged through my knackered body. It was over, a whole school day, and I had not puked my guts up over an unfortunate member of staff. Normally, this wasn’t a special achievement for me, but just this once I felt justly proud of my iron stomach, although if someone had poked me in it they would have been soon wearing its’ contents. I was just relieved that it hadn’t been a P.E day. I’d spent most of they day chucking water down my throat like it was going out of fashion, spending my lunch hour asleep in a corner of the admin block. As the rest of the class rushed out, I slowly packed my books away and sleepwalked towards the door. Just one more coach ride and I could go home to bed.
“David,” came a voice as I stepped through the door. “Are you all right?” I turned round to face Miss Wright, touched by the concern in her voice, amazed that she would give a toss. After all, none of the other teachers that day had bothered. All I’d had all day were threats of detention if I didn’t pay more attention. Rubberneck Brown even threw a blackboard rubber at me, the bastard.
“I’m fine, Miss,” I mumbled tiredly, knowing that everything about me was screaming to the contrary. “Just a bit out of sorts, you know.”
“Well,” she said, smiling. “When I’m under the weather I like to curl up with a good book for company. It does wonders. What are you reading at the moment?”
“Nothing,” I replied, hoping that I wasn’t going to miss my coach.
“Try this,” she said, a tatty paperback seemingly materialising out of nowhere into her hand. She held it out to me and I tried to focus on the title with no success.
“Ta,” I said, stuffing it into my bag. “Gotta get my coach now, Bye.”
With that I made a hasty exit, or as hasty a one as I could manage, giving that the floor was trying to trip me up. As the door closed behind me, I propped myself against a wall to catch a breath. I took the book from my bag, to see what the hell she’d foisted off on me. “The Door Into Summer” by Robert A Heinlein. Probably crap, I thought, then put it back and stumbled off to the coach park.
I made it to the coach with seconds to spare, and flopped down next to Peter with a sigh like an Egyptian tomb being opened after a thousand years.
“Thank FUCK that’s over,” I said, meaning every word.
“You are such a tit,” said Peter. He knew everything, because although I felt awful, I was still proud of my drinking adventure, and had to tell someone about it.
“Pete,” I said sincerely. “I promise you, that from this moment on I will never again touch an alcoholic drink. It sucks. It’s a bad, bad thing. This is my pledge.” And you know what? I meant it. Ah, the follies of youth.
”Same again, lads?" asks Mel.
Me and Simon bang our empty glasses on the bar and make appreciative noises. "Waaaaaarrggg!" burps Simon, looking around the bar with pride scrawled all over his face, then sulking when nobody applauds. As revenge, his contempt for his fellow drinkers is his latest contender for the Worlds Smelliest Fart title, which he usually breaks every Friday due to interesting combinations of Newcastle Brown Ale and far too many sausages than is healthy for one man.
"Cheers, luv," we chorus as fresh pints are placed in front of us. Mel winks at me and treats Simon to the finger, as usual. He managed to sleep with her within forty five minutes of meeting her, and so impressed was he with her resilience to him that he kept her as his exclusive girlfriend for a whole day, until he met someone else. For some reason she wasn't impressed, and although she can't help liking him, she takes great pleasure in being shirty to him and telling girls that he's got a small knob. The beers are free, just two of the twenty five we each get free every week. How? An explanation is certainly due:
Three months ago, me and Simon decided that, whilst we liked Hinton, there was a distinct lack of good music. Okay, so occasionally one of the pubs would invite some mad folk singer with his finger in his ear to come and torture the public for an hour or two, but it wasn't exactly Iron Maiden. You just can't do Maiden with one finger in your ear, going "Nyaaaahhhhhh" after each line. It just doesn’t cut the mustard. With a mission on our minds, we approached Harry, the owner of the Full Moon, and asked him if he'd mind us putting on a rock show. As a friend and also as a chap well known for taking the fast buck at any opportunity, Harry agreed. That, my friends, was the snowball at the top of a steep hill, and it gathered momentum steadily. The first gig we put on featured Fearteacher and Shea, two local bands who were long of hair, short of melody, and knew how to pull faces during guitar solos. You may have seen clips of odd old farts up North (where else) sticking their heads through a horse collar and "gurning". Trust me, these old buggers wouldn't stand a chance against some of the heavy metal guitarists I've seen. The range of facial grimaces employed by a good rock guitarist range from “I would like to go to the toilet now”, through “I really need to go to the toilet right now” all the way to “I’ve just gone. Bugger!”
The hall at the back of the pub, empty most nights, was half filled with long haired dandruff shakers, all making little Devil signs, banging their heads and, most importantly, drinking a heck of a lot of booze. Harry was well impressed, especially as he didn't have to do anything, so he proposed a deal: If we could keep attendances up by booking the bands and sorting the logistics out, we could have twenty five pints free each week for as long as we kept the hairy masses coming in. Each week we invite two new bands to play on a Friday night, with the headliners taking care of the door and keeping any profits for themselves after PA hire and the like. The support acts are invited to try and bring as many people as possible, and if they put on a good show we promise them a future headline gig. Perfect. A few hours work a week booking the bands and designing posters and flyers (a piece of piss if you have Simon’s computer knowhow), followed by a great gig. This got us fifty quids worth of free booze, Harry vastly inflated profits, and brought metal to the sleepy West Country. On top of this, I had the bright idea of telling record companies about our regular metal gatherings, and they now send us all sorts of free shit to play and give away! If there's a Heaven, it's something like this, although possibly with more naked women, of course.
As time passes, the pub slowly fills up with the regulars. At Eight Thirty, Morgan comes in resplendent in his ever present Bristol City replica shirt. His hair is slicked back, his glasses polished to specky perfection, and his smile is so wide he looks like he’s got a coathanger in his mouth. After he's got his pint I slap 50p down on the vacant pool table.
"Come on Morgan," I taunt, "Or are ya chicken?" I deliver the last in a John Wayne drawl, or at least my pitiful idea of one, whilst Simon makes the obligatory chicken noises in the background. Morgan sighs resignedly.
"How many," he asks.
"How about your five pounds to my five pints?" I say, knowing he won't be able to resist. Basically, if he wins I give him five pints from my stash, and if I win he gives me five pounds.
"Six pints," he replies. Morgan is to haggling what Fred west was to home improvement.
"Hey," I say, "if you don't want five pints I'll just give Simon a game..." Simon moves forward and picks up a cue, twirling it like a badly dressed Ninja.
"Well, I suppose I can live with five," says Morgan confidently, then steps forward to break.
In five minutes it's all over and I'm five pounds richer. This is a ritual with me and Morgan, because he is absolutely convinced that he's a better pool player than me. I, as he will often tell anyone too stupid not to tell him to fuck off, am a jammy git. I only win because I'm lucky. He, on the other hand, is a skilful player. He knows about angles, he knows about spin, he knows he's better. Excuse me for speaking ill of the terminally stupid, but bollocks does he. Morgan thinks angles are the blokes with wings who visited the shepherds. He thinks spin is what happens when you hit a ball really, really hard with a particularly impressive grimace on your face. This said, I don't mind his boasts, because he has to try and back them up, and he seems to have bottomless pockets. I let him win one occasionally, and try not to stuff him too severely, but I think I'm up about £350 by now. You think he'd get it by now, but that's Morgan all over. He's the sort of guy who just has to prove himself, regardless of his chances. He's about six foot three, but gangly with it, and he always wears a bloody Bristol City replica top. Any night after a game all the regulars know to avoid him like a plague of Jehovah’s Witnesses, because all he can talk about is sodding football. If they won, he'll rant on about City being the greatest team in the universe, but if they've lost he'll moan about how shit they are and how he's never going to see them again. This, I feel, must be one of the primary reasons for his incredible, almost legendary lack of success with women. Most men like the "What's your favourite band" type of approach, but Morgan has a passion for accosting total strangers of the female persuasion and badgering them about what football team they support. Simon, of course, just asks them if they want a shag. The most unlucky girls are those rare ones who like football and actually support Bristol City. From the moment they admit it, they're trapped. Morgan has a statistical knowledge that would put a spin doctor to shame, and will monopolise the poor girl for as long as it takes for her to work out that her only way out is to fake a heart attack. This has happened twice. It's a pretty funny sight watching a girl being stretchered out to an ambulance as Morgan lopes along behind still asking her for her phone number and her opinion on whether Gerry Sweeney was a legend in his own lunchtime. The man has led a depressingly sexless life. There are Tibetan monks that have seen more action. He swears blind that he got a shag from a Dutch whore in Amsterdam two years ago, but nobody believes him. He says he paid with his credit card and still has the receipt, but has so far failed to produce it.
"Never mind," says Morgan, handing over the fiver. "You were bloody lucky, as usual."
"Morgan," I say. "You're shit. You're the shit that comes out of the flies that eat shit. You may as well put a brush on the end of your cue, stick it up your arse and do something useful instead of perpetuating the myth that you will ever beat me. Go home, sad football man, home to your City memorabilia and over forties wank mags." Most people this would annoy, but Morgan is used to it.
"Aaaah, I'll get you next time," he mumbles into his pint.
"You gonna get any tonight, Morgan?" asks Simon innocently.
"Tonight’s the night," Morgan says, perking up at the thought of all the sex he thinks is coming his way. "I've got this new stuff from one of the wank mags. It's got furrymoans or sommat in it, guaranteed to drive the chicks wild with uncontrollable passion." Saying this, he takes out a small vial and liberally sprays the contents on his neck. Simon wanders over and takes a tentative sniff.
"Fookin ell!" he exclaims, his Northern accent coming into its own. "You smell like Mother Teresa's fanny, and I mean a few weeks after she died!"
"You wait," retorts Morgan. "Next top piece of birdage comes in here I'll have her, you wait."
"Care to make a bet on it?" says Simon slyly, ever keen to get more beer money from gullible fools. "How about your fiver to, ooohhhh, fifteen of my pints that the next girl of your choice prefers me to you."
"Done" says Morgan. "You, my girly long haired friend, are going to eat your words."
This sort of thing isn't at all uncommon. It's that sort of pub. One of our regulars is called Irene. She lives next door, jammy old cow. She's eighty six, and to be honest she's a bit loopy. Let's just say she makes a Big Brother contestant look sane and rational. She likes to come in, order a gin and tonic, then toddle off back home. After a few minutes she remembers what she was doing, wanders back in and drinks her drink. Each time this happens, Simon organises a sweepstake on how long it will be before she remembers to come back in. This is no idle bet, and he's even done a time and motion study to give him the edge. At nine o'clock, regular as clockwork, she comes into the saloon bar and orders a gin and tonic. Tonight, Simon has pre-empted her and already has the sweepstake organised and every time slot taken. When Irene leaves the pub he starts his stopwatch as the whole bar awaits her return. As, one by one, their times tick away, they curse and swear into their beer, whilst those left mentally urge the old woman to return. Eventually, she wanders back after four minutes and thirty three seconds and sits at her table as if nothing has happened, oblivious to the moans around her as Simon pockets about fifteen quid of other peoples money. As is customary, he buys her another gin and tonic and sets it down in front of her. This happens every night, and she never questions why she gets a free one. Maybe she's not as daft as she appears.
As we slump over the bar contemplating our fourth beer apiece, we notice a couple of new faces walk in. Obviously just off the train (the station is about twenty feet from the pub), these two fit in about as well as Ozzy Osbourne at a bat lovers convention. They've got nice suits and nice briefcases, and they both have shiny new mobile phones clutched in their sweaty little yuppie paws. As they stand at the bar, they do that thing that is guaranteed to make everyone else want to smash their smug little faces in: they compare new ringtones.
"Oh yeah," says one, "I got this one off the net this morning." His phone beeps out the James Bond theme as his mate looks impressed, like he's just been told the meaning of life or something. He raises his own phone and is just about to demonstrate it's own capabilities when a thick, hairy arm clamps down on his, causing him to drop the phone.
"I wouldn't do that, Sir," says Harry, putting all the respect into the word "Sir" of a policeman who's caught you with your hand down his daughters’ knickers.
"I say," says twat number one. "Do you mind. We'll have two Cranberry Breezers please." For those not in the know, Breezers are that boil on the backside of serious drinking: the alchopop. Primarily drunk by wankers and lightweights, alchopops are the antichrist of the brewing world.
"I think not, sir," says Harry. "I do believe that you will, instead, fuck off." Harry is a big bloke, all hairy arms and huge belly. When he tells you to fuck off, the correct response is "How would you like me to fuck off?" coupled with perhaps an offer of money and some naked pictures of your girlfriend.
"I beg your pardon?" says twat number two. "We only came in here for a civilised drink. You can't throw us out without a good reason, you know."
"Well," says Harry, "It just so happens I have a very good reason. Would you two gentlemen be so kind as to take a look at the little notice behind the till." They look. It says this:
"The management of the pub, also known as Big Harry, also known as Short Tempered Prone To Violence Harry, reserves the right to kick out any annoying wanker who so much as comments on his new ringtone. Demonstration of said ringtone may result in the loss of one or both testicles. Thank you."
The twats look at each other, and with one graceful movement they decide to fuck off, leaving the rest of us to piss ourselves laughing.
I sit at the bar, contemplating the often fatal sixth pint, the one that I know is likely to transform me from Happy into the eighth, lesser known dwarf, Twatty. I know that I'll start to giggle a lot and tell incredibly inappropriate jokes to people, but part of me welcomes the oblivion of the drunken state, and who am I to deny my inner Demons, especially if they're thirsty. Simon is next to me, watching Morgan with interest. Something amazing has happened tonight, because Morgan is actually chatting up a girl. She came in about ten minutes ago, a pretty little thing in a pink vest top and black trousers. As she ordered a drink, Morgan sidled up and we all waited for the inevitable slap, but amazingly she started talking back. At the moment they're chatting and laughing at a table in the corner, despite the fact that he smells like a dead cat, despite the fact that he's a complete arse, and despite the fact that he's, well, Morgan.
"Looks like you could be down fifteen pints, mate," I say to Simon, who is busy necking a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale.
"Bollocks," he retorts, slamming the bottle on the bar. "I was just getting ready to steal her away. You know I can't function properly with women until the eighth beer."
Strangely, he's right. Up to eight beers and he's no slouch with the ladies, but as the last drop of the eighth one filters through his tired liver he becomes weirdly irresistible. I've tried to study this strange occurrence, to emulate it, even, but I've never had any joy. If I drink eight pints I'm more likely to vomit on a woman than chat her up, and previous rather embarrassing experience has taught me that it's not a well respected or successful pulling technique if you have to say afterwards "I don't remember eating that!"
"You done yet?" I ask him.
"That was number eight," he says, rising from his stool like a tiger on the prowl. He licks his lips and strolls over to Morgan and his conquest. “Alright, Morgan?" he says. "Who's your beautiful friend?" The last is said with a purposeful leer at the girl. It's the sort of look that only a select few Hollywood actresses can get away with. Not so much "Come and get it", more "It's coming to get YOU".
"This is Lisa," says Morgan, eyeing Simon nervously.
"Hi gorgeous," Simon purrs. "I'd love to run my fingers through your hair, but you're wearing trousers. Of course, that can be remedied later."
Against all logic, she smiles. Anyone who watches Simon in the act of pulling is always amazed by the fact that he gets away with lines containing more cheese that a particularly large and well stocked cheese shop. My favourite was one that went "Have you got any Northerner in you, love?", and when the girl said no he went "Well, maybe later, if you're a good girl". I smile at the memory as he continues his assault.
"Come on," he continues, "You must have realised by now if you go back to Morgan's place with him the only fucking that'll occur is you being fucking bored when he insists on showing you his Bristol City programme collection. Finish your drink, say goodnight and join me at the bar." With this, he gives her a wink and walks back to the bar to sit back down on his stool. There is a smattering of applause from some of the locals, who know art when they see it.
"How long?" I ask.
"About twenty seconds," he says, looking at his watch. He doesn't look at the corner, just his watch as the second hand moves slowly round. As it hits seventeen the girl arrives at the bar. I look round and can see Morgan burying his head in his hands. Simon looks at her and gives her a smile.
"You're early," he says. "Hang on a sec." He gets up again and goes over to Morgan, who silently hands him a five pound note and gives him the finger behind his back as he walks back.
"See you in the morning, mate," he says as he leads the girl from the pub. Bastard.
As I resign myself to another morning of not being able to get into my own bathroom, there is a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and am met by the sight of a very pretty blonde girl with a drunken smile plastered across her face.
"Give us a kiss, you manly male you," she says, pouting ridiculously and putting her hands on my shoulders.
"Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty dyke!" I snarl in my best Charlton Heston voice, and we both collapse into giggles.
"Hi Sal," I say. She smiles.
"Hi yourself. I see your boyfriend's left you again," she says, her face contorting with mock sympathy.
"Eat me," is my witty reply.
"Sorry," she says. "Can't. You know full well that I fear and avoid the hairy sausage and instead prefer to drink from the furry cup."
This is, sadly, true. Sally has been part of the little world here at The Full Moon for just over a year now, and she drives me crazy. She's pretty, sexy, intelligent, witty and gay. It's the last that causes me grief, because it means that I can't have sex without her unless I have a sex change first. Now Morgan may be that desperate, although I suspect he'd have no luck as a lesbian either, but I draw the line at penile amputation. Sally is a sad case, because she has a phobia that stops her going into anything bigger than a village. She can't ever quite explain it, but she is absolutely terrified of towns and cities. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if there were any other lesbians in Hinton, but as far as we know she's the only one, or at least the only one who'll admit to it. All the hot lesbian chicks invariably hang out at trendy pubs and clubs in the good old enlightened city, whereas Hinton has the sort of older residents who would gladly tar and feather anyone who associates the word gay with anything other than having a lovely old time that doesn't involve the transfer of bodily fluids or getting pubes stuck in your teeth. Sally's only way of chatting up other women is on the Internet, and she'll sit up late into the night typing in her erotic fantasies. Occasionally the recipients of her electronic lust will travel down to meet her, and she invariably meets them here in the pub. It's always a great source of amusement to see Sal in her best combat trousers on, only to see the look on her face when the obligatory shaven headed gorilla squeezes through the saloon bar door and turns out to have the personality and conversational skills of a Tory back bencher.
"Go on, Sal," I slur lecherously. "Give it a try. Let me show you that natural love is the best love."
"Natural!" she snorts. "I can't think of anything more unnatural than letting your wrinkly old trouser snake anywhere near me. They're yucky!"
"A penis is a wonderful thing, not yucky," I say, getting nicely drunk and oratorical. "God created man in His own image, then gave him woman so she could fulfil his sexual needs, continue the human race and wash up after tea. It is, I reckon, my divine right to stick my knob inside you and wiggle it about a bit whilst making excited noises. Come on, you must be curious."
"Nope," she says with conviction. "I can think of lots of better things to stick inside me and wiggle about. In fact, I own lots of things to stick inside me and wiggle about. You can borrow some if you like."
"No thank you," I say with mock politeness. "I'm an inserter, not an insertee."
"You mean you've never been curious?" she teases. "Never looked down in the after match showers and felt that unwanted but curiously pleasurable tingle in your loins?”
"Please!" I say in disgust. "My bottom is sacred, and shall never feel the lustful thrusts of another man. Shame on you, harlot, for even suggesting such a thing. I am man, hear me roar." I roar for effect, causing a few heads to turn.
"It's no worse than you suggesting I'd enjoy heterosexuality", she says reasonably. "I think my point is proved."
"Fair enough," I concede. "Would you like another pint, my justifiably lesbian friend?"
"Oh yes please. And one for my little friend." With this, she reaches into her handbag and pulls out a disturbingly knobbly luminous pink vibrator. "Go on," she says. "Give it a try." She flicks a switch and the end rotates slowly, all the while looking at me with it's solitary beady eye. It's like something out of Doctor Who. I can just imagine it: Doctor Who and the Vibrators Of Doom. The Doctor only escapes by stuffing a cork up his bum and running like buggery, no pun intended.
"You are a vile, disgusting animal," I say with as much dignity as I can muster, which to be fair is only a teeny bit. "But you are my friend, and I will not bitch slap you into unconsciousness. Instead, I will buy you a pint, as long as you put that thing back in it's home." She does, and I hail Harry. "Two pints please, O venerable Bar Lord!"
He pours, and we smile. Sometimes life has a way of getting things right.
It's 1am, and we're curled up on the sofa. Sally is cuddling an empty bottle of Southern Comfort like it was a glass teddy bear. We are very drunk. We came back here after the pub shut, as neither of us wanted to be alone, and also because I remembered that Simon had an unopened bottle of Southern Comfort hidden behind the sofa. I reasoned that if he was getting sex, I could at least get very drunk with a pretty girl. I poke Sal, and she turns bleary eyes upon me.
"Whassssa?" she mumbles.
As I look her in the eyes, this beautiful girl who has had far too much to drink, and who is probably open to any number of suggestions, I can't help myself. I am too drunk to hold back the compulsion that has been building inside me ever since my sixth pint. I lean close and ask her the inevitable question.
"Would you like a Marmite sandwich?”