“OH JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!”
I sat bolt upright in a bed I didn’t know, in a room I’d never seen before.
A digital alarm clock by the side of the bed told me it was 8.49am and it was a Sunday.
I was alone.
I was in a double bed.
Both sides of the bed had been slept in.
I was naked.
Clothes were thrown all over the place; a white, baggy shirt hung limp from an open drawer, high boots gaped on the floor, huge red and black striped trousers flung across a chair.
I knew they were my clothes.
No-one else dressed like that in 1995.
The rest of the UK was dressed in purple Om t-shirts, flares, tie dye and kicker boots, dropping acid and monging out in fields and warehouses across the land.
I, however, was going through my Swashbuckling phase.
I’m willing to bet you didn’t go through a Swashbuckling phase, and nobody else you know went through a Swashbuckling phase, but I did. Baggy striped pants tucked into huge boots, white pleated shirts open to the waist, scarves, long curly hair that tumbled around my shoulders, broad leather belts, waistcoats…
No, I didn’t wear an eyepatch or have a parrot on my shoulder.
I’m not a total cunt, you know.
I sat up in the unfamiliar bed in the unfamiliar room and listened to the sounds in the house.
A kettle, boiling.
Footsteps. Soft. Bare feet on lino.
Cups, clinking together.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that whoever had been in bed with me a few minutes earlier was now knocking up a brew.
The burning question: who the fuck was it?
Not to be unkind, but I’d woken up with some monsters in the past. Yeah, I’m sure they were all beautiful on the inside but try telling yourself that when you’ve got twenty five stone of randy She-Hulk blocking you from escaping a second floor flat somewhere in Bradford.
I listened again.
Footsteps, carefully climbing the stairs.
Was she creeping because she had a fucking great bread knife and wanted to kill me in my sleep.
More likely she was carrying two mugs of tea.
I prayed for the latter.
The door nudged open and a girl with wild dark hair came in, smiling sleepily, carrying two mugs.
“Mornin’ tiger,” she said.
I smiled back. “Ey oop, luv.”
One of the very finest things Yorkshire has given the English language is the word ‘luv’. I’m shit at names and the word ‘luv’ allows me to greet all and sundry with warm familiarity without having to ask them who they are half a dozen times.
The girl put the teas on a little side table and slipped off her dressing gown.
She was pretty, in her early twenties and naked.
A winning combination.
I still had no idea who she was or how we’d met but when a naked girl brings me a cup of tea I know that morning sex is on the cards.
So we drank our tea.
Then we had morning sex.
This was all very nice but an alarm bell was going off in my head.
Something wasn’t quite right.
Yes, I know having sex with a person you’ve technically only just met that morning is hardly the norm, but this was different. A vibe.
This lass was all over the place in bed, wriggling around, biting, laughing hysterically. I had trouble keeping up with it all.
At one point I heard a noise downstairs.
I said, “What was that noise downstairs?”
She said, “That was Bingo, silly!”
I said, “Bingo? Who the fuck is Bingo?”
She said, “Don’t worry about that. I’ll introduce you later.”
And she pushed my face back down between her legs.
A bit later, after the sex, after the tea, I sat pissing in the bathroom. I always do a sit piss in a strangers house, especially after sex. When I piss after sex it’s like pressing your thumb over a tap. It goes bloody everywhere. You don’t want that in a stranger’s bathroom.
As I pissed I thought I might quite like this lass. She seemed a bit mental, but she was fun.
And she made a decent cuppa.
But still, alarm bells were ringing.
Who the fuck was Bingo?
Did Bingo live with her? Did Bingo come back with us from wherever we’d been last night? Was Bingo some jealous nut job who might be waiting in the living room with a bread knife, ready to stab me in a fit of green-eyed rage?
I realised that I needed a shit.
This changed things.
I couldn’t take a great big dump in a stranger’s house. It was too early in the relationship, if you want to call a cup of tea and a fuck a ‘relationship’.
No, the only solution was to make my excuses, find out where I was, who she was, get her to call me a taxi and to head home for a comfortable dump on my own bog.
I flushed, washed my hands and threw water onto my face. On the landing I could hear someone downstairs, clattering about in the kitchen. I went into the bedroom and the girl was gone, so I got dressed.
I had to admit, the Swashbuckling look wasn’t quite as effective on a cold Sunday morning as it was on a hot Saturday night. It could only be fully appreciated in a rock club, past midnight with several Snakebites inside you.
I felt a bit of a tit, to be honest.
Still, if I’d learned anything in my life it was that brazening something out was often the best policy.
I swaggered downstairs and into the kitchen.
I said, “Hi there, luv! Listen, I…”
She was still naked. She was whirling around with the radio on, setting a little table for breakfast. Breakfast was cereal. Those little boxes of kids cereal. I don’t like cereal, especially the really sugary stuff. It sets my guts off, and the last thing my guts needed right then was setting off.
I said, “Wait a minute. That’s kids cereal. Have you got something you’re forgetting to tell me here?”
A dim memory from last night bobbed near the surface.
The naked girl whirled about. “Something I’m not telling you? What, like kids? Ha ha! No, I ain’t got no kids! I just love these ickle cereals! I’ve got my baby, of course! My sweet little baby Bingo! Ha ha! Let’s get Bingo out! Meet Bingo!”
I said, “Actually, luv, I’m fine. I’m not right fussed about meeting Bingo, truth be told. And if I’m being honest I’d best be off…”
The girl wasn’t listening. She ran across the room and started pulling at a heavy bolt on a door that seemed to lead to the cellar.
“Bingo! Bingo! Wakey wakey! I’ve got someone for you to play with!”
I said, “Honest, I really don’t feel up to meeting Bingo right now, I’ve got a bit of a head and I might have had a bad pint or something and I’d really appreciate it if you’d call me a taxi…”
The door flew open and out of the darkness came a huge, bounding shape. I pressed back against the kitchen table, sending milk and Coco Pops flying all over the place as Bingo hurled himself against me.
Bingo was massive. His slobbering jaws snapped shut an inch from my face. His front paws scrabbled at the green suede waistcoat I was wearing, tearing the pocket.
I said, “OH JESUS OH JESUS GET THE FUCKING THING OFF ME IT’S TRYING TO EAT MY FACE!!”
The girl was dancing madly now, still stark bollock naked, clapping her hands and laughing. “Bingo likes you! He really likes you! Look! He’s dancing! You’re dancing with Bingo!”
I had hold of the giant dog’s front legs, trying to push him off me. The dog was leaping up with his powerful back legs, it’s huge and horrible head terrifyingly close to mine. Together we smashed off the furniture, staggering around the room as the girl laughed and clapped.
I managed to force the dog back for a moment, but then it lunged at me, sinking it’s teeth into my stomach.
I said, “Ow,” and staggered back, clutching the wound, blood seeping between my fingers.
The naked girl sprang forward, still laughing, and grabbed Bingo. “You silly baby, you’ve nipped the nice boy! Naughty Bingo! Naughty!”
The girl wrestled the huge animal to the floor and leapt on top of it. I didn’t know what the fuck was going on but just for a moment I have to admit it was strangely erotic, watching her writhing naked on the floor with a massive dog.
At the same time I wasn’t stupid enough to hang around.
I staggered to the living room, slamming the door behind me. The front door was on the other side of the room. I got there in no time, fumbled with the lock just as the door to the kitchen burst open and Bingo came flying at me, closely followed by the girl.
I got the door open, fell into the street, pulling it closed as I went.
Then I ran.
Random lefts, random rights, my big boots thumping the pavement as I clutched the bloody wound on my stomach.
After a while I stopped. Then I threw up.
Row after row of sandstone terraced houses swept away down the hill under a cold grey sky. I didn’t recognise the landscape.
I was completely lost.
I walked for a while, ignoring the car horns and the shouts of, “Where’s your parrot, you daft cunt!” and “Shiver me fuckin’ timbers!”
As it happens, I really was shivering. It was a mixture of shock from Bingo trying to disembowel me and the fact that is was early March and I was only wearing a baggy, bloodstained white shirt and a ripped waistcoat.
And I still needed a shit.
I saw bus stop.
Looking blearily down the timetable I worked out that I was in fact in Huddersfield.
How the fuck had I ended up in Huddersfield?
And how the fuck was I going to escape?
The timetable said a bus was due in forty minutes, heading for Bradford Interchange.
I decided to wait.
It was the longest forty minutes of my life.
A bleak wind moaned down the road, blowing bits of newspaper and the last rotten leaves of the previous Autumn. A steady stream of abuse from passing cars swept over me.
I needed that shit so badly it hurt.
Eventually the bus turned up.
I got on, paid, went upstairs and slumped into a seat.
And the journey began.
The bus went down every single street in Huddersfield. Hour after interminable hour, trundling along unending bleakness while my bowel strained agonisingly under the weight of a huge, unborn turd.
The bite wound on my stomach had stopped bleeding but the blood had congealed on my shirt, sticking to the wound, and every time the bus went over a bump I was in pain.
I can honestly say that I have never felt more miserable.
We still hadn’t left the Huddersfield parish boundaries when my Judas bowel turned on me. It has done so on many occasions in my life. Perfectly happy times have turned into nightmares because my guts wouldn’t behave, and this was just such an occasion.
I can only imagine that it was like giving birth. The feeling that something was coming out and nothing could be done to stop it.
I had to push.
But there was no way I was going to shit my pants on the slow bus from Huddersfield to Bradford.
I jumped up and lunged for the bell, walking with my knees together.
The driver said, “I thought you was off to Bradford Interchange?”
I mumbled, “I was, but I forgot summat…”
The doors opened and I shuffled off the bus.
Before the doors closed, the driver said, “What did you forget? Your parrot? ha ha ha!”
I said, “Fuck off.”
The bus left.
I was in an empty street. The houses looked quite well to do, for Huddersfield. Big sandstone terraces that would cost a million in London, probably worth tens of thousands here.
The houses had gardens filled with dense shrubbery.
I looked left and right, made sure no-one was watching, and rolled over a low wall into a garden.
I got in amongst the bushes and started struggling with the various belts and scarves that held my baggy pants up. In spite of the cold, sweat was running down my face.
“Come on, come on…”
I finally got my trousers down.
It felt like a chair leg straightening out in my gut.
The most immense turd slid out, like a submarine leaving dock.
It didn’t seem to end.
I took a glance between my legs to witness this wonder of nature and to my horror I could see the front window of the house who’s garden I was in.
A little boy in his pyjamas was watching me with an expression of horror on his little face.
I stared back at him with equal horror, between my legs, with the massive turd dangling between us.
Without taking his eyes off me, I heard the little boy shout at the top of his voice, “Mum! Dad! There’s a pirate doing a poo in our garden!”
The turd flopped out.
I pulled up my pants.
I didn’t get home for hours.
Someone told me later that in the Huddersfield Examiner there had been a story about the police searching for a man dressed as a pirate who had committed an act of gross indecency in the town and exposed himself to a young boy.
I didn’t say anything.
But I’ll tell you what – it was the end of my Swashbuckling phase.