A man walks into a pub…
Or more accurately, I walk into a pub.
This isn’t uncommon. I like pubs. Pubs like me. I’m not one of these blokes who can’t have a pint on their own in a pub. I’m more than happy to sink a few solitary pints over a packet of pork scratchings and a newspaper. I like my own company, which is a good job as there’s plenty that don’t.
So I walk into the pub.
And nearly walk straight out again.
I’m hit by a wall of noise, an indeterminate bellowing coming from a wall of thick-necked men wearing identical maroon v-neck sweaters. They are wearing their ties like Rambo headbands and throwing beer at their faces like they’re trying to put a fire out.
I’m no fan of rugby. Thinking man’s thuggery. I’m not a great fan of any sport involving a ball, to be honest. I’m bewildered by other people’s enthusiasm for it. Each to their own and all that, but the rugby lad has a particular way of inflicting his sport on you.
It is always noisy and occasionally erupts into pretty spectacular violence.
As if ninety minutes of knocking fuck out of each other isn’t enough, they always seem to be able to find energy for a spot of extra violence in the pub afterwards.
Not for me.
I turn on my heel and make for the door.
I’ve been spotted. Someone has recognized me.
I dither, unsure if I should pretend I haven’t heard, but a huge paw lands on my shoulder.
I turn around and I’m relieved to see Denny.
Denny is a great bloke. A bit odd, but sound nevertheless. His fresh face hides the heart of an animal.
“Luci, you puff! What are you doing in a pub on your own?? Nobby no mates! Ha ha! Come and join the lads! Lads! Get this puff a beer!”
This is my worst nightmare.
A pint is shoved into my hand and the rugby lads begin to sing. Lager rains down.
I ease myself to the side of the crowd, neck my pint and prepare to beat a hasty retreat.
Denny isn’t letting me get away that easy, though. He keeps a firm grip on my arm.
He leans in close. “Here, Luci, I’ve got to tell you about what happened last night.”
I’m all ears now. Denny grabs us another couple of beers and we lean on the bar.
He says, “Me and the lads have just come back from Newcastle. We were up there kicking the arses of the University team but we stayed over so we could go out on the Toon. Cracking night! Drank the place dry, chatted up the totty, had a bit of a dance, punched a bloke who stood on my foot, finished off with a kebab. Top night.”
I say, “All the hallmarks of a classic evening. Where were you staying? Premiere Inn?”
“Fuck that! Have you seen those prices?”
“Yeah. About forty nine quid. Not bad, what with the breakfast. You’d eat about twenty quids worth of sausages so I’d call it a bargain.”
“Nah. We got cheaper digs than that.”
Denny grins. “Roger’s brother is in uni up there – we crashed at his.”
I say, “What?? A whole rugby team crashing at this poor lad’s house? Why did he agree to put you up?”
“He didn’t. Roger asked if he could stay and his brother said ok, but Roger invited us all to stay as a prank. You should have see his brother’s face. It was priceless!”
Denny guffaws and chucks his beer down his throat. I could only imagine how Roger’s brother felt when this herd of arseholes rolled into his house for the weekend. Poor cunt.
Denny wipes his mouth, belches. “Anyway, we all have a grand night out and rock up at Roger’s brother’s house around twoish. I get to the room first so I bagged a spot by the window. I like a bit of fresh air.”
I almost drop my pint. “Wait wait wait. Room? Singular? You were all kipping in the same room?”
“Yup. Fifteen of us in sleeping bags.”
“Fuck me. I bet it smelled like a barn.”
“It did. That’s why I was by the window.” Denny taps his head. “I’m not daft!”
I think about contesting this, but I don’t bother.
“Anyway,” continues Denny, “I wake up at some point in the night and it’s dark and I’m busting for a shit. Thing is, there wasn’t a spare inch of floor to walk on. It’s was wall to wall snoring, farting bastards. But this wasn’t a turd you could just nip up. It had to come out.”
I know Denny. He’s not one to fuck about. I have several possible outcomes whirling in my mind and none are pretty.
Denny swigs ale. “Right. I couldn’t mess about. I was about to stick my arse out the window and launch it out of there, but there was a fucking conservatory below me. That’d really endear us to Roger’s brother, laying a steamer on his glass roof. But then I have an idea. The garden backed onto woods. I have a rummage round and find Smiffy’s rugger sock screwed up on the floor. I straighten it out, stretch the top as far as it would go, and I do a shit in it.”
I spit beer all over the place.
I say, “You shat… in a sock?”
Denny looks smug. “Yup. Didn’t get my thumbs mucky or nowt. It went straight in, no messing.”
I shake my head. “I’m impressed. In spite of myself, I might add. So what did you do with the sock?”
Denny grins. “This was the genius bit. I reckoned I could get the sock over the conservatory, over the patio and into the trees and no-one would be the wiser. It was a fair distance, but I like a challenge. I just needed to give it a bit of welly. So I start to swing the sock, like a slingshot. One… two… three… HEAVE! The sock went sailing off, straight and true and disappears into the trees! Bingo! I close the window, shuffle back into my sleeping bag and I’m knocking out Z’s before I know it.”
I say, “Tidy work. Did your mate Smiffy miss his sock then?”
“That weren’t Smiffy’s main concern, come the morning. I wake up to chaos. Everyone is shouting, some lads are spewing up. There’s this horrible stink in the room. I open my eyes and it’s daylight. The room is covered in shit. The walls, the ceiling, all the lads, everyone and everything has got shit on it. It’s fucking pandemonium.”
“What the fuck had happened?” I say to Denny.
He shakes his head, giggling. “Turns out Smiffy’s sock had a big hole in the toe. When I started swinging it, shit got piped out the end like an icing bag.”
“Fucking Hell.” I feel a bit sick thinking about it.
“The lads still don’t have a clue. I’m not gonna tell them, either.”
I look at the gang of bellowing meat heads. “Yeah, Denny. I’d keep that little story to yourself.”
Denny says, “Don’t tell anyone,Luci, yeah?”
I say, “Your secret is safe with me.”
I finish my pint and fuck off to a quiet pub down the road.
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