Tuesday, 8 March 2011


“How’s your day been?” enquired the missus.

I thought for a moment. “My day’s been okay.”

The wife was being nice to me. The wife is only nice to me when she’s setting me up for a trashing or needs a vast amount of money for something.

Keeping an eye on her, I grabbed a glass from the cupboard and pulled a bottle of Scotland’s finest from the shelf.

“There are some ice cubes in the freezer. They’re on the top shelf at the front,” she said.

I studied her. “Are you feeling at all unwell?”

“I’m very well, thank you.”

“Okay,” I said, pouring a hefty glassful, “what’s going on?”

“Nothing’s going on.”

Earlier, in the boozer, I’d spent a considerable amount of time and effort getting a horse trainer from Donegal completely battered on a combination of Guinness and barley wine. Having kept up with him drink-for-drink, I was, by now, probably a little tipsy myself.

Diplomacy, discretion and discipline (DDD) would be required for the next hour or so.

“Fair enough. If there’s nothing going on, that’s fine.”

I opened the fridge and looked for something to eat.

“What are you looking for?”

“Not too sure,” I replied, looking at row upon row of low fat yoghurts, low fat spreads and a single bottle of mineral water.

Normally, I’d have slammed the fridge shut and told the useless bitch that I was going next door to see if the neighbours had anything worth eating in their waste bins, but, with the three D’s firmly in my mind, I said, “I don’t think I’ll bother. I’d only be eating for the sake of eating.”

“Good idea,” she pleasantly agreed.

I looked about, but couldn’t find my glass, “where’s my glass?”

“It’s over by the fridge, dear.”

“What did you say?”

“It’s over by the fridge.”

“You said something else. There was something at the end of that.”

“I called you ‘dear’; after all, you are my husband of over forty years.”

The last time she’d been this happy and nice was when a ‘friend’, with whom she’d previously had an argument, had been run over and killed by a bus.

Some unfortunate bastard, other than myself, was involved in all this. If I played my cards right, there was every chance I’d escape a trashing and wouldn’t have to visit the bank tomorrow.

“Forty years, eh?” I said. “Who’d have though it?”

“Have you seen Tina recently?” she asked.

Usually, when she asks me if I’ve seen a woman recently, I instinctively say no, but, this time, for whatever reason, I decided to go along with things.

“Let me think.”

I finished my drink and, as I went for a refill, I recalled that the good lady had argued with a fairly large female called Tina some years ago.

“I don’t actually recall knowing anyone called Tina…unless, of course, you’re referring to the large lady with whom you had a mild disagreement a year or two ago.”

“That’s the one!” she exclaimed, hitting the table with her fist. “I saw her at Weight Watchers this morning. She’s moved back to the area.”

The evening was shaping up to be a good one for me. All I had to do was remember the three D’s and keep my mind agile.

“You go to Weight Watchers? Good Lord, woman, with all the axe practise you get and the other activities in which you partake, I can’t believe there’s an ounce of fat on you.”

“Oh, please.” she murmured demurely.

“However, going back to this Tina, of whom you speak,” I continued, “I do recall seeing a woman who, in the town at least, is referred to as ‘Two Ton Tina’ and has a backside that resembles several sacks of live ferrets held together with anchor chains. I believe she’s gained a considerable amount of weight.”

“Yes!” shouted the wife, “That’s her! She’s hideous!”

I don’t know if it was the drink or the forty years of marriage, but the three D’s went out the window:

“Fuck me! With a face like yours, what on earth makes you think you have the right to call any of God’s creations hideous?”

I woke up next morning with balls the size of grapefruits and a scrotum that resembled a coal sack.

Gertie watched as I approached the bar.

“Good morning, eez. Wife get you in the wank bag again?”


“I’ve got some good deals on at the moment, perhaps I could ease the pressure.”

“Gertie, if size was anything to go by, you’d end up with fluid on your lungs.”

I tried to sit on a bar stool, but it was too painful. “Gertie, go and get a cushion.”

She looked around the pub. “We don’t have any cushions. I don’t think we ever have.”

“Just go and get one of yours please, Gertie. I know you swapped the knee pads for conventional cushions.”

She returned with a cushion.

It was no good; I couldn’t even get my backside over the stool.

“I’ll go and get Bhoppy,” she said.

A minute later, they each had an arm round my back and a hand under each of my knees.

Gertie was in control, “right, Bhoppy, on the count of three we’ll lift him and put him on the stool. One, two, three!”

Pain shot through my body, but I was on the stool. I felt faint and Gertie quickly handed me a large brandy.

“Have you taken the money, now?” Bhoppy asked her, in his fake Irish accent.

“Bhoppy! It’s first aid. It’s on the house. I do the same for anyone.”

“Sweet Jesus! As the Lord looks down on me now, I’ll be having every man who’s had his nuts cracked knocking on my door wanting a drink, for sure. You’ll be putting me in the poorhouse, now!”

We ignored him and I had another large brandy, for which I paid.

But, it was no good. I had to go home. I needed my bed.

I phoned Barty. “Hello, mate,” I said, “I need a favour; get down the pub as quick as you can and bring some of the boys with you.”

Shortly, there was a screech of tyres and five blokes charged through the door waving baseball bats.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Gertie dashed off to turn on the heating in the stock room and apply some lipstick.

Barty looked around and asked, “where are they, eez?”

“Between my legs, Barty”

I explained the situation and the boys put me in the back of Barty’s truck, took me home and put me to bed.

An hour later, the phone rang.

I picked it up.

“Hello,” I said.

“Good morning, sir. Our records show you’ve had a car accident recently and could be entitled to substantial compensation.”

Oh God, he was touting for business. Tomorrow he’d probably be selling sun beds.

“Hey! Yeah! I was involved in an incident last week,” I replied.

“Please describe the nature of the accident, sir.”

“I ran over a call centre worker.”

The line went dead.

The phone rang again.

“Hello,” I said.

“Am I speaking to Mr ___ _____,” she asked.


“My name’s Debbie and I’m calling from _______ Limited, regarding a debt you owe. Please confirm your name and the first line of your address.”

Oh God, another call centre worker.

“You know my name. You’ve just said it. If you don’t think I’m me, then why make this call? You could be speaking to a complete stranger.”

“Can you confirm your identity, sir?”


I waited. She waited.

“Er, sir?”


“You said you’d confirm your identity.”

“I have. I’ve confirmed that I’m definitely me.”

“Okay. Can I have the first line of your address?”

“Why do you want that? Other people speak to me without knowing the first line of my address. I’ve never needed the first line of someone’s address in order to speak to them.”

“Sir, it’s for security purposes.”

“Why didn’t you say so?” I excitedly said, “I’ve always fancied myself as an undercover worker for MI5 or MI6. You know, national security, flying jets etc. Exciting stuff! James Bond gets some cracking fanny, doesn’t he?”


“I think you’d better sit down,” I suggested.

“I am sitting down.”

“Oh, alright…I hope it’s not one of those awful leather chairs. They always crease my trousers. It’s the same for skirts, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. After an hour the creases are a nightmare.”

“My wife has the same problem and if she’s wearing a short skirt, she finds that her legs stick to the leather.”

“I always wear stockings. No stickiness with stockings.”

“Stockings with the short skirt, eh? Sounds like a good idea.”

“Tell your wife.”

“Yeah, I might have a word with her about the stockings and stickiness on thighs.”

And there, indeed, was the wife, standing in the doorway.

The specialist was a nice guy. He sat on the edge of my bed and told me what had happened:

“You’ve been in an induced for coma for seventy two hours. We had no other option. It was touch and go.”

He lifted my gown, had a look and winced.

“After forty eight hours,” he continued, “we thought we'd have to amputate.”

“I don’t know why you didn’t,” I said, “these days, all they’re used for is target practise.”

“So, we called your friends and family in and explained how risky it would be.”

He paused for a quick look at my notes.

“After they’d left, we came to take you to the operating theatre. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. I simply can’t explain it.”

I looked at him.

“The swelling had completely disappeared. One minute you had the testicles of an elephant, the next minute they were back to normal size.”

He got up from the bed and said, “you’re a very lucky man. You’ll be out of here in a couple of days.”

With that, he strolled off, shaking his head.

On the table, next to my bed, was just one 'get well' card.

Written inside it:


it’s on the house,

Gertie x’

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