Thursday, 3 March 2011

Pubs, Pulpits and the Perils of Punting

It was mid morning and I was standing outside the boozer waiting for it to open.

The night before, I’d pumped £150 into the fruit machine (slot machine), which was ready to pay out the £250 jackpot. A further investment of anything between £20 and £40 would have secured the jackpot. I would have continued with my investment programme had the missus not phoned me up in a panic, saying there was a strange smell in the house and she was frightened it could be gas.

I was faced with a potentially life threatening situation. I’d lost the house insurance premium at last week’s poker session. If the kitchen blew up, the wife would discover the lack of insurance cover… and then she’d kill me.

I charged into the kitchen and started sniffing the air like a frustrated canine trying to find an in-season bitch. I noticed the wife’s sister sitting at the table.

“Calm down, calm down,” said the wife.

“The house is about to become a neighbour to Saturn, and you want me to be calm?” I shouted, still sniffing the air.

“The smell’s gone!” Replied the wife.

I looked at her sister. I went to the bathroom and, sure enough, there they were, drying on the radiator.

I returned to the kitchen and asked the wife’s sister how her bowel problems were these days.

Back to the fruit machine,

The door of the pub opened. I went in and said, ”Gertie, you’re useless. This place should have opened five minutes ago.”

The barmaid, Gertie, ignored me and replied, “are you having the usual, eez?”

Gertie, (known as Gobbling Gertie by the male drinkers in the pub because she has a reputation for, well, oral abilities) is a fiery creature in the mornings and would normally have slapped me for having said such a thing.

Somewhat puzzled, I looked at her, “are you okay, Gertie?”

“Not really, eez, I think I’ve got a gum infection. There’s definitely something not right in the workshop, if you know what I mean.”

“Sorry to hear that, Gertie. Get me a large whisky and I’ll have this lucky twenty pound note changed for coins please.”

“You definitely want a large one?” She asked.

“Probably not as much as you, Gertie, but, yes, I’ll have a large one please.”

“How long are you going to be here, eez?”

“Why do you ask?” I enquired.

“I was just wondering if it would be me listening to your drunken shite later or the barmaid up the road.”

Ignoring her, I picked up my drink and coins and walked towards the fruit machine.

“eez!” A voice called from behind me.

Without turning, I said, “hello, Bhoppy.”

“Don’t you be giving me any of that Bhoppy nonsense, now.”

Bhoppy, the landlord of the pub, is a strange person who finishes virtually every sentence with the word ‘now’ and talks as if he is preaching from the pulpit. Also, he owns what is possibly the worst pub on the planet:

The toilets are only cleaned once a month, which means there is a constant smell of an ape house in the bar area; his best customer-boosting idea to date, has been to advertise the fact that he’d put a new roof on the pub after the lodgers had smashed through the previous one in an attempt to avoid the immigration services; and the most people he’s ever had in his establishment was when he promoted the booking of ‘Gary’s Disco on Friday Night’ in the local paper, but he forgot to put the ‘r’ in ‘Gary’s’ when he filled out the advertisement form.

“What do you want, Bhoppy?”

“As the Almighty is my witness, my name is Seamus! Look at my nose, you soulless creature!”

Still without turning, I groaned, “Your name is not Seamus. Your name is Bhopinder and you were born in Bombay. For some strange reason you decided to convert to Catholicism, became an Irish citizen, because a deluded child molester called O’Brien said that only an Irishman could be a true Catholic, and then you moved to England, where nobody knew you, and started calling yourself Seamus.”

“May his wrath strike you down! And will you look at my nose, now.”

“Bhoppy, I’ve seen your nose before. It’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

“On my dear mother’s life, I swear that it is only the presence of the good Lord looking down on me that stops me from kicking you in the balls, now.”

I’d had enough. “Gertie,” I called over my shoulder, “get this twisted, bi-continental twat of a landlord a drink and tell him to shut up.”

“Sweet Mary mother of Jesus, for sure you are an evil person sent to us by Beelzebub himself. Look at my nose!”

“Bhoppy! I’ve already had the wife shouting at me today,” I replied, turning to face him, “so you aren’t going to make a spit’s worth of difference whatsoever…crikey, Bhoppy, what happened to your snout?”

“So, at last the fallen one turns to face his victim. I beseech you, my Lord, to keep both my feet on your blessed ground and to help me fight the temptation to launch one into the groin of this poor sinner standing before me, now.”

“Okay, you win. Seamus, your holiness, who clonked you one? Did that happen after I’d left?”

Bhoppy looked at me. “It was the huge, female beast with carnal knowledge of the poor man that Bluto had beaten unconscious earlier. And you started the fight, now!”

“Did Bluto walk out with the huge, female beast?” I asked.

“Would you be suggesting that Bluto, a fine God-fearing man such as myself, would consider carrying out the adulterous work of the devil, now?”

“For fucks sake, Bhoppy! Stop ending every bloody sentence with the word ‘now’, drop the religious bollocks and tell me if Bluto left this dump with the huge, female beast!”

“I’m shamed to say he did, now.”

“Yes!” I punched the air. Last night, I’d bet Bluto fifty pounds that he wouldn’t be able to resist having a shag.

To explain: Bluto is an extremely wealthy Italian, has Adonis-like looks, the physique of an athlete, a knob bigger than a baby’s arm and there’s not a woman alive who wouldn’t sleep with him even if it meant a multiple pregnancy and a dose of genital herpes.

Also, he can’t handle alcohol very well and after three pints of lager he gets horny and doesn’t care who or what he rides.

It would appear that after I’d told this guy that Bluto, who he’d never met before, fancied his wife, the guy had gone over to Bluto and swung a punch. Bluto had looked down to identify the source of irritation, gave him a few slaps and rendered the guy unconscious. The man’s wife, feeling obliged to hit someone, had turned round, punched Bhoppy, and then eagerly left with Bluto.

“Sorry about the nose, Bhoppy.” I said, returning to the fruit machine, “Get the fifty quid off Bluto and we’ll split it, okay?”

“Ah, eez, that would be fine, now.”

And then it struck me that the fruit machine wasn’t where it should be.

“Bhoppy, what’s happened to the fruit machine?”

“Well, that’s a long story, now.”

“Make it short, Bhoppy.”

“It seems that, due to an oversight on my part, I have failed to pay the rent for some time. For sure, The Lord has punished me for having such an object of sin and temptation within these walls, now.”

“Bhoppy, where’s the fruit machine?”

Gertie stepped in, “the bailiffs took it this morning, eez.”

Carrying on from where The Lord had left off, I gave Bhoppy a sample of my humble punishment.

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