I was collected from the hospital by Barty and six of his lads.
His truck had been decorated with ribbons and streamers. There were two beach balls in a sack, that had been tied at the top and sprayed a flesh-like colour, hanging from the trucks aerial.
In the back of the pick-up, an armchair had been strapped to the floor.
Sitting in the armchair, with three of his guys sitting either side, I was taken back to the town.
On the outskirts of town, a police car pulled us over.
The policeman got out of his car, looked at the seven of us in the back of the truck, walked to the driver’s side and tapped on the window.
Barty squeezed himself out of the cab and the truck tilted backwards leaving the front wheels barely touching the ground. Barty is huge.
The policeman swallowed and said, “this vehicle is overloaded, you should not be carrying passengers in the exposed rear of the vehicle, you were driving while not wearing a seat belt, you were using your phone as you drove and this vehicle is not taxed.”
One had to admire the guy. Obviously, he was new to the area and I felt a bit sorry for him. Barty looked down at the policeman.
“Is that what you’ve just written in that notebook?” Barty asked.
“Yes, sir. I must ask you to leave the vehicle where it is and find an alternative method of transportation,” he said, starting to tremble.
Barty took the notebook from the policeman and ate it.
As the law enforcement officer returned to his car, we continued our journey through town.
People cheered and waved as we drove by.
I was famous. My testicles were the talk of the town.
We parked at the boozer and I looked at the pub sign outside. I looked questioningly at the guys in the back with me.
One of them said, “Bhoppy’s eventually got round to naming the place.”
There were large posters in the windows announcing the launch of the ‘Dog and Donkey’. Under the name of the pub there was a photo of Gertie and Bhoppy. At the bottom of the poster was printed: ‘Now with function room!’
The Bison brothers, wearing black suits and trying to look menacing, were standing either side of the door (they’re called the Bison Brothers because they have both the physique and level of intelligence similar to that of a bison). I asked them what they were doing.
“It’s the axe throwing competition today, eez. Bhoppy doesn’t want the same trouble with the women that he had last year.”
I looked at them. They were good at what they did, but they wouldn’t stand a chance if the women came round.
I walked into the boozer. Banners were hanging from the ceiling with ‘Welcome Home eez’ written on them and the whole place was adorned with decorations.
I went to the bar. Gertie was talking to a guy in a funny outfit.
“So, this is him,” said the man in the funny outfit, “this is the man who the Lord deemed worthy enough to benefit from such a heavenly gift.”
He held my hand and said, “God is with you, my son.” Then, he left.
“Gertie, give me a drink, tell me who that nutter was and then tell me what’s going on.”
She poured me a drink and said, “that was Father O’Connell from the Church of Saint Catherine and your bollocks are famous.”
It appeared that word had spread that I’d had a miraculous and medically inexplicable recovery in hospital and it was all due to Gertie, who was now considered to have the divine ability to cure people of all and any ailments.
Also, Bhoppy had decided to coincide the return of ‘The Cured One’ with a re-launch of his pub.
“What do you think of the name Dog and Donkey, eez?” she asked.
“Well, Gertie,” I offered, “ all things considered, it could have been a lot worse.”
“However,” I continued, “I’m not too sure about those posters; I don’t think having your photo under the Dog bit and Bhoppy’s photo under the Donkey bit really gives the right impression.”
At this point, Bhoppy walked in carrying a mop and bucket. “Bhoppy!” I shouted.
“Welcome back eez, my brother. By the grace of the Almighty himself, you have returned to my home and for that I am most humbly grateful, now.”
“Bhoppy, the posters say you’ve got a function room. I’ve never seen a function room here.”
“eez, in your absence and with the assistance of the Lord, I have converted the old bomb shelter out the back.”
I turned to gertie. She nodded.
I turned back to Bhoppy who was filling the bucket with the slops from the drip trays under the beer taps. “Had any enquiries, yet?”
“For sure I have, eez. The phone has barely stopped ringing, now.”
How much longer, I wondered, would I be able to listen to a guy who was born in Bombay talking with a recently acquired over-the-top Irish accent?
“Bhoppy, I’ve had a near-death experience. As I was close to my final breath, I heard your Lord’s voice say to me: ‘Tell Bhoppy to stop ending every sentence with the word now’. Can you do that, Bhoppy?”
“eez, how could a sinner such as myself refuse the Lord’s command, now?”
“Okay, Bhoppy. You were saying about the function room…”
“It seems to be very popular with the womenfolk of this fine town for sure, now. Indeed, eez, I have several coming round to view it next week and check it for size.”
He looked at me and proudly said, “I’ve told them that they’ll find nothing bigger in town, now!”
He left the bar and went to the cellar with the bucket of slops.
“Looks like Bhoppy’s got another one of his guest ales coming up soon,” I said to Gertie. “And about these posters and the function room.”
She held up her hand. “eez, I know. I’m the dog, he’s the donkey and all these women are coming round to look at his cock, but let him have his dream. He thinks this place will be the Carnegie Hall of Europe.”
The pub started to fill with men.
“Is this the Dog and Donkey?” a female’s voice said behind me. “If it is, where are eez and Gertie?”
I was worried; was it one of the Tinas? (Two Ton Tina or Tonsil Tina).
“I want a photograph,” the voice said.
“You’re in the wrong place,” I said without turning round, “the axe throwing competition is taking place on the school playing field.”
“I’ll pay forty pounds for a photo of Gertie and eez together.”
I swung round. “I’m eez and this Gertie.”
To be continued