“My sister’s back in hospital with her heart.” The wife informed me.
“If that’s a statement from a physiological point of view, then I can’t fault it. If, however, you are referring to her moral and ethical approach to fellow human beings, I must take issue; I fear the doctors are in for a torrid time of it.”
She didn’t say anything. She looked at me, trying to decide if I’d insulted her sister or not.
Twenty minutes I left for work. As I stepped from the door, a stone bookend caught the back of my head.
Gertie was wiping the blood from my neck, as Narky walked into the pub.
“Narky!” I called.
“Oh, hi, eez.” He sat at the bar and asked for half a beer.
“You don’t look very happy, Narky…Narky?”
“eez, he’s gone,” she said, prodding the only narcoleptic in the region.
“Right, no time to waste. Put all the clocks forward by seven hours.”
“Gertie, just do it!”
I removed Narky’s watch.
Bluto and Biffy walked in with only minutes to spare.
“Come on guys you know the plan. Get on with it!”
Biffy ran to a table and quickly dealt four hands of poker.
Bluto loaded the table with empty bottles, ran back to grab Narky and threw him in one of the chairs.
Biffy splashed some whisky around for authenticity.
We piled a heap of cash in front of Bluto.
I looked at the cards Biffy had dealt him. “Fuck me, four aces. Poor bastard.”
I ‘fixed’ Narky’s cards and placed his watch next to them.
Narky woke up.
“Come on then Narky, what are you doing? I want to get home for something to eat. I’ve been here nearly seven hours!”
“Oh, er, right, where were we?…I had no idea…I…”
“Narky,” I said, “are you staying in the game or are you walking away? Biffy and I are already out.”
“Why’s my watch on the table?”
“You’re out of cash, you’ve thrown your watch in the pot,” answered Biffy, trying not to laugh.
“That was my great grandfather’s watch. He left it to me in his will. He killed himself just before they were going to hang him, you know.”
“They were going to hang your great grandfather?”
“Yeah. I would have liked to have gone to his grave to thank him for the watch.”
Bluto didn’t know what to do. This wasn’t supposed to have happened. It was meant to be a wind-up, nothing else.
Narky was almost in tears.
“Bluto, as he’s a mate,” I suggested, “perhaps you could let Narky keep the watch and take an IOU if he loses the hand.”
Bluto thought about it for a while then said, “okay. Just this once, though.”
“Thanks, Bluto! Anyway, I’m throwing my cards in. They’re awful.” said Narky.
He quickly put the watch back on his wrist and pulled a pen from his jacket pocket.
“That watch is worth a lot of money, you know. I don’t know what on earth I was thinking when I put it on the table.”
Narky filled out a cheque and handed it to Bluto.
(I didn’t even know Narky, the permanently unemployed narcoleptic, had a chequebook.)
Bluto showered us with whisky, started to choke and passed the cheque, in the amount of £175,000.00, to me.
“Narky,” I said, looking at him, “where is you great grandfather buried?”
“And his name?”
“Goering.” he replied, grinning.
I tore up the cheque. “Okay, Narky, nice one.”
I turned to Bluto: “Nipples!”
Narky tried to run, but Bluto caught him.
Bluto grabbed Narky’s nipples, gave them a full half-turn and lifted the screaming Narky off his feet.
Biffy and I delivered a series of dead arm and dead leg punches.
Barty, head of security, walked in and, misunderstanding the situation, tore Narky from Bluto’s hands and threw him against a wall. Narky didn’t move.
“Do you think we can glue these back on?” asked Bluto.
After the ambulance had taken Narky and his nipples away (we put his nipples in a bag of frozen mixed veg’), Gertie gave us drinks and said, “huh, some mates you lot are.”
“Come on Gertie, it was just meant as a laugh.”
“I’m sure Narky’s laughing,” she responded, wiping glasses.
“Don’t give us a hard time, Gertie,” begged Bluto, “it was a mistake, we’re sorry.”
A few minutes later, I said, “actually, I don’t know much about Narky at all. Anyone know his last name? Other than Goering, of course.”
“How about, Leptik!” shouted Bluto.
For Bluto, it was quite funny.
“His surname’s Johnson,” replied Gertie. “His grandparents changed the family name when they moved to England after the war.”
I edged towards the door.
“They wouldn’t have lasted five minutes,” she continued, “with a name like Goering.”