In the Pub

Richard Kennaway

This is a work of fiction.
A few details are actually true.
This does not imply that any other details are true.

Thanks to all at the Delphi Mornington Crescent server.


Me an' my mates on our way here, thought we'd 'ave some fun first, 'ad a few six-packs each to get in the mood, went out to the M1 and dared each other to lie down in the fast lane. So I walks out, calm as you please, never look at the traffic--

F16? Poncey little things, they are. Now, me and my mates got a Challenger tank. Ex-mil, all legal if you know who to ask. Get that on the road and watch the BMeffingWs get out of yer way. Don't tell anyone, but we got the main gun recommissioned--

Poof izzit? Well, Beatrice, when were you last in Azerbaijan, then? Can't even say it right. Closest you've been to a war zone's getting clouted by yer ex-girl for eyein' up 'er new boyfriend. --

--stroll out like I own the road and lays me down. Cars whizzin' either side but they never touched me. Bottle, that takes. Would've stayed there, too, but me mates dragged me away after the oil tanker crashed.

You realise that "Mr. Blobby" is actually a sex toy? I got a friend, he told me, someone he knows in the trade got into this bet, like, get the biggest sex toy in the store onto children's television, prime time. So he gets this giant blow-up doll--

Well, my dog, he weighs more than you do, like to see you after he'd finished with you, he'll drink a barrel of beer in an evening. 'Course it says "No dogs", but no-one's going to pick an argument, right? Last night there was this gang of skin'eads--

-- Now my brother, he's in UZBEKISTAN right now, studying to be a conductor, and getting shown the sights of Tashkent and Samarkand by the British ambassador, who just happens to be an old school friend.

So we get the FV432 out to this field, owned by this ex-army vicar what runs a Landrover club, and there's this ditch, and Tim says, gorn, the boys in the landrovers cross it all the time, an APC'll hardly notice, come on, so I thinks, yeah, go for it--

Well, I found the secret of life, right, and it's like Marvin says, no-one's really interested. I mean, I got it all sussed now, won't catch me in some mid-life crisis--

Did I ever tell you about the time I joined the Foreign Legion? I had to get away from London for a while, like, so I thought, make it look like I've joined up, then skip in a couple of weeks and lie low. Well, after I got there--

--a 'undred of them there were, thought they were tough like, he went through them like, well, blood everywhere and it wasn't his, they're still looking for the pieces. An' I told the copper, "Dangerous Dogs Act? Gorn, you put a muzzle on 'im if you dare!"

Election? Waste of time. Replace one bunch of fools by another, Major's dead from the neck down and Blair looks like a Moonie, if voting could change anything it would be illegal, and d'y'know, I worked it out--

Actually, alcohol doesn't make you drunk at all. Ever wonder why different cultures have different ways of being drunk? Ok, they drink different stuff, like beer here, wine in France, right, but thas norrit. Wha th'reckon is--

You'd be surprised where the aristocracy turns up these days. I mean, everyone knows about Prince Edward being Andrew Lloyd Webber's teaboy, but did you know there's a Count of the Holy Roman Empire in the cast of The Archers?--


--and I know a bloke who knows someone at an ammo depot, get my drift. Anyway, there's this bloke, been on holiday for a few years like, wants to borrow it. What's in it, I asks him, and well, nuff said, but I reckon it'll pay for itself, and some, noworrimean? Now, you keep that under yer 'at, don't want to fall under a tank, do yer?

Well, y'see, hangovers, like, HANGOVERS, y'listening are you, like, what you do is, crack four eggs an' top it up, y'following this, topidupwi' wossname, Dettol, an'' 's nothing t'touch it, never feel a thing.

--like when some sales manager in Dollis Hill wakes up when he's 43, realises he never wanted any of what he's got and hasn't a clue what to do about it. Ok, you're asking me what it is, but it wouldn't mean anything 'less I took a couple of years to tell you. What'll you have? You what? Pint of Owd Rodger? See what I mean, forgotten about it already.

--'s equivalent to about 0.0000001 bits of information per year for each voter. Hardly worth the bother, right? Anyway, Brish Gum ain't worth a bucket of spit, everyone knows that, it's all the multinationals and the big banks and the IMF and secret societies like the Grand Order of Water Rats, meet in a cabin in the Rockies and give each other strange handshakes, that's where everything gets decided.--

--and before we know it it's pointing down at 45 degrees with its nose buried in the opposite bank. Me and the lads spend the next six hours driving it back and forwards trying to get it out, digging the bank back with shovels, but will it climb it? Will it heck. And it's 16 tons, got a ton of water inside it by now, sinking deeper all the time, and we're not saying anything, like, but we're thinking like this could be the last we see of it--

Yes, as a matter of fact I AM Jesus H. Christ himself, and I'm trying to keep a low profile if you don't mind. I mean, look at what happened the first time I came: peace, love, and -- *voom* -- nailed to a plank before you could say "Messiah".

--Plays wossname, David Archer. 'Course, he uses a stage name professionally, it would sound pretty silly if the announcer read out "David Archer, The 7th Earl of Portland and Count of the Holy Roman Empire", Timothy Bentinck I think he calls himself, which is actually the name of one of his great-to-the-nth grandfathers who was William III's lover. Guess the aristos have always had to turn a trick or two to make ends meet, autre temps, autre mores but that as they say is another story squire.

Hiya Ginge, that's the spirit, I like a lass with guts!

--I decided it's a pretty good life, I mean, they're as tough as they say, but so'm I, been around the block a bit, can take care of myself, like, get well in with the sarge, work hard, play hard, y'know? So I'm there about a year, mostly Africa, and I hear we're posted to Bosnia. Well, the military life's ok, especially after lights out in the barracks, but people shooting back at you's a bit much--

--don't ask me what the punters use it for, thinks up an act for it, and well, long story short, but Noel sees it when he's putting together this crap show he has, and the rest's history.

--Twenty years time, there'll be a World Government, and then where'll you go if it takes against you, eh, answer me that? It'll be 1984, mark my words, they won't need TV cameras in every room, they just have to watch the internet, get rid of money, do everything by plastic, won't be able to breathe without someone somewhere knowing about it.--

--y'first take up drinking, see, y'learn to get drunk by copying th'people roun' you. The acshuall pharma, phramaco, pharmcogological effecsh, 'r, like, gen'ral, like, an' you INTERPRET them, an', an' ACT like y' reckn sh'be acting. S'like, culchrl cveshns, thassall. So, if that's true, an' 'm only sayn IF, mind, then, then like once y'learn how, sh'be able g'drunk wout ACKSHL'drinkng an'thn at all. Another mineral water, please.

And I know the chap who invented "felching", too, and now there's actually people who do it! Rum world sure enough.

--In the end we got a mate's JCB to give it a pull, came out no bother. Have to hose down the inside sometime to get all the mud out. Great fun on a Sunday afternoon. Men are really stupid, y'know?

After hours? Don't worry, the Chief Constable just happens to be a close personal friend of mine. Mind you, there's places where that wouldn't cut any parsnips, and in this country too! People just don't know their place any more.--

...comine crepida castat vagulae: mea credulchrio ad fidus abhorribus non tolla absolvo...

--So I skips that night, fall in with some desert Arabs -- they're a grand bunch, lingo's no prob, pick it up in a week. Bum around north Africa for a while, bit of this, bit of that, cash in hand, no questions. I mean, everywhere's home if you've got the right attitude.

What're you then, a double glazing salesman?

Bore bore bore bore bore bore long haired fellas bore bore bore bore bore--

--Time was when you got stopped for speeding, that was the end of that officer's career. One law for the rich, one for the poor, that's how things should be, whatever that frightful talking shop down at Westminster says. Well, at least Majordomo -- hoho, good one that, Majordomo -- at least he's been sent packing. Biggest tactical vote in history.--

--No, you won't find me around tomorrow, trackless as a bird through the empty sky, that's me. If you meet the Buddha on the road, say hi to him from me.

--Mars colonies? Don't make me laugh. We could do it right now, but all those military satellites up there, it's the Berlin wall all over again, 'cept there's no-one on the other side to remind us what freedom is. And you can't exactly cross the Van Allen Belts in a hot air balloon, can you? No, we're stuck at the bottom of this fucking hole and too FUCKING STUPID to see it. You know what an oubliette is? An 'ole in the ground what the local squire drops people he doesn't like down, chucks them just enough food to keep them alive cos he doesn't pull enough rank in the feudal system to kill them and lets them rot. Well, we're living in one eight thousand miles across and with twenty billion people in it it will NOT be a pretty sight my friend.

--I mean, you don't think anyone really want Labour? Chuck them out in a couple of years. Now there's some say, bring back Maggie, but really, she's so common. Almost as bad as Brenda. Now there's middle-class for you, never mind her dreadful brats. Cheers, Boffy, non illegitimi carborundum, what?

Man U? You a Man U fan Jimmy? Are yez? Eh? Man U fan? I like Man U fans, right. No violent like some. You a Man U fan then? That shirt really suits ye, y'know that? Ann is it? Ann's a really nice name, eh? So you, like, you a Man U fan eh?

W'wegoddado, w'godda kill all the lawyers, smash the bosses, smash the Tories! Smash New Labour! Smash the lickspittle Socialist Workers Party!! Huh? You a class TRAITOR? Eh? Eh? *crunch*

--bore bore bore bore bore bore bore bore bore bore bore your place or mine Matt?

Drunk? Thazh a lie! I'm azobr'z, te' y'wha', walk fr' here t' th' door wi' m'eyes shut *stumble* *crash* bloody stupid tables, giz anoth' pint, Jack. YOU'RE NO FUCKIN' CLOSED TIL I SEZ Y'ARE! Geyerrandsaffame, ye fat arse *crash* *thump* *slam*.

Hi Matt, hallawrerr, you're a guid friend, y'know that? Erryone else's buggered off home, even that nice wee lassie in the Man U shirt, but ah'll stick wi' you, right? Here's tae us, wha's like us! Damn few, an' they're a' deid!!

Hey whoozat daft Yank hammerin' on the door? They're CLOSED Jimmy!! 'Way aff hame wi' ye! Oh, rerrzat nice Man U fan! Hullo Ann. Thish, this is my right guid friend Matt. He's a football fan too, y'know? Now, you might not believe this--

--but I once played for Glasgow Rangers. How's that eh! But it's no really a game for a grown man to be playing, like. Like, look at Georgie Best, a real shame. So, whit do ye do when ye're no following Man U, eh?

Weel, ah've nivver been a great one fer spectator sports, like, an' I've no followed the fitba' since movin' down here. Didnae even know the final was on until a couple o' days efter. The local team here's ok, or it used tae be, First Division an a'--

--though Matt here might disagree, twin hate cities, eh, Norwich an' Ipswich? Naw, cyclin', rock climbin' -- Chris Bonnington's a mate o' mine -- karate, jugglin', Mornington Crescent, that's the gim fer me. Workin' with people, competin' onie against mysel', y'see? But you'll know a' aboot that frae yer dancin' an' actin', right? 'tsaw aboot the same stuff, eh?

All a bit deep for a Saturday nicht oot, eh?

Ah weel, I'm away home noo. 'Course, ye can crash at mine if ye're stuck, eh, Ann?

Ok, aye, Matt, ye can hae the sofa, an' there's a wee dram or two when we get there. Braw nicht, eh? 'Sat Hale-Bopp up rerr? "Show me the WAY to go HOME...."

© Richard Kennaway, 1997.