Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unsent Letters From A Dead Man: Part 5

The places you find yourself in when you're hiding from the rain....... I was nursing the remnants of my pint and hoping the rain would ease off enough for me to at least wade my way back to the underground station. A look out of the front door told me I'd probably need water-wings and my rubber duck. I cast a weary eye around the near deserted bar. Was it a bar? Maybe it was a bistro. It had a whiff of seediness to it, combined incongruously with a charming, if pointless attempt to propel the place in an up-market direction. The continental cuisine and over-priced Czech lagers couldn't quite cancel out the yellowing wallpaper, the 'half & half' supping gadgies and Sidney Devine on the jukebox. 'New manager' I thought to myself.... When a large red faced guy in chef's whites burst from the back shop into the bar in a roar of sweaty, rampant fury, I was all but ready to shrug and say "Ok, so it's a Bistro!". He seemed to be scanning the room for his prey. My eyes met his and I knew in an instant that he'd found it. A fat, raw looking forefinger, decorated with a blue elastoplast and trembling ever so slightly, was jabbing in my direction. "You! Cunt! I'll kill ye! Am gonna fuckin kill ye!" he growled in a hoarse rasp that scoured my soul of any bravado. I was standing by this point, and I instinctively recoiled, colliding with my barstool. Somehow my left foot went between the spars of the stool and in my haste to no longer be there, I found myself doing what probably looked to any passing ice skating enthusiast, like a drunken Double Lutz. There were however no score cards being held up as I came to rest on the stained, threadbare carpet. I felt a few dull aches, a friction burn on my right cheek and not a little embarrassment as I disentangled my legs from the now broken chair. I looked up from my prone position and once again remembered why I'd given up frequenting bars on my own. Bad things kept happening to me, and this was as bad as it got. Cookie was standing over me now, his face boiling with the kind of rage that would induce aneurysms in most normal human beings. This guy wasn't normal though. He was at least six-two, and was filling out into the 'double wide' sizes. Lying on my back on the floor like an upturned cockroach, he looked bigger than God. "Fuckin porkin ma wee sister ya shitebag!! Am gonnae cut ye tae ribbons!!" I had no reason to doubt him, standing as he was with what looked like an out sized and doubtless very sharp Sabbatier kitchen knife in his right hand. He didn't look like he was going to use it to cut us all a nice piece of birthday cake. I badly needed to get up and run for it, but my 'Fight or Flight' instinct was seemingly out having a fag break. Since I was going nowhere, I whimsically decided I would waste my last few seconds on this earth feebly attempting to find out who this madman was, and why he wanted to kill me to death. "Hold on mate" I stammered. "You've got the wrong guy!" He said nothing. I waited for the cliche police. When they didn't arrive, I tried a different gambit. "C'mon, this isn't a good idea. Don't want blood on the carpet, do we? The cleaner'll throw a fit" This set something off in him and he sank to his knees, just at my shoulder. I could smell the sweat and the rancid, unmistakable parmesan stench of unwashed genitals. His fly was open. I fought back the urge to make some feeble joke concerning oral sex. He'd have done one of two things, neither of them pleasant. I held my breath and looked up at him. He looked a little calmer, but he also had the knife raised in his hand. One cancelled out the other. Suddenly, the knife plunged towards me in a stop-motion blur. I closed my eyes instinctively and flinched as it crashed down about an inch from where my right ear had been, close enough to embed the dull thud in my subconscious for all eternity. His face closed in on mine and muttered the immortal words that I shall never forget, and on occasion, quote with pride. "If I ever see yer face, or hear my sister utter your name, I'll hunt ye down, cut off yer bollocks and make you wear them as earings." With that, he lifted himself away from me and stormed back towards his lair. The knife was still vibrating slightly in the floor. I breathed out for the first time in about two minutes, but it had felt like half an hour. A pair of hands lifted me to my feet, though my legs weren't exactly up to speed on the deal and buckled a little, giving me the demeanour of a drunk being helped out at closing time. I turned round and noted that the face looked reasonably human and friendly. That would do for now, at least until I was back within the walls of my safe European home. "C'mon pal, I think you need to be anywhere else but here right now." "Took the words right out of my mouth mate" The guy looked at me, half with pity, half with curiosity. "You dippin' the big man's sister then?" "Going by the accent, it might be a possibility" I replied vacantly. We were heading towards the door now. Once outside, I confided in my new ally. "So what's his problem?" I asked, as nonchalantly as was possible for a man who had just been invited to inspect the quality of a madman's legalised chib collection. "Last guy that went with his sister got her pregnant and fucked off into the night" he said, looking me straight in the eye. "People and their secrets, eh?" I muttered distractedly. The bizarre new slant on my relations with Elaine hadn't really sunk in yet, but I knew there would probably be questions, denials and tears before bed-time when I brought it up with her. I also wondered how the missing link knew who I was. Was it all coincidence and mistaken identity? I looked up at the now clearing skies and smiled. "A good omen at last!" I declared. I thanked the guy for his help and made my way back towards familiar territory. After the terror of the previous five minutes, I wasn't quite sure what that was anymore, but I was just happy to still have all my body parts intact. For a few seconds back there, I thought I'd be attending fancy dress parties as Van Gogh for the rest of my life........


Kim Ayres said...

Vincent Van Gogh was standing at the corner of the bar in his local pub when his mate Rembrandt walked in.
"Fancy a Whiskey?" called out Rembrandt.
"No, its okay", said Van Gogh, "I've got one ear."



iLL Man said...

That was awful Kim, people have gone to the noose for less..... ;)

Good to see my stories inspire something, even if it's just awful jokes. =D

Cocktails said...

But do we ever get to discover exactly how he (and you) know the brand names of posh kitchen knives?

iLL Man said...

I worked in kitchens for about ten years. Let's just assume our hero is familiar with the territory too.