This is a humorous story from Ray
Smith, about how things can get quickly get out of hand when you try and stop a
barrel of Best Bitter from going bad. It's totally 'tongue in cheek' and written in 'Lankyspeak' (Lancashire
dialect). We hope you like it.
The gig at Rottcaster Miners Club
had been a blinder. BrandySnap had played their socks off to a full clubhouse
yet again, and put three more dates in their diary. The last one of which was
two years away! Yes, it was definitely one of their favourites.
And, as usual for one of their favourites, they
had been invited to stay and have an after time session with the chosen few.
They were well aware of this and stripped their gear down in record time.
On this Saturday night though, there was a bit
of a problem. Three of the lads had Sunday engagements and wanted to get away.
Zoot was off to Wales with his climbing club, while Rebop and Beamer were on an
early Slackbottom Sea Anglers coach to Whitby.
Hogan and Nudger, meanwhile, were in the mood to
stop a barrel of Best Bitter going bad, and then get a chip supper on the way
Wheelsnapper came up with the answer. He would
take the three lads home and drop all the gear off at Beamer’s house, if he
agreed. They’d done this several times in the past because Beamer’s house had a
huge hallway where the gear wouldn’t get in the way. Beamer readily agreed,
especially as BrandySnap had another gig in three night’s time and the band gear
was always easier to load from one location.
The round trip for Wheelsnapper would take about
two hours. This would give Nudger and Hogan ample time to down a good few beers
each. As a bonus, Wheelsnapper told them he’d call at the chip shop on the way
back to the club and took their orders.
Sure enough, Wheelsnapper’s estimated time was
spot on as he arrived back at the club two hours later. The two lads had got
quite merry and greeted their driver with raucous shouts. They didn’t want to
leave and ordered two more pints of bitter.
Wheelsnapper was becoming visibly more and more
upset with them. He was annoyed that they’d broken the tacit agreement that he’d
made with the entire band. He started pulling his face and making sarcastic
remarks. He told them several times that their chips were going cold in the van!
Eventually, he managed to cajole and bully the
two reluctant drinkers out of the club and into the back of the van. He then
sped off for Slackbottom at high speed.
Arriving at Hogan’s house first, he stopped the
van and opened the back doors. He was still very annoyed with what had occurred.
‘Right, you, get out,’ he snarled, poking Hogan
in the chest with a stiff forefinger.
‘Who do you think you’re talking to?’ shouted
Hogan. He promptly dived headlong out of the van onto Wheelsnapper, giving him a
smack in the chops in the process.
This bounced the band’s driver onto the ground
via the van’s door, which swung wildly open before the powerful spring started
to pull it back again. As both Hogan and Wheelsnapper scrambled to their feet,
three things happened simultaneously.
Hogan started to swivel on one leg, with the
other one sticking straight out in front of him. It was a sort of a kung fu come
The van door zoomed back on its spring at one
hell of a lick and whanged into BrandySnap’s driver/roadie with a sound like a
cracked church bell. It’s a matter of conjecture whether Wheelsnapper actually
heard that sound. What isn’t conjecture is the way he hit the ground face first
with a dull thud.
And Nudger, quietly tucking into his chips and
curry in the back of the van, emerged to see what all the racket was about.
Hogan’s death kick attained its full velocity
and impact at this point. But even through the haze of Best Bitter he seemed to
be in, his manic glazed eyes could see that this wasn’t the target he’d
originally aimed for. Instead, it connected with the chip curry in Nudger’s
Chips and lumps of yellow-brown curry sauce
spattered across Nudger’s face and hair, and then off into the night. He
screamed and sank to his knees by the side of the prone figure of Wheelsnapper.
‘The curry, the curry. It’s in my eyes!’ Nudger
sobbed over and over again. He sprang to his feet and pushed his face repeatedly
into the damp leaves of Hogan’s privet hedge. He was still babbling and making
garbled noises as he attempted to dislodge the curry from his eyes. The leaves
had the effect of rubbing the curry sauce even further into his eyes, while the
leaf stalks and twigs were causing scratches all over his face.
Hogan’s wife had heard the van pull up and the
commotion that followed. Light flooded out from the front door and down the
garden path as she came out to see what was going on.
Wheelsnapper was stirring groggily, so she
helped him to his feet. Passing Nudger, she plucked him from the hedge and
pushed them both indoors.
Once there, she switched more lights on and sent
Nudger up the stairs to the bathroom so he could bathe his face and rinse his
eyes with cold water. She then turned to her brother, Wheelsnapper. He was
standing there glaring out of one good eye and one rapidly blackening one. Blood
matted his hair and neck from a cut where the van door had got him, so she
pushed him into the kitchen to clean himself up.
After a few minutes more, in through the front
door strolled a nonchalant Hogan. He was met with the sight of his wife in her
dressing gown, stood in the middle of the room with her hands on her hips.
‘Now then,’ she said, shaking her head. ‘Do you
remember the first words you said to me when we met all those years ago? No?
Well, I’ll tell you. You said “I’m a good fighter, I am.” So, what have you
been up to?’
Ray Smith 1998
Check out Ray's
Grey Mare mini blues festival
in Ramsbottom, Lancashire
Check out other Lancashire stories from
West Pennine Boogie Blues
Website and Photos © Copyright 2000-2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Text (this page) © Copyright 1998 Ray Smith. All Rights Reserved.
For further information please email:
Check out other essays here: