Tuesday, 1 March 2016



Finally, the revolting noise stopped.

The lederhosen clad tuba player adjusted his green felt hat and marched over to the three cornered men. “The sound of the Bavarian oompah music, you like, yes?” His sweating clumpy-palm was held out for payment.

One drinker took a pull from the beer stein and swore in English as the pewter rim bit at his lip.

“I come from Bavaria,” persisted Clumpy, resting his tuba on the floor. Silence. In fact the entire bar was quiet. It had emptied into the next door pub upon his arrival as he had begun the first tune.

Only these three had remained, smothered in misery.

Clumpy scratched his beard and pulled off his green feathered hat, tipping it over to make the point and holding it towards them. More swearing. ‘Ah!’ he exclaimed, with understanding, ‘You English!’ He scrabbled in his shouldered leather satchel, pulled out a well beaten magazine and placed it on the table. ‘Big Issue?’

‘Piss off,’ snarled the biggest, rising to his feet.

Snatching his tuba, Clumpy took to his toes and the bar was silent once more. Well almost. From the darkest corner of the table came sound of sobbing.

‘For shit’s sake, Bob, will you please stop crying? Jesus.’ Big Bloke spat and sank back down.

‘Well, what are we going to do, Jimmy? We was supposed to be in Prague, not bloody Düsseldorf.  What am I going to tell Maisie? She’ll kill me.’

‘I shouldn’t fret about her. When she finds out we was kicked off that plane, the wedding’s off, mate.’ Jimmy frowned. ‘I should worry about where you are going to find that twenty grand. And how you’re going to get Wayne home from hospital.’

‘Oh, God, Wayne, I forgot him. Why did he do it? I mean, jumping out of the plane, spinning his knob around and shouting, "look at me, I’m a helicopter." What a cock.’ And Bob’s shoulders shook once again.

The third man, silent until now, spoke up. ‘It is a massive cock,’ he insisted with emphasis, ‘Enormous. Wayne’s always been proud of his tool. And quite right too. He was only trying to impress the stewardess. It’s her loss.’

‘You’re right there, Albert. Even when a nipper at nursery, he told me that he’d had the biggest potty,’ claimed Jimmy, with an air of authority. ‘Course, I wasn’t there, but I’d no reason to disbelieve him. If anyone was going to achieve penis-powered flight, it would be our Wayne. I reckon that pilot was just plain jealous once he’d seen it. That’s why we was turfed off.’

Contemplation descended over the three men. Then Jimmy shook himself back into the problems of the present. ‘How’s your back and arse, Albert? Still smarting?’

‘You mean where you cuffed me to the baggage rack as in-flight entertainment and the stripper thrashed me with her leather thong? Yes, still stings a bit. Worth it though. I copped a great look at her rack.’ Albert raised his 'London Irish' replica shirt and contemplated the red weals cut into his legs, sides and nipples. ‘Look at those!’

Jimmy chortled. ‘You’ve got bigger tits than she had.’

‘Yes, come to think of it, hers weren’t much to look at. She flattered to deceive in that department. Don’t tell her though. Might scar her for life.’

‘That pilot said Wayne was a disgrace and a public nuisance,’ quavered Bob.

‘No. He said Wayne was a pubic nuisance. There’s a difference,’ snapped Jimmy.

‘Can’t we just stay here? Let’s stay here. What about the press? This will get out, Jimmy. Don’t think it won’t. I blame you for this. You organised the stag do.’

‘Shut up. I'm thinking.’

Silence again. Then, from somewhere outside, the revolting noise of badly played tuba recommenced. The Keller soon began to fill up. Men jostled for position at the bar, clutching next door’s steins and barking orders.

Followed by an unwelcome increase of tuba noise. Soon, the red and sweaty face appeared at the door. With sickly self-belief Clumpy marched up and down to the sound of his own tuneless racket, grinning and gurning horribly, pounding the Keller floorboards until the steins rattled in time. Jimmy could take no more.

‘Right. I’m having that bastard. He’s played last tune,’ snarled Jimmy, rising so quickly the table overturned.

Tuba chucked away as soon as the table hit the decking, Clumpy dashed for the exit. Jimmy hared after him aiming a vicious kick at the abandoned metal, a brutal leather truncheon swinging from his fist. Both tore across the concourse outside screaming, the first in panic, the second in bloodlust and fury. Finally, nowhere left to run, the tuba player sank to his knees.

‘You bastard, you bastard!’ screamed Jimmy, raising the truncheon and pulling him to his feet by his lederhosen straps. ‘You ruined our night out with your shit-awful playing, your pathetic accent, your bloody-felt-bloody-hat, with feathers… I’m sick of foreigners like you, coming over here, disturbing the peace, ruining our environment with your noise. ’

‘No, no, please!’ begged Clumpy. ‘I call the police, I get the police.’

‘I am the police!’ exclaimed Jimmy, shoving him viciously in the chest. ‘And you’re nicked.’

Footsteps. Bob and Albert joined him. Jimmy looked around, getting his bearings. Old Street. Just a quick drive to the station.

He pulled the cuffs from his pocket and reached for the van’s keys.

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