Bad Influence

Now I’m not saying me and My Best Mate Aky used to drink a lot when we were younger; but we used to drink a lot when we were younger.

And I know it’s all relative. One person’s ‘skinfull’ is another person’s ‘aperitif’ and all that.

I’ll give you an example. Once upon a long time ago me and Aky decided to track down a school mate, Peter Hughes. Pete, or ‘Huggis’ as he was more commonly known was in our year. When Suky wasn’t around, or Aky, I would always try to sit with him.  We arranged to meet the erstwhile, meanwhile and once-in-a-while Mr. Hughes for a drink in town and to chew the fat about the good old times.

It was about 10:00pm, and we’d had a few. The pub was then run by a local ‘entrepreneur’ (ie Layabout/small time crook) called Joe Walsh He had a wife who seemed to model herself on a mixture of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Joan Collins, swanning from bar to lounge, carrying her stupid poodle and treating her clientele to foul-mouthed tales and bitchy gossip. Never fond of hard work, hubby Joe is behind the bar ‘supervising’ clearly inexperienced (or inefficient) bar staff.

Me, Aky and Huggis wait patiently at the public bar, nervously twitching and eyeing the clock – remember, these were the days of a strict regime of ‘last orders’ at 10:30, out by 10:45 (11:00 on Friday/Saturday) unless of course you were a local ‘entrepreneur’  in which case, ‘last orders’ was anywhere between 01:30 to 06:00am. The bar was busy, the number waiting to be served increasing all the time.

Reluctantly, poor old Joe dives into the fray as the clamour for drinks reaches fever pitch and proves as feckless as his dopey teenage barstaff. It’s close to 10:20 now, and already two people, have been served before us. Aky and me are thinking the same: What can we order, when he finally comes to us, that will really fuck things up for him?

‘Six pints of Guinness’ I suggest ‘two each?’

‘Make it nine’ says Aky. Huggis’ eyes have glazed over long ago.

You know just how LONG Guinness takes to pour. Joe’s face is a picture

‘Nine pints of Guinness?!’ he yells.

Nine Pints?! That's almost a gallon!

Nine Pints?!
That’s almost a gallon!

You can see he’s on the verge of refusing to serve us. So at last orders, 10:30 on the dot with 2 packed bars of drinkers waiting to be served we watch with glee as he attempts to cope with our order. Wonderful! only one problem remaining….Well there wasn’t a problem with the first two for me but I must admit, the third pint in 15 minutes was a bit of a struggle. Of course ‘The Fish’ Atkinson, just glugged them all one by one; the downing of the final dregs of each followed a wiping of his mouth with the back of his hand and his familiar beery grin.

We said our goodbyes to Huggis in the Town Centre. He blethered on about what a night he’d had and how we should keep in touch. We continued to wave as he veered precariously from one side of the pavement to the other while he attempted to eat his meat and potato pie, chips and gravy, eventually disappearing into the distance.

Definitely a danger to shipping.

And?

Well, it turns out that Huggis seems to disappear from the scene for a while after our little night out.  And it is some weeks later when we bump into him in town.

‘You pair of bastards’ He says: ‘I am never going drinking with you two again.’ And to be fair, in the 35 years since, he’s kept to his word. For it seems that Old Huggis arrives home in a bit of a state on the night in question. So much so, in fact that he gets lost in his own house, and is discovered by his father in the early hours, on the landing; disoriented and talking in tongues, having vomited in a variety of locations – some of which remained undiscovered for weeks. Huggis is in the dog house more than somewhat.

Andy Daly 2016

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