How was your Christmas? I bet it was a bit weird spending it in Cornwall. Their accent is hard enough to understand when they’re sober so it must be just about impossible when they’re pissed. I met a bloke from Penzance at a party once, he spent all night betting me that I couldn’t handle his scrumpy. He was only about five-foot two and his trousers were so tight they hid nothing, so I’m pretty sure I could have. I wasn’t really interested anyway; he was drinking homemade cider, it looked like baby shit in a glass. It was full of lumpy bits, I think he must have dropped his Cornish pasty in it.
My Christmas was okay, Mum got a bit drunk and Dad and Gran had their usual three rounds of all-in verbal wrestling. It was better entertainment than those crappy 1970’s reruns of Morecombe and Wise though.
Neil was playing the hero at the police station on Christmas Eve, saving us all from gangsters, drug dealers and other, scummy, low life, so he couldn’t come out with me. I was going to go to Tossers with Pauline Potts and her sister, Tia, but Pauline had a dodgy curry on Tuesday night and spent all day Wednesday on the lavvy. She was gutted because she had to miss her office party at work and Tia pulled the bloke that Pauline’s been lusting after for the last three months. Tia texted me to say she was going out on the piss with him on Christmas Eve, so it meant I had to make alternative arrangements. I rang around a few people but most of them were going to Spanners, that garage music night spot in the precinct. It was all ticket and no one had a spare.
I was saved from the ignominy of spending the night at the Dog and Duck with Dad, by that tart Olivia of all people. I was just standing behind her in the queue for the tills at Primark, listening to her highly confidential gossip, when she let it slip that she had a blind date lined up with some poor sod and they were going to meet up at the Spread Eagle pub at the top end of the council estate. Two things struck me about this. One, the aforementioned poor sod would really have to be blind if he was going to go through with the date after he’d met old yo-yo knickers, and two, the meeting place was aptly named because it was odds on that Olivia would be spread eagled by the end of the night, probably over the pool table. Anyway, the interesting bit was that the pub was having a fancy dress night and it was pay on the door.
I thought I’d have to spend the rest of the day looking for a costume, but then I remembered I still had that Xena, Warrior Princess outfit that I bought in the summer; the one I wore when they chucked me out of the St Moribund’s church roof, fundraiser dance because my tits kept falling out. (The bishop didn’t moan about it though and he had at least five dances with me that night.) I didn’t bother hanging around to see what Olivia was going to be dressed as; she always looks like a hooker whatever she wears.
Dad insisted on dropping me off at the pub in his little vegetable delivery truck because he reckons that estate is like the Gaza Strip during an Israeli invasion. Two doorman pilots, built like a row of brick shithouses wearing flying helmets and goggles, checked my undercarriage as I got out of the car.
‘If you can’t pull in there, don’t go home lonely, I’ll give your bomb doors a good greasing,’ said the one with the false moustache hanging precariously on his top lip.
‘If she can’t pull in there she must’ve smashed an entire hall of mirrors,’ said the one with the Tom Cruise sunglasses. ‘Most of ‘em are so desperate they’d queue for an hour for a turn with Ann Widdecombe.’
I managed to squeeze past them with nothing worse than a cursory grope, and walked over to a kiosk occupied by a forty-something woman dressed like Helen Mirren when she played the Queen in that film. She looked at me like I’d just crawled out from the u-bend.
‘Are you the stripper?’ she asked.
I shoved a tenner onto the counter. ‘Do I look like the stripper?’ I asked contemptuously.
‘Well, yes, you do, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked.’ She nodded towards my chest.
I tucked my boobs back into my dress, snatched up my ticket and headed towards the function room.
‘I’d keep those puppies in their kennel if I were you,’ she shouted after me. ‘There are a lot of animal lovers in there tonight.’
The function room was heaving although it was only nine o’clock. The air smelled of stale sweat and fake Davidoff aftershave. There must have been ten blokes to every woman. Usually I’d like those odds but the majority of this lot looked like the losers in the qualifying round of a Neanderthal beauty contest.
By the time I reached the bar my arse felt like it had spent an hour fixed to a spanking machine. I was offered so many drinks that, had I been skint, and wasn’t particularly choosy, I could have been pissed in twenty minutes. I squeezed my way past two women that looked like their mascara had been applied by a three year old and ordered two shots and a pint of lager. I was just about to pay when a dark, velvety voice from behind told the barman, ‘I’ll see to that.’
The barman nodded and buggered off to water down someone else’s drinks. I turned around to find myself eyeball to eyeball with Bandy Bateman, the Mr Big of the council estate. Bandy was aptly named. If his legs had been straight he’d be at least six foot eight. As it was he wasn’t that much taller than me. He looked like a cowboy who’d spent a year too long in the saddle.
Bandy smiled at me and letched at my boobs. I shovelled them away and picked up the first of the shots.
‘How’s your Dad these days, Tracy?’ he asked.
‘He’s fine thanks,’ I replied. ‘He’s still working at the vegetable warehouse.’
‘Good,’ said Bandy. ‘Tell him I’d like to meet up will you? I’ve got a bit of business to put his way.’
I nodded and downed the shot. Bandy watched my boobs until he realised they didn’t pop out to order, then led me away from the bar to a table that cleared miraculously as we approached. I nailed the second shot, put my lager on the table and sat down, this wasn’t my idea if a night out. Luckily Bandy wasn’t on the pull, he parked his arse on a stool opposite me and spread his bandy legs in front of him.
‘You have a friend called Olivia, don’t you Tracy?’ he said.
I nearly choked on my lager. ‘Friend is stretching it a bit,’ I said, thinking that the terms stretching it and Olivia were meant for each other somehow.
‘Ah, I was going to ask you what she’s like,’ he said. ‘I’ve got a date with her tonight. Pammie Snodgrass set it up for us.’
‘That’s nice,’ I said, relief washing over me like a tsunami.
‘Pammie says she’s a classy bird,’ Bandy continued, ‘I like classy things. He showed me his fake Rolex as if to prove his point. ‘I think you’re looking rather classy too, Tracy. If I hadn’t been meeting Olivia tonight, I’d be looking to take you home to show you what Santa’s got in his sack.’
I gulped down some more lager and tried not to think about his sack.
‘So, what’s she like, Tracy?’
‘She’s lovely,’ I lied. To be honest they were made for each other. He couldn’t shut his legs and neither could Olivia. They were like a pair of bow legged bookends.
‘How should I play her?’ he asked. ‘Any tips on how I should approach it?’
I was about to tell him that Olivia had been played more times than an England v Scotland football international and that any way he approached it would be fine with Olivia, she’d take it any way he wanted to give it, but then I realised what he meant.
‘Just be yourself,’ I said. ‘She’ll like you just as you are. She likes powerful men.’
‘So, you think I should take a more hands on approach?’
I fought back the urge to say that Olivia’s had more hands on her than a bar room piano and smiled sweetly. ‘She likes hands on.’
Bandy breathed a sigh of relief and put his hand on my thigh. He grinned lasciviously. ‘If it doesn’t work out with Olivia….’
I slapped his hand, playfully. ‘I’m spoken for I’m afraid. I’m going out with Neil Hartley, he’s a Detective Sergeant at the local nick.’
His chin hit his knees, he whipped his hand off my thigh. It was like I’d just told him I’d got a dose of galloping syphilis.
‘Nasty Nick Hartley? Blimey, Tracy why didn’t you say? He jumped to his feet. ‘Look, forget that message for your dad, I just remembered we got stocked up with fresh fruit this week. Let’s just forget this little conversation ever happened, hey? He reached in his pocket and pulled out a wad of twenties, he peeled half a dozen off and got to his feet. ‘This will be behind the bar, enjoy yourself.’
Bandy turned away and waddled towards the bar. He handed the cash over to the barman and pointed me out. Then he gave me a little wave and headed off to stand with a crowd of fellow Neanderthals at the other end of the bar.
I downed my lager and headed off the toilet for a quick wee and make-up check. As I came out of the cubicle I bumped into the object of Bandy’s desires. As I expected, she had come dressed as a hooker.
‘Oh, you’re here,’ she said with a curl of her lip. She eyed me up and down. ‘What have you come as?’
I walked to the sinks, spread a bit of gloss onto my pouting lips and smiled my best smile into the mirror.
‘Xena,’ I said. I turned around and took her in. ‘You do know that It’s fancy dress, not tarts and tramps?’
Olivia did her best to ignore the insult. ‘As it happens I’m on a blind date with a very handsome, wealthy businessman,’ she bragged.
‘In this dump? He can’t be that wealthy if he drinks in here. This place is so rough you wipe your feet on the way out.’
‘He had something to attend to, I assume. Anyway, we aren’t staying here, we’re going to a private function somewhere.’ Olivia checked herself in the mirror, hitched her skirt up to an even more obscene level and opened the door to the foyer.
‘My prince awaits,’ she cooed.
I gave her a minute than opened the door a smidgeon. Olivia was standing in the foyer with Pammie and a fifty year old bloke who looked like he’d been lying in a bath of orange juice for a month. I whipped out my phone and fired off shot after shot of Olivia’s horrified face as Bandy waddled across the foyer with a huge, lecherous grin on his face. He grabbed her in his Neanderthal arms and attempted to squeeze the life out of her. I stepped back into the toilets and hugged myself. Life was good.
I had just stopped pissing myself laughing when the door burst open and in came Edwina, Patsy, Whitney and a half dozen other girls who I knew from school. Twenty shrieked helloes later, we were heading for the bar. ‘Who’s for shots?’ yelled Whitney.
‘I’ll get the first round,’ I said generously, and I waved to get the barman’s attention.
Three hours later I was hanging onto Whitney’s hips as we performed a ten woman conga around the pub car park. Her skirt had crept up over her arse, Edwina waved her knickers in the air with her free hand and my tits were flying free, but we didn’t give a shiny shit, it was Christmas after all.