Nelson: The pervert’s choice
I’ll tell you one thing that’s really crap - when other people are having sex and you’re not. That’s crap. When you’re fifteen and other people are having sex, and the only naked ladies you’ve ever seen are in magazines with the pages stuck together, that’s really crap. What’s worse is when these people are supposedly your elders and betters and making such a public show of it. Come to think of it, that’s not crap. It’s funny. And from here on in, I’d better be pretty careful not to name names. They’re still alive, and by all accounts, vengeful.
Regular readers will know that I spent my teenage years as an air cadet. This essentially gave me the opportunity to go flying, shoot things, run round the countryside with a wooden gun shouting “Na-na-na-na-na-na!” like Private Pike and go flying while shooting things. Did I mention the flying and shooting? Some of this time was spent camping with my comrades and fellow teenage erks under canvas, in the middle of nowhere, freezing our nads off.
And that’s where we were this fateful night. Halfway up a hill somewhere in Oxfordshire, wishing we were all somewhere else instead, like tucked up in bed cataloging my collection of adult literature. We spent a long, tiring day tramping around the countryside with full packs on our backs, and charged around for short periods of time shouting shouting “Na-na-na-na-na-na!” like Private Pike. After this, we cooked up freeze-dried rations that closely resembled cardboard, before turning in for the night. And that’s where our problems started.
Victor, our leader on this particular exercise had a new girlfriend. Sue was a rough-and-ready outdoors type who jumped at the chance of wearing combats and mixing it with sweaty and hormonal teenagers. She was also a casualty nurse who regaled us with stories from the Emergency Room, proving that not everything you read on snopes.com is an urban myth. She had seen them all, and most of these appeared to involve either couples carried in “locked together” or people with statuettes of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson stuck in unexpected orifices, accompanied by unconvincing tales of woe (“I was dusting the pelmet with no knickers on, and I tripped and fell...”).
We thought Sue was great, and our hero-worship for Victor knew no bounds, not least for his choice of female companionship. But bugger me sideways, the public displays of affection really got us down, especially when you’re trying to get some sleep. The scene is set. We mere plebs and teenage perverts were all sleeping under a parachute suspended from a tree on the edge of a clearing. Vic and Sue had a tent on the other side, which remained suspiciously empty for the major part of the evening as they sauntered back into the local village to find a pub.
Unsurprisingly, they arrived back at the campsite around closing time. Fair play to them, they managed to find their way back up a pitch black hill in the middle of nowhere without getting lost, but the giggles and over-dramatic shushes proved there were more than a few drinkies sloshing around inside them. Purely medicinal, of course. With a struggle of boots and combat jackets, they managed to wriggle into their one-man tent, where the close proximity and the warming effects of alcohol all-of-a-sudden and totally innocently made all their clothes fall off.
This was no bad thing, except in their drunken haze, they had left a torch on and the entire episode was being played out like one of those Indian Shadow Theatres, only without puppets and with added filthy sound effects. It was Shed who first noticed. The two of us had drawn the dreaded guard duty and he was the only soul to notice the loving couple’s return to camp.
“Hey! Look!” he whispered, “They’re doing it!”
And by God, he was right. We watched agog for a few minutes as the silouettes played out their loving game of “doing it”, oblivious to the outside world in general, and me and Shed in particular. We knew what we had to do. We waked the other lads. It would have been selfish not to. You would have thought they would have been pleased to have been woken from their dreamless slumber to be faced with shit-hot cadet leader shaggery, but the number of “Bugger off ya bastards” simply beggared belief. Still not a single one of my comrades stayed in their sleeping bags when they learned what was going on across the clearing.
“Oh! Vic! Vic! Give it to me!” she cried as tears of barely suppressed laughter poured down our cheeks.
“Here comes Mr Sausage!” he replied.
Mr Sausage? MR SAUSAGE? That kind of talk could lose our entire respect for the guy, if it were not for that fact that we was, at that time, committing the number one hope for all teenage boys: Seeing A Lady With No Clothes On. It was a hope that was being fulfilled for all of us, albeit in glorious Shadowvision on the side of a tent.
Before long, it was apparant that Vic had reached his vinegar strokes, and with a scream that could be heard halfway to Oxford, provoking news reports of a panther on the loose in the local countryside, they finished the job in hand. We applauded. It seemed the polite thing to do. The occupants of the tent went very, very quiet.
Breakfast the following morning was prepared in embarrassed silence. Hardly a glance was exchanged between the two sides of the camp. Vic could take it no more and swallowed his pride and approached his audience of the previous night.
“Least said about last night the better, eh lads?” he said, a look of desperation on his face.
“Oh yes sir”, said Shed, “Mum’s the word, we won’t tell anyone.”
By Sunday evening, it was common knowledge across whole swathes of South East England, and it was rumoured the BBC were producing a special edition of Panorama just in case anyone had missed the blow-by-blow accounts that were doing the rounds. Fair play to Sue though, after this baptism of fire, she stuck around, regaling us for several years of her adventures in extracting statuettes out of perverts (you need loads of vaseline and a special expanding clamp, apparantly), and proving on at least thirty-seven different occasions how difficult it is for a young lady to keep her clothes on while in polite company.
That is, however, another story. And perhaps best told by those who were there. Fuck my luck.