Mirth and Woe: Gaylord
In which S. Duck gets in touch with his feminine side
"Some of my best friends are…" Oh sod it.
There are times when even fully grown men fear to travel on public transport.
These times usually coincide with evenings out on the piss, when your usually familiar trip home has the added obstacle of brain meltdown and legs that go in the opposite direction to the body.
And I admit it. I was down the pub with Garry Bushell. Sorry. I was launching a football fanzine with a pub bash in central London, and the beardy Charlton-supporting loudmouth turned up on his own and wouldn't leave. The only other option was to get drunk enough to filter him out. So I did.
This might have been fine if I were near to home, and it was only when the promise of a floor for the night disappeared when the offeree went home by mistake, that I realized that I was left with the dread option: the last train home.
The only thing I remember about getting to Paddington from Westminster was having to get off the tube at Notting Hill Gate so I could take a desperately-needed piss. Several gallons lighter, I eventually got to Paddington, where I just caught a fast train to Reading. I didn't even bother with the luxury of a seat, as I knew I would be occupying the toilet for most of the journey, a prediction that was utterly fulfilled.
At Reading, I was faced with a further trip across town to get home. The buses packed up at nine o'clock, taxis were far too expensive, while my train ticket was good as far as Reading West. That'll do.
But poor, confused, drunken me.
Where are the trains to Reading West?
I asked a young chap in a British Rail uniform.
"Bloke! Where'sh trains t'Readin' West, mate?"
I don't know about you, but as far as I know this is not, in any way, some sort of gay slang. I've tried it out on friends who are good with colours since, and they all say "Platform Two", which is gay slang for "Call yourself a trainspotter?"
I repeat: the words "Where is the Reading West train?" do NOT equal "please touch my bottom".
"Platform Two", he said, touching my bottom.
I got to Platform Two, and jumped on the train.
And there, sitting opposite me, was the BR Bottom-Touching Inspector.
He was staring at me, presumably to ensure that I got to my destination unscathed. Now that's customer service.
The train journey lasted a whole two minutes, and I blundered onto the platform. Now this was lucky! My guide was also getting off at Reading West! And hey - he's also showing me the way up to the Tilehurst Road, a three hundred yard pathway up through some incredibly dark trees behind a row of garages. What could possibly happen there, away from prying eyes, terrible criminals and bottom perverts?
A pattern was developing, mostly involving his hand, and my pert, manly bottom. Steps had to be taken.
"Look, fuck off!"
"Oh go on, just a quick one…"
A what? A quick what? Somebody appears to labouring under a misapprehension here. Mostly involving me asking directions in return for a quick bottom-grope.
It suddenly occurred to me that I was carrying an umbrella. I hadn't actually started the day with an umbrella, I hadn't actually been in any umbrella shops and it certainly wasn't raining. The only umbrella I remember that day was a red one under G. Bushell's arm as he entered the public house. Just like the red umbrella I was holding. Heh.
"Go on, how about it?"
"How about I stuff this umbrella up your arse?"
Oh ho! The collected wit and wisdom of Oscar Wilde strikes again!
We both fled, in different directions, and it only took me about five attempts to get my front door key in the lock, and another three to turn it in the right direction.
I poured my poor, straight wounded heart out to Mrs Duck. She laughed.
God, I could have scratched her eyes out.