Friday, December 22, 2006

Mirth and Woe: The Christmas Drawer o' Doom

Mirth and Woe: The Christmas Drawer o' Doom

Christmas time of year. Pants, pants, pants.

As Christmas approaches - a time for family, goodwill and happiness - we live in a state of abject fear. A state of fear that Mrs Duck's highly organized present-buying routine will be rendered worthless by the appearance of unwanted visitors. Unwanted visitors bearing gifts.

Living in a top-quality seaside resort as we do, the world and their hideously foul smelling dog beat a path to our door looking for a freebie weekend on the coast. This can happen at any time of year, even when a Force Ten gale is blowing in off the Atlantic, and we are up in the loft trying to keep the roof on the house. As the Festive Season approaches, these visitors often bribe us with gifts, and it is only natural that we should reciprocate in some way or another.

And therein lies the fear. The fear that Aunty Terrible will turn up with a box of Tesco Value choccies, and we have no Asda Value choccies to give in return.

To counter this awful, awful dread, we keep a drawer brimming with low quality seaside tat purchased from the many, many emporia of seaside tat that ply their trade in Weymouth, in case we have unexpected Christmas visitors bearing gifts bought from inland tat shops. It's like a Secret Santa, as even we don't know what we're going to give people until the drawer is flung open in wide-eyed panic, and something awful is dragged out, wrapped in the downstairs toilet and handed over to the thankful recipients.

Just wait till they open it. They won't be so thankful then.

We are reminded, at this time, of the words of Our Lady Of The Harpies, Catherine Tate, to whit: "A squirrel. It's a fucking squirrel!"

So, not terribly long ago, and caught short by several distant family members using our place for a free weekend on the coast all at once, the drawer was sadly empty, and I was forced to improvise when the wife's aunt and her manky old boyfriend came to call.

It was the usual performance.

"Oh, how lovely to see you," we lied as rels bearing gifts arrived. "A present! Oh! You shouldn't have."

No, really, you shouldn't have.

Mrs Duck gave me the coded message for "Oh Christ, they've brought a bloody present - get something out of the drawer, pronto", which was the time-honoured, "Why don't you go and put the kettle on, while I show Aunty the house?"

So, while they got the grand tour of Useless Workshy Cunt of a Builder's worst work, I dashed to the kitchen drawer and found… nothing. Not a sausage. Not even a sausage.

Oh, spoons.

For what seemed an eternity, I stood, Milligan-style, clenching and unclenching my fists in frustration as I thought - in vain - what to wrap up for our guests. Dead hamster? The bottom of the recycling bin? The remnants from a car boot sale? Why, yes.

And so mote it be. Under the stairs, I found the best, least appropriate present for the boyfriend who had spent the entire visit talking to my wife's chest, like a manky old perve. Good grief, that's my job. Still you've got to hand it to Harry Minogue, mad dog about town, for latching onto the guy's leg, hammering away like a canine possessed, and not letting go until the job was well and truly finished. Good Dog.

"Happy Christmas!" I said handing over the small, square package as he wiped the dog jizz from his Matalan jeans, "don't open it until the 25th, mind."

"Oh, you shouldn't have."

You're damn right I shouldn't have. But I did.

"Thank buggery they've gone," said Mrs Duck at the end of our ordeal, "what did you give them?"

"A video."

"Oh Lord. Which one?"

"Flesh Gordon."

"Thank God, you had me worried for a minute."

Post Script: And guess what I found in a charity shop several weeks later? You should know the saying by now - "You can't get rid of porn".

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