Buy Stuff! For charity!
Before we start: Mike Atkinson set himself the improbable task of producing a book within seven days to raise funds for Comic Relief. The result - with only very minor assistance from my good self - is Shaggy Blog Stories, the best comic writing from British blogs.
Thanks to a deal cut with the publishers, getting on for half of the cover price goes to charity. You've got nothing to lose, then, and I can guarantee that my submission contains the word "YAAAAAAAAARCH". Get. In. There.
Mirth and Woe: Bin
"I'm off to the corner shop for a paper - do we need anything?"
"Yes," shouted Mrs Duck from the top of the stairs, "get some milk."
"Right you are then."
"And don't forget to post that letter to the bank."
How could I forget. The thieving bastards. Sixty pissing quid.
"And that big pile of Christmas cards. Post them too."
How could I forget. The thieving ...err...
"But… but…." I countered, "It's still November."
"Stop complaining. It pays to be early."
So, out I stepped into the chill of the autumn morning that Saturday, clutching a bundle of letters and cards to my chest, munching on a nearly-out-of-date Wagon Wheel I had found abandoned in the kitchen. I would need to keep my strength up for the ordeal that was to come.
Down the hill I went, past The Old Castle pub - resisting the urge to pop in for a quick pint - and made brisk work of the hill up the other side where the corner shop stood cheek-by-wobbling-jowl to the Neptune Takeaway.
Being the good citizen that I am, I had pocketed the Wagon Wheel wrapper with the intention of throwing it into the bin outside the shop, before posting the letters and making my select purchases of milk and the local scandal sheet.
So I did.
Then, without thinking, I threw all of the wife's bank letters and Christmas cards into the bin as well.
It wasn't a small bin either. It was a great big cast iron thing which the council had bought in a job lot from the Kharborovsk Bloody Huge Cast Iron Bin Concern several years previously, in a vain attempt to keep the borough looking tidy. Take a walk through Weymouth town centre first thing on a Sunday as I have done, shin deep in fast food wrappers, and you will see they have failed.
Big, deep, foul-smelling bin, and there, right at the bottom, were my letters.
If I could just reach in and get them…
And yes, you should know me by now, shortarse that I am - they were all literally inches beyond my reach.
There was only one thing for it. I heaved myself upwards and leaned into the bin, headfirst, as far as I could.
At the bottom, eating my mail, was the remnants of what might once have been a doner kebab, now evolving into a rudimentary life-form whose sole purpose in life was to eat anything that fell into its domain and smell like a bucket of dead rats.
And still the letters remained steadfastly out of my reach. So, with one final thrust, and with both feet off the ground, I made one final lunge for my property.
And fell in.
All the way in.
"Err... help?" I asked of a passing dog.
At least I had my letters back. I could get myself out, scrape the worst of the filth off me with a passing tramp, and nobody would be any the wiser.
Nobody, of course, except for the small crowd that had gathered to watch my performance. And the bus. The double decker, open-topped bus of the kind they only ever have in seaside towns, which had almost certainly made a wide detour from the other side of Weymouth just to see me flailing around like an inverted spacker.
There was a brief round of applause, and I fled, Napoleon Dynamite-style, not looking back until I got home, for fear that the man-eating bin had followed me.
A small amount of Wagon Wheel-flavoured sick filled my mouth, and there was an unexplainable stain on the seat of my second best trousers. Marks and Spencers, they were.
"Did you get the milk?"
*Boilk* "Err… they ran out," I lied, boilking again. "I'm going down the Co-op."
"So you couldn't post the letters, then?" she asked, "And Christ alive, what's that smell? Have you been climbing in and out of dustbins?"
Nothing gets past that woman. Nothing.