Friday, July 27, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Marathon Man

Mirth and Woe: Marathon Man

Regular readers of these Friday Tales of Mirth and Woe may have noticed by now a recurring theme in which the main protagonists experience some sort of extraordinary genital-crushing trauma, resulting in their vomiting copiously, and with comic effect, into a nearby hedgerow.

Unlikely - and dare I say, shocking - as it may sound, the vast majority of these hideous explosions of stomach contents are embellishments of otherwise true tales of woe, added to the clamouring demands of my readership because, vomit, alas, is expected in this day and age of faked television and fixed phone-in quizzes.

It is, I am afraid to say, highly unlikely that any grown man should chuck lumps into a passing hedge, and I am beginning to suspect that it is a practice so rare as to be completely unknown.

That was my opinion, at least, until last Sunday.

I am still, you will be pleased to hear, working this turgid fitness and dieting thing out of my system. I've lost about a stone and a half (21 pounds, or ten kilos to you foreigns with your satanic weights and measures) and have taken up running in a big way. It's far cheaper than the gym, gets you out of the house, and you often run away from a better class of hooligan.

In an attempt to put some distance into my running, I rely on the lovely Mrs Duck to drive me out into the middle of nowhere, abandon me like a senile relative, and expect me to run home without hopping on a bus. Tight as a duck's arse, I refuse to give my money to Mr First Buses, so running it is.

On Sunday, this involved throwing me out of a speeding car in Easton Square on the cousin-marrying, useless-workshy-cunt-of-a-builder-harbouring Isle of Portland, a good five miles from home. Right in the middle of ASBO country, where mono-brows and shell suits are de rigeur, and conversation is limited to "Whatchoo looking at caahnt?"

If I ever needed any motivation to get my arse into gear and get running, this was certainly it.

And run I did. Happily, from Portland back to the mainland is downhill all the way. The road north from Easton takes you past Portland Heights, down through Fortuneswell, Chiswell, and the long, long stretch of the causeway that seperates the Island from the mainland, which can be easily blocked off if any of the residents try to escape.

Fuck me stupid, it's a long way. In fact, I had completely under-estimated the distance, and frankly, by the time I got off the island I was clearly hallucinating. As I snapped out of a vision of Ann Noreen Widdecombe in Lycra with the words "For heavens sake woman, swallow it, it's only porridge" ringing in my ears, I narrowly avoided stepping under the wheels of one of the huge lorries taking stone from the local quarries, and this tale would never have been told at all.

Happily, and quite some time later, I eventually reached Ferrybridge, and turned right along the seafront, knowing there was but a mile and a bit to go. In fact, by the time I was within the last half-a-mile, I was experiencing something of a second wind, and decided to make the run a bit more challenging.

I hung a right and took a slight detour down St David's, a road that takes you down a steep river valley and up the other side.


The words "dead on my feet" could not do justice to the aftermath of that 400 yards of awful uphill doom. Weird shapes danced in front of my eyes, and on the very periphery of my sight and vision, a voice was calling out for me to come into the light. A light that sounded all rather inviting, had I not subsequently been forced to summon what little reserves of energy I had left to fight off a deranged boxer dog and its equally rabid owner.

"What a cute puppy," I thought to myself. Until I realised what it was chewing on: my arm.

I fled for my life, rounding the corner to find myself in my own street, and panting heavily outside my neighbour's house.

My neighbour's house, where there was a large, shaggy privet hedge.

I don't know what came over me. It was almost certainly the ill-advised Snickers bar the night before, a special treat for losing so much weight over the previous month. Add this to a heavier-than-necessary breakfast, and before I knew it, I was bowking rich, brown vomit into Steve's hedgerow.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH!" I heard myself saying, repeating the onomatopoeia I have typed on these pages dozens of times before, coming round to marvel at the glistening beauty of fresh chunder in the glow of the morning sun.

'Comes up peanuts, slice after slice', as the old advertising slogan went. How right they were.

And then the seagulls came.

By then, I was already home, sitting, head in my hands in the back garden, taking great gulps of air as I recovered from my long-distance ordeal.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH!" I said again, only more so.



Oh. I appear to have been sick on sweet little Lucy Minogue. Poor dog.

"Om nom nom nom."

The puppy thought it was dinner time, apparantly. Good dog.

"Om nom nom nom burp LOL"

"What is it girl? Is Timmy trapped in a hedge?"

Luckily, I managed to hide the worst of it, and the gorgeous Mrs Duck will never, ever find out. Unless she reads this, of course. I fear she'll handle it like a cow with a rifle.

Also, big, rock-hard Steve the prison officer will never find out who spoiled his Sunday. A Sunday where he decided to take his electric trimmer and tidy up his front hedge.


I can still hear it, clear as day.


I can still hear that Black and Decker making short work of the ragged privet.


I can still hear him singing to himself as he went happily about his task.


I can still hear the exact moment when...


I didn't hear anything else. I was hiding under my bed.

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