Category Archives: Episodes

Episode 10 – Love, The Universe, and Paper Cuts

By Helen Rhodes

Detective Inspector Hudson sighed into his empty Jager glass.
“What’s up?” said Becky, smoothing her hand over his tweeded back.
“Oh, I dunno. This is all very well isn’t it? Good ale, nice company, a fine filly to look at.” The Knight Mare sniffed in a warm hearted manner. “But, I’m a detective. I’m supposed to be detecting this murder. It could mean a promotion, which means a finer life for my family. And I miss my wife. My beautiful Clara.” The Detective sniffed behind his shirt cuff. Frank fluttered over to the Detective’s shoulder and belched in a sorrowful tone. A crash, followed by a muttered expletive came from The Door where The Supervisor and the Knight Before Christmas were attempting to help the Fourth Dimension Emergency Service man fix the time machine.
“Another pint, mate,” said Dave, positioning a full tankard of Hags Wobbling in front of the dejected Detective, who picked it up with his left hand.
“And that’s another thing. I’m sure I was right handed before.”

A faint banging emanated from beneath the bar. It got louder. Dave’s feet shuffled, unnerved. The banging turned into pounding, drowning out the walking sticks attacking the windows. Above their heads pipes creaked and groaned with effort, enough to stir the patrons into neglectful drinking and stare towards the ceiling. The light fitting wobbled, then started to swing from side to side. With bullet precision a yellow pool ball shot across the room, narrowly missing the Knight Mare, and impaled itself in the floorboards at the foot of the bar. It seemed to smoulder where it lay, while the pipes roared and the thumping pounded and the whole building creaked as if it were about to collapse. A rumble stirred from the direction of the ladies loos. A rumble that required all minds to cry out ‘Oh shit!’ The rumble got louder, closer, vigorous in its intent. Then the toilet flushed.

Squelch… Squelch… Squelch…

Becky stared at Daz. The whites of her eyes getting paler by the second.

Squelch…Squelch…Squelch…

Daz stared at Helen, a bit of dribble forming around the corner of his mouth.

Squelch…Squelch…Squelch…

Helen stared at the entrance to the ladies. “What the hell…?”

A figure stood in the doorway. “Oh boy,” it said, as it dripped on the dreary carpet.
“Oh wow!” said Becky, beholding the sodden man before her, who seemed to have a few dollops of crusted bird shit on the shoulders of his long black leather coat. He had a cane with what looked like a question mark shaped handle. Underneath his coat he wore a cricket jumper with a red bow tie. A multi-coloured striped scarf draped round his neck and reached almost to the floor. He had a cheeky look in his eye as he regarded Becky.
“Ah!” boomed the man. “There you are, you little bugger.”
Frank promptly averted his gaze and found a secluded perch atop the Captain’s Organs bottle.

“And you are?” enquired Helen.
“Benjamin Beeblebrown, Space Time IT.”
“Er… Very good,” said Helen. “That’s good isn’t it, Daz?”
After a swift kick to the shins, Daz replied articulately, “Oh…erm… Yeah. Good. Yeah. Is it?”
Benjamin took a stance not too dissimilar to Superman, his long coat insinuating itself about his masculine form. “We detected an emergency on the TITS scan (Time and Information Technology in Space). We were monitoring this space time following a bright yellow flash some weeks ago. I saw him fly past, the little…” Benjamin pointed an annoyed finger to Frank, who was innocently filing his claws in his new hiding place.

“Snort,” something said in a vague Somerset accent. A very pink, very small, quite attractive pig trotted out of the ladies toilet and sat at Benjamin’s feet.

Helen laughed, for the ridiculous can only be laughed at. “And this is your pig, obviously,” she said sarcastically.
“A pig?” Benjamin looked puzzled. “This is Piggy. She’s a super hybrid computer.
“Of course she is,” smirked Helen.
“She is capable of doing a trillion floating point calculations per second.”
Daz grabbed his half eaten packet of pork scratchings and swiftly hid them under his t-shirt. “Hey, Pig,” he said, innocently.
“And she’s made of stardust. But aren’t we all! Ha! Ha! Ha! Haarrr!” boomed the intergalactic IT tech.
With a fourth creature which held less regard for toileting etiquette now in the vicinity, Dave fetched the mop and placed it at the end of the bar, just in case.
The pig shaped super computer took out a rather pretty black Gibson Les Paul from the folds of Ben’s coat and started to strum at the strings contemplatively.

“So… So… you’re a Time Traveller?” Becky managed, hardly able to contort her numb body around the sentence.
The man swaggered towards Becky, and leaned on the bar next to her. “A TITS tech. A sort of time traveller, I suppose,” said Benjamin confidently.
Becky managed a weak smile that gave way to a glazed and somewhat overwhelmed look.
“Oh,” she said, faintly. “And you got here through the ladies bogs?”
“Its vortical flow is a bit on the piss, if you’ll pardon the pun, Miss.”
Becky giggled as if she was in some kind of Sunday prime time ITV drama.
“But, yes, it is a well known portal.”
The Detective, although confused, had read many H G Wells novels, and was able to connect the words originating from this new visitor to cognitively compute the formation of an idea. “A porthole?” he said. “You mean you can freely travel to and from the past?”
“Of course!” boomed Benjamin.
“So you could take me home? I mean, back to my time. Good old 1885?”
“Thought you weren’t dressed for the correct time. That explains it all.”
“Yeah,” said Becky. “He turned up a couple of weeks ago.”
The Detective tried to remember two weeks back through the fermented haze in his head. “I was just on my way here to investigate a murder and…well, I don’t know what happened, but I ended up in the wrong time.”
“I said it was some timeywimey thing,” said Becky, proudly.
Benjamin took in the entire floor space with his wide struts, as though modelling himself for a catalogue shoot. Becky weakened at his radiating presence. He smelt of chips. “Interesting,” he said thoughtfully. “Do you remember exactly where you fell through time, sir?”
“Just outside there, on the cobbles. When I came through the door of the pub it seemed a bit different, but I wasn’t really thinking about that. Other things on my mind, you see. The murder, that is. Imperative that I solve the case. Some very important people will be very upset if it’s not dealt with.”
Benjamin climbed competently onto the seat by the window and peered down the street outside. The bash of a walking stick next to his nose didn’t deter his thoughts. “Hmm, I see. I see. Yes, yes, that’s it. Yes.”
“What’s it?” said Becky, as she watched him climb down and resume his strutting.
“There’s another porthole outside.”
“Another one? Huh! That’s lucky, innit Daz?”
Daz’s shins conveyed the message from Helen’s foot to Daz’s mouth that it should be moving in some way. “Er, yeah. Is it?”
“Well,” postulated Benjamin, “it would explain how you, sir, ended up in here.”
“Does it?” said Daz.
“Yes. That pothole out there.”
“Pothole? Don’t you mean porthole?”
“Well, yes, the pothole that is also a porthole. It’s creating a ringworm hole between out there and in here. A self perpetuating vortex. No wonder I had such a rough ride getting here.”
Helen’s brain fizzed. “You mean a loo-loop hole? Between the pothole and the loo. See?” She nudged Daz’s arm, which promptly fell off the bar bringing his chin with it, “A loo-loop hole. Hahahaha…hergh…hmm.”
“You were saying, Benjamin?” said Becky, fully focused on this package of pure manly wonderment in front of her.
“The ladies toilet is the way in, the pothole out there is the way out. It’s quite understandable that this Detective should happen upon it with his feet and fall through, even without realising. You just need to go back the way you came, through the pothole porthole. We can go together, now I’ve found that stupid bird, take you back to your own time.”
“But they’re out there, the Purple OAPs,” said Becky. “You can’t go out there, they’ll tear you apart!”
“Purple OAPs? Is that what they are?”
“Yeah. Apocalypse, blah, blah. Rules, blah, blah,” said the Detective, disheartened.
“Hmm, that is a bit of a predicament.” Benjamin thought for a moment. Everyone waited with firm expectation. “Bugger,” he said.
“Does that mean that both of you are, sort of, stuck here?” asked Becky, hopefully.

ClaTTerCrashBANGsparkBOompiFFTssssss….

“Will you stop with the slaughtering, please!”
The Supervisor hurried from The Door, closely followed by a rather crestfallen Knight Before Christmas. “If you keep slaughtering everyone that comes to help us we’ll never fix the damn thing!”
The Knight Before Christmas returned his sword to its holder, then spied the mop at the end of the bar, which cheered him a little.
“Oh,” said The Supervisor, beholding the fine figure that was Benjamin… “See what you’ve done?” he said to the Knight. “You’ve managed to enrage The Salient Council. We’ll be in real trouble now.”
“Wait, he’s nothing to do with you,” explained Becky. “He’s here because of the budgie,”
“The budgie?” puzzled The Supervisor.
“Yeah. Frank.”
Frank belched, then continued filing his middle claw.
“Okay. Anyway, while you’re here, do you think you could help us fix our time machine?” enquired The Supervisor, somewhat flustered.
Benjamin’s face lit up. “You have a time machine?”
“Well, yes, but it’s a bit…” The Supervisor glared at the Knight Before Christmas, who adamantly stared straight at the mop. “…um, broken.”
“Broken how?”
“It’s the origami circuit. The time gasket has been severed. Bit of an accident. The folds still work, but the time doesn’t.”
“I see,” said Benjamin, rubbing his chin.
“Do you?” said Daz.
“So you can fold time but not move it.”
“Yes,” said the Supervisor. “We called out the Fourth Dimension Emergency Service but the mechanic said he’s not authorised to fix it because its warranty ran out two months ago when SOMEBODY forgot to set up the direct debit.” A glare hit the Knight where it hurts. The Knight concentrated firmly on the mop. “And now an unfortunate – ahem – accident has occurred meaning the mechanic is no longer of any…erm…use, so to speak.” The Knight shuffled a bit, then returned to his special mop place.
“I see,” said Benjamin.
“You do?” said Daz.
“And even if we can fix it we still can’t get anywhere,” The Supervisor sighed. “The navigator’s sort of broken too. His prescient planning is all out of whack. Can’t plot a safe course.”
“Too much Spice Melange?” said Benjamin.
“Indeed,” The Supervisor nodded.
“Eh?” said Daz.
“Spice Melange. Navigator sustenance, inhaled through the gills. Too much and…well, let’s just say he’s not safe to navigate anything.”
“So, in other words, he’s stoned off his box?” said Daz.
“We need something to snap him out of it, and quickly,” said The Supervisor.
“Jager!” said Helen. A flash of blond appeared at the bar.
“You yelled?” said Harry.

The Supervisor went to fetch the navigator from the time machine. Becky decided to make the mistake of asking how the origami circuit worked, coupled with a small explanation of how time travel happened, and whether or not, by the by, Benjamin was seeing anyone at the moment. Benjamin settled himself expertly and very cosily between Becky and the Detective ready to explain the origami circuit to the enthralled participants in this horrendously convoluted story.
“Ah yes. Well, the origami circuit is a clever little invention. Do you have any synthehol, Dave, is it?”
Dave roused himself from his brain freeze. “Er…no, don’t think so.”
“Vulcan brandy?”
“No.”
“Any Janx Spirit?”
“Janx… Er, no. We’ve got Newky Brown, that do?”
“Oh, I suppose so. Can’t be as bad as that Aldebaran whiskey I had last weekend. Phoor! Blow your nuts off that! Har! Har!” Ben’s teeth sparkled, mirrored by Becky’s delighted eyes.
“You see, you need two things for time travel: being able to move in time, and being able to move in space. If that part origami circuit is broken it means it can’t fold space, but moving in time still works. The origami circuit is acting like the old style fluxing capacitor which could only move in time, not space, so you could appear in the same place but in a different time. It’s your basic Holtzman effect, the folding of space time, relating to the repellent force of subatomic particles.”
Daz stared at the speedy commotion of Benjamin’s mouth, considered trying to understand what was exuding from it, then said, “Yeah….. Is it?”
“So,” piped up Becky, scooching her stool a bit closer to Benjamin’s elbow, “Like, how do you actually move around in space?”
Benjamin was silent. Locked in. Lost in a moment.
Frank belched, acting like a dubious alarm clock. “Oh, sorry. You have such an intenseness about you, Miss…erm…?
“Becky,” said Becky, through a grin almost half a light year wide.
“Becky. Lovely name. Lovely…hmm. Yes, well…space.” Shaking off his daydream, Benjamin continued. “Space is like an open ended curve. You can splice geometries together to make any shape you wish, depending on where you want to go. When you physically enter the geometry, in, say, a U shape, you would sort of curve back on yourself, and exit the other end. Of course you’d then come out backwards. Basic CPT symmetry. Physical laws of the universe and all that. Har! Har! Har!”
Becky’s doe eyes shimmered. “Backwards?” she said.
“Yes, back to front. You’re basically a mirror image moving back in time. Sometimes I can’t even remember which side should be on which side!”
“So that’s why I keep using my left hand instead of my right,” said the Detective.
“Of course!” continued the mesmerising IT tech, “You have to be careful though. You can’t go mucking about in four dimensional space time. The relatives don’t like it. Especially antimatter. She can be a right bitch!”
Silence of the head wrapping kind lasted for all of five seconds before…
“Har! Har! Har!”
…the booming laughter shook everyone back into consciousness, just in time to take in The Supervisor’s return. He was holding the navigator in his cupped hands. “He’s not happy about having to move,” said The Supervisor. “He says everything’s a bit spinny.”
The Supervisor put the goldfish on the bar in front of Harry. Everyone watched the slightly hazy fish circle its spherical tank.
“Huh. Huh,” chuckled Daz. “But that’s a goldfish. Isn’t it?”
“That’s the navigator,” corrected The Supervisor. “Do you think you can fix him, young man?”
“Sure,” said Harry. Although I think the dilution may bugger up the cooling time. But I’ll give it a go.”

Piggy appeared at Benjamin’s feet and tugged on the corner of his long coat. He looked very worried, like super computer pigs can do. Benjamin picked her up. “Ah, Piggy. What’s the trouble?” The pig snorted for a length of time, with an occasional squeal, which sounded very serious. “Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear.”
“What’s the matter? What did she say?” asked Becky.
“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. That isn’t good. No. No.” Benjamin placed Piggy in his coat pocket and turned to the Detective. “Excuse me, sir, but would you be Detective Inspector Hudson of the Wakefield City Police?”
The Detective dragged his heavy head at the mention of his full name. “Indeed I am.”
“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.” Benjamin’s appendages fidgeted in a way that suggested that something significant was going on in his vast brain and very high speeds.
“What? What is it? What’s wrong?” asked a very worried Becky.
“We need to get him home.”
“Well, yeah, “ laughed Becky, “We all know he wants to go home. Silly.”
“No, you don’t understand. We MUST get him home.”
“Why, sir?” The Detective rose from his stool, alarmed by the obvious agitation in Benjamin’s voice. “Why MUST you get me home?”
Benjamin grabbed the Detective’s shoulders with immediacy. “This murder you need to solve. Was it the murder of Emily Smythe, daughter of Joseph Smythe, sole benefactor of the Inns of Court, 1865 to… erm, well, from your time?”
“How did you know that?”
“Oh dear, oh dear. We have to get you back.” Benjamin turned to Becky, a look of horror and sadness overcame him.
“Why?” said Becky, holding the IT tech’s hands in hers. He looked deeply lost in her eyes, and said.
“Otherwise you will cease to exist.”
“What?!”
“All this will cease to exist. This pub, all these people, the beer, everything.”
“What?!” exclaimed Daz. The dry mouthed terror of Episode 5 overcame him.
“The Inns of Court’s very existence depends on you solving this murder. If we don’t get you back then everything and everyone in this building will disappear.” Becky’s eye sockets bulged as Benjamin wrapped his arms around her, holding her so tight she thought she might pop in an explosion of aroused senses.

Everyone was shocked. Even the writers broke out in a sweat. All this time and effort and now there was a possibility this story might not even exist in the first place! What a waste of time. Or was it a waste of space? Not sure. Maybe both? Anyway…

Remembering the mess that explosions of aroused senses can cause, Becky struggled for a breath, “But the time machine’s broken, and we can’t get outside to the pothole porthole. How are you going to get him back?”
“Not only that,” said the Detective. “What if I can’t solve it? This murder that you say holds so much weight in the continuation of this fine establishment, what if I can’t solve it?”
All faces looked in horror. Horror stared back.
“Oh, that’s okay,” said Benjamin. I can tell you how to do that.”
“Oh?”
“Well, Piggy can. Hang on.” Piggy appeared from her snug coat pocket and made small snuffling noises as Benjamin fed her some chopped potatoes. She gurgled for a minute, then, in perfect English, said, “It was the victim herself, it was her fault.”
Ignoring the fact he was now conversing with what he thought was indeed an actual pig, the Detective flung his arms in the air in exasperation. “And how can you possibly come to that ludicrous conclusion? She’s the victim! How can she murder herself?!”
“Look, this place, the Inns of Court, a place for those of the legal persuasion, yes?”
“Yes.”
“Provider of lodgings as well as nourishment for the bellies and brains of many fine barristers passing through this city.”
“Yes.”
”The whole point of the Inns of Court establishments was to foster collegiality among the profession, to provide learning materials and informal information exchange between likeminded gentlemen.”
“Indeed,” said the Detective, still confused, and still slightly uncomfortable with the whole pig talking thing.
“And that’s exactly it,” said Piggy. “Gentlemen. Women weren’t allowed to enter the legal profession. The murdered woman, Emily Smythe, was cunning as well as clever. She managed to pass herself off as a learned gentleman for six months or so, learning about the law, participating in challenging debates and mock trials. Her intellect was so compelling she gained the respect of all the trainee barristers that encountered her. All but one. Mr George Sinclair. He not only respected this young man, as he thought, he also admired him, maybe in a little too much of a physical way for some to comprehend according to the customs of your time, sir.”
“You mean, he…he…?” wavered the Detective.
“He fancied the pants off her,” blundered Daz.
“Well, yes, but he didn’t know she was a he. He thought he was a he, and a fine specimen at that. This is what so infuriated him when he discovered her secret during one very merry winter evening, having staged an audience with her alone with a view to revealing his true feelings. His embarrassment raged within him, and the fear of his own wants becoming public via the gossip that women folk were supremely accustomed to made his logical mind conclude the only course of action he felt he had. He strangled her to death on this very spot.”
All eyes looked at the stain on the carpet beneath them. Then the next stain. Then the next. Then they gave up and went back to the enthralling story unfolding before them.
“Well, not this exact spot. Or that one,” the pig continued. “Panic stricken, George escaped unseen, and the body was found later that evening slumped in that booth over there – for how long, no one knew. When her true identity was discovered there was much outrage from the judges at the court house, and no more so than Sir Joseph Smythe, a distinguished judge of Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice, and sole benefactor of the Inns of Court. And, Detective, a very close friend of your Chief Inspector. Mr Smythe vowed to withdraw all his funding and demolish this building in which his daughter perished should the perpetrator not be captured and brought to justice. You were assigned to the case, Detective, because you are the most highly regarded detective of the Wakefield City Police, and your Chief Inspector would entrust such a sensitive and imperative case to only one man. His next in line. You.”
The Detective stood aghast at the story he’d just been told. And told, although very eloquently, by a small pink pig with a slight Somerset accent.
“But won’t the fact he’s even been here fuck up space time something or other?” said Becky.
“The future can interact with the past so long as the past is not modified. That’s the Grandfather Paradox,” said Benjamin.
“So that means I DO solve the murder, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.” The Detective became very animated at this thought.
“You do, so long as we can get you back.” Benjamin’s brow furrowed as the thought weighed on his mind. He turned to Becky. “If we can’t, then… Well, you’ll all…all this, it’ll start dissolving.”
Daz stared at the Hags Wobbling pump in disbelief. The pump flickered slightly. “Right, come on, we need to sort this out. I was in the army, you know. I can do this. I can figure this out. It’s simple, really.” There was a pause while the simple answer mooched along the bar and disappeared as if it hadn’t even been there in the first place. “Isn’t it?”
“Well,” said Benjamin, looking at The Supervisor “depends what shape the time machine’s in really.”
“Dunno about that. The mechanic didn’t look too positive,” said The Supervisor. “And the exterior has a thick coating of innards, thanks to Mr Happy Sword over there. The rotational mass efficiency will be severely reduced.”
“Oooh, oooh, ooh!,” said Becky. Couldn’t we combine the time machine and the porthole in the ladies somehow? Like make our own time machine. Like on Scrapheap Challenge?
Everyone stared at Becky.
“Yeeeaaah,” said Daz, “I’m good with my hands. Got any spanners, Dave?”
“Scrapheap Challenge?” said Helen, “Really?”
The Supervisor sniggered.
“Wait, she has a point,” said Benjamin. Becky blushed. “We could use the time rotor from the machine to reverse the polarity of the pothole. Make in out and out in.”
“Ah,” interjected The Supervisor, “Fraid the starter motor’s buggered too. We may have been a little too enthusiastic in trying to start it the other day. It was a cold day.” The Supervisor shrugged. “It’d need one hell of a boost to get it going again.”
“Like a jump start?” said Daz.
“Sort of, but it needs to have the equivalent power of an exploding star.”
“Oh.” Daz hunched over and sipped his pint, giving up. Exploding stars had nothing to do with spanners.
The Supervisor trudged back through The Door in search of the time rotor.
“An exploding star,” said Becky, dreamily.
“A beautiful sight,” Benjamin said, not sure if he was describing such a star or something…someone else. Becky caught his gaze and turned her shy blush towards their hands, now firmly clasped together like they would fall into an abyss of pleasure if they let go.
“A spark,” said Becky. “Something so powerful it could literally turn the world upside down.”
“Yes. Like…”

“Like…”

The space between them dissolved as something strong, magnetic, pulled them together, and…and…
“That’s it!” shouted Benjamin.
“Eh?” said Becky, one eye open, mid pout.
“You’re the key! It was meant to be! This was meant to happen. All of it. The Detective turning up, you, Becky, the key to the universe, right here.”
“Um…,” ventured Becky, unsure where this particular chat up line was going.
“Space time is affected by the overwhelming free will of sentient beings. It’s almost like space time has its own conscious, like it knows where you need to be even if you don’t know yourself. The Detective needed to come here so Piggy could tell him how to solve the murder. All because of you lot. You all want this place to exist so much, space time was affected by you. I had to come here to explain all that.”
“And get me home,” said the Detective.
“Yes, and get you home, by reversing the porthole. Which means something else is meant to happen, and, Becky, you’re the key.” Becky smiled a somewhat confused but nevertheless ecstatic smile as Ben took her in his arms. “Come with me, now,” said Benjamin softly.
Becky was breathless once again, “Where to?”
“The ladies toilets.”
“Ahh. Oh. Okay.”

Benjamin grabbed the time rotor from the Supervisor’s slightly bloody hands. “You too, Detective. To the toilets!” The three figures disappeared into the ladies. The broken loo seat took on a whole new meaning as Ben positioned the Detective on its rim, his feet astride the watery hole below. He placed the time rotor in his pocket with Piggy and clambered up in front of the Detective. “Hold on to my waist.” The Detective complied.
“But…” said Becky, “But…will I ever see you again?”
“You will see me in the stars every night. And I will be with you, for all time.” Benjamin leaned over and scribbled something on the toilet door. “And I will never forget you, Becky. My key to the universe, and my heart.” Becky fell into his arms like melted chocolate. Benjamin kissed her lips, almost afraid of the power they imparted. Arcs of blue silver spread across the toilet, into the bar. The crackling sparks flew around the drinkers, most of whom clambered under the tables for cover. Daz cradled his pint, shielding his only love from the bouncing bolts of energy. A deep rumbling buzz emanated from the toilets, reverberating through the collected stomachs, vibrating through the foundations, the earth, the core of existence.

Then it was gone. Silence, except for a small fizz zipping about the light fittings.

Becky slowly emerged from the ladies toilets with a look of satisfaction and loss.
“Did he do it?” asked Helen.
“Yeah,” Becky sighed, “Oh yeah, he did it all right.”
“So they’ve both gone? The Detective too?”
“Oh that. Yeah, they’ve both gone.”
Daz stared suspiciously at the Hags Wobbling pump. He reached out a finger and prodded it inquisitively. Relieved, he downed the dregs of his pint glass. “The beer’s still here, we’re still here, so everything must be okay. ‘Nother pint please, Dave.”
The Knight Before Christmas could contain himself no longer. He swept the mop up and started slopping it about happily around the floor. The Supervisor rolled his eyes to the ceiling and returned to the time machine in the vain hope he could piece back enough of the mechanic to at least hold a screwdriver or three.
“I think that’s about the right temperature now,” said Harry, holding the backs of his fingers to the Jager glass, then picking it up and pouring it straight into the goldfish’s globular home.
There was a flash of blond, then the comforting sound of the jukebox clicking into life.
Daz fished his half packet of pork scratchings from under his t-shirt. In this space and time, he thought, all was well.

To be continued…

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Episode 9 – Hallucination of the Apocalyptic Mind

By Daz Trei

A squeak at The Door could only mean one thing. The Xmouse had obviously had enough of the rambling on about the Rumbelows man and the severed time machine gasket. Hopping onto the bar, everyone cheered, as Dave brought him a gin and tonic. (With a cocktail umbrella of course, classy mouse.) Suddenly, however, the return of the Xmouse celebration, was cut short. The whole pub fell silent, for some words were muttered that caused silence of a hushed kind of silence. “What!” Dave sort of asked Daz, angrily.
“Erm, can I have a coffee please…Dave?” Daz asked. Feeling a glare of beady eyes, gazing with a burning intensity, Daz shuffled uncomfortably. Suddenly, the sound of two loud thuds, broke the dramatic deadlock.
“Ouch! Tossers! I thought it was the guy on the end of the bar that fell off his stool!” shouted Helen as she climbed back up, clearly not impressed.
“You prick Daz, don’t say the C word again! And why hasn’t he fallen off his stool?” shouted Becky. The man at the end of the bar hadn’t been listening. He was watching the horse racing on the TV. “Oi!” shouted Helen, causing everyone in the bar to jump. The man at the end of the bar turned to see what the fuss was about. “Wha?” he shouted back.
“Daz, just asked Dave….for a coffee!” shouted Becky. The man at the end of the bar suddenly looked very shocked, [Honestly, he was very, very shocked]. Nobody at the Inns ever asked for coffee. “Fucking coffee?” he shouted, as he glided from his stool, somewhat theatrically onto the floor. “Sod it, I’m staying down here. Sick of falling off that bloody stool. Fffffin writers,” he grumbled.
“What?” the rest of the bar chorused, resuming the coffee saga at the bar. Daz was rubbing his eyes and shaking his head. “Why, do you want a coffee Daz?” asked Helen.
“Well, I’m….I’m hallucinating with all the beer and pork scratchings. Look over there for example, there’s a horse with a budgie on its back, sipping a small glass of Budgiesham and dry ginger. There’s a mouse drinking a gin and tonic, with an umbrella…”
“Because he’s classy!” everyone interjected thoughtfully, but inappropriately.
Daz huffed and continued his list, whilst some folks read the free magazines at the end of the bar. “…Sorry, he is a classy mouse actually. Then, there’s a Sleepless Knight, snoring his bloody head off on the pool table and a detective from another time period is now drinking erm… What is he drinking?”
“Its a Porno. He said he wanted to try one,” replied Dave blankly.
“He’s drinking a Porno? What’s a Porno? Oh bloody hell, never mind. There’s only one thing for it, I must be hallucinating. Now Dave, give me a coffee, I need to sober up,” said Daz. Helen and Becky were clinging on to the bar, ensuring they didn’t fall off their stools again, following yet another hot beverage request. Dave took a deep breath, before bringing himself to finally ask, “One sugar, or two?”
Everyone looked on as Daz cocooned himself in hot steaming coffee and an attempt at rational thought. Looking up now and again to see if reality had realigned itself, only to find a horse smiling back with dry roasted peanuts stuck between its teeth. “More coffee please, Dave!” Daz repeated.
“Why are you doing this Daz? Its not good for you, all this is happening, whether we like it or not. It’s the Purple OAP apocalypse. We can’t get away from it. Beer helps us deal with it. Do you want a shot of something in your……coffee?” Helen asked, almost vomiting from the mention of the C word.
“Nope, I’ve had enough. It’s sober up time! More coffee please, Dave,” replied Daz. After another five coffees the inevitable happened: he got up to go to the toilet. Briefly he stood, looking at the obstacle before him, trying to pretend it was normal to have a horse stood at the bar in a pub. It didn’t work, however, and with an exaggerated exhale of air Daz squeezed past the Knight Mare. Whilst stood at the urinal, doing what men do at urinals, he noticed something strange. Outside the toilet window, he couldn’t hear the sound of walking sticks and zimmers. Instead, he heard the rather normal sound of people in the smoking area…having a smoke and a chuckle.
“Bloody hell, more hallucinations,” he said out loud, as the chuckling outside persisted. Walking back out of the toilet door and back towards the bar, Daz stopped and almost crapped himself as the back door to the smoking area opened. He was trapped, if it was a Purple OAP, he’d have to run back in the toilets. Or worse, it could have been the angry diving spectators!
In through the door came two lads, who headed into the pub via the middle door. This was a vision of normality. ‘Was the apocalypse over?’ he thought. He looked through the open door; the sun was bouncing from the town hall building opposite, the Purple OAPS had gone and the tables were surrounded by happy patrons, sucking at there white smokey health hazards and blowing out clouds of normal happy smoke. Daz couldn’t have been more happier. ‘Yeah! Everything’s back to normal!’ he thought. He shook a patron’s hand. The patron looked back a little worried, but glad of the friendly handshake all the same. Rushing past The Door, Daz stopped in his tracks, returning to give it a little shove. Glad to find The Door was firmly locked, he had to go tell the others.
He hurried through the middle door, where he saw the man at the end of the bar. He was sat firmly on his stool, watching snooker on the TV. Briefly, the man at the end of the bar turned to look at Daz, who smiled back it him, before the man resumed his TV viewing. Cautiously looking around, he found the horse and the budgie had gone. The pool table was free of Sleepless Knights, instead there was just a young couple playing pool. The lad was obviously hopeless, taking an over-vigorous shot, the white ball flew off the table and bounced across the floor. ‘Oh no! Not again!’ Daz thought. The man at the end of the bar however stayed firmly on his stool. Only taking time to tut and shake his head as the white ball rolled past him.
Daz headed around the bar, but now there was hardly anyone there. Helen and Becky had gone. Daz felt a surprisingly overwhelming sense of sadness; the story was now over. In the corner of the room, sat a man, reading a book, whilst intermittently tossing roasted nuts in his mouth. “Detective?” Daz asked tentatively. The man looked up, it wasn’t Detective Inspector Hudson, but the man was kind enough to reply, “No, it’s a sci-fi novel mate,” he chirped, before missing his mouth again with a volley of roasted nuts.
“Pint, Daz?” Dave asked from behind the bar.
“Wha, oh, erm yeah, ta,” Daz replied. “Where did Becky and Helen go?”
“Who?” replied Dave. “Two pound sixty please.”
Gutted to be paying again, Daz was all the same glad to hear that the bar was now charging. This reaffirmed that the apocalypse was now over, and there’d be no more purple grannies. “Becky and Helen, they were here before I went for a piss.” Daz said, whilst counting out some coins.
“No they weren’t. It’s been quiet. There’s some people having a fag out the back,” Dave said. Daz was happy that the Purple OAPs were no more, but he was starting to feel confused. A pint might be what he needed, thus he took a good long slurp of the delicious beer.

……

“It’s working Dave, give us some more,” Helen said as Becky poured Hags Wobbling down a funnel into Daz’s mouth.
“Wont he choke?” said the Detective.
“Nah, he’s drinking it, he’s just a bit unconscious,” said Dave, handing over another half of bitter.

……

“So where did the horse go then?” Daz asked Dave. He responded facially. This particular gurn said ‘What the fuck is he on about?’
“Erm, what horse is that then Daz?” Dave replied, as normally as possible. His mind was obviously on the Yellow Pages and the number for the mental patient hospital.
“The horse! He was stood over there, with a budgie on his back,” Daz replied, quite sure of himself, receiving a somewhat frosty reception.
“Erm, yes Daz, it’s just in the back, I’ll go get it for you, ok? You just stay there a minute,” Dave said, whilst shuffling towards the back room.
Daz couldn’t understand what the hell was happening. Also he started to feel very peculiar. His crotch felt cold and damp and the front of his chest was itching a bit like he had sand or something in his chest hair. He took another good gulp of his pint to try and settle himself.

……

“Dave, how the fuck did you miss?” shouted Helen.
“It was an accident, I poured too early!” Dave replied.
“Too early? You missed completely, you’ve poured half a pint of beer into his lap!” Helen replied.
“Oh yeah, well what about her then?” Dave said, pointing at Becky.
“What about me?” said Becky, vaguely innocently.
“Well half that bag of pork scratchings you tried to pour in his mouth, went down the front of his shirt, didn’t it?”

……

Dave reappeared a short while later from the room behind the bar. “Do you want another pint, Daz? They’re going to be a while. A patient has escaped.” he said.
“Who’s going to be a while? What patient?” Daz replied, “What’s going on?”
“Here, have some scratchings as well, on the house,” Dave said, chucking a packet over the bar.
“Look Dave, stop pissing about now. Where did the Sleepless Knight go? And the Xmouse with the gin and tonic?” Daz said whilst crunching his pork snacks quite hastily. Maybe a bit too hastily he realised as he started to cough and choke.

……

“Told you he’d choke!” said the Detective, as Daz began to cough and splutter. “I think what this fellow needs is the Heimlich manoeuvre. Stand aside good ladies!” said the Detective.

……

“You alright Daz?” asked Dave.
“Yeah, I’m ok mate, just gone down the wrong hole,” Daz said between splutters. Just then, through the doorway came three figures in white medical smocks.
“Here he is, he’s here!” Dave shouted, whilst pointing at Daz.
“Dave, you bastard, I’m not bloody mental!” Daz said, beginning to panic, whilst still coughing and chocking. The three figures came closer, before quickly grabbing Daz where he sat. Unable to move he struggled a little, whilst still choking.
“Gone down the wrong hole has it young man, oh dear, better help you out hadn’t we?” one of the figures said, in a suspiciously old lady voice.
THWACK! One of the figures suddenly brought a walking stick, sharply against the patient’s back.

……

“Are you sure your doing it right, Detective? I’m sure your not supposed to hit him on the back with a bar stool. Is that really the Heimlich manoeuvre?” Dave said, as everyone else looked on worried. “This is ridiculous, I’ll fix this!” said Dave. He’d had enough, and for some reason was rapidly pouring a pint of lager.
“I don’t think having a pint of lager will fix it Dave. He’s chocking. He needs a more rapid solution,” said Helen.
“Its not for me,” Dave replied.

……

“Aaaargh! You stupid….oh shit!” Daz shouted, as one of the figures smock hoods fell back. It was a Purple OAP!
“Ha har harrrr ‘cough’. Hello young man, we’ve come to take you to the hospital. Ha ha harrr harrrr ‘cough’” said the purple old lady.
“Dave, help me!” Daz shouted, still coughing and spluttering. With a mighty gush, Dave suddenly threw a pint of lager in Daz’s face. Now drenched, Daz looked up, through a frothy fringe of lager frothiness, just as one of the OAPS wacked him on the back again.

……

“That got it, Detective. Well done!” said Becky. The air obstructing pork scratching had dislodged rapidly and was now stuck near the double three on the dart board. “Now hit him again with another lager. That first one worked a treat, and was quite funny actually!”

……

“Dave, what did you throw that lager at me for? Help me, these Purple OAPS are going to….” Daz didn’t have time to finish, as another pint of lager hit him square in the face. Suddenly he was on the floor. “No, no, no, get off!” he shouted, as what he thought was a couple of OAPS, picked him up.
“DAZ! Wake up you wanker!” one of the OAPS shouted.
“Huh, how do you know my name?” Daz asked, “Huh?”
Daz steadily opened his eyes to a bar full of nonsense. There was a horse with a budgie on its back, a mouse drinking gin and tonic and a Knight, fast asleep on the pool table.
“What the heck happened?” Daz asked, double checking around him for Purple OAPS in white smocks.
“You drank shit loads of coffee! Then you went to the toilet, when you came back you looked at the man at the end of the bar, smiled, then you came and sat on your stool, where you promptly passed out because of all the caffeine!” explained Helen.
“So you’re saying this is the Purple Apocalypse. Everything’s not back to normal?” Daz asked tentatively.
“Nope, I’m afraid everything’s not back to normal. The apocalypse is still on,” said Helen.
“Well thank fuck for that! Pint please, Dave!” Daz said with urgency.
“No more C word then Daz?” asked Becky.
“Nope, where’s the Jager crusader? I need to get drunk quick!” said Daz.

To be continued…

Episode 6 – The Knights of the Bar Stool

By Helen Rhodes

Dave picked at his inner ear with an inadequate little finger. The crunching sound was still there. The Knight Before Christmas finished mopping behind the bar and pondered his next setting for mop based action. Dave checked that Daz had definitely finished his sixth packet of pork scratchings since dawn. He had. But the crunching was still there. Dave peered over the crowded bar.
“Who’s that?”
“Who?” chorused the three bar based stalwarts. The bloke on the stool at the end ignored everyone, quite rightly.
“That guy sat over there in the bowler hat,” said Dave.
“Bowler hat?” Becky gave Dave a questioning look.
“Yeah. And the moustache, with the steel rimmed glasses, wearing the wool tweed… Hang on! What IS he wearing?”
Slowly, so as not to be too obvious, whilst failing miserably, Becky, Daz, and Helen twisted their heads over their respective shoulders.
“Looks like something from some ITV time of the month drivel drama,” said Helen, all too knowledgably.

The man sat cross legged in a three piece tan coloured suit with red windowpane checks. His neck tie was bow like, his white collar starched. He did indeed wear a bowler hat. Brown, with a black ribbon. He sat there, in the corner, his eyes shifting suspiciously around the various living adornments of the public house, twiddling his dusky bush of a moustache with one hand, and reaching into a brown paper bag full of freshly roasted peanuts. He picked up a couple in his fingers and fed them to his lips, somewhere under the bristles. His moustache wibbled from side to side.
Crrunnnch, crruuunnch, crunnnch, crunch, crunch, crunch…

The three heads at the bar turned slowly, obviously, back towards Dave.
“Dunno,” said Daz. “Can’t say I noticed him before.”
“Me neither,” said Helen.
“Strange,” said Becky. “A person can’t just appear out of nowhere. Can they?”
Whilst the mystified look passed amongst the four of them they all became aware of a presence. A kind of lurking presence. The kind of presence that says you’ve just been caught smoking behind the sports hall, but you can delay the inevitable if you just have another couple of drags before you attempt to leg it anyway.
“Excuse me,” said the well-spoken voice, “I’m here about the murder.”

The need to be quiet was apparent to everyone, and so everyone was. Eyes wandered, mid-sip. The Knight Before Christmas paused, mid-mop. A spider crawled behind the Captain’s Organs. The Strangebow told its bubbles to stop bubbling. The pork scratchings stopped scratching. Dave grabbed a bar towel, started to vigorously rub a very clean bit of bar, and said, “A murder? Huh, har, har…erm, what do you mean, a murder?“ Dave grinned a grin that said to all the other inhabitants in close proximity to also do the grinning that he was doing. “We’ve had no murder in here, have we? HAVE WE?”
“Oh, no, no, no murder here, no, of course not, no. Definitely not, no, not any murdering here. At all. None whatsoever,” said everyone’s mouths, at once.
“And where were YOU on Tuesday evening last, Miss?” The man rippled his bushy moustache in front of Helen’s frozen face.
“Er… Here?” Helen offered.
“Innnnnteresting,” said the man, giving a shrewd nod and turning to Daz. “And you, young man, your whereabouts, please?”
“Er…,” said Daz, “You know, in here. Just…sort of…drinking.” Daz examined a very interesting bit of fluff on the knee of his jeans.
“Hmm. I see.” The well-spoken stranger reached inside his woollen jacket and produced a cherry wood smoking pipe and a pouch of unmarked tobacco. He started to fill his pipe whilst eyeing all that he felt should be suspected. Which was everyone.
“Hang on,” said Dave, “You can’t smoke that in here. It’s illegal.”
“Illegal?” said the man. “Don’t be ridiculous. This is a drinking establishment isn’t it?”
“Er…” said Dave.
“A licensed public house?” continued the man.
“Yes,” confirmed Dave.
“Licensed to serve intoxicating liquor?”
“Yes,” said Dave, confidently.
“Well then. If a man can’t enjoy a smoke in his local pub then where can he?” The man puffed his chest out as far as his waistcoat would let him do so.
“Er…” said Dave, a bit confused by proceedings, and having just had a swig of Cherry C+ himself, “Well, it’s illegal isn’t it? The Government, you know, made it illegal to smoke in any public place.”
“What? When was this?” said the man. “I never received that communique. The telegraph must be broken again. What a ridiculous law, if I may be so bold.”
“The telegraph?” said Daz.
“Yes. You know, that thing we use to communicate in the 19th Century,” the man said patronisingly.
“19th Century? Eh?” said Helen.
“What IS the matter with you all? Are you foreign?” sneered the man. “Your ridiculous clothing suggests so at least.”
Dave stared at Helen. Helen stared at Becky. Becky stared at Daz. Daz looked at his AC/DC t-shirt. Point made, they all thought.

“Excuse me,” The Knight Before Christmas said, cheerfully. Everyone moved their feet as he mopped the foot rail along the bar. “Thanks,” he said, even more cheerfully, plodding off to check the state of the pool table pockets.

Accepting that he was dealing with the more stupid of modern day civilised society, the strange man grasped at his lapels and enquired, “So where does one now partake of the shag?”
“PARDON?” said a worried looking Dave.
“Is there no provision for those of us who enjoy the taste of tobacco and the like?” said the man, waving his pipe suggestively.
“Oh, right,” said a relieved Dave. “Yeah, you have to go outside. Out the back. Well, under normal circumstances.”
“Right,” said the puzzled man, and set off towards the back door.
“NOOOO!” shouted Becky. “You can’t go out there. They’ll get you! And you’ll let them in!”
“Sorry,” said the man, mid-stride, “Who will get me, exactly?”
“The Purple OAPs,” said Becky, feeling like she was stating the obvious.
The man straightened himself, looked to the ceiling for inspiration, didn’t find any, and replied with some irritation, “Who?”
“The Purple OAPs,” said Becky, again.
“How can he have missed them?” Helen whispered to Daz.
The man repeated Becky’s words, as though doing so would make sense of them. “Purple OAPs.”
“Yes. The Purple OAPs. The old age pensioners. Outside. Who are mostly purple. Look quite hungry.” But no matter how slowly Becky said it, the man still showed no sign of recognition regarding the OAP situation, purple or otherwise.
“I do believe you are intoxicated, Miss,” said the man, clearly the only sane organism in the room, he thought.
“You can’t miss them, the ones out… Ah, hang on a minute,” said Becky. A wry smile claimed her features. She nodded to herself. She knew she was right. “I get it,” she said.
Helen, Daz, and Dave looked at each other, clearly silently agreeing that they did not, in fact, get it like Becky did.
Becky giggled, wafting a finger at no one in particular. “There’s some timey-wimey paradox thingy going on isn’t there? That’s why all that surreal stuff with the horse and carts and cobbled streets happened isn’t it?”
Daz and Helen stared at Becky with saggy, bemused eyes.
“You won’t know about the purple OAPs,” said Becky to the very perplexed man, “Because you’re from the 1800s.” It was a damn good job she was here, Becky thought.
Understanding with a hint of disbelief and can’t we just have another pint now, maybe some more pork scratchings, clambered over Daz’s face. “Ahhh,” he said.
“She’s banging on about Doctor Who again isn’t she?” sighed Helen into her Strangebow.
“Look,” said the man, determined to sort out these incomprehensible babbling idiots, ”The date is 1889. I checked it on my paper this morning. I am most definitely Detective Inspector Hudson, and I have unequivocally just walked from the station house on Cliff Parade under orders to investigate the murder of a…a… Hang on.” The man produced a small black ruled notebook from his breast pocket which he flipped open to the appropriate page before reading very deliberately, “Ah, yes. ‘A lovely, sweet, little old lady’ in this very building on Tuesday evening. I demand that…”

“He must have fallen through the time lines,” explained Becky, to anyone that was listening, but mostly to herself. “Caught up in a curve and flung into our century.”
“Ahh,” said Helen, convincingly.
Mel flipped one of the jukebox panels over, which echoed nervously in the sanitised air. The rest of the drinkers scattered around the room remained unconvinced, or totally confused in the haze of inebriation. Probably both. Either way, they retained their right to silence in the face of a storyline happening around them.
“What? So you’re saying,” said the detective, allowing the dawn of realisation to rise within him, “You’re saying that this…this isn’t…” He laughed at the ridiculousness of the words about to leave his moustache. “This isn’t 1889?”
“2014. Well, nearly. I think,” ventured Daz.
The detective grasped his moustache between his thumb and index finger, an obvious comfort to him. “Now you mention it,” he said, “It did get dark for a time on my way down here. And a bit windy. But I was too busy protecting my nuts to notice anything else.” His eyes directed themselves to the brown paper bag stuffed into his coat pocket. Remembering the crunching that started this whole stupid…whatever it is, everyone regarded them with relief.
“I… I can’t believe it. I just…,” The detective slumped onto the stool at the end of the bar, regardless of the bloke who WAS sitting on it. “But how… I don’t… I just…” He cradled his brow in his sweating palm, his bottom lip (and maybe his upper lip, if we could actually see it) starting to lose its stiffness.
“Oh god,” said Becky, “He’s losing it.”
“But how did he get here?” said Helen.
It was a good question. A very good question. In fact, in the history of questions generally, it was probably the most profound question relating to this particular moment in this particular setting in this particular sentence.
“It all started when you shouted through The Door, Dave,” said Becky.
Dave tried to give his best innocent face a go, but it didn’t work. “That bloody Door!” he groaned. “Bloody hell. I suppose you want ME to do something about it then.”
“Well…,” started Becky.
“It’s always me isn’t it? Dave, do this, Dave, do that, Dave, can you…, Dave will you…, Dave, The Door wants you. I mean it’s never anyone else is it? Always me. Always bloody Dave. Why do I have to do everything all the time? There’s only one of me, you know.”
“No there isn’t,” said a voice from somewhere behind the bar. The voice was profoundly ignored.
“But we have to reverse it somehow,” said Becky. “Something you did made time jump, skip, skid, wobble…or something, and he ended up in exactly the same location, just a few decades out. The circumstances need to be recreated exactly, so only you have any chance of returning him to his time.”
Dave sighed.
“Hey,” said Becky, “I know it feels like you’ve been at work forever because of this stupid apocalypse thing, but really you’re just one of us. In’t that right, guys? Becky nudged Helen. Helen’s elbow nudged Helen just before it fell off the bar.
“Yes! Absolutely. One of us. The best one of us, I’d say.” Despite the air of sarcasm, Helen found she did actually mean it.
“You just happen to be nearest the beer is all. You’re the bestest barman we all know. We wouldn’t get by without you. Eh, Daz. Daz. Daz. Daz. DAZ!”
“Yes! Fuck, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes!” said Daz, maybe a bit too enthusiastically towards the keeper of the pork scratchings, but nonetheless truthful.
Dave nodded. “I know,” he said. He draped the bar towel over the Hags Wobbling pump and said, “Right, what do you want me to do?”
“I think you just need to shout at The Door. You know, like you did last time.”
“Okay,” said Dave. “I’ll try. Don’t hold out much hope though. Temperamental bugger, that Door.”
Dave left the bar and, chest puffed, marched over to The Door. With his shoulders broad, head held stubbornly high, he pushed at The Door’s door handle. “Now, look here!” he shouted…

The scream echoed all the way back to 1889. Dave ran, found a good cowering position by the glass washer, and did what the position dictated.
“Dave!” said Daz, jumping from his stool, “What’s wrong”?
Daz readied himself for the worst as he walked round the corner to confront…

Daz’s scream was of course very manly, with only a hint of girl.

The very tall, very dark, looming figure glided from The Door into the room, smooth, as if on ice, smoke billowing about him. His long hooded cloak, the colour of dark, hung his full, imposing length, flickering with intent of the cruellest, most inconceivable horror ever to darken anything that wasn’t already dark. The neck of the long cloak opened revealing palpable blackness of the blackest black, promising terror upon terror of hideous, grinding oppression in the most desperate of desperate times.
Everyone looked puzzled.
The Knight Before Christmas looked terrified.
“Ah, there you are,” the cloak said, just before it fell to the ground in a heap of crumpled depression.
The mop bounced pathetically as it fell to the floor. The Knight Before Christmas cowered further, much to the incomprehension of his fellow pub dwellers, as before him stood his worst nightmare.
His Supervisor.

The Supervisor shrugged off his cloak, which fell to the ground, revealing a Segway, this being The Supervisor’s preferred mode of transport. The billowing smoke which had accompanied his entrance was still doing so via the side of the machine. The Supervisor coughed. “Been meaning to get that fixed. Now then,” he said, turning his attention to the Knight Before Christmas, “We have been a naughty boy haven’t we?”
The Knight Before Christmas clenched his hands and looked down at his feet.
The Supervisor reached for his clipboard from a little basket affixed to the front of his Segway handles. He was a pasty magnolia colour, with dark rimmed glasses, thin lips, and uniform rows of teeth obviously too scared to even think about being otherwise. His shirt was white with a very pale grey check pattern, and his shades-of-brown tie was desperately trying to keep his repressed neck in check should it have any ideas about freeing itself into the breathable air. He flipped through the uniform pages on his black clipboard, took the pencil from its handy holder, and smoothed a rogue mousy grey hair into submission on his well-oiled head. His neck grasped at the most available oxygen it could grab and his voice squawked into action via his nose, “You have violated Rule 12 of Section 32 of the Knights of the Bar Stool code of conduct. Subsection 16 specifically, paragraph 13, subparagraph 2 point 1, B, and I quote,” he said, “’Knights of the Bar Stool shall not remain in situ beyond the appropriate timescale according to their purpose,’ end quote.”
The Supervisor bore a line of sight in the direction of the Knight Before Christmas. “Anything to say for yourself?”
The Knight Before Christmas decided the only thing he had to say for himself was nothing, which he did very eloquently.
“The Knights of the Bar Stool look very dimly upon these blatant violations of subsection 16. If we all went round doing what we like nothing would ever get done would it? When would people know the appropriate time to panic? When would the clouds know when to be wet? When would the milk know when to run out? Chaos! That’s what would happen. Do you want that? Hmm?”
The Knight Before Christmas continued to stare at his feet. He took a sheepish glance upwards, and shook his head, then returned to studying the floor.
“We can’t have the Knight Before Christmas out and about AFTER the night before Christmas can we?”

The Knight Before XMouse strolled casually into the bar with a red mouse sized towel draped over his left shoulder. He saw the situation. He understood the situation. He assessed the options appertaining to the situation. He retraced his steps, and disappeared, like magic, or something very similar.

“But I like it here,” were the words that decided to exit The Knight Before Christmas’ mouth.
“Like?! Like!” said The Supervisor in disbelief. He strained his features towards calmness. “Rule 5 of Section 21 of the Knights of the Bar Stool code of conduct, subsection 12, paragraph 9, quote, ‘Knights of the Bar Stool shall not ‘like’ things in a personal manner,’ end quote. You are here to do a job, son. Not enjoy yourself.”
“I did some mopping,” said the Knight Before Christmas, pointing to the inanimate wet sludgy thing by his feet.
As far as The Supervisor was concerned it was very obvious to every onlooker who was doing at least some form of looking on that this was probably not the best thing the Knight Before Christmas could have said. “Mopping?!” Exclaimed The Supervisor, now with extra forehead vein. “Are you mad?” What are you going to do when your chainmail rusts, hmm?”
“I’ve got some WD40 in the back somewhere,” said Dave helpfully. Well, he thought it was helpful anyway. So did everyone else really. And, in truth, it was helpful, if you weren’t The Supervisor. After he’d cracked his neck several times so he could regard the ‘helpful’ person from which all this ‘helpfulness’ was emanating, he said, “If you don’t mind, this is official Knights of the Bar Stool business, which is, in fact, private and confidential, and to which your utmost discretion must be paid. Is that clear?” His right upper eyelid twitched.
Helen slurped her cider with relieved eyes, remembering the utterly incomprehensible time when there wasn’t any. “Oh, have a drink for fuck’s sake,” she said.
The Supervisor approached the space from where this flippant comment had emerged and focused past his long pointy nose at the human form before him. He pondered it for a moment, glancing at the array of beverages along the bar. “Oh, I’ll have a tomato juice I suppose. Just to loosen the acrid smoke from my throat, you understand.”

Detective Inspector Hudson was still contemplating his own situation, sat on this bar stool, in this pub, in his home town, 125 years later than he should be.
The Supervisor looked over the detective. “I hope you’ve fire proofed that suit. Very flammable, lambs’ wool, you know. And all this paper on the walls, gah!” His eyes rolled about the room, taking in the pre-post-post-neo-classical decoration, “Such a fire hazard. A number 9 on the scale I presume?” he said, eyes fixed on the Knight Before Christmas, who looked innocent of the obvious crime he had obviously neglected.
The Supervisor’s eyes rolled like bingo balls on acid. “Don’t tell me you haven’t done a risk assessment of the place,” he said, flabbergasted that such incompetence was even a possibility.
“Well, I…” started the Knight Before Christmas.
The Supervisor let out a long, tired sigh. His neck folded over his collar, as if dead from within. A tomato juice sloshed onto the bar, delivered by a rather baffled Dave who wasn’t even aware that such a thing had residence in the fridges of his place of work. “Oh, come on, we’ll do it together,” said The Supervisor. He picked up his tomato juice and rummaged around in his Segway basket until he produced approximately two inches of paperwork. The Knight Before Christmas reluctantly joined him at the pool table.

“But how am… Who… What is this time… How am I going to get home?” Babbled the detective, now with both hands cupping his aching skull.
“I think a shot of JegerMister would be appropriate right now, don’t you?” said Becky. The rest of the bar nodded. Dave reached for the bottle just as a flash of blond appeared at the corner of the bar. There stood Harry, with a coil of wire wrapped round his shoulder, holding the male end in his hand just at the correct height to plug into the nostril of the detective. They stared at each other for a while, just to let comprehension catch up.
“Jeger time?” said Harry.
Helen nodded. “Specifically because of him. He’s had a bit of a shock.”
“Oh, okay,” nodded Harry. The shots appeared in front of every patron in the room, including the detective and Harry, and the instruction began.

To be continued…

Episode 4 – The Knight Before Christmas

By Helen Rhodes

The rumbling roused even the deadest of spiders. The bricks shivered in their mortar, huddled together amidst the thundering ripples. Ears were covered, eyes screwed shut. Would it ever end? Oh please! Let it end! Helen nudged Daz, who snorted up half of his dribble and ventured a peep through his slumbering eyes.
“Wha..?
“You fell asleep. Dave wants to wipe down the bar. Shift.”
Daz roused his dozy arms. They complied and fell to his sides. Dave wiped down the bar, then plonked a packet of finest pork scratchings in front of Daz’s somnolent features. “Breakfast,” he said.
“Oh, thanks.” Daz ravaged the packet and pondered himself whilst chomping on a very crispy bit of pig skin, with extra hairs.
“You were mumbling in your sleep, you know,” said Helen.
“Was I?”
“Amongst the horrific snoring, yes.”
“I don’t snore.”
The bricks shivered, and Helen agreed. “Of course you don’t.”
“But now you come to mention it, I did have a very strange dream,” mused Daz.
“Did it have David Tennant in it?” Becky enquired enthusiastically.
“No.”
“Oh,” said Becky’s slightly disappointed face.
“There was a Knight or something. He liked to write. And he’s buried here.”
Daz’s description made Dave busy himself with the glass washer.
“Something to do with The Door, Dave.”
“Oh really? Nice. Yes, nice. Good. Good,” said Dave, attending fastidiously to a shot glass.

CLATTER, BANG, BANG!

The front door rattled. “Help me, please!” came a feeble cry from the other side. “Quick, before they come back.”
“We can’t! Don’t open the door, Daz!” But Helen’s plea for help couldn’t stop him. Daz was already undoing the blots and latches.
“It sounds important.”
But it wasn’t.
On the other side of the door stood a small, frail, and very wrinkled old lady. She smiled sweetly. The kind of smile that says I’m old, therefore you must help me, it is the law.
“Please,” she whimpered, “let me in. I had a spare Softmint in my handbag. They’re fighting over it now. Please, let me in. It’s cold out here, and my bones hurt. I’m 92, you know.”
“Aww,” said Becky. “You can’t leave her out there.”
“But she might be infected,” appealed Helen.
“She’s not purple enough. Look.” Daz led the stare towards the crumpled face, which, everyone had to admit, wasn’t at all purple. Kind of waxy in fact.
“Oh, let her in,” said Dave. “I’ll see if I can find some sherry out the back.”
The non-purple OAP slowly shuffled towards the bar while Daz secured the door once again.
“Oh, thank you, young man,” quivered the OAP. “You’re all very kind.”
Becky helped the pathetic frame over to a comfy seat. The woman sat, clutching her brown leather handbag on her knee, and sipped her sherry. Her cheeks became red with happiness, and everyone felt the right thing had been done.

Creeeeaaak… Crack!

The bricks looked at each other warily. The Door – yes, THAT DOOR – pulsed, as if about to burst.
“Er…” said Helen.
“Oh it’s fine!” said Dave, a little too positively. “It’s just the wind making it creak. It always does that. Ahaha…herher…hmm.”
“But the hinges, they’re sort of…”
And they were. The hinges, they were sort of…swivelling in their hinge holes. They creaked again. Then the door slammed open, sucking all the green paint inwards like a super-strong vacuum.
“What the fuck!” shouted Daz.
The ‘Free Pool Every Tuesday’ sign ripped itself from the notice board and disappeared into the blackness. The notice board itself swiftly followed.
“It’s gonna suck us all in!” shouted Helen, trying to persuade her hair not to follow the trend.
“Oooh, like a timey-wimey sorta thing,” said Becky, inappropriately.
“Quick, Daz, shut it!” Helen wafted a hand towards the door.
“But…but…I…can’t…reach…” Daz strained, hanging onto the bar post with his arm. His feet slipped slowly towards the dark hole, now pulling at his trainers. The laces fluttered seductively. “It’s gonna pull me in! Shiiiiit!” Daz grasped the doorjamb, his knuckles white with effort and fear.
“Daaaaz!” screamed Becky.

Vooommfff.

There was nothing.

Like sound, generally, had imploded.

Then, a second later, an opposing figure appeared in the doorway. It leered at everyone. Its dark eyes wandered about the slightly wavering figures. Its face gave nothing away. Stoic and…well, reliable.
“Who the hell are you?” said Helen.
“I…” growled the figure, slowly, “…am The Knight Before Christmas.”
Everyone blinked.
“And I am here for one reason and one reason only.”
The silence demanded a conclusion.
“I bring you forgotten presents, railway cancellations, and still frozen 18 pound turkeys.”
“…” said the room.
“I bring you non-alcoholic mulled wine laced with bits of old tinsel and soggy wrapping paper.”
The rest of the room shrugged through glassy eyes.
“But most of all,” boomed the Knight, “I bring you the prophecy of the lost Sellotape in all its blackened doom…ness.” The figure hunched in the doorway, expecting the usual panicked reaction. He coughed.
“Sorry, love, you bring what now?” said Helen.
“Look, I’m the Knight Before Christmas,” said the disconcerted voice. “I am here to panic you about things you’ve forgotten or that aren’t in your control that can ruin the one day of the year when everything’s supposed to be absolutely perfect.”
Daz rolled his eyes (backwards), “Of course you are. And I’m the fucking bollocks fairy.”
The figure glared the darkest glare ever to darken any glare, ever. “You wanna keep me on side, mate. I can make your life hell – with added tinsel!”
“Squeak!”
“And what’s that?” asked Helen.
“That…” said the Knight. “Why, that’s the Knight Before XMouse.”
“Squeak.”
“Really?” said Helen’s eyebrows.
“Well, yes.”
“No. Really?”
“Yes.”
“Does he want a pint?” enquired Daz.
“Squeak!”
“A pint!” boomed the Knight. “A pint?! To him, that’s like asking you if you want an Olympic swimming pool of beer.” Glazed eyes contemplated this dreamy image for considerable time. Then…

“Shit!” squealed Becky. “It is! It’s bloody Christmas!
“Oh no! I didn’t realise we’d been in here that long,” said Daz.
“Oh yeah,” said Helen, and sipped her cider, still with the swimming pool image…
“But what about Sophie? And your Nan, Daz. What about Marc, Helen?” Becky’s face panicked over. The Knight chuckled to himself, then hid the Sellotape.
“What about REAL LIFE?!” Becky said, her face turning a sickly white colour.

“Hey!” A shimmery voice appeared all around them. Omnipresent. Like the air was speaking to them all. “We’ll have no reality here, thank you,” it said.
“Is that that bloody writer again?” said Helen. “Sod off will you? We’re trying to be naturally realistic here.”
“Sorry,” said the ghostly voice.
“I should bloody well think so.”
“I’ll just be off then.” Said the writer, gloomily.
“You could at least write us some shots of Jagermeister before you bugger off,” said Helen. “And no bomb, just Jager.”

Shots of Jager appeared in front of everyone. With ice. A streak of blond raced across the bar.
“Harry!” Becky exclaimed. “Here to oversee the Jager drinking I presume.”
“Obviously,” said Harry, flicking his hair behind his shoulders. “Now, you’ve got to wait till it gets to the right temperature. Just keep feeling the glass with the back of your hand. You’ll know when it’s there.”
Everyone took the instructions from Harry very seriously and touched their glasses intermittently to check for the correct coolness, and which of the two glasses in front of them was real and which was a figment of their already sozzled minds…

[This is a long pause…]

[Long isn’t it?]

“Cor, that seemed like a long time,” said Helen.
“It’s that writer, went off for an artistic strop after you had a go,” explained Daz. “Seems ok now. These words keep appearing, so maybe we’re back on track.”

It was the wheezing that attracted their attention first. That, and the puddle of drool slowly accumulating on the carpet. The smell too. That wasn’t good. Like something had burst, or was at least leaking a bit.
”It’s a matter of patience,” Harry continued to explain.
“Er…” Becky ventured.
“Just shoving it down your neck is such a waste.”
“Harry, I think…”
“People just have no class about the art of Jagermeistering these days. You have to savour the burn, and…”

“Arrrrrggghh!” The OAP lurched towards the bar, arms wide and flailing. The bar lurched backwards, taking Daz, Becky and Helen with it.
“I was bloody right, look!” said Helen. “She’s one of them!”
The dehydrated beetroot face dribbled hungrily in front of them. Custard creams and sprouts wafted from her yellowing teeth filled mouth. Something brown and drippy lingered behind her.
“Ugh, gross!” said Daz, as collective noses were held.
The bloke at the end of the bar fell off his stool with an inevitable sigh.
With brilliant, yet uncharacteristic, timing the jukebox blurted “Tay, Tay, Tay, Tay, t,t,t,t,t, Tay, Tay…..” And Mel, the presumed dead half of 80s pop duo Mel and Kim, jumped on the purple OAP’s hunched shoulders, screaming just a semi tone short of top D. The heap of old dead pop star and old undead pensioner writhed on the floor. Dave, in unsung hero mode, lept over the bar with a nicotine stained bit of tinsel and cocooned the purple monster in shiny sparkliness. “That should hold her,” he said, brushing himself down. “Nice work, Mel.” Mel nodded, and returned to her John Smiths as ‘We ain’t ever gonna be respectable,’ crackled from the speakers.

“That was close,” managed Daz, trying to contain the wobbles currently afflicting his legs. “But what are we going to do with her now?”
All eyes watched the squirming sparkly horribleness that was oozing all over the carpet.
They contemplated. They drank their shot of Jager all together, in one go.
“Nooooo!” screamed Harry in disgust.
But nobody cared. The Knight Before Christmas sniggered under his breath.
Becky’s compulsion could no longer take the mess unfolding in front of her and decided cliché was the only answer, and picked a relatively modern one.
“Right, Helen, fetch me a pool cue. Daz, bang some Queen on the juke box.”
“I don’t know if I can find a willing homosexual at such short notice. But if Dave’s got any more tinsel…”
“Queen, the band, Daz,” explained Becky.
Dave put the tinsel away.
Becky dropped a coin into Daz’s palm, “You know which one.”

Defying gravity, and various other laws of physics, a very fat man dressed in red flew over the Wakefield rooftops. The faint pulse of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ reached his ears as he passed over the city centre. But there was something else that pulsed with it. Something kind of squelchy, with undertones of splatter…

To be continued…

Episode 3 – Writers’ Shock

By Daz Trei

“Shite! That’s you’re synopsis for our story is it, Dave? Just shite?” asked Helen.
Dave looked at Daz who was staring beady eyed waiting for an answer, then looked at Becky who was shaking her head in disappointment. Then, Dave tilted his head a little while he tried to think of a suitable reply and with an err of caution, he proceeded. “Well what the ‘effing hell is a Purple OAP anyway?” Dave asked, to which the blue touch paper was lit, causing an explosive cocktail of vague explanation and ranting from the two writers. At the end of the rant there was a short silence.
“So basically neither of you know what a Purple OAP is then, even though you wrote about them,” Dave said, before walking towards the bar. Understanding of the conclusion, but unwilling to except defeat, Helen and Daz sighed, before finishing off their pints in a mild huff.
“Well I liked it!” Becky said, before cheering up the mood with an announcement of a round of drinks. Just then, the pub doors flew open abruptly, as a man came crashing through them, landing on the floor. A second person followed, a dishevelled women who slammed the doors shut and shoved the bolts on. Dave the barman bounded over to see what was going on. “Its happening!” shouted the man on the floor.
“What’s happening?” asked Dave as he helped the man to his feet.
“Out there, its happening!” the women repeated as everyone in the pub looked on.
“Hang on!” Becky said calmly, as she walked over and unbolted the doors to see what was going on outside.
“No! Shut it, shut the door!” the man shouted.
“No you shut it and sit down,” Dave told the man, tailing of into a rapid thought process. “Is this an effing play or something?” he asked the two writers. Helen and Daz shook there heads innocently as they too approached the door.
“What’s out there Becky?” Helen asked.
“Nothing’s out here, just an empty crisp packet in the gutter,” Becky replied, as she looked out of the door to her right. In unison, Daz and Helen shouted, “Look the other way!”
Immediately, Becky shot back in, slamming the doors shut and shoving the bolts firmly home. With her back to the doors and a worried expression, Becky demanded an answer.
“What the chuff is going on? There’s forty odd OAPs coming up the street out there.” she said to the writers pertinently. “Well, what’s bad about that? The bingo’s probably finished or something,” Dave replied.
“They were purple!” Becky added loudly. Just then there was loud rapture on the TV as Ronnie O’Sulivan’s cue ball jumped off the snooker table and flew into the crowd. Noticing the events on the TV, Helen went to elbow Daz to draw his attention. Unfortunately Daz wasn’t stood where she thought he was and she accidently elbowed the man who sits at the end of the bar, causing him to fall from his stool and land on the floor. Daz looked round on hearing the thud, “Shit, I wrote that bit, what’s going on?” Daz shouted.
Interrupting the chain of events, a man walked over, the man the writers had based ‘Kevin Jibberishski Van Der Cockun’ on. We all sighed, because usually he is full of nondescript talk and slurred words, but not now he wasn’t, “You seam to be in a bit of a pickle,” he said.
“Well effing spotted, now go sit down!” Dave replied sternly.
“Oh I will, don’t worry about that. I just thought I’d explain the predicament you’re in first,” the man replied. He wasn’t slurring now, he was a completely different person, in a trance maybe, but he was very serious. Sat down at the bar, with his drink in his hand, he began to explain.
“You two wrote a story. People tell stories all the time about the Inns of Court, but they rarely mention The Door. You see, this pub is haunted by an ancient spirit of a Knight of the Knights Templar, who was burned at the stake hundreds of years ago. He was a writer, like you two, and was half way through a story when he was arrested and executed. The good townsfolk of Wakefield quite liked the guy, so when the fire had died down they collected as much of the unfortunate Knights’ ashes as they could and scattered them around this pub. Amongst the ashes were some remnants of bones that hadn’t burned, so the townsfolk buried them around about where ‘The Door’ is now. He was a cheerful soul before he died, and also in the afterlife it seems, as his spirit happily haunts this pub. He listens to people chatting and sometimes even sets the jukebox off. However, he takes a special interest in writers and poets, because that’s what he was. You attracted his attention because in your story, you mentioned ‘The Door’. He’s now interested in your story, but you left gaps and questions. He wants to see how the story ends, so he’s put you in it. Your story might have been light hearted fiction, but it’s very real now. You’re in your own tale and those Purple OAPS out there are real too,” he said.

Kevin Jibberishski Van Der Cockun, walked away and sat at a table in the corner, as the writers and their friends stood motionless, bathed in an eerie silence. “Shite!” Dave suddenly shouted, as he shook his head as if to reset his mind. He went to unbolt the doors again, but nobody tried to stop him, as they all wanted to confirm that it was all in fact just a load of shite.
Opening the front door, Dave was confronted with an unwelcome scene. There was two old age pensioners, looking rather miffed and purple, stood at the door. Helen quickly ran to pull him away, slamming the doors firmly shut again. Before she could shut the second set of doors, the letter flap rattled at the bottom of the door and in came a set of false teeth. The old dears outside could be heard cackling in a mischievous fit of laughter. Everyone was pissing themselves inside too, before Daz suddenly remembered something.
“Oh shit!” he shouted, running to the back door. There was a Purple OAP with his walking frame just in the doorway, but Daz wasn’t about to start using the ladies toilets. With a swift kick, the purple OAP was out of the way and the door was slammed shut and locked.
“I cant believe you just kicked that poor old bloke, Daz!” Becky said.
“Had to be done love, you don’t want them pissing all over the seats in the ladies do you?” Helen interjected. Becky smiled and nodded. “Fair enough,” she said.
“What are we going to do now then?” Dave asked.
“Well Dave, its an apocalypse mate. Standard apocalypse rules apply,” Daz said.
“That’s very true Dave, rules dictate a free bar!” Becky said.
“Fair enough!” Dave agreed. The man at the end of the bar fell off his stool, a cue ball shot past everyone, and a pack of cards suddenly flew into the air. All looked at each other in disbelief, as there was no one actually playing cards, or pool. “What the ffff,” Helen said in puzzlement.
Just then, the man in the corner piped up, “Its in your story. A ball comes off the pool table and a pack of cards fly into the air. You’re in your story!” he said, reminding us of our situation. Nobody realised that the man and women had disappeared too, the ones that had come through the door earlier.
“This is all getting a bit weird, what comes next in the story?” Helen asked Daz, but he didn’t need to reply as Dave placed three pints on the bar. “I think that answers your question!” Daz replied, as Dave was tucking into a pint too, like a kid in a sweet shop.
“So, what happens now then?” Helen asked the Kevin man.
“Well you need to finish you’re story,” he replied.
“So, whatever we write, is going to happen?” Helen asked.
The man simply nodded, as Becky began jumping up and down with joy shouting, “Tardis, tardis, tardis!”
“Don’t forget, the spirit is a writer, you have to finish your story,” the Kevin man said, as the jukebox suddenly started playing. It was Thriller by Michael Jackson, the windows began to rattle almost to the beat with the OAPS walking sticks. The spirit was reminding them about the tight spot they were in. The writers sat down, with pen and paper, the lives of their friends were in their hands.

To be continued….

Episode 2 – The Purple Apocalypse of the Tragic Mind

By Helen Rhodes

Bang! … Bang! … Bang! …

“Shurrup! Said Helen. “Tryin’ to watch the bloody snooker here.”
It had been five hours and thirty-four minutes since the Purple OAP Apocalypse had commenced. To be honest, it wasn’t really that bad. The Apocalypse Code meant the drinks and assorted bar snacks were free. There was snooker on the telly, and pool in the bar. And if you got really desperate, there was always dominoes. In fact, the main worry was Daz seemed to be running a bit low on pork scratchings, having consumed 22.4 packets since learning of the Apocalypse Code.

Bang! … Bang! … Bang! …

It was a bang that defiantly said ‘Give Me A Gin and Tonic With Extra Brain.’
Dave, having joined in most thoroughly with the Apocalypse Code regarding free drinks, stood firm. Well, as firm as nine pints and a whiskey chaser could manage. The plague of Purple OAPs, now numbering at least, oh, 41 and a half (not including plastic and metal replacement internal parts), were stepping up their attack. Two pilfered patient ambulances had arrived within the last half an hour, dropping off another dozen or so Purples. The echo of the wheelchair lift filled the air for the third time in the last ten minutes. The noise seemed to excite the octogenarian crowd, as their banging got slightly more forceful, and the chilling rattle of crutches became…well, more rattly.

Nigel adjusted himself from within his sensible trousers’ pocket.
Sharon tried very hard not to notice, then tried very hard not to be sick.
Kevin Jibberishski Van Der Cockun – a local – made his way to the bar.
“Yes, Kevin, whattllitbethen?” slurred Dave.
“Smirinoff Ice, please, if that’s okay, if you don’t mind. Thanks,” jibbered Kevin. Dave fetched the girly…er, I mean the lovely, and very cool, but slightly warm, bottle from the fridge, popped the top, and placed it on the bar towel in front of Kevin.
Kevin pondered the tall erection in front of him. Nigel moved off towards the ladies’ toilets, and Kevin picked up his drink and downed half of it in one go. He wiped his mouth, then proclaimed, “I’m not bloody scared of these old bastards! I’m gonna go out there and…and…” The silence listened intently. And then listened some more. “…and glass ‘em with this bottle!”
Shock reverberated around the bar. Surely not. Surely, Kevin Jibberishski Van Der Cockun, the bestest jibberer in town, but quite harmless really, if you let him just carry on talking till he’d finished, then got away quickly before the next sentence came forth, wasn’t that type of person really. Not the type who did violence and that. Not the type to actually follow through on such heat-of-the-moment threats. Was he?
“Don’t be stupid, Kevin,” said Dave. “You’re best off in here till it’s all over. It’s five o’clock in the afternoon. Nearly their bedtime.”
“No!” Kevin roared, heroically. “This has gone on for far too long.”
“I dunno,” said Helen, “I could manage a couple more pints.”
“Me too,” Daz chewed, through the remnants of dried pig skin.
“I am, y’know. I am! I’m gonna go out there and I’m gonna grab one of them half dead Purple bastards, and I’m gonna…I’m gonna…”
“Dry Roasted, Kev?” Dave smiled, holding what might as well have been a bag of gold in front of Kevin’s enraged features.
“Oooooh, thanks, Dave. If it’s not too much trouble, that’s very kind, thank you very much. I do like a packet of…” Kevin wandered off with his new found interest towards the bright flashy lights of the fruit machine.

“Oh, this like in the power cut innit,” said Sharon. “It’s like that time all of Wakey went out for a whole 24 hours. I spent most of that in the bath you know, with 16 candles and a bottle of vodka. Then I went to bed and slept right through it all.” She giggled at her own logic. What more could she do? The groaning from outside was growing. Obviously the replacement hips were starting to grate, and some of the Purple OAPs really could do with a nice sit down and a cup of tea. Maybe a teacake.

Helen’s phone buzzed apathetically.
“It’s Becky. She’s on her way down.”
“Oh no! Tell her it’s too dangerous. Tell her she mustn’t come anywhere near!” said Daz, somewhat panic stricken.
“It’s okay, I’ll tell her to come round the back.”
Daz’s eyes widened like an Argos corner whore’s legs. “No! What are you thinking! She’ll be gotten…gotted…got…”
“Stop wasting perfectly good words, Daz,” said Helen, a bit too sure of herself to be sure of herself. “We’ll get her in. I have a plan.”
“Is it a…” began Daz.
“No, it’s not a cunning one. It’s just a plan.”

Nigel returned from the ladies toilets. “There’s no seat on one of them toileting facilities in there, Dave. You should sort that out, Dave. It’s a health and safety hazard is that, Da…”
“Hey Nige,” said Helen, in such a friendly manner that Nigel stopped dead in his tracks, in the middle of zipping up his fly, wondering if he should be zipping the other way.
“Er, hey,” he ventured.
“Listen Nige, we’ve got a plan, but only you can follow it through.”
“Me?”
“Yeah. There’s a major problem outside.”
“Is there?”
“Yeah.”
“What, apart from the Apocalypse thingywhatsitthing?”
“Oh yeah, apart from that. This other thing is just so much more important. It’s a hazard waiting to happen. We might all die if you don’t sort it out.”
Nigel’s chest puffed out like a pigeon on crack laced vomit.
Helen continued. “Out there, just down the road, by the vets, there’s a sign.”
“A sign. Yeah.” Nigel listened intently. Could his moment have possibly come?
“It’s a one way sign,” Helen explained. “But… Oh, I can’t honestly believe it myself. It’s…it’s just terrible.” Nigel could see the despair in Helen’s eyes. The despair that only he could take away. Helen controlled her sobs and placed an arm on Nigel’s knobbly knuckles. “The one way sign.”
“Yes?” Said Nigel.
“It’s… It’s facing the wrong way!!” Helen covered her face. Her shoulders shivered. Nigel HAD to fix this. This just wasn’t on. Anything could happen. People could get lost! People could go…THE WRONG WAY! Bloody council, thought Nigel. They think they can get away with murder!!
Nigel’s upper lip stiffened, amongst other things.
“That’s bloody appalling. I shall go and fix it immediately!”
“Hang on,” said Helen. “You’ll have to go out the back. There’s not as many out there. If you go out the back then run all the way round the front and down the street they’ll start to follow you. By the time you’ve fixed the sign they’ll be half way. Plenty of time for you to come round the back way and we’ll let you in.”
“Great plan,” said Daz.
And it was a great plan. A brilliant plan. An inspired pla… Anyway. Nigel too, fortunately, thought this was a great plan. His nostrils flared. He straightened his dark rimmed glasses and headed for the back door. The students moved the barricade from the door as Nigel readied himself.
“Wait!” Shouted Dave, who hurried his way towards Nigel and slammed something cylindrical into his sweaty palm. “Thought these might help, you know, throw them off course sortathing.”
Nigel considered the marigold coloured packet of Werther’s Originals, undid the little red strip, and filled his hand full of the little peado… er, creamy, yummy, ‘very special’, caramels.
“Okay, I’m going in.”
The door slammed open and Nigel charged through, flinging caramels in the air all about him.
“Aaaggghhh,” screamed Nigel, in full testosterone mode, as he pushed his way through the metallic clad hoard of Purple OAPs.
“Oooh, a Werther’s Original,” drooled one of the wrinkly daemons.
A pile of beige macs and brown shoes clambered towards the golden treasures adorning the flagstones.
“Hey Becky,” said Helen.
“Hey. What’s all this?”
“Some kind of apocalypse.”
“Oh. Er. Right.” Becky puzzled over the dome of Pack-A-Mac’d blue rinses.
“Free beer though,” chirped Helen. But Becky was already at the bar.

By this time Nigel had charged round the front of the pub, past the rest of the Purples and was three quarters of the way towards his destination. The hoard turned, slowly. The creaking of wheels pointed them in the direction of their pray. Together they charged. Squee, squee. Squee, squee. Squee, squee. When I say charged, I obviously don’t mean charged. The squee, squee of the melee slowly faded out. The students began barricading the door again, when…

“Hang on! Before you put them back. Let’s barricade the back door. Then we can use the gents.”
All the men in the room growled their agreement in a very manly way. All had experienced the ladies’ toilet, and they didn’t want to go back again.
So, the back door was barricaded. The familiar waft of puddled pee and little yellow squares of deodoriser made its way up the corridor, and all was right once again.

“Dave,” said Daz enquiringly.
“Yes, mate.”
“What’s that door for? The one down the corridor there, opposite the back door.”
“Oh, that door,” chuckled Dave in a very suspicious manner.
“You don’t need to worry about that door. Just… Er, just pretend it’s not there.”
Dave grabbed a bar towel and a glass and busied himself with them at the other side of the bar. Very suspicious behaviour, thought Daz. That’s a man with something on his mind, thought Daz. That, right there, is a man who has a secret, thought Daz. All this thinking was dehydrating Daz’s brain cell, so the other one told him to order another drink. He did. As Dave turned away from him, obviously avoiding any further door related conversation, Daz picked up his pint and strolled nonchalantly to ‘The Door’. Daz’s brain contemplated the door. It was much like all the other doors. Green. Just sitting there, doing door things, like doors do. Daz sipped his pint, then knocked, twice. Silence. Then…
Knock… knock… knock…
Daz’s eyes looked startled, then relayed to the other brain cell that maybe there was something amiss here. He was absolutely certain this door didn’t lead to anywhere outside, because, well, there was bricks and stuff on the other side, sooo…
He knocked again, and waited. Then…
Knock… knock… knock…

When confronted with such mysteries as this of course it is absolutely natural to conclude that the door must be opened to see who/what was making this sound. However, the apocalyptic situation did make Daz pause for thought. Just a bit of thought, mind. Then he shoved the door open with his shoulder, rubbed his shoulder like a girl, and peered into the darkness.
“Oh my god!!!”
The whole pub crowed round Daz and ‘The Door’
“What? What is it?” stuttered Becky, spilling her pint on the spilt pint stain on the carpet.
“It’s…” But Daz was lost for words. It was impossible. Wasn’t it?

Mel, from the long not given a shit about Stock Aitken Waterman band Mel & Kim appeared from darkness where ‘The Door’ had once stood. She went to the bar, asked for a pint of John Smiths, and made her way to the juke box.

To be continued…

Episode 1 – The Day of the Purple OAP Apocalypse.

By Daz Trei

It was a cold autumnal Saturday afternoon, the sun shone, but coats were still worn. Abhorrent crowds gathered in the streets, the atmosphere was tepid, but with the pub door shut, only laughter was to be had inside. There was a couple of lads playing pool, a small group of students were sat playing cards and there was a man half sat on a bar stool, half leaning against a post, watching the football on the TV. For Helen and Daz, it was Pint Club, where they met weekly to indulge in some intellectual thought exchange and pint glass fettling. However, their cerebral symposium, was to be short lived that day.

Suddenly the pub doors flew open, as a man came crashing through them, landing on the floor. A second person followed, a dishevelled woman, she slammed the doors shut and made sure it was locked. Dave the barman, bounded over to see what was going on. “It’s happening!” shouted the man on the floor.
“What’s happening?!” Dave shouted, as he helped the man to his feet.

“Out there, it’s happening!” the woman shouted. Everyone in the pub looked on.

“Hang on,” Daz said, as he calmly unbolted the door to see what was going on outside.

“No, shut it, shut the door!” the man shouted. Dave told the man to shut up and sit down whilst Daz leaned out of the door to see what was happening. Looking to his right, he couldn’t see anything improper, just an empty crisp packet floating about in the gutter.

“What’s happening Daz,” Helen shouted, as Dave the barman looked on.

“Nothing’s happening out here!” Daz hollered, before looking to his left. “Arrrrg!” he shouted and shot back inside. With the outer doors firmly shut and locked, he then bolted the second set of doors shut, propping a bar chair against them to be sure.

“What’s happening?” Dave asked. Helen stood up and walked over, bringing Daz his pint.

“Here, you better have a drink. What did you see? What’s out there?” she asked. Slurping down the rest of his beer, Daz sat down on a barstool as everyone looked on, waiting to hear what he’d seen. “There’s loads of them, oh shit!” he said, trying to calm down and focus, whilst looking in his glass for more beer.

“Loads of what?” Helen asked.

“OAP’s! There’s loads of them…..” Daz replied, with a hint of fear in his voice.

“Jeez, is that all?” Dave said tutting as he headed towards the front doors. He began pulling the chair away from the door, the lads carried on with their pool game and the students resumed play, one of them was shuffling the deck. “Nah, nothing to worry about, fancy another?” Helen asked. Taking the empty glass from Daz, she headed back to the bar for another round.
Meanwhile, Daz, finished off his sentence, “….Purple OAPs!”

Everyone froze, there was a smash as Helens empty glasses hit the floor, a deck of cards sprung into the air, a ball shot from the pool table across the floor and there was a loud thud as the man on the stool fell off landing on the floor behind him. Dave quickly rammed the chair back under the door handles, then froze. Nobody moved. All that could be heard was a moaning sound from the man on the floor, then a sudden exit of flatulence as Dave accidentally farted.

“Sorry about that!” he said, still holding the chair firmly against the door.

“How many was there?” Helen shouted at Daz.

“About thirty!” he replied.

“Shit, the back door!” Dave shouted, pointing towards the rear of the pub. The lads who were playing pool ran to lock the door, but it was too late, a purple OAP had already got his walking frame in the door.

“Quick, help me!” Daz shouted as he picked up a table. There was an old doorway leading out to the mens toilets and the back door, if they could block that they’d be safe. The patrons picked the heavy tables up and rammed them against the doorway. Finally they were ok, but they were trapped in the pub, then Daz suddenly remembered something.

“Oh fuck” he shouted.

“What is it?” Helen said, dramatically gripping Daz by the arm, “What’s wrong? Were you bitten? Please don’t say you were bitten, its your round at the bar!” she said.

“He’ll have to be quarantined!” one of the students piped up.

“She’s right, we can’t take the risk,” one of the pool lads said.

“No, no, I wasn’t bloody bitten,” Daz said, shaking his head as he wept a little.

“What is it then? Was your Gran out there?” Helen asked gently.

“No, the men’s toilets are out there! We can’t get to them now!” Daz shouted, pointing at the blocked up doorway. All the women in the pub sighed at the pointless dramatic announcement. Meanwhile Dave, looking shocked, let out another nervous fart, the man on the stool fell off again and another pool ball bounced across the floor.

“You’ll just have to use the ladies!” Helen announced sternly, whilst pointing towards the women’s toilets. Daz, needing a wee, courageously set off towards the forbidden ladies loos. The lads all looked on, but Daz had bottled it. He stopped still and turned around, “I’ll wait!” he said heading back to the bar.

“What are we going to do now then, with the purple OAPs outside?” Dave asked.

“Well, we’ll just have to sit it out in here. Pint of bitter and a pint of cider please Dave” Daz said. Dave nodded and smiled whilst pouring the drinks. Everyone else got back to what they were doing. Dave put the drinks on the bar whilst Daz went in his pocket for some money.

“Wow, what ya doing?” Dave asked with his hand out in a stop stance.

“Erm, paying for the drinks,” Daz replied.

“No, this is an apocalypse, ya don’t pay for anything when there’s an apocalypse on,” Dave said, “It’s the apocalypse code!” The man at the end of the bar immediately fell of the stool again and another pool ball bounced past, as Helen and Daz looked at one another like it was already Christmas.

“I’ll have a packet of scratchings as well, please Dave, and have a pint yourself,” Daz said.

“Very kind of you sir!” Dave replied, whilst filling his glass.

Everyone told their loved ones and friends that they’d be home late and they all got gradually drunk. With the jukebox turned up loud, the happy patrons couldn’t hear the walking sticks tapping on the windows and the men eventually built up the courage to use the ladies toilets.

The saga, might continue…..