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Episode 12 – Summer Holiday

[WARNING: You have been warned.]



Amongst the shocked faces of the patrons was an awe that mostly said, ‘How?’ whilst they gawped at the gaping hole in the front of the pub, just near the pool table, which was currently occupied by a number 73 London bus of the double decker variety. From within the white smoke, the bus doors wheezed open and a chorus of voices exclaimed “Whew! That was close!”

“What the effing chuff…?” said Dave, rushing his way from behind the bar. “Oh no, no, no, no!” the angst ridden Supervisor said, hurrying from The Door, closely followed by a very worried and rather pain stricken Fourth Dimension Mechanic with blood dripping from his staples.

A rabble of footsteps came from the inside of the bus, slowly getting closer to the door, with what sounded like the dragging of heavy objects. Like contestants from Stars in their Thighs, four human shapes, with luggage, bundled off the bus, all wearing sunglasses (amongst other things).
“Is this really Doncaster?” said a perpetually disappointed grey shape with long hair.
“It should be. I think.” said a short man in a flat cap.
“Well, it obviously isn’t, is it Neil?” said a spotty yooff in bright yellow dungarees and a red beret, “I mean, god! Obviously, we’re in… Erm. In… Vyvyan? Any ideas?”
A denim clad ginger punk gave the questioner a look that could only be described as ‘You’re a fucking wanker’, and replied belligerently, “I don’t bloody know! I’m just in charge of pointing the bus in a vague direction. Nothing to do with knowing where we’re bloody going.”
“The last thing I remember seeing,” said the yooff, “Was a big billboard with Cliff Richards’ huge face.”
“Huge bellend,” snorked the ginger punk.

“Er,” said Dave, trying to keep calm whilst approaching the group. “You do realise you’ve just crashed into my pub, don’t you?”

A dragging sound emerged from the smoky bus doors. “Well, that’s another perfectly good pair of underpants ruined, Eddie.” Two figures clambered down the grimy bus stairs. “Bring the suitcase,” said the more sweaty of the two who was wearing a raincoat which had suffered multiple traumas. “You can’t trust anyone these days.” Eddie dragged a dilapidated brown suitcase down the steps and dumped it on the floor. “I think I’ve broke my glasses,” he grumbled, rubbing his NHS frames on his brown suit jacket, which instantly made them worse than before.

The Supervisor approached Dave carefully. “Er,” he laughed apologetically, “I think that maybe this might have something to do with… Well, with our little problem with the time machine.”
“Bloody timey-wimey stuff,” growled Dave.
“We ARE getting there,” The Supervisor said optimistically, with a rueful giggle, “It’s just, Fred, the mechanic here, was in the middle of sorting out the History Repeating Itself unit, and, well, um…”
“Forget that!” yelled Daz. “Look! Them OAPs are getting in!” Which, indeed, they were, if not remorsefully slowly. The ladies were hitching their skirts up just far enough to waft an edge of bloomer to the world, and the men were hiking up the rubble with their walking sticks, just like they did in The War, y’know!
Daz, grabbed a stool. “Quick! Barricade! Baraaaacaaade!” The rest of the locals complied. Helen swiped the Knight Before Christmas’ mop and started prodding at the encroaching wrinklefest. A couple of them broke a hip in the fall, but they just got back up and carried on, just like they had to in The War y’know! Soon, the south facing wall of the Inns of Court was a pile of bar stools, tables, pool cues and empty beer kegs, with an occasional faint clink of walking frame on metal.

“Time for some introductions, I think,” said the short man with a flat cap, in an agreeable tone. “I’m Mike. This is Rick.
“Hiya,” said the nervously nonchalant figure in the red beret.
“This is Neil.” Mike pointed to the grey figure hovering in the corner, then whispered “Sorry about the smell.” The smell wasn’t offended. It was used to it by now. “Er, and this is Vyvyan.” The ginger punk gave his very best ‘Fuck Off’ stare, and broke a dismembered table leg over his head. Mike proffered his hand towards Dave, who was quite a little bit annoyed about the new ‘extension’ to his pub, and hopefully uttered, “We seem to have crashed into your wall. Sorry about that. We’ll pay for the damage of course.”
“But Mike,” whined Neil, “We’ve got no money, man. How are we going to…?”
“Neil,” sneered Rick, “We’ve just robbed a flippin’ bank, we’ve got loads of cash!”
“Oh yeah,” mumbled Neil, dejectedly. “I feel so…so…commercial.”
“Look, Neil,” Rick continued, hand on hip, “Just because you’re having a hard time accepting that you’re rich doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. I’ll… I mean, we’ll take the burden, Neil. We’ll get you a new pair of socks then you can forget about the rest.”

[Cut away to a pair of socks wriggling out of a battered suitcase from 1922]

Sock 1: Did you hear that? He’s going to replace us!
Sock 2: He can’t do that! After all our years of loyal service!
Sock 1: We’re going to have to be clever about this, prove our worth. I’ve only got one hole, after all.
Sock 2: Yeah, if you ignore the other 25, me too!
Sock 1: Right, I’ll take the left foot, you take the right. And be…well, be smooth about it, okay?
Sock 2: Okay.

“Shut up, Neil,” said Mike, wafting Neil, and his smell, away, still maintaining the car salesman grin he now had attached to his face. “Of course, we may need a bit of time just to sort out what the hell’s going on, if you’d be so kind as to accommodate us, Mr, er…”
“Dave,” said Dave.
“Dave. Pleased to meet you, Dave. A fine establishment you have here, Sir.”
“Well, it was!” Dave snapped. “And who are these dribbling idiots?”

The other two unkempt figures were standing in the middle of the bar as if struck by the hand of God (other fictional deities are available). Slobber was slowly seeping from both their mouths. Their hands rubbed the front of their thighs in a most unerotic erotic way ever seen.
“Look, Eddie,” said the dirty raincoat, “Biiirrrds.”
Yeaaah,” dribbled Eddie. “And they’re stood at a baaaarr.”

“Oh, sorry,” said Mike. “We picked these two up on the way. Eddie and Richard, I believe.”
“Right,” said Dave. “Now, how the hell are you going to fix my wall?!”
“Er…as I was saying,” the forlorn Supervisor butted in. “I think that’s something I…we can help with.” The Fourth Dimension Mechanic was dragged by the collar towards the sorrowful red bus while The Supervisor continued his explanation. “The History Repeating Itself unit?” Dave stared at The Supervisor, comprehensive, yet blank. “Well, you see, it looks for things that repeat in the memory paths. We… I mean, Fred, the mechanic here, thought it might be a good idea to check its directional force, in case that’s what was overloading the origami circuit. HE switched it back on and…poooff!” The Supervisor chortled, unconvincingly. Dave stared, very convincingly. “When overloaded it tends to grab onto anything it can find that repeats itself within each memory path, and has an overwhelming desire to put them together. And this is Episode 12, after all.”
“Memory path, history repeating. Right,” said Dave, trying to reassure himself more than anything else.
“Yes,” agreed The Supervisor, eager to overwhelm with more mumbo-jumbo, “The memory circuit is much like the human brain. It metaphorically pauses to reflect, rewinds through itself, if you like, then replays whatever it finds via the History Repeating Itself unit. And, of course, this place is inside an unstable time bubble, which means…well, anything can happen!”
“That’s handy, isn’t it, Daz?” said Helen.

His hands wiggled in front of his crotch like some kind of spider mid-scuttle. “Right, Eddie,” said Richie, “I’m going for it.”
“Right, mate,” said Eddie.
Richie pulsated keen desire through every orifice whilst maintaining the stance of a scared squirrel. His face contorted into many grimacing perversions, and then he just bloody well went for it!
Helen, enjoying her Strangebow quite enough without any help whatsoever, found that a seething mass of sweaty raincoat actually did impair the cidery goodness on the palate. Her eyes wandered to the left from whence this strange group of particles hovered. It occasionally produced white foam from the excess of saliva as it smiled some kind of pathetically weak yet hopeful salutation.
“Hello,” said Richie, maintaining the stupid grin. “I’m Richard Richard of Hammersmith. Lovely weather.”
Helen considered where the hand held before her had been previously, and left it there, preferring to keep this strictly verbal. “Hi,” she said, cautiously.
“Aharharhahahaaarr,” proffered Richie.
“And I’m Eddie,” said Eddie, simply.
“Hi,” Helen offered, again.
Richie filled the gap left by these sombre greetings with a “Aharharhaaaharhar.” Fingers still performing an impression of an upside-down dying spider. His eyes bulged at Helen, “I must say, that’s a smashing blouse you’ve got on.”
“Erm,” said Helen. “It’s a t-shirt.”
“Oh yes! Harharhahaha! Of course it is, yes. Yes. Smashing. Harharha…he…eh.”
“Are they serious?” whispered Becky. “I’m not entirely sure they’re even real,” said Helen.


“Oooo! The pipes are going mad again! Like last time,” said Becky excitedly.
Only this time, when the loo flush echoed through the pub, a heroic figure appeared in the doorway, dripping loo water in a very heroic way, maintaining the stiffest of stiff (amongst other things) upper lips covered in a bushy blond moustache. “Never fear, Flashheart’s here! Down girls. Woof!”

Having teetered quite well on his stool for a considerable amount of story, the man at the end of the bar finally fell to the floor with a thud. The locals found that blinking repeatedly wasn’t helping the situation. They contemplated this group of new bodies in their space, and wondered, is it because it’s Episode 12?

“Now then, ladies, has either of you seen my brother? Tall, like me, handsome, like me, travels in time a lot, like me, bit awkward around girls.”
“Oh, you mean Benjamin,” said Becky. “He’s your brother?”
“Yes. OLDER brother,” he grinned, with heroic charm whilst sidling seductively towards Becky and Helen.
“Oi, mate! We were here first. Bugger off!” shouted Eddie. The two grimy men packed themselves into the bar dwelling mass of bodies. Daz managed to save the sip of Hags Wobbling he was currently working on. Helen’s shoulders didn’t know which way to hide.
“You think pussbuckets like you two are any match for The Flash?! I could give this bar multiple orgasms just by leaning on it!” Lord Flashheart wiggled his left eyebrow in the direction of female attention, and managed to leave none overlooked.
“Eddie, quick, get the drinks in,” whispered Ritchie. “That’ll impress the totty.”
“Okay. Giz some cash then,” said Eddie.
“Oh, Eddie! Where’s that fiver you nicked off me last week?”
“I used it to mug myself with.”
“Ugh,” exclaimed Richie, producing a small brown coin purse from his stained raincoat pocket. “Here, see what you can get for that.” A silvery coppery worm clinked into Eddie’s palm, totalling 93 pence, and a condom. “Ah,” said Ritchie, snatching the condom back, “I’ll have that back. Looks like I’m going to need it tonight, eh mate! Ahahaharharhaaaahahah!” he gurgled.


“Well,” said Mike, having placated Dave with some convincing banter, “We might as well get some drinks while we’re here, seeing as we are on holiday. What do you all want? My treat.”
“But we’ve just robbed a bank, Mike,” said Rick, “So it’s not really your…”
“No, no, no, I insist,” glared Mike, “My treat. Rick, what do you want?”
“I’ll have, um, er… Oh, so much to choose from…”
“Neil, what do you want?”
“Oh, I’ll just have a water, thanks, Mike.”
“A water?” said Vyvyan.
“I choose not to abuse my body, Vyvyan.”
“Fair enough. I’ll do it for you then.” Four star shaped marks appeared in Neil’s head courtesy of Vyvyan’s forehead.
“Vyvyan. Drink?”
“Babysham. And a packet of oxtail crisps.”
“…and there’s all those spirits up there. Oooh, such choice.”
“Rick!” Mike demanded. “Stop pissing about. What do you want?”
“Come on you Cliff Richard shagging bastard!”
“Shut up Vyvyan! I’ll have you know Cliff Richard is very much respected amongst us anarchists. The Anarchist Society are very jealous of my signed album.”
“I don’t think it counts when you sign it yourself in black marker pen, Rick. Anyway, I’d rather listen to a pile of steaming crap.”
“I’ll have you know Devil Woman is a very insightful and informative song,” said Rick, folding his arms like a four year old who’s just been told to stop running on the pavement.
“Rick!” said Mike, “What do you want from the sodding bar?!”
“Oh, right, yes. Well, um… I was thinking of having… Oh no, maybe I’ll have… Em…”
“Right, water it is. Back in a sec.”

Eddie, vacant faced, placed two pints of Carl’s Burp in front of Richie, who stared at them as if a terrible, but happy, mistake had been made. “Two pints? Two actual pints, full of pint? But… But how, Eddie?”
“Richie, it is my pleasure to inform you that we have, in fact, died and have, in fact, gone to heaven.”
Becky giggled at Richie’s perplexed expression.
“Apocalypse Rules, mate,” said Dave, rather more rushed off his feet than usual.
Eddie looked Richie in the eyes.

The bar was a throng of excitement what with the new arrivals packed between the regulars, all needing a calming drink. A bead of sweat formed on Dave’s brow. “Give us a hand, Daz.” He said. Daz obliged. He needed another bag of pork scratchings anyway.

Having joined the man at the end of the bar on the floor for some time, Richie finally came to. Still swimming from the apocalyptic information recently put into his brain, ideas started to make drink based shapes amongst his grey matter.
“So we can drink anything.”
“Yes,” replied Eddie.
“Anything at all.”
“And it’s all free.”
“There’s no catch or anything, like a 28 day free trial then you have to return it or pay for it?”
“No. No catch.”
“Wow, Eddie.”
“Wow! Aharghahagggaaa!!”
Daz, who was doing almost as good a job behind the bar as in front of it, enhanced this orgasmic moment for Eddie and Richie by informing them of the good idea that is Jagermeister. Two jugs of Jager were ordered immediately. A flash of blond streaked across the bar. Harry assessed the current situation, said “Er… No,” and promptly disappeared.

As a species, the time critters were not that clever. They relied on expendable numbers and spirited risk; more doing than thinking. This is why their attack on Inns wasn’t really paying off. A big hole in the wall, however, was a stroke of luck. The patrons had done a commendable job blocking up the gaps around the big red bus. They hadn’t, however, thought about the bus itself, and the fact that it facilitated a great long concourse via the back window and through the doors at the front. The vociferous crowd didn’t notice when a very purple, very OAP time critter climbed steadily down from the bus’s steps and helped down his counterparts one wrinkled one after another. In fact, the first glimmer of awareness the clientele had of the invasion was when a blood curdling scream stabbed its way towards them.
“Oh no!” screamed Becky. “Quick! Help him!”
Fred, the mechanic, was in the grips of not one, but three purple OAPs. One round the neck, one round his waist, and one doing something not entirely appropriate to his left knee. The blood poured from his gaping wounds, then a main vein ruptured spraying blood all over the crinkled attackers. A battle cry emanated from the far corner, accompanied by a very angry ginger punk with a golf club.
“Hey, Vyv,” yelled Mike from the bar, “be careful, they’re good clubs them!”
Too busy concentrating on charging without abandon, Vyvyan took a good right swing at the blood spattered OAP, who collapsed awkwardly clutching his back. Two more swings about the neck area crippled the other OAPs. Fred, amazingly, was still standing. Well, standing in a sort of swaying way. His face, covered in his own blood, stared for one last time at this wholly unlikely situation he found himself in. Then he decided to Drop Dead. “Fred!” shouted The Supervisor, running over to the Fourth Dimension Mechanic’s limp body. “Nooo!”
The Supervisor contemplated the pointlessness of living when the end of it lay in front of him. Such tragic futility. For what part has the illusion of happiness to play amongst the faeces of life in its finality? What point is there in this existential compost that only ends up feeding someone else’s tomatoes? He also wondered whether or not the Salient Council would hold this against him in his next performance review. “There’s more!” he shouted, whilst a rush of various walking aids holding up ravenous crinkly figures piled through the bus doors. The Knight Before Christmas clung to his mop. He just couldn’t do it. He just couldn’t bring himself to attack the old dears, with their multitude of gums and smell of hospital waiting rooms.
Flashheart stole the moment and pranced boldly towards the horde. “Never fear! Lord Flash is here!” A growling OAP twisted its bony neck towards the heroic sex-fest. “Oh. Er…” said Flashheart, whilst a dark stain made its way around his groinal area. “Back in a tick,” he exclaimed, and ran towards the ladies’ toilets.
“Wait!” said Eddie. “I think I’m having an idea.”
“We haven’t got enough time for that, Eddie!” said a panic stricken Richie. “Christ all bloody bloody flip mighty! What are we going to do? We’re all gonna die!” The ‘enough time’, or perceived lack of it, was in fact, factually incorrect. They did have time. They were OAPs after all, and very slow on their ancient feet. They were 82, y’know, even in The War!
“The suitcases, quick!” Eddie dodged his way through the crowd to his suitcases and rummaged around for a bit. “Here! We can use these!”
“Bloody right!” exclaimed Richie, flailing his limp knuckles in front of his wide eyes. “Fisticuffs it is!” Assorted frying pans, cricket bats, umbrellas, mallets, rolling pins, and underpants in various states of cleanliness were handed out. The incensed patrons, determined to defend their locale, dived in with a vengeance only surpassed by the great King Street Luddite riot of 1812. The collective roar itself overwhelmed the very foundations of the pub. The plaster dislodged itself from the ceiling and rained down on the pugnacious crowd. Even the pub was fighting back!

Gormlessly Neil looked on at the war before him, holding a pair of underpants with a suspicious stain on the back. “Ohh, this is waaaay heeaaavy!”
Rick, was defending himself quite amicably with a cricket bat, dodging around like a Rocky Balboa possessed Cliff Richard fan. “You can’t attack me, you…you…you poor excuse for a near death experience! I’m an anarchist, y’know!” Surprising even himself, Rick bashed the OAP across the head. Pieces of its ruptured skull streaked across the room, only prevented from embedding themselves in the wall by the bits of brain snagging on the carpet. “Ha! That’ll teach you!”
“Woah,” said a dumbstruck Neil, “That was harsh, Rick, man.”
Emboldened by his brutality, Rick sagged, hand on hip, next to Neil’s grey form. “Do you really think anyone has ever been interested in anything you say or do, Neil?”
“Um. Well, no.”
“You really are pathetic aren’t you? Like a redundant cobweb wafting in the breeze.”
“Well, I…” Neil started.
“Shut up, Neil.”
“Okay, Rick.”
“You just called me a bastard, didn’t you?”
“You did. You just called me and Vyvyan bastards, didn’t you, Neil?”
“Well, actually, I didn’t…”
“Hey Vyvyan, Neil just called you a bastard.”
“What?” said Vyvyan, rabid with rage.
“Um,” ventured Neil, “I don’t recall actually saying…”
But it was futile. Vyvyan and Rick, reasoning that they were due for a nice relaxing break from the war in progress, laid into the ball of hippy on the floor.

Meanwhile, behind the bar Dave and Daz were having trouble of their own. An OAP was encroaching hungrily towards them.
“I knew we shouldn’t have put the QC Sherry on show like that,” said a very worried Dave.
Daz grabbed a packet of pork scratchings thinking it may be his last. He crammed half the packet into his mouth and chewed at the teeth breaking rinds with abandon, not caring for the splattering escapees down his wobbling chin.
“Here! Take this!” cried Helen, handing them a mallet draped with a pair of Y-Fronts. “Protect the Strangebow at least! Please!”
“Right,” said Dave, shoving the pants into Daz’s pork smothered hands, “You get him round the face with these, and I’ll get the bugger with this!” He gripped the mallet with both hands, poised, ready for…
A walking stick swung through the air, narrowly missing Dave, and spray of Foresters forced itself out of its pump covering the whole bar. “Daz! Come on!”
“Oh right, yeah, right, yeah. Yeah. Right,” babbled Daz.
“They’re gonna get to the Hags Wobbling next!”
This was all Daz’s ears needed. They conveyed the message with haste to the fear constricted neurons, who told the synapses to override any other messages with this particular message of great importance. The Hags Wobbling memory cell writhed with anger, and quickly scribbled a return message to the adrenal gland, cc-ing in the coordination centre, to attack! Attack! A-bloody-tack!
The OAP struggled underneath the yellow tinged Y-Fronts. Daz pushed it to the floor, unyielding in his insistence. Dave ensured the mallet met its target, and a pool of red seeped all over the floor of the bar.

Underneath the jukebox Richie, armed with cricket bat, underpants, two frying pans, and a chair for protection, was fending off a rather randy OAP who seemed to prefer death by kissing. Her spittle covered lips pouted at him with gooey anticipation. Although he did contemplate the pros and cons of getting his end away nevertheless, Richie concluded it was just too disgusting a sight even for him. She would have to be dealt with.
“Oh,” he said, looking up at the ceiling just behind the horny creature, “Look at that very interesting thing up there.”
As explained previously, time critters were not known for their intelligence, and so the OAP did as she was told.
“Ha!” exclaimed Richie.
The dried up body collapsed in a heap by the pool table, closely followed by Eddie, who was having problems with one of the larger of the OAPs currently wobbling its way towards him.
“Quick, Eddie, get up or he’ll sit on you!” Richie helped his friend up. They ran towards the fat gutted monster, ducked either side of its outstretched arms, and found themselves on the opposite side of the pub. “Right,” said Eddie, breathless, but unrelenting, “You hold the bastard, I’ll give him one of my specials.”
“Right you are, Eddie.”
Richie did some kind of Irish dance affair as he made his way towards the bulbous OAP, meaning to exude boxer-like prowess, but actually looking so stupid he managed to bewilder the OAP enough to allow him to duck behind the wobbling mass and grab its chubby arms in a lock. The OAP staggered, a bit unsteady due to the top heavy nature of his stature. “Right, Eddie, got him!”
“Raaaaarrrgh!” cried a battle hungry Eddie, charging the length of the pub, but realising half way that he had no weapon with which to charge. A prehistoric gene stirred within him, resulting in an astounding head butt that turned the OAP into a blob of sweaty blubber at Richie’s feet.

More and more OAPs climbed through the bus doors, some further enraged at the time they’d spent queuing to get off. “It’s no use, said Becky, there’s too many of them.”
We need a plan! Said Helen. “Something…solid!”
Mike rummaged through his suitcase. He pulled out a rubber suspender belt closely followed by a well-used blow up doll.
“Monica?!” exclaimed Richie, rushing over to the rubber based collection. “What are you doing with my Monica?!” Richie sobbed, cradling the saggy inflatable. “Oh, Monica. How could you betray me like this?” Tears ran down his crestfallen features.
“Monica?” said Mike, confused. “This is Stephanie. She’s mine. Gerroff!”
Richie looked closer and noticed the lack of puncture repair kit patches or superglue based ‘incident’ remnants. “Oh yes, yes. I see now. Amazing how similar they look though. Aharharhahaharg.”
“Here they are!” said Mike from within a large duffle bag.
“Really?” said Helen.
“Might as well. It’s all we’ve got at the moment,” said Dave.

The locals and accepted visitors assembled themselves behind the bar and closed the flap. In front of them lay 246 tubes of Fixodent. “But Mike,” said Neil, “Why exactly have you got all this Fixodent with you? I didn’t know your teeth weren’t real.”
“It’s not for me. I got it down the car boot, job lot. Bargain price. I was gonna try and flog it all in Doncaster.”
“Oh,” said Neil drearily.
Armed with as many tubes as they could hold, the locals composed themselves, ready to fire. “Right, I say we just bloody go for it. You know, just bloody well bloody well go for it, yeah?!” said Richie. “Yeah, all at once. In the face!” said Vyvyan, armed with nine tubes of Fixodent and a mallet.
“Okay,” said Mick, after three. Ready? One. Two. Threeeee!


The snarling dribbley mass on the other side of the bar sprang back in surprise. The creamy liquid splatted about the purple heard, congealing with the sputum and sweat. It dripped down their furrowed faces, covering their bodies with pink ooze. Thickening. Solidifying. They slowed suddenly, their limbs restraining their wanton hunger. The unironed mass, as one, collapsed. Everything went silent.
“Are they dead?” asked Becky sheepishly.
“Looks like it,” said Helen.

245 empty tubes littered the bar floor. The stench of minty fresh death wrapped itself around the walls. The group behind the bar stared at the mess of broken tables, chairs, stools and walking sticks littered amongst the redundant frying pans, cricket bats and underpants, some covered in blood, some in pink spatters of gunk. Plaster hung off the ceiling, some of it still making its way to the defunct battle front. The Knight Before Christmas smiled eagerly, mop at the ready.

“What are we going to do with them?” said Daz.
“We could chop them up,” suggested Vyvyan, helpfully.
“Then what?” said Helen.
“Erm…” Vyvyan hadn’t thought that far ahead.
“Neil could make a nice casserole,” suggested Rick.
“Yeeeaah, I’m good at casseroles,” said Neil cheerily. “Oh, but, not meat based casseroles,” he corrected. “No way. That’s not cool. Got any lentils?”
“Technically,” said the Supervisor, “The time critters made these bodies, so they are actually synthetic meat. Vegetarian friendly.”
“Synthetic meat?” said Neil. “Is that, like, healthy, man? ‘Cause my body is a temple, and I don’t want to put anything unethical into it.”

Then, a walking stick moved.

It moved because it was attached to an OAP arm.

Helen pondered this for a while. The arm moved again. “Shit! It’s moving!” The arm was slowly but desperately trying to undo the rest of its body from the adhesive mess. “But they should be dead! Surely they can’t breathe under all that.”
“It’s like they’re healing themselves,” said Becky. “Regenerating!”
Oh yes, yes, that’s exactly it,” said The Supervisor, recalling his training. “Group 12 based regeneration.”
“Group 12?” enquired Becky.
“Yes. Group 12, the volatile metals. Mercury, cadmium, zinc.”
“Zinc? One of the main ingredients of Fixodent, I believe,” said Daz to a puzzled audience. “Look, you learn stuff when you’re living with your Nan, okay?!”
“Yes, Daz,” said Helen.
“Helps immune function, wound healing, promotes cell growth. It’s good for you is a bit of zinc.”
The seething pink and purple mass popped a few more bones under the strain of their attempted sticky escape. “Well, unless you’re us, then zinc is probably quite bad really.”
“It usually takes them a few days though,” said The Supervisor, “To regenerate, I mean. But with this large supply of zinc, well…” The Supervisor looked worried. A bit too worried for everyone’s liking.
“Well?” said an impatient Helen.
“Well, it might be they can regenerate much faster.”
“How much faster?”
A snarling OAP grabbed at Becky’s foot. Becky screeched, as Helen stomped on the hand with a satisfying crunch. “Quick,” she said, “We’ve got to get them out of here!”

A chain of people formed, leading through the bus doors right down to the window at the end. Purple OAPs were passed along the chain, each body in multiple forms of disarray. The ones that still moved were bludgeoned quite happily by Vyvyan before joining the chain. Slowly a misshapen pile of crusty pink goo appeared on the road outside, squirming and moaning as it awoke to seek its pray once more.

Inside the pub all the bodies had been removed. Just a few remaining arms and a false hip here and there, which were quickly gathered up and slung out. The bus window, now smeared in a mixture of Fixodent and gaffa tape (because everyone everywhere should have a roll of gaffa tape), held steadfastly as a guilty MP. They weren’t going to get back in that way at least. The Knight Before Christmas was sloshing his mop about the floor, joined by an equally efficient Neil with a cloth and a bottle of extra strength gunk removal spray.

Sharing a packet of moist wipes, the visitors joined the locals in a well deserved round of drinks facilitated by Dave and his very comfortable sidekick, Daz.
“What are we going to do now?” said Rick.
“Get smashed!” Richie exclaimed gleefully.
“Well, yes. That is an option. An option amongst few, in this world of woe,” droned Rick, feeling poetic. “In this polluted society, full of disenchantment and boiled dreams. In the wake of…”
“Shut up, Rick!” yelled Vyvyan to the dejected yooff. “Nobody wants to hear about your boils.”
“He’s right though,” said Mike. “We’re stuck here aren’t we? Fred’s dropped dead. And we can’t move the bus anyway cos it’ll leave a ruddy great hole in the wall.”
The collected visitors sighed, collectively. They were really looking forward to their holiday in Doncaster, and although it was a bonus ending up in a pub with a free bar, they couldn’t help but pine for their true destination.

The stoic Sleepless Knight stirred from his makeshift bed on top of the pool table. He grunted, snorted a feeble snore, then continued his slumber. Casually, The Knight Mare crawled from his fourth dimensional flat pack position beneath the sleeping oxymoron and trotted into the bar. She brayed at the astounded faces.
“Did you know there was a horse in your bar, Dave?” enquired Mike.
“Oh yes. Get her some nuts, Daz.”
“Yes, of course!” said The Supervisor. “The Knight Mare. Doh, silly of me.”
“What about her?” said Helen.
“The Knight Mare is well acquainted with the History Repeating Itself unit, being as she has one of her own.”
“What, like, inside her?”
“Yes. She invented it! It’s what the unit design is based on. She can recall all sorts of times, recent and distant. Even primordial. She tends to prefer the more scary ones though. Can anyone ride a horse?”
Vyvyan and Rick sniggered, just as Lord Flashheart appeared in the doorway, back from his very convenient trip to the ladies’ toilets, lasting approximately an hour, or at least until the sounds of war had ceased. “I can ride anything, me!” he said, valiantly. “Woof!”
“Hang on, I’ll have a word.” The supervisor bent heads with the Knight Mare in council. A packet of nuts later The Supervisor re-emerged with the look of a man with a plan.
“Right, everybody on,” he said, waving towards the Knight Mare’s back.
“What?” exclaimed Richie. “But we’re not all going to fit on there. And then there’s all our suitcases. Who’s going to carry those?”
“Just get on.”
“Just try!”
So, Flash, Mike, Neil, Vyvyan, Rick, Richie and Eddie all piled onto the Knight Mare’s back. The horse seemed the same size, but couldn’t have been, because there were seven people on her back, eleven suitcases, and one almost empty duffle bag. Nevertheless, they all seemed pretty comfortable.
“Okay, girl, off you go,” whispered The Supervisor.

The Knight Mare sauntered around the pub, getting her balance, then stopped still. Two bony protrusions thrust themselves between Richie’s legs. He screamed like a girl, and then accepted it was better than nothing. The immense bat-like wings grew out of the horse’s body and displayed themselves in stupendous glory, covering the entire room so everyone not on the beast had to duck. The Knight Mare’s jaw grew wider, her teeth pointier, her nostrils flared over her darkened face below the deep red and black pools within her eye sockets. Her muscles rippled furiously as she reared up, almost beckoning something. Somewhere. Her whinnying pine screamed towards the ceiling, through to the cloudy sky outside, beyond space, beyond time. A black swirl appeared from within the cracked plaster above. The wind was deafening. People held onto their heads in fear of losing them. The horse reared again, with a frightening bark that struck the hairs that other frightening barks can’t reach. Her front hooves didn’t return to the floor, however. Instead they pulled up towards the black hole, taking her hind legs with them. The seven figures, clinging onto themselves and each other, attempted to wave goodbye to their hosts. Their hosts waved back, as much as hosts can when in a state of disbelief. The horse galloped through into the depths of somewhere in space time. Somewhere remembered. Somewhere never to be forgotten. The hole closed up as if it had never been there.

The familiar sound of walking stick tapping on glass rose up from the silence. Little splodges of pink appeared on the window.
“They’re back then,” said Helen.
Daz gazed at the space where the dark hole had been. “Best have another pint,” he said, pouring himself a Hags Wobbling.
“Mine’s a Strangebow, Daz,” said Helen, as if he didn’t already know.
“It’s weird seeing you behind there. It almost suits you,” said Becky.
“I kind of like it actually. But I’m going to miss that lot. I liked them.”
“Bit of entertainment at least,” said Helen.
“Yeah, well, the History Repeating Itself Unit will always hold onto them. As long as they’re in some memory path or another the connection’s permanently there,” said The Supervisor, “And this IS Episode 12.”
“Bloody timey-wimey stuff,” Dave growled.
“I could have sworn you said that before, just like that. About an hour ago,” said Daz.
De ja vu, mate, said Dave.
“Yes,” said The Supervisor wistfully, “It probably won’t be the last you’ll see of them.”

The locals sipped their drinks, committing to memory some of their experiences from the last hour, and discarding others. ‘We’re all going on a – summer holiday,’ sang Cliff from the jukebox, much to the amazement of the majority of the bar, who could have sworn the walking stick tap-tapping from beyond was attempting to beat in time.

[In memory of and in humble thanks to the great Rick Mayall. Rest in peace, matey.]


Episode 11 – The Arse End

Abhorrent crowds of Purple OAPS gather in the streets, the atmosphere was much cooler than tepid. No laughter was to be had, inside the dungeon cell. In episode 11 of The Pint Files, things have taken a turn for the worse. Uprooted from their bum moulded bar stools, cool alcoholic beverages and crispy bar snack supplies, the pint files protagonists were bluntly un-amused.

“You fucking prick! You couldn’t just keep your mouth shut could you Daz?” Helen blasted, somewhat lacking in restraint.

“Well he was being a miserable git! Doing my head in, he was.” Daz replied. “Besides, you didn’t help matters did you? Neither of you did!”
Becky and Helen erupted with a mixed bag of curses and insults that the writer can’t be arsed to list here.
“I think you both made it worse, to be honest!” said Dave, once the verbal rumblings had subsided.

“I don’t know what you’re all moaning about anyway, at least they hung you the right way up! My emergency pork scratchings have fallen out of my pocket!” replied Daz with a pathetic sniffle.


“What is that noise?” asked Becky.
“It’s the Sleepless Knight, he’s supposed to be guarding us but he’s fast asleep.” said Helen.
“How the fuck did we end up here?” said Becky.

Daz was chained upside down to the dungeon wall, while Helen was chained the right way up. Dave was chained to the cell bars, and Becky was chained to a pipe, with a wooden plinth to sit on. The light was scarce, with the flicker of a solitary candle flame that danced with the shadows. A lonely beam of light shone from a small grilled window near the dungeon roof. Cruelly taunting Daz, the beam was perfectly aimed at the pork scratchings, as if they were bar snacks in the lime light, on a damp stony stage.
There was an eerie silence that was interrupted intermittently by a single drip of water, landing in an old sauce pan. Like a slow tick of a grandfather clock that had forgotten its tock, the drips persisted. Occasionally the sound of iron shackles, echoed through the room as the protagonists shuffled in their rusty restraints. The release of a fart or two wasn’t uncommon, often followed by a volley of insults and a rare snigger.

The situation was grim for the bar dwellers, it had all started earlier in the pub. It was all pretty calm, with the generic tap of walking sticks on the windows, and the jukebox playing its eclectic mix of musical delights. Helen, Becky, and Daz were sat at the bar contently conversing, discussing the events that had occurred recently. Dave was over sparkling the glassware as usual, whilst sucking whisky through a long plastic pipe, from a bottle on the wall. The Supervisor was having a well deserved tea break (more of a beer and peanuts break really). He’d been very busy since the Space Time IT man had been. Desperately, he was trying to fix the time machine before the Salient Council demoted him back to a Knight. Apparently, Knights were paid less and their pension plan wasn’t so good, the Supervisor shuddered to think.

As the bar dwellers perused some facts, a pertinent question began to manifest itself. The pretty calm of the bar was suddenly interrupted by confusion and miss, placed punctuation. So profound was the question, that it drove the three mildly drunk bar squatters to about turn, without leaving their stools. Sensing the beady, slightly glazed glare upon him; The Supervisor paused his salty peanut banquet to appraise the situation.

“What?” he said.

The bar dwellers, prompted by curiosity and a few pints of Dutch courage, delivered the mighty question. Why was The Supervisor here? Why were the Knights here? Benjamin had explained that the situation was current, because the bar dwellers wanted it to be. But the bar dwellers had never asked for a Supervisor, complete with mop obsessed Knights and various other creatures.

“OK, if I explain, will you leave me alone?” asked The Supervisor. With a unanimous nod of heads, The Supervisor took a drink and a deep breath.

He began to explain, that somewhere nearby, there was a white hole. It was probably responsible for the worm holes and portholes being on the piss. His explanation was cut short, when Daz rapidly suggested he was talking crap.

“White holes are massive, they’re the arse end of a black hole, it spews out time and matter, we’d all be dead!” he said. (Much to the surprise of the others, who didn’t know Daz had been furnishing himself with knowledge via the popular search engine ‘Poodle’.) With a threat of beer famine, should Daz interrupt again, the drunken know-it-all promptly shut up. Much facilitated by an angry glare from Helen and Becky.


“Daz you smelly git, was that you?” said Becky.
“Yeah, sorry! I’m hanging upside down, the gas is bubbling to the top!” replied Daz.
“And the top, is his bottom.” Dave added, with an accomplished smirk.
“So ya know that hole?” asked Helen.
“The hole in the top/bottom of Daz or the other one?” said Becky.
“No, the other one. I wonder what might come out of it next? Those critters could manifest as anything couldn’t they?” said Helen.
“Oh bloody hell! I hope they don’t manifest as a troop of topless glamour models! Eh, Dave!” said a gleeful, joking, but mildly hopeful Daz.
“It always boils down to that doesn’t it? You fucking sexist wanker!” Helen blasted.
“Yeah, set of tossers, why couldn’t it be a bare naked rugby team?” Becky asked.
“Oh yeah, that’d be nice.” Helen agreed with a slight smirk.

The Supervisor explained, that size was irrelevant. The white hole was in fact located somewhere in the town hall, next door to the pub. It was a small exit, indeed the arse end of a black hole, located somewhere in the building where it was spouting universal shit.
Apparently, the black hole was also being used as a conduit for some unruly beings called time critters, that could quite safely navigate the black hole without being torn to shreds. The time critters….

[Wait for it! You won’t believe this!]

The time critters could manifest themselves as anything, including
Purple OAPS.

[Told you! Unbelievable isn’t it? If you saw that coming, give yourself a gold star, or a cold beverage.]

Every time the time critters appear, the Knights are largely successful in bludgeoning them to death. However, the time critters wised up to the Knights and decided to take advantage of their gentlemanly nature. They’ve manifested themselves as old age pensioners, knowing quite rightly that the Knights won’t attack the old dears, time critters or not. They were also taking advantage of the unstable nature of the time bubble that the pub was caught in.

The Supervisor continued to explain that the situation was in fact, a stalemate. The critters couldn’t get in, because they had overlooked a slight flaw in their master plan. The critters were old and frail, and therefore too weak to break into the pub. All they can do is tap inanely on the windows with their walking sticks and post false teeth through the letter box now and again. The knights were banjaxed and couldn’t risk battle, as they might burst the bubble and cause a rupture in the space time gamut. This would cause the pub and its inhabitants to be squashed to the size of a pork scratching.

“What’s a ‘Space Time Gamut’ anyway?” Dave asked, shuffling in his rusty chains.
A Mexican wave of shrug circulated the prisoners, who didn’t have a clue. Except for one prisoner, who was the leading expert on space time, since her recent indulgence back in Episode 10. Becky went on to explain about the Space Time Gamut, but again, the writer can’t be arsed to write it all down here. The reader should be aware, that the Space Time Gamut is very important and must be respected, so just be careful and read on!

PPPPAAAARP…the cell walls squinted with the release of trapped wind, as someone let rip again.

“Wasn’t me that time!” Daz announced innocently.
“No it was me!” said the Sleepless Knight, before shuffling a little and returning to his peaceful slumber. Suddenly Becky gasped, “erm guys, there’s a rat!” she said, pointing at the corner of the room.

Sure enough, a well groomed rat appeared from under the cell bars. Everyone watched, since there wasn’t much else they could do, as the rat went about its peculiar business. Moving towards the pork scratchings, the rat walked an arrogant walk, a real over rated swagger for a rat. He then perused the pile of pork rinds, licking his lips and tapping each piece, testing for consistency.
“Oi! Get off my scratchings ya little shit!” Daz growled.
While the others sniggered and chortled, the rat continued, knowing that the spoils were safely his. With some more careful browsing, the rat selected a rind and lifted it up in his mouth. After a strange nomadic dance, like some kind of ritual to the rat gods, he took his salty snack and scarpered back underneath the bars.
The cell dwellers looked at each other in disbelief, but the obscure moment was spoiled by a sudden sound. Somewhere in the deep void of the dungeon, was a horrific shriek. Everyone silenced, frozen still with fear as the distressed cry petered out along the stony passageway.

“What the hell is that?” said Becky, somewhat panic ridden.
“Fuck knows! Daz, you’re a prick!” said Helen, venting her fear via an articulate finely tuned insult.
“Why am I a prick? It was you lot that exacerbated the situation. My harmless jibe was just intended as a light hearted poke. You lot turned it into a full on punch in the face. It’s no wonder he chucked us in here. Why he hung me upside down though, I’ll never know!” said Daz.
“Insulting his traditional Scottish dress, was probably a bit too much, Daz, to be fair.” said Becky.

After The Supervisors explanation, he contently returned to the remainder of his tea break. The bar dwellers, mildly wishing they’d never asked, turned back to the bar for another pint. This is where they should have stayed, contently drinking, absolutely not thinking of another question. Foolishly, but not before a cautious refill, the bar dwellers turned to The Supervisor once more.
“Fuck off, I’m on my break!” The Supervisor promptly shouted.
The Supervisor was not impressed by the comments that followed about his dull disposition. Daz fired the first shot with a suggestion that The Supervisor’s jock strap might be too tight. With the threat of an empty beer pump, Daz was again, swiftly told to shut up by the others.

“He was in a bad mood though, wasn’t he? He called you two a pair of wenches!” Said Daz, rattling in his chains.
“Yeah, he was in a bad mood. That’s no excuse for calling us ‘your’ wenches though!” said Becky.
“Well you should all be ashamed, it’s all your fault. My glasses will be losing there sparkly sheen!” said Dave.
“Your glasses will be fine Dave, and don’t play innocent, you played your part in all of this!” said Helen.

After the reprimand Daz received from Becky and Helen, The Supervisor, unwittingly fired a potent canon shot at the girls. “Yeah, I’d listen to your wenches if I was you Daz!” he said. The resulting return fire was severe, with a volley of articulate insults force fed in his direction about his girlie kilt and how his breath was very much like a freshly departed dog shit. The Supervisor didn’t take kindly to the insolence emanating from the highly offended women folks. Standing up, he drew a small dagger from his belt. He was about to lurch forward, when Dave delivered his own fateful blunder.

“Right, get out, you’re barred!” Dave shouted at The Supervisor.

The final straw was had, The Supervisor was now very pissed off. His face was an unhealthy shade of red, steam was emanating from somewhere, and a murky growl began to brew. Sensing that the line may have been crossed a little, rubbed out, spat on and replaced with a line of piss in the snow, the bar dwellers began to panic.

Daz rammed his shirt pocket with pork scratchings. Helen dived under the Strangebow pump with her mouth wide open and turned the tap on. Becky downed her pint, then everyone else’s. Dave began to turn a slight shade of blue as he sucked harder on his whisky pipe whilst polishing the glasses a whole lot faster. Eventually, time was up, the growl was now rupturing from The Supervisors mouth. The bar dwellers knew that when the bar fittings stopped rattling and the windows stopped shaking, there would be consequences.

“Well done for trying Dave, but how the hell could you have barred him?” asked Becky.
“Dunno, I don’t usually have to do anything else. Once I’ve said ‘you’re barred’ people usually just leave,” Dave replied.

Suddenly, the chatter was interrupted by the shrieking sound of the distressed man again. The chains in the cell rattled a little as the prisoners tensed up with fright. Now there was another worrying sound, the sound of footsteps, heavy and slow.

“Hey! Sleepless Knight! Wake up you nob head!” Helen shouted.
“What ya trying to wake him up for?” asked Becky.
“Well he might get into trouble for being asleep on the job, if we wake him up he might help us escape!” replied Helen.

Everyone began shouting and hissing, trying to rouse the Sleepless Knight, regrettably their efforts were futile. The Supervisor was now stood over him, pausing a little before delivering a swift kick.

“Wake up you tosser!” shouted The Supervisor.
“Wah, snort, sniff, huh?” the Knight muffled before shooting upright to his feet.
“Ya could have woken me up!” the Knight blasted at the prisoners.

The prisoners didn’t feel the Knight deserved any dialogue, instead they just delivered a round of tuts.

“Look, I’m sorry Mr Supervisor, I was only joking about your jock strap. You were just a bit moody though weren’t you?” Daz said, in a vain attempt at an apology.

“Daz, shut the fuck up!” Helen said, through gritted teeth.
“No, he’s right. I was a bit grumpy, I admit.” said The Supervisor.
“See, told ya!” said Daz jovially.
“Daz, ‘STILL’ shut the fuck up!” said Helen, just as the man shrieked again in the distance. A look of fear did the rounds amongst the prisoners again, before Helen made a thoughtful suggestion.

“Kill him first, he started it all!” she said, pointing at Daz.

“Oh, don’t worry! That ‘scary distant sound’ is just one of the time machine repair men stapling his hand back on. That idiotic Knight Before Christmas, chopped it off,” said the Supervisor.

The collective relief was almost audible, then it was suddenly very audible with the release of another fart.

“Sorry, that was me!” said Becky chuckling innocently.

“Right, I’ve been told to free you all and return you to the bar. It seems you have friends in the Space Time Society. I’ve been warned to free you instantly, before I’m demoted to jukebox operator. That’s not worth thinking about, they don’t even get expenses!”

Back in the bar, Dave ran to his glass tray and began furiously polishing, before being summoned to his duty.
“Pint please, Dave!” the freed prisoners chorused.
“I was only going to keep you in there till the end of the day ya know?” The Supervisor explained.
“Yeah, whatever!” Daz replied, “Now I wanted to chat with you about some glamour models….”
“Sexist twat!” Helen blasted.
“Wrestlers……” Becky added.

And so the Inns was returned to some kind of normality, the jukebox played and the drinks flowed. The patrons were chain free and happy, sat back on their bar stools drinking heavily before the next bout of drama unfolded.

To be continued….one would hope.

Episode 8 – Why the Long Face?

By Helen Rhodes

The bar melted in drips, slowly meandering towards the floor creating a pool of wood and brass. The liquid swirled at the feet of the patrons, lapping at their laces like a playful puppy. When they looked up the softness beneath the patrons’ forearms made sense. Covered in soft white, their senses bathed in the serene quilted hug that was now the bar. The soft padding just the right softness. The warm light just enough warmness. The comforting hue of Dave, melding his features into a fuzzy golden picture of divine peace. All was well. Happy. Secure. Even a bit snuggly. All was so well, happy, secure and a bit snuggly even when one of Daz’s pork scratchings twitched a hair. Daz sniggered to himself like a gurgling toddler just ready for his afternoon nap. But…

Then the pork scratching ran! Yes, ran, across the length of the bar, turned as if to look back at the packet that was once its cage, gave a snort, and hurled itself off the edge of the bar, running for the nearest exit before its little hairs hit the ground. The next one followed. Then the next, and the next. It took Daz precisely three runaway pork scratchings to realise this was not good.
“My scratchings are escaping!” he yelled. “Stop them!”
Tears welled in his eyes as he stumbled from his stool and started to chase the little bar snacks around the room on his hands and knees. He whimpered a bit every time one of them got away, which, inevitably, they all did.

Helen was sporting the most up to date puzzled look amongst puzzled looks currently available on the puzzled looks market. It was a puzzled look with an edge of what-the-hell-is-going-on, which she attempted to pass to Becky. This attempt would have worked had it not been for the fact that Becky was displaying a look of my-world-has-just-fallen-apart horrorfulness. Her gaze was directed towards the TV screen.
“What’s wrong with you?” said Helen.
Becky turned her moist eyes to Helen’s concerned face and said, “I…I can’t believe it.”
Helen left Becky’s wobbly lips to develop into full blown wibbliness to check the TV screen. The tit infested ball pool had gone, and displayed in sharp, white harshness was a Public Broadcast Message from the Department of Health. It read…

— As a matter of public concern to the citizens of the UK and Northern Ireland the Department of Health issues this message. After extensive scientific research by the Home Homeopathy and Needlework Department the Department of Health finds it necessary to cancel all showings of Doctor Who from this day forwards. Do to possible health concerns, particularly to the brain and left pinkie finger, the Department of Health insists that all Whovians report to their nearest Cineworld where a two week course of treatment will be provided entailing a back to back marathon of X Factor and The Only Way is Essex. The Department of Health warns that the use of force, including eye stirrups, will be sanctioned towards those who do not comply.—-

Becky sobbed into her Tardis jumper. Helen’s puzzled look was holding up well, until a figure appeared at The Door. It held an iPad Mini and a charging cable. Helen did something she wouldn’t normally do in public. She lost it. She screamed, which turned into a shriek, which left Helen in a crumpled shivering ball balanced on top of her stool.
“Hello deary,” said Helen’s mum. “I wondered if you could help me with this.”
The iPad Mini was held aloft along with the obviously very confusing charging cable, complimented by a facial expression that stated a comprehensive answer was required, complete with diagrams and notes, repeated twelve times.
Thunder clapped, in an unappreciative way. Lightening sparked, giving the room such a dramatic air that everyone had to scream, “Nooooooooo!!”

Then a horse trotted past.

The swirling horror stopped sharper than a mother’s tongue. No longer did the thunder clap or the lightening spark. The pork scratchings were lying motionless in their packet. The tits were still wrestling in the ball pool on the TV screen (although now Clegg and Cameron were actually working together on a rather miffed Putin who was being smothered in a rainbow of balls). The Purple OAPs were keenly rapping at the windows. The Door was closed, unused. Three bemused and slightly pale faces sat at the very solid bar staring at the horse which was in fact still there. The horse stared at them on equal terms, wafting its brown tail as if to say, “What?”

The Sleepless Knight shuffled his pink fluffy slippers from the pool table to where the horse stood and stroked its perfect white streak on its otherwise silky brown nose. The horse snorted.
“Yeah,” said the Knight softly, “You like that don’t you girl.” He looked towards the bar. “Anyone got any nuts for my friend here?”
“Dry roasted or salted?” said Dave efficiently.

“Er…excuse me,” said Helen, controlling the hysteria pushing at the backs of her eyeballs, “is no one going to address the elephant that looks like a horse in the room?”
The horse wondered if this was a snide comment regarding its nose, but decided to let it go. “I mean,” continued Helen, “that did just happen didn’t it?”
The room consisted of mostly nodding.
“My mum turned up, Doctor Who was cancelled, and Daz’s pork scratchings DID try to escape?”
There was more nodding.
“And, er, now there appears to be a fucking great horse in the middle of the pub, yes?”
Even more nodding occurred. Quite vigorous nodding actually.
“Soooo?” said Helen.
All eyes were on the Sleepless Knight, who replied in the tone of isn’t it obvious.
“This is the Knight Mare, of course. We work very closely together, don’t we girl? Have done for years. In fact, I couldn’t do my job without her.” The Knight ran his palm down the horse’s silky chestnut neck. The horse bared her teeth into a kind of grin position and nodded towards the dry roasted peanuts dangling from Dave’s right hand. The Knight arranged the peanuts on the bar and the Knight Mare tucked in under the befuddled gaze of everyone in the vicinity. A flutter of yellow in purple pants flew down from the Geoffrey’s Gin bottle and perched itself on the horse’s back.
“Aww,” said the Detective, “Frank’s made a new friend.”
“Buuurrrp,” said the budgie, looking rather satisfied with itself.
“That’s another thing!” Helen exclaimed. Harry promptly disappeared having completed his Jaeger duties and realising Helen was possibly on a roll. “Where did that budgie come from? Not an unreasonable question I feel.”
The Detective agreed to field the question. “He always joins me for lunch, don’t you, Frank?” Frank did some nodding, in a bird sort of nodding way. “He’s partial to my nuts, you know.” The Detective produced a crumpled brown paper bag from his pocket and inspected the contents, of which there were none. “But I seem to have depleted my stock. How annoying.”
“That’ll be why he’s so friendly with the horse. Wants her nuts,” said Daz.
“He joins you for lunch? A yellow budgie in purple underwear?” said Helen, determined that the conversation was not going to take a nice little walk down a sun dappled side track.
“Yes,” said the Detective. “ A perfectly reasonable answer to your supposedly reasonable question.”
“And he is wearing purple pants because…?” asked Helen, who could tell by the Detective’s face that he considered this not only an unreasonable question but a bloody stupid one also.
“What? Common decency woman! Where would civilised society be if everyone went round without underwear!”
Daz contemplated his own underwear for a moment. Then decided to stop.

Helen decided, all things considered, her Strangebow made the most sense in the whole room. Daz munched on a pork scratching, a particularly nimble one as he recalled. Becky polished her Tardis necklace. The Detective said, “Are you all right down there?” to the chap at the end of the bar who’d been bereft of stool to fall off for a whole episode. The horse munched while the budgie adjusted himself within his purple underpants. The Sleepless Knight shuffled back to the pool table and gave a big yawn and settled down to sleep.

A squeak came from The Door…

To be continued…

Episode 7 – Budgies and Purple Underwear

By Daz Trei

“Can you take your male end out of my nostril please good fellow?” said the Detective.
“Oh right, yeah, sorry man,” Harry said, tugging at the lead dangling from the Detective’s nose.
“Ah, thank you. And on to this peculiar looking liquor I have before me,” said the Detective, unwittingly lifting the glass prematurely before it had arrived at its optimal temperature. Everyone looked on in horror, some reaching out to try and stop him, some cowered behind a face-palm, a pack of cards flew in to the air and the man fell…. Actually, the man didn’t fall off his chair as the Detective was sat in his place, so he was just stood looking at everyone with an err of innocence (but secretly jovial that he didn’t have to fall off the chair). He soon realised however, that he was holding up the whole story, for his falling of the chair was part of the dramatic cluster of silliness that followed shocking events and he knew it. With everyone in the pub staring at him, he surrendered his contented glee and boldly threw himself on the floor.

Immediately the story was un-paused, as the cue pool ball leapt from the table, thwacking The Supervisor on the back of the head. The Supervisor was not amused. Unfortunately, everyone else let out a snorted snigger, except for one man.
“What the fuck!” shouted the blond ‘Jager-crusader’ whilst yanking the glass from the Detective’s hand.
“Now look here good fellow!” shouted the Detective before he stood to his feet, squaring up to Harry. Things were about to get all rowdy, before he was interrupted.
“Right, listen Hudson!” said The Supervisor.
“It’s ‘Detective Inspector Hudson’ actually,” interjected the Detective.
“What the fuck are you doing?” said The Supervisor, turning to look at the Knight Before Christmas. He was dabbing the blood on the back of The Supervisor’s head, where the pool ball had hit him. Everyone could detect a slight withdrawal of patience from The Supervisor, but trying not to laugh the merry patrons pursed their lips and looked on.
“Look, just stop that, I’ll be ok.” said The Supervisor.
“Look, you have to wait till it chills to the correct temperature!” said Harry to the Detective.
“I don’t want to hear your excuses you long haired hooligan, I’ll have you arrested” said the Detective.
“But it’s bleeding boss, might need stitches,” said the Knight, whilst dabbing the gash some more.
There was smoke wafting around The Supervisor again, akin to his original entrance, but this time it wasn’t his dodgy transport. The Supervisor’s face was turning a serious shade of red, intermittent puffs of smoke were leaving his ears and his nose was twitching a bit. “Oh, for fuck sake!” The Supervisor shouted. It was so loud in fact that even the extras in the pub background stopped talking and the Purple OAPS stopped tapping on the windows. Full attention was now on the supervisor.
“Now you have hopped time and landed in the future,” The Supervisor said to the Detective.
Becky leaned into Helen at the bar, “Told ya, its a timeywimey thing!”
“Shhh,” said Helen, slurping at her pint with all attention towards the drama at the end of the bar.
“Oh will you sod off Knight!” The Supervisor shouted. The over-caring Knight was still dabbing at his bosses ball wound.
[Cough cough]
“Aaaaarg!” The Supervisor shouted, as his pent up frustration grew stronger. Helen quietly contemplated the shade of The Supervisor’s face. “Its a crimson colour now, I’m sure of it.”
“Nah, its more a mauve colour…isn’t it?” replied Daz, whilst slurping lazily at his pint, without lifting it. Buttoned lips were soon employed when The Supervisor’s beady eyes summed the bar loiterers’ silence.
“Right, you lot!” he said, pointing at everyone in the bar, “Look the other way a minute, I’m going to fix this!”
Everyone heard him clearly, but nobody moved, they all just remained focused on him. “Did you hear me? Look the other way you tossers!” he demanded, with much the same result as before. Camp for a supervisor, he put his hands on his waist and lifted his eyebrows in a ‘mum’s about to bullock the kids’ sort of posture. “Mel! Music!” he shouted. The jukebox flared into life with some really crap lift music from the BBC test screen. The Supervisor raised his hand and pointed behind everyone, “Look, a massive pair of tits!” he shouted.
“Ha! ha!” Becky shouted sarcastically, “That’s not going to work with us girls, is it? You sexist git!”
“No look Becky, it IS a massive pair of tits!” said Helen, who’d turned to look along with everyone else. On the drop down screen was the prime minister and his deputy leader, in some kind of wrestling match…in a ball pool. It was quite a surreal scene that began to fade, as did the crap lift music. While the image subsided, everyone turned back to see what had happened. The scene was now somewhat different to the heated scene moments earlier. The Detective had gone, the Jager-crusader had disappeared and The Supervisor should probably have gone too, except his segway had broken down and the Knight Before Christmas was giving him a shove towards The Door.
“Push faster you swine!” he said. Noticing the patrons’ attention was on him, The Supervisor gave a stern warning, “And you lot, look the other way or I’ll turn your beer off!” With that painful thought, the patrons all turned away immediately. The thought of being dry again was just too damn scary.
“Look away, fucking hell, look away!” the bar dwellers shouted in unison. Quickly downing the rest of their pints they slammed the empty glasses on the bar, “Another pint please Dave, quickly!” they all said in unison once more.
“Well, that’s that then,” announced Dave, as he carried on with his bar duties.
“Yeah, we’ve seen it all now, nothing else weird could possibly happen,” said an optimistic Daz with a sigh.
“Erm, yeah, you’re right Daz, erm, nothing else could happen,” replied Dave, not exactly confirming anything.
“I can’t believe Columbo’s gone!” said Helen as she sunk into another pint of Strangebow. Daz and Becky looked at one another before questioning Helen with a simple “Huh?”
“Columbo! The Detective. I liked him. he looked a bit like Columbo,” said Helen. Becky and Daz chuckled.
“Yeah I’ll miss the Knight. I liked him. He was a good mopper!” Becky confessed. There was a short pause, before Becky and Helen looked at Daz, waiting for him to reveal his favourite character. His response wasn’t in keeping with the theme, but unsurprising none the less.
“Giz a bag of scratchings would ya please, Dave,” Daz said emotionlessly. Tucking into his bag of porky salty snacks, he noticed the girls were still looking at him. “What’s up with you? Did you want a pork scratching? They’re free you know, I’ll get you a bag!” Daz said.
Ignoring Daz, the girls continued to stare at his shoulder, with a look of bewilderment. “Daz, have you been outside at all?” Helen asked.
“Have I chuff been outside, not with them purple coffin dodgers out there! Anyway, I can’t can I? The last time I tried to get out of here I was stopped by an Olympic swimming pool, a gay person with sexuality issues, an angry mob, and a mouse doing backstroke. I isn’t going out there for a bit I tell ya!” came a comprehensive reply from Daz.
“Oh, well its just that you have bird shit on your shoulder Daz,” Becky said, gesturing towards his shoulder. Looking at his shoulder, just to humour the others really, he was somewhat surprised to see they were right. There was in fact, a small well aimed deposit of bird shit, sat upon his AC/DC t-shirt.
“Dave!” the group chorused, in a deeply suspicious tone. With a huff and a tut, Dave stopped hyper polishing glasses and turned his attention to the bar loiterers who’d summoned him.
“What now?” he said, with a definite strain of ‘fedupnes’. Without a word, everyone including Daz, pointed at the bird crap.
“Well I didn’t do it, nothing to do with me!” Dave said nonchalantly.
“We know you didn’t do it Dave, but its another weird thing,” said Becky.
“Yeah, you said there’d be no more weird things happening!” said Helen.
“That’s not weird. It wont be the first time a bird’s shit on you will it Daz?” said Dave jovially, receiving a round of giggles that was suddenly interrupted.
“It’s that bird there, look,” said the man at the end of the bar, much to the surprise of the bar crowd. “Yeah, Ok!” said Becky, humouring him. Helen reached with a tissue and wiped the bird droppings from Daz’s shoulder.
“Oh, cheers!” said Daz.
“Yeah, it’s ok, I was getting fed up of looking at it,” replied Helen. Just then, there was a flutter of feathers culminating in a bird, sat on Daz’s shoulder.
“See, bird!” shouted the man at the end of the bar, quite pleased with himself, before turning his attention back to the telly.
“There’s a bird on your shoulder Daz,” said Becky.
“Yeah, erm, there’s a bird, Daz,” Helen confirmed, whilst being slightly confused and also perched upon the verge of broken rib strength laughter.
“Oh, it’s a budgie!” Daz said quite chirpily, looking at his new feathery friend.
“Erm, is it just me or has it got underpants on?” enquired Becky.
“Yep!” Helen said, followed by a slight hysterical yelp, a small tear left one of her eyes as she tried to hold back the forthcoming fit of giggles.
“Oh wow, yeah it has. It’s a budgie with purple underpants on!” Daz said with cheerful glee.
“Awwww!” Daz said in a manly but cute voice.
The budgie let out an almighty feather ruffling belch. To which Helen held back no more, with her head in her hands on the bar she laughed and snorted, coming up for air now and again, as the rest of the bar caught the contagious fit of laughter. Becky was rocking back and forth, almost crying with hilarity. The man at the end of the bar thought it was so funny, he stood up on his stool and dived off, landing on the floor in a heap of hysterics.
As the laughter subsided, Daz tickled the budgie’s beard. “Hello little fella, do you want something to nibble? Dave, giz a packet of Mini Chesters would ya mate?” Daz said.
“Aww, little cutie, what’s the deal with this guy then, Dave?” Helen asked.
“How should I know?” came Dave’s response.
“Come off it Dave, you know what’s going on! What with the Purple OAPS, the swimming pool, the horses, and now a budgie with purple pants on,” Daz said, followed by a short giggle from Helen and Becky.
“In all honesty, hand on heart, I don’t have a fucking clue about the budgie,” said Dave most sincerely. With a short collective thought from the bar dwellers, they took a slurp of their pints before a familiar sound was heard. It was the creak of The Door opening, everyone put their pint back down, waiting for the drama to unfold. Would it be another knight, or a strange creature, or a ghostly ghosty thing. The whole pub waited with bated breath, luckily, a familiar voice beckoned.
“And I hope your mother’s bloomers spontaneously combust. Good day to you!” said the voice, followed by a loud SLAM!
Around the bar corner came Detective Inspector Hudson, much to the joy of the crowd. “Ah! Frank!” the Detective shouted, as the budgie with the purple underwear leapt into the air, landing upon the Detective’s shoulder. “I wondered where you’d got to. Thanks for looking after him good fellow!” the Detective said.
“Erm, no problem,” Daz replied. (His lip wasn’t quivering at all.)
[It was!]
“Oh, fucking bird!” Daz shouted, as he noticed another pile of poo on his shoulder.
“So what happened, how come you’re back?” Helen asked the Detective.
Well it turned out that the Detective had gone in The Door with The Supervisor and the Knight Before Christmas. The Detective was supposed to be returned to his timeline, but unfortunately the bloke from Rumbelows had come round to repossess the time machine due to lack of payments. A fight ensued, which resulted in the bloke from Rumbelows being beheaded. Unfortunately when the Knight Before Christmas wielded his sword, he severed not only the unfortunate repo man’s head, but also a very important gasket on the time machine. An argument ensued involving some of the other knights, the Xmouse, The Supervisor and the Detective, which resulted in the Detective telling The Supervisor to forget it, and that he would stay in the pub, where he would hopefully find his feathery companion that he’d lost. He also brought with him a rather troubled Knight.
“So who’s this guy you brought that’s sleeping on the pool table?” asked Becky.
“Oh, that’s the Sleepless Knight. He’s been struggling to get any rest with all the arguing and beheading, so he’s come up here to get some sleep,” said the Detective.
“Do you good folks mind if I loiter around here for a little?” asked the Detective.
“No not at all, come and have a drink mate, pull up a stool,” said Helen cheerfully.
“How very welcoming of you all. How about some of that chilled liquor from the long haired fellow?” the Detective asked, as the whole pub cheered.

To be continued….

Episode 5 – Another Day

By Daz Trei

Squelch, squelch, squelch, splatter. Splatter, squelch, splatter, squelch.

“No Mr Knight, stop slopping the mop about!” Becky shouted in an increasingly irritated tone, “Squeeze out the mop to remove excess liquid, then wipe it across the floor!”
“Dave!” Daz shouted with his hand protecting his beer, “Stop spraying that air freshener about will you? You’re ruining my ‘Hags Wobbling’!”
“Hags Wobbling?” Helen enquired.
“Yeah, well we had to change the name a bit….copyright problems, product placement and all that bollocks,” Daz replied.
“Oh, very wise….bloody bureaucrats,” Helen concurred as she drank her pint of Strangebow.
“I can still smell the Purple OAP shit though!” Dave shouted back belatedly.

It was two days since the purple OAP saga, but Dave was right, the smell was still lingering, despite the numerous mopping sessions. Maybe it was through innocent pride, or shear blissful ignorance, but the protagonists of this story simply hadn’t acknowledged that it was probably them that was stinking. They’d been stuck in the pub for almost a week, without a wash and with the dreaded beer sweats.
“I’ll have another pint of Hags Wobbling please Dave,” Daz said.
“No!” was the simple, if not a little blunt, reply.
“Come on Dave, let’s not mess about. I’m sorry about shouting at you, I realise you were only trying to make the place nicer with your inane air freshernering,” Daz splurged in an attempt at an apology.
“No, you don’t understand, the Hags Wobbling has run out, you’ve drank it all!” Dave revealed, to a dramatic reception.
The obligatory cue ball leapt from the pool table, a pack of cards flew into the air, and Daz was in a state of mental shock.
“Will you fucking stop it!” shouted the man at the end of the bar, as he got back onto his stool.
“We didn’t write that!” Helen shouted as she approached the bar.

[No it was me! I wrote it! It’s funny.]
[Now get back to the sad story.]

“Fucking writers,” the man muttered as he climbed back on his stool.
“Daz, you’ve got to grieve mate, let it out, there’s no shame in crying,” Helen said with a dry snigger, while Daz quivered and slumped into the bar sobbing.
“Don’t know what you’re sniggering at, there’s only one pint of Strangebow left and you’ve drank all the posh bottled cider,” Dave told Helen.
“FFFFFFuck! Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!” Helen shouted as tears began to well.
“Oh man I can’t believe this shit,” Daz dramatically wailed through sobs and snot bubbles.
“Here lad, have a blow,” The Knight said, handing Daz a tissue. With a gurgling thrust and a comic farting sound, Daz was now able to smell again.
“Cheers mate. Oh no! What’s that bloody smell?” Daz shouted, whilst sniffing his own armpit. “I haven’t had a shower in a week! It’s me that stinks!”
Everyone else in the pub had a sneaky smell at themselves too, even the Knight Before Christmas was smelling under his chainmail.
“This is serious now, this is very serious!” Daz was on a dramatic slightly camp roll, “Beer’s run out….the pork scratchings have run out, we’ve eaten all the crisps and nuts. I’m completely bloody sick of this. I’ve had enough! Fuck those Purple OAP tossers!”
Daz slammed his glass on the bar in a childish strop, before running to the back door. As he passed The Door, he shoved it open.
“And you can fuck off an’all!” he shouted into the darkness, before ramming open the back door for his escape. To his dismay, he was met with an unexpected scene. There should have been the smoking area, with maybe a few Purple OAPS slumbering around. Instead, there was an Olympic sized swimming pool full of beer. This raised a dry smile and even stirrings elsewhere, excitement was high, then he realised something was wrong. To the right was a huge diving structure with various levels, and at the top was a diver looking down to see what had disturbed proceedings.
“Yes, I’m gay, so what!” he shouted down, as a crowd of spectators on the other side of the pool began to hiss and boo.
“What the fffff,” Daz began to mutter, but he was stopped in his tracks as he noticed something peculiar. It was a a mouse, doing a backstroke along the frothy surface of the pool with tinsel water wings and a very small gin and tonic.

“He didn’t mean it!” Dave shouted into the blackness behind The Door, before pulling Daz away from the back door, slamming it in the face of the approaching angry diving spectators.
“Come on mate, come and sit down. We’ve got smooth bitter, there’s plenty of that because no bugger drinks it.”
“Dave,” Helen said with a curious undercurrent, “who were you talking to when you shouted in The Door?”
“What door? I didn’t say anything,” Dave said, whilst coyly pulling a pint of crap bitter.
“Why was there a swimming pool behind the back door, Dave?” Daz asked.
“A swimming pool?” said Becky, as the pub looked on in puzzlement.
“Yeah, there was a swimming pool full of beer, a diver with sexuality issues, loads of angry people….and a mouse,” Daz replied.
“Give him pop Dave, he’s hallucinating!” said Helen.
“I’m not hallucinating, you go have a look, see for yourself!” Daz said confidently.
“Erm, no don’t do that, erm…” Dave muttered.
“Piss off Dave, I’m going for a look,” said Helen, as she barged past to the back door. She opened it and looked out for a good minute or so whilst the pub peered round, waiting for conformation that everything was okay. (Though they were all secretly wishing for the beer pool.)
Helen finally slammed the door shut again, walking back into the bar area with a slightly puzzled demeanour and mildly angry.
“Told you, big swimming pool, yes?” Daz asked as everyone sat up slightly in anticipation of a yes.
“No,” came Helen’s reply, as everyone slumped back down disappointedly. However, Helen hadn’t seen the smoking area that should be there either. “Erm, I think I’ll have pop as well Dave.”
“What did you see?” Becky asked.
“Oh, erm, nothing!” Helen replied, obviously perplexed by what she had just seen. Then, as Dave placed a pint of house cola on the bar, a strange noise came from outside. It was the sound of horses’ feet on cobbles, loud enough to attract the whole attention of the pub. Everyone climbed upon the seats to look out of the window.
“What the chuff is happening out there? That’s no swimming pool,” Becky shouted.
The scene was of something from the 1800s. A carriage rolled up the cobbled street pulled by big black stallions and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau wasn’t there. Instead there was a sack being winched into an open door on the second floor of an old building. Above, the sky was black with billowing smoke from tall distant mill chimneys and everything just seemed…..well, grey really.
Dave came from behind the bar for a look out of the windows himself. Climbing back down again, he shook his head with his hand briefly against his face. A large sigh followed before a stern clap of his hands. “Right, come on, get down, okay. Don’t look out there, it’s not real, you’re all hallucinating,” he said. He felt a little intimidated as everyone looked round at him through glaring, sobering up eyes. “Look, I’ll fix everything, just sit down, wait a minute okay?” Dave said with an err of desperation.
Maybe everyone was simply too confused or too tired to care, but they all climbed down from the seats and sat down as ordered. Meanwhile, Dave had opened The Door again and was talking with a stern voice.
“Look, the Purple OAP thing, that’s their problem, but cut the crap with the swimming pools and old horsey shit will you? Also, they’re getting cranky, we need more beer and snacks.”
As everyone sat sulking, a brief strange rattling sound could be heard from behind the bar, like a domino rally. Dave slammed The Door shut, before returning to his proud position behind the bar. Looking a little apprehensive, he pulled the Hags Wobbling pump.
‘Gurgle gurgle rattle.’
No beer, just a strange noise came from the nozzle, as Dave mopped his brow and tried again with the same….’Gurgle cough splutter’.
“Please!” he pleaded with the pump, before trying for a third time. This time the pump delivered a full pint of delicious Hags Wobbling. The other pumps sprang to life. A pint of golden Strangebow followed, then everyone else’s drinks, to much rapture and joy. Tucking into the fresh bar snacks and drinks a plenty, everyone seemed to forget about the swimming pool and the horse drawn carts. Dave was joyous, as the jukebox rang out ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by Queen. Feeling proud, he filled his own glass and joined in the merriment.

To be continued…(when the holiday hangover subsides)