Here’s a recipe for disaster. Take one feckless individual, add a generous measure of strong alcohol, a pinch of bravado and finally, one dumb challenge. A word of caution though, stand well back. Yes, there’s a lot of stupidity out there and I’m afraid to say I contributed to it, but I still blame the wife, or to be more exact, the ex-wife for the unfortunate accident I suffered - the Friesian cow in the middle of the field was merely incidental.
I was celebrating the first anniversary of our divorce (acrimonious) with a few close friends at the Auldhouse Arms - a quaint pub that’s not changed it’s style in years, it remains a bastion for good taste and old fashioned values and puts two fingers up to the generic blandness of most of the other ‘watering holes’ in East Kilbride with the exception of the Montgomery Arms.
It’s the type of pub you can sit and chat in front of an open fire without loud music assaulting your eardrums or some inebriated idiot belting out a karaoke number thinking that he or she is perfectly in tune and the rest of the audience is somehow captivated by the performance - most of them have Van Gogh’s ear for music.
A few single malts, a couple of beers, the obligatory pepperami snack and I was relaxed as Perry Como in his rocking chair on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The big mistake I made was to accept a generous piece of cannabis to chew - smoking pollutes the body. Neil seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of the stuff, which was strange considering he was unemployed and allergic to work, I think the word he used was ‘ergasiophobia,’ which he explained as ‘a fear or aversion to work, diffidence about tackling the job.’ After a lump of the golden brown substance your mind becomes emancipated from the confines of normal thought and rational, it’s the only euphoriant I allow myself because it’s not addictive, ( I should know, I’ve been using it for years) although they do say its leads to passivity and apathy.
The conversation seems to be raised to a higher, more intellectual level regardless of what you’re discussing - simple things become profound, problems and anxieties melt away like snow gently falling on to a river, and women in general become more attractive somehow - a fat sweaty woman with a distinctly hirsute upper lip begins to resemble a supermodel. I think cannabis was invented so that ugly people could get laid.
I say that with honest conviction because someone once commented that I was the absolute double of ‘Shrek,’ not the colour obviously, just the looks and physical demeanour - now I’m stuck with the bloody nickname.
The occasional imbibing is a luxury for someone like myself who’s fiscally challenged - but what the hell, I needed a night out to take my mind off the divorce and her rapacious lawyers who hung me out to dry. Bastards! I swear to god their type could follow you into a revolving door and still come out ahead of you!
I lost the house (okay it was hers but I still contributed generously) and everything in it with the exception of my own personal belongings, which sadly didn’t amount to much. Ten years of marriage gone just like that - thank god we didn’t have any children.
The conversation between myself Neil and Stevie went from the profound to the imbecilic, everything from conspiracy theories, illegal substances, cows, the meaning of life and the greatest conundrum of all time, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Stevie ruined a perfectly good conversation on the origin of life by telling a truly awful joke - he said, and I quote, ‘a chicken and an egg were lying in bed, the chicken was smiling, smoking a fag, and looking rather satisfied while the egg looked miserable. The egg muttered, ‘well I guess that answers the question!’
The conversation about drugs was insightful and rather animated as usual - Frank Zappa was right when he said, ‘a drug is neither moral or immoral, it’s a chemical compound. The compound itself is not a menace to society until a human being treats it asif consumption bestowed a temporary license to act like an arsehole.’
I’m ashamed to say, under the influence, I acted like the proverbial ‘arsehole,’ when we finally left the Auldhouse Arms and the fresh air hit like a slap in the face. I had convinced Stevie and Neil that if you approached a cow at night (the bovine type, not human) and it was sleeping, you could easily push it over. Cows are like sheep, I reasoned, basically stupid and docile. I had read that somewhere in a book and I was determined to prove my theory to two unbelievers who were openly mocking me. It was Stevie that kept on goading me as we walked down the road towards East Kilbride.
“Come on Jack, prove your theory, there’s a field of cows over there, do your thing.”
Neil sniggered, “It’s not a field of cows, it’s a herd - go on big man, you can do
Twenty years of cleaning windows has given Jack Wilde an interesting insight into the private lives of others, and what really goes on behind closed doors. He’s about to commit them to the printed page, and he’s holding nothing back!
About the Author
This is the author’s second book after ‘Burning Bridges (2004).He lives in Strathaven and works in East Kilbride. A third novel is already underway.