Gary spent most of Thursday in a kind of mental haze. He could not concentrate on anything. His mind would
not rest on anything other than that for which he was waiting - his date with Rosie that evening.
He must have looked at the clock more than 50 times before it finally told him it was time to start
getting ready. He never usually spent more than 4 seconds deciding what he was going to wear, but
tonight was different. He opened his little wardrobe and for the first time in his life became aware
of the fact that he didn't really like any of his clothes. Prior to this moment, he had been completely
indifferent about it. He never bought clothes for himself. They were all given to him as presents or
hand-me-downs by well-meaning relatives. Gary just accepted them and wore them, not even considering
for one moment whether they were clothes that he would have chosen himself. Prior to this moment, he
just thought of clothes as a means of keeping warm and covering the wobbly bits he didn't want people
to see. Now Gary wished he had been a bit more proactive in his clothing acquisitions.
There was only one thing for it. Realising that doing so may well make him late for a very important date,
Gary headed straight round to my flat where he knew that he would find the magnificent wardrobe of his good
friend Walter. I was in the middle of juggling and handstand practice when I heard a little knock on the door.
I opened it to find Gary crouching with his hands on his knees, gasping for breath.
"Gary! What are you doing here? Isn't tonight the big night? You've only got half an hour, mate. You'd best
get cracking," I reminded him.
"Yeh," agreed Gary still getting back his breath. "I know. I know. But I've nothing to wear. Can I come
and have a look in Walter's wardrobe. I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
"All right then, my little friend. In you come." I knew that Gary didn't have time to debate the issue.
Gary rushed through my door and headed straight for the sofa which contained Walter's apartment. A few
minutes later he emerged resplendent in one of Walter's more traditional elfin outfits. Patent leather
red shoes, tight green trousers with red pin stripes, a red silk shirt beneath a waist coat made of the
same material as the trousers, and a magnificent green and red pointy hat. All fit Gary remarkably well
considering that they were not his.
"What do you think?" Gary asked me as he emerged from the sofa. I said nothing, but gave him a smile and
a Fonz-like thumbs up which made him laugh. Then Gary looked at the time. "Hell fire!" He exclaimed.
"I'm going to be so late! She'll probably be gone by the time I get there."
There was no way I could let Gary miss out on the night of his life. I pointed to my rucksack.
"Jump in, pal," I said. "There's no way I am going to let you miss this one."
Gary looked at me with surprise but didn't have time to argue and climbed into my rucksack.
"Hold on tight," I told him as I swung it around onto my back and headed out the door. Like the wind
I ran, my little friend's happiness depending on me. Like the scene from Trainspotting, I dodged
in and out of more tawdry pedestrians and leaped over cars that got in my way until we eventually reached
the entrance to Bolton Woods where the tree stump which housed Dave the Magic Barman's famous hostelry stood.
I took off my rucksack, lay it on the floor and undid the zip. Gary climbed out wide eyed, his hat still
hanging on precariously to his head.
"Here we are, little feller," I told him.
"Thanks Pete," said Gary. "I won't forget this." He straightened his hat, then off he dashed into the woods.
As he approached the pub, he could hear a choir of raucous female voices. It was a little early in the
evening to have reached the singing 'I Will Survive' stage, but as Gary got closer he quickly recognised
the unmistakable lyrics. He opened the door and stepped inside. Around two tables which had been pushed
together was a large group of she-elves who were clearly a little worse for wear. He guessed from their
strange attire that it must be some kind of hen night. Sitting on a stool with her back to the rest of
the room was the one who Gary assumed must be the bride to be. Polite individuals would have described
her as 'a little on the large side' or 'cuddly'. The less polite would have described her as 'a great
big fatty'. The ladies paid no attention to Gary's entrance but continued their very loud rendition of
the classic Gloria Gaynor track.
As he made his way past the group, aiming for the bar, the cuddly she-elf suddenly stood up an threw back
her arms in an exuberant gesture to go with the song. Her right hand hit Gary full in the face, knocking
him out cold and he slumped to the ground behind her. The singing suddenly stopped and gasps came from
the mouths of the other revelers.
When Gary came round he found himself surrounded by concerned female faces. He felt a sharp pain around
his left eye and reached up to touch it gingerly.
"Are you OK? I'm ever so sorry. I never saw you coming. I was really getting into that song. So sorry.
Can I get you a drink?"
"Give him some room, girls," Dave the Magic Barman came over holding a bundled up beer towel full of ice.
"Here, Gary. Put this on your face and come and have a sit down." He helped Gary up and led him by the arm to a chair near to where the group of girls had been sitting. Feeling very groggy and disoriented, Gary took the ice pack from Dave and put it on his rapidly blackening eye as instructed. Dave went back to the bar and returned with a small glass of purple liquid. "Here, get this down you," he said to Gary. Gary did as instructed. The liquid had a very unusual sweet taste that he could not place, but once he had finished it, he found himself feeling immediately much more alert. The hen night elves began to adjust their seating positions so that they gradually drew Gary within their group and began showering him with drunken sympathy.
Then through the pub door came a vision of beauty that reminded Gary just what he was there for.
"Gary! I never knew you had such a way with the ladies," joked Rosie as she saw the company that he had
gained. "You are a dark horse, aren't you? Have you been fighting?"
"No, it's .... well ...... you see ...... I was ......"
"Tell me all about it in a minute, Casanova. Sorry ladies, but this one's mine tonight." She took
Gary by the hand, instantly causing a wave of joy to travel up his spine. With a little tug she
encouraged him to stand up and then led him over to one of the more secluded tables at the other
side of the pub. A few moments later, Magic Dave came over with two drinks which Gary was sure neither
of them had ordered.
Kiss Page 2 >>
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