A Life Less Scary
"The interesting and varied life of Scary Duck, Genius, French Cabaret Chantoose and small bets placed."
A lemon, recently
A damning truth needs to be told.
Balders used to be a nice lad. Brought up in a nice house in a nice village by nice parents with a reasonably nice sister. He also had nice friends (until I came along), went to a nice scout group and went to a school full of blazing maniacs. Perhaps that's where it all went wrong.
Meeting the infamous brothers Shortt at college didn't help matters much, and neither did the discovery of Pub, and the alcoholic horrors within. By the time young Balders had grown into eighteen-year-old Balders, the transformation from nice young lad to debauched deflowerer of nubiles and drunken shouter down the big white telephone was complete.
Balders was allowed to have birthday parties round his house. His nice mum had seen us often enough to know that our parents were pillars of local society who had spawned nice, lovely children who attended nice youth organisations, got good grades at school, and on more than one shameful occasion, had sat round a table for an entire weekend playing Dungeons and Dragons. The poor, trusting fools!
So, when Balders reached the age of eighteen, the nightmare of the previous years' festivities forgotten, the decks were cleared for a Saturday of good, wholeseome birthday celebrations. Relatives were invited, including one elderly maiden aunt who would go to her grave haunted by the events of the coming evening, cursing the young man to a lifetime of hell surrounded by those who God himself has damned for all eternity.*
The evening started well enough. We managed to steer clear of the hard stuff while various grandmothers, aunts and assorted family members wished the young man future prosperity on his birthday. Then John gave Balders his present. A bottle of Polish Spirits. And things went downhill from there.
If you have never tasted Polish Spirits before and wish to do so, here is my advice: ARE YOU MENTAL? The stuff is evil. It's the reason they have to carry the Pope around in a chair. They had forty years of communist rule in Poland because everyone was too wasted to notice. You could run your car on the stuff, and, handily, it removes all known stains - including vomit - from your laundry.
I took one mouthful and was unable to speak for an hour. Other partygoers took several mouthfuls, and poor, sweet, virginal Debbie necked most of the bottle unaware of the unspeakable horrors of alcohol.
Debbie, you see, was one of those sweet innocent girls who never got out much, and a Friday night trip to the pub was seen as a great adventure. Being seen with boys was strictly verboten. She would much rather sit at home, knitting balaclavas for the boys at the front, waiting for her knight in shining armour to whisk her away, kissing her for the first time and living the dream life as a domestic goddess/slave somewhere. As far as I know, she's still waiting.
For reasons mainly involving desperation, both Balders and I had the hots for her and made it our sworn mission to cure her of this terrible malaise. We had both spent time and cash on her, and nearly came to blows over her limited affections on several occasions. Balders claims he once saw her naked ankle on one occasion, possibly in a shoe shop.
So, we were both rather distressed on this particular evening to see her necking furiously with some ginger kid called Rusty - a friend of a friend who had blagged his way in. It turns out that Rusty was a kleptomaniac, and several weeks later we took great pleasure in beating the seven shades of crap out of him of catching him rifling our pockets at Bracknell Sports Centre.
Debbie's excuse: off her tits (what there were of them in the first place) on the Eastern European stuff. Gutted, I was. Gutted. I took solace in drink, of which there was a plentiful supply.
"This tastes nice!" she said, having never touched anything stronger than sweet sherry in her life, downing the Polish stuff at a terrifying rate. Her eyes rolled up and there was that moment of equilibrium you get just before a tree falls, and down she went. I spent the rest of the evening "comforting" her as she slipped in and out of consciousness, vowing "never again". Whether she was talking about the booze or the tonsil hockey remains unclear. But I'm over it now. Honest.
I digress! Back in the party things were going from bad to worse. What had started off as a discrete little soiree of niceness had descended into a pretty good impression of a night out in Gomorrah, with added shocked grannies complaining that Deep Purple were so loud "you can't hear the words". She was right, you know - utterly useless for Pass-the-Parcel. Stephen swayed in front of the confused old dear doing an impression of a tree, should "Elegant Elms" ever get off their faces on the contents of the local Threshers and unconventional non-prescription drugs.
The rest of the night was, I am afraid to say, a bit of a blur. However, come the witching hour, the toilet was the busiest room in the house as victims queued up to hurl the contents of their stomachs into the nearest enamelled receptacle. Bath, sink, or if you were really lucky, the toilet. It was like Mr Creosote had paid a visit. Those on the spirits had a relatively easy time of it. We beer drinkers, however, were expelling in bulk, drawing disapproving tuts from Balders' exasperated mother, who had seen it all before, and by God, would see it all again.
Before long, there was a bit of a logjam outside the smallest room in the house. It appeared that someone has managed to pass out on the toilet mid-jobbie, trousers and pants round their ankles, a sight that caused a bit of a stir at party headquarters.
It was Balders, who had been happily shoving spirits and party food down his gullet right from the start, and his body had waved the white flag and switched itself off for the time being. Which was fine for him, wafting away in dreamland, arse stuck to the toilet seat, but people like me were busting for a piss, and Balders' mum wouldn't let us go in the sink.
Only one thing we could do - drag the snoring Balders off the bog and throw him in the bedroom along with all the other victims who had succumbed to Bacchus' poison. A room, incidentally, where my former beloved Rusty-snogger was still moaning "never again" over and over. That'll learn her, the unfaithful slattern.
But there was a hitch. Balders had been there for so long, he was stuck in the toilet. And he appeared to be - how could I put this? - soiled. Around his ankles, there appeared to be something horribly alien in his underwear. We peered through the gloom of the dimly lit bathroom. There was something in Balders' kecks. Something strangely familiar, with a fresh citrus smell.
It was a lemon.
Or rather, several slices of lemon.
Now, Balders is known around these parts as the world's greatest beer drinker. And yet, there he sprawled with sliced lemon - the symbol of all things poncey in the drinker's art - in his crusties.
The lemon had obviously been consumed by the birthday boy, shot through his insides as his body had rejected the Judas Fruit and come out the other end, intact. Either that, or his rude "aunt" had shoved them in his pants while he was out cold by way of a special birthday treat which may or may not have involved ******, ******* or even *********. Readers: shandy drinker or hand shandy? DECIDE FOR YOURSELVES.
The entire episode killed the party stone dead in its tracks. Stunned youths staggered home shaking their heads in disbelief, and your narrator discovered that there really is such a law as "drunk in charge of a pedal cycle" after being pulled over, singing and weaving down the Bath Road. They were very nice and let me walk the rest of the way.
Balders, poor Balders, he never lived it down. In certain circles of polite society he is known as the Citra Fiend and cannot be trusted in matters of fruit. He still has panic attacks in the greengrocers aisle in Tesco. While he may have settled into what we may define a "normal" life, he forever lives in the dread fear that one day, he may wake up to find the fruit bandit has struck again. And that is enough to drive any man to the brink of despair.
The following year, with nothing further to lose, we played a game called "Chug-a-Lug", which involved drink, sexual misadventure and forced transvestism.
Debbie is still a virgin and hopes the hangover will go away any day soon.
* And who says curses don't come true? The poor bloke lives in Yorkshire.
While this story is based on actual events in the life of Scaryduck, certain identities and venues may have been changed to protect the innocent.