By the Light of the Silvery Moon
I expected to walk in and join my co-singers at their table and then see what happened, but I walked in to find the front bar of the pub empty apart from Mr F-M propping up the bar. The usual crew were sitting out in the back room. As soon as I saw him I knew that he'd gone in there looking for me, but I didn't experience the usual lurch. I somehow felt rather in control of things.
"Bit of a surprise, F-M. What the hell are you doing here?"
"Hi G. You ok?"
Before I could answer, the Brother-In-Law (seems appropriate to call him Bill) appeared giving me a kiss on the cheek and leaving his arm round my shoulders.
"Hi Ginny, how the devil are you?"
So went the start of his attempt to wind up Mr F-M. They were both fairly well lubricated, Bill especially so.
A friend came round from the other bar and started talking to me about his daughter's domestic problems. Not something I felt inclined to brush off, but both Mr F-M and Bill were visibly irritated that someone else was holding my attention. They dealt with it in different ways, Bill initially trying to embarrass me by asking F-M loudly how he'd met me.
Bill: "Didn't you two meet online, F-M?"
F-M:"Just leave it, ok"
Me: "It's fine, I'm not that easily embarrassed"
I carried on talking to the bemused friend. F-M started hopping about behind said friend in order to attract my attention. I chat some more. More hopping about behind friend, with lots of wide-eyed peering over his shoulder. Friend looks more bemused. Bill drops some coins onto the floor and points at them. We all look, wondering what's going to happen next, at which point he grabs the nape of my neck and pushes my head towards the ground, presumably to make me pick them up. My immediate response, beyond realising what a sulky, attention-seeking child he is, is to yell and not in a particularly erudite way
"P**S off, Bill!!!"
He lets go, and my bemused friend sidles off to join the others. F-M glares at Bill. I get another drink, then glare at Bill myself like a rather cross parent at an unruly child until he reluctantly proffers a muttered apology. F-M and I then catch up on life, children, work etc, not realising Bill is sulking more by the minute.
I the height of his sulk he takes a menu from the bar, screws it up and throws it on the floor. I've seen better-behaved three-year-olds, but also know that they escalate the levels of bad behaviour until they get the attention they seek. The barman is clearly of the same opinion, as suddenly, quietly and calmly he's standing alongside us. He's a little guy, with a soft southern african accent and an air of authority beyond his stature.
"I'm afraid you'll have to leave now, sir"
"Well, you've already assaulted this lady and now you're destroying pub property"
"Sit down, Bill. He'll behave himself now"
"I'm sorry, sir. It's illegal for me to let him stay now. He'll have to leave"
Bill now starts mimicking the barman with a poor imitation of his accent. This, of course, is going to help matters.
"Really, you have to go now"
F-M suggests we go to my house, something I suggest as being a rather questionable idea. I grab my coat and F-M offers to walk me home. Bill disappears in the opposite direction. F-M walks me home. He wants to stay. He loves me. He misses me. Can't we make love? I suggest he goes home to his wife.
"Do you want a lift home?"
"No, I'll walk I suppose. It will only take me four hours"
"Don't be daft. I'll drive you home. Has Bill got a phone on him?" I don't want Bill going back, telling Mrs F-M we've met and her turning up angry on my doorstep.
"I don't know"
"We'll drive through town and look for him"
"Can't we f**k first?"
"No, because I'm not f**king anyone who's currently f**king someone else. I'm looking after myself now"
"I do love you"
"Of course you do, F-M, and I love you too, but I'm not having you wake up in my bed in a blind panic, saying 'Oh, f**k! Oh, f**k!' and rushing off home not to be in touch for another two weeks, two months, whatever. I'm just not doing it any more."
"So, you're saying good bye then"
"You've made the choice yourself, F-M. Lots of times. And it's never going to be any different, is it?"
"I don't know. I love you"
"Well, I know and I'm going to drive you home"
"You don't have to"
"I know that"
We get in the car, drive into town and find Bill staggering around aimlessly, post-kebab. He slides into the back seat of the car and I head out of town.
"Go faster. You can drive faster than this", from the back seat.
"This is the speed I'm driving at, take it or leave it"
"Go on. This car goes much faster than this", a voice joins in from the front seat.
"Look, this is the speed I'm going at. Neither of you are in any position to complain. I can leave you here if you don't like it"
We approach the F-M residence and I pull over at a discrete distance to let them out. A wave from Bill as he staggers on the verge, a kiss and puppy-dog eyes from F-M. I drive home, text my friend to let her know I'm home and fine and she immediately rings to find out what has happened as I'm closing down the pc for the night.
As I'm in the process of reassuring her, an instant message arrives on the screen.
"Hi G. What would you like me to do with your little shampoo bottles? Should I throw them away or send them to you? Only they've been in my bathroom for 6 years"
It's from V-S. Funny, I hadn't noticed that full moon while I was out driving!