An alternative to scariness
You may wish to take a look at Crap Life
, a selection of stories that make my very own Scary tales look positively bland. Brought to you by The Idler, the people behind the rather spiffy Crap Towns book doing the rounds this Christmas.
by Charlie Hungerford (who needs the work now he's no longer doing Bergerac)
I quite literally put my foot in it some years ago during a friend’s wedding reception at a pub in Glossop, a market town far enough into the Peak District to have successfully defended itself against the march of human evolution.
After rejecting the temptation to "Wang Chung Tonight" for the 3rd time that evening, I abandoned the winking bike lights and rattling treble of "Dynamite Derek’s Disco Bus" to enjoy that 9 volt battery lick kick of a Lambert and Butler cigarette in the beer garden to the rear of the pub. It was there, next to a child’s climbing frame (which broke at least six Health and Safety regulations), that I shared several cans of Special brew and a couple of jazz cigarettes with a mysterious bearded gentleman who introduced himself only as "Netto".
As Dynamite Derek asked the owner of a brown Vauxhall Astra to move his car away from the entrance to the bowls club, Netto and I were approaching the zenith of our high. And then behold, a gift from DJ heaven! What should the turntable wizard drop but "Holiday Rap" by Mc Miker G and Deejay Sven!
Like a single atom of pure dance energy, Netto and I leapt aloft the picnic table at which we were sat and began to "ring-rang-a-dong" for a holiday; hot rocks and vagrant-strength lager filling the air like confetti.
Just as "Yo Sven" was about to take a piece of Amsterdam, "riigghhhttt!" there was a sharp, splintering crack as our makeshift dance floor
collapsed, plummeting us towards hell. We struck the floor several feet later, both landing upright on our feet. Standing there waist high inside the shell of a wooden picnic table we laughed until it hurt.
By the conclusion of the Rednex’ "Cotton Eye Joe" we had managed to clamber out of the table’s frame and start to collect the planks of wood, broken pint glasses and upturned ashtrays that radiated outwards from the centre of the blast. We were still laughing and rubbing our bruised buttocks when the music stopped inside and Derek asked everyone to fetch their drinks and gather in the beer garden for a short speech from the bride and groom.
With enough incriminating evidence bundled into my arms for the publican to legitimately set his arm-wrestling champion wife on me, I began to panic, running round and round the garden in ever decreasing circles until I found myself back at the collapsed table.
"Over here! " called Craig calmly. He was stood above a steep slope at the back of the garden which lead down to a huge, brooding rhododendron bush below. I jogged over and after nodding in silent agreement we hurled our crimes as far into the vegetation as we could. As the final plank tore through the undergrowth there was a terrible thud and the unmistakeable hiss of lungs expelling air as an unconscious body strikes the floor.
Like a silent bolt of lightning Netto, span around, sprinted across the lawn and leapt over the fence at the side of the pub. Alone with devastated garden furniture and possibly a corpse I froze for what seemed like an entire episode of "Where the Heart Is". The sound of drunken wedding guests performing an a cappella version of "Atmosphere" (Russ Abbott, not Joy Division) alerted me that people were making their way outside. I clambered down the slope and forced my way into the dense foliage. With trembling hands I lit my Zippo and held it to the face of the dark shape at my feet.
It was the bride’s grandmother! From her state of undress it appeared that for some reason, God only knows why, Grandma Milly had chosen to forgo the comfort and convenience of the indoor toilets for a bush, in the garden, at the foot of a steep, muddy slope. I grabbed her beneath her shoulders and lifted her more than ample frame out of the shrubbery.
Although unconscious she was, fortunately, still breathing. With all the strength I could muster I staggered up the slippery bank, collapsing several times before I reached the summit.
She came to at the top of the slope when the garden floodlights burst into life. I turned around slowly to find myself stood behind the happy couple just as they were about to launch into their speech. The audience of assembled family and friends stared at me, mouths agape in horror as I cradled the groaning and disoriented Grandma Milly by her arm pits, her large pants still wrapped around her ankles.
"I’ve forgotten the arrangements, " she announced, somewhat cryptically.