Saturday, 17 May 2014

I'll Drink To That!



Drink beer, talk rubbish!




With summer rapidly heading our way, like a juggernaut  thundering along an open highway, the time is upon us to dust off our barbecues, get out the garden furniture and dream of spending lazy days drinking lager and eating burnt sausages, whilst complaining that it's too hot outside. Then there's the bloody flies, the screaming kids next door and the bastard who has decided to mow his lawn at the same time that you want to sleep and dream of England.


Yes, the football season is over but the World Cup is still to come. Last winter's rain clouds have buggered off and pretty girls dressed in shorts and t-shirts are ready to make an appearance. The sausages and pork chops have been given their last rites, the crunching sound of charcoal being poured onto the barbecue fills the air, a can of lager is opened, the banter between friends increases and the fire is lit. And then - like an old friend who we haven't seen since last year - the smell of those sizzling sausages and pork chops, cooking over the red-hot charcoal, fills the air.


Pssst goes another can of lager, as the only neighbour you've invited - yes, him from two doors further down the street - rips the ringpull and starts to empty the delicious, ice-cold liquid down his throat, before commenting on the fact that he thinks that Arsene Wenger is a complete and utter wanker.


Your best friend - a beast of a man who happens to be a life-long Arsenal fan - cannot believe what he's just heard. He has been drinking neat vodka since ten o'clock in the morning, so four hours later - and three bottles further on - insults aimed at Monsieur Wenger must be dealt with accordingly.


Of course, your neighbour quickly apologises for his foul-mouthed outburst, and tries to pacify your friend by saying that Wenger is, in fact, a fine football manager who has achieved much in his glittering career at Arsenal.


You step in - in between turning the sausages, flipping the pork chops and drinking more lager - to tell your friend that no harm has been done, and that your neighbour is very sorry about the offence he may have caused.


Pssst goes another can of lager and laughter once again fills the air. A major incident has been avoided.


Sadly, your friend just cannot let such remarks be brushed under the carpet, and even if there are women and children present, and he should know better, your vodka-fuelled best chum decides to deliver a well-aimed punch towards your neighbour's cocky and smug grin.


Blood spurts in all directions, as your neighbour goes crashing down - the little turd will clearly think twice before accepting another invitation from you - onto the sausages and pork chops. He screams in pain as he burns his hands and your friend laughs with delight as he surveys the scene before him.


Your guests try not to get involved, and after finishing their sangria and rosé, they say their farewells and leave- unfed and unimpressed.


Your wife starts crying and your dog eats the scattered sausages and pork chops. There is no more lager in the fridge and you think that your neighbour may need to go to hospital, because his third-degree burns look quite bad. Your best friend is still laughing to himself, as he opens another bottle of vodka and starts to sing God Save the Queen.


Only a few minutes earlier, beneath the scorching sun, your garden seemed like such a jolly place to be, where children played and men shared jokes. Now it's just an empty space, with blood on the  ground, a neighbour in pain and a friend who has got Arsenal running through his veins.


I like barbecues. I like lager. I hate Arsenal!


Luke Ryman is an indie author. He is the creator of Cooper and Joy and author of the "But Bloody France!" series of ebooks.












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