The decision to give up the rollies two days before the stag-do was a poor one. Yes I managed to go almost 48 hours without any nicotine but on Friday evening, after dumbing my senses down to Sloppy with half a bottle of rum, the reality of cutting out a drug which my body has been eagerly consuming for 13 years hit home with a vengeance. Try as I might I just couldn’t sleep. Cold sweats, tightening of my mind and horribly contorted muscles combined to refuse me even several hours of decent rest…I awoke with a roar at 11am, shaved the tash then blasted off to Chimpy’s place like an angry, heavily fatigued hobo, stopping only to give in to temptation, to weakness, and purchase a pouch of Mild Drum.
Upon entering his flat I was all too aware of the fact that I was amongst creatures of a very different species to my own stock. One of them was pleased to see me appear but generally I felt as welcome as a drunk paedophile at a children’s party…Paintball was the main event of the day and I was happy to find myself sitting in the front seat of Paul’s car for the journey to the battlefield. I have always liked Paul, having known him since Chimpy’s infamous Uni days in London. He may look like a demented professor of carnal psychology but his fierce outer shell belies the warmest of souls beneath. While driving he made the fatal error of asking me to fill him in on my misdemeanors of the last few years since we had last locked horns. He was visibly shaken by my tales of flitting between Himalayan peaks of bliss and hellish catacombs of woe but the conversation served it’s purpose of staving off the boredom of the road work…Upon arriving at the arena of Death I was pleasantly surprised to see Chimpy’s brother, John and the lovable but not fuckable, smiling goon Mikey. Two faces from the past which may look slightly jaded but nonetheless both bring a glimmer of joy to my volatile eyes. John and I have never been the best of buddies, a relationship which was worsened beyond repair many years ago when after typical cajoling from Chimpy I decided to deface the buxom wenches found in John’s prized collection of Escort magazines…Still, it was wicked to see the bastard and the same can be said of Mikey whose good humour and constant desire to laugh like a hyena on meth makes him good fun to be around even at the worst of times. I always warm to happy, real people and Mikey falls into that category…After a brief pep talk from a burly, foul mouthed thug, battle commenced…Right from the Off it was clear that there was too many soldiers scrapping for too little ground. It was chaos and no surprise that I took one bang on the forehead within seconds of the ‘GOGOGO’ scream of the marshals. ‘fuck it’ I thought, ‘nobody will notice’ but how wrong I was because the top third of my head was glowing orange with oily paint. Before I had the chance to pump anyone with lead the shout was raised of ‘MAN DOWN’ and true enough a few yards behind my dangerously exposed position amid the summit of the hill of Doom, a team-mate lay face down and lifeless in the mud…I can’t say that I enjoyed the games that followed but I did find John Rambo exciting to observe. He moved like a man possessed, like a vet returning to Nam, the lone sergeant who had lost the rest of his squadron and instead of retreating from enemy territory was determined to go it alone. Pure kamikaze. At one point I caught him skinning a rabbit and gathering branches with the idea of making a camp fire…It was only at the very end of the session when I got involved enough to get nailed by a firing squad that I felt like I was getting value for money. However the energy exerted in the final dash for safety plunged me into a state of near total exhaustion. I hardly spoke on the journey home and was thankful when we reached Brighton where my trusty steed was primed and willing to return me at high speed to Base Camp in Hanover….
My body was bruised and weak. A steaming hot shower soothed the soreness before I got stuck into the rum and lucozade and prayed to the Lords of the untamed Hobos for a revitalization of my state of being.
The rest of the Chimpy gang had moved onto a restaurant in town. I had decided to skip that scene for financial reasons. Choosing instead to save all my sterlings for an all out assault on the spirits cabinets in the pubs and clubs we were going to visit after they had finished devouring every nubile damsel in the restaurant like a gang of rabid Huns.
Feeling more awake and suitably primed by the dark rum working it’s way through my system, I swaggered into town to rejoin the party people. As I shook hands and worked the crowd I was struck by that same uneasiness, unwelcome vibrations, as had hit me when I had arrived at Chimpy’s in the morning. Rather than pursue the source of these vibrations I gravitated towards Mikey, John, Paul and the stag himself.
We drank and caught up with each other’s lives. Nobody was getting wild. The heaviest it got, in terms of combined efforts at getting wasted, was a schoolyard drinking game involving downing large gulps of lager. Hardly dramatic, or what was needed to give Chimpy a decent send-off into the world of husbandry…Getting slaughtered is surely essential for a stag-do, especially for the stag. It is his last chance to let loose in ways he will soon after, be swearing in the name of God, never to indulge…One of those loose ways, which traditionally is celebrated on this last stand of the Bachelor in a man, is fidelity. The last chance to ogle without feeling guilty, to touch, to fuck another woman. A whore or stripper is the usual conversion of this horrifying trade-off into the Stag-do. Now, to me this has always seemed a dumb idea and one which shows painfully clearly that the prospective matrimonial union is a sham, a lame excuse for Proper Love, a superficial ratification of nothing more than choosing to be legally bound to another person…When I love a woman, I still find other women attractive- though clearly far less attractive than they would seem if my heart wasn’t captured and focused on One other- but I don’t entertain ideas of having my way with them. If I am going to commit myself to a Woman for Life, the last thing I want is to be with another Woman. They become less interesting in general to me. One is enough to deal with, to grow with, to adore, to give myself to totally…Our souls intertwine, for good or ill…And with intertwined souls, betraying my loyalty to another is the same as betraying myself…If I had a stag-do, none of my mates would organize a stripper or a whore because they know me well enough to realize that I would see such a gesture as an insult, an attack of sorts, and arguably a sign that they weren’t my friends. Something to be avoided. They would organize a buffet of drugs and drink, and a night of heavy hedonism and heart on your sleeve well wishes…Maybe…Anyhow, my point is that while I have never spoken to Chimpy about the subject, I know him deep enough to be sure his sentiments on the Stripper/Whore stag tradition are the same as mine. An unspoken but obvious stance. So when during the paintball session, a chap whose name I have forgotten but his toad face lingers in my memory, whispered in my ear that a private stripper had been arranged for Chimpy for 2am, I was slightly concerned. But more stunned that all of the gang seemed complicit and supportive of the idea, even Chris the ‘best man’ who I thought understood Chimpy better than the others…I mentioned that he wasn’t going to like it, but toadface just winked and smiled. OK, I thought, maybe it is me who has lost touch with Chimpy, maybe we have been living in different worlds for so long that he has changed into something else, something different to the righteous bull-hearted passion-addict who I had classed as my closest chum for 21 years…I tried to shake that idea out of my head soon after, but part of it stuck in my mind like a floater that refuses to flush…
(to be contd)