Drinking inside the box

Regular readers of this blog will know that I sometimes post here little pieces I write at writers’ groups. Here’s a bit of fun that came from an exercise at Holmfirth Writers Group a couple of weeks ago, set by Stephen Bailey, who writes humorous novels of everyday Yorkshire folk (http://www.fishcakepublications.com/stephen-bailey). He gave us a scenario – Two men, George and Horace, are drinking in a pub when a large cardboard box comes through the door and makes its way towards the bar, where it addresses the barman by name and asks for a pint. We had to continue the tale …

“Well, I can pour you a pint if you want,” said Fred, the barman, “but what the hell am I supposed to do with it. Pour it over you until you’re just a blog of soggy cardboard?”

“Oh no,” said the box. “I’ve thought of that. Look, there are arm holes, see. And I’ve got this drinking tube thingy.”

From one side of the box a hand emerged, found its way to the bar and groped around for the pint glass. From the other side protruded another arm, in whose fingers was clasped the end of a plastic hose terminating in a small funnel. It too found the bar and edged towards the other hand, which now had possession of a pint of bitter. As the two met, the glass was carefully tipped towards the funnel, causing a small amount of beer to run down the hose and a rather larger amount to spill over the bar. From inside the box came a sound of coughing and spluttering, much to the amusement of the other customers.

“Doesn’t look like your drinking tube idea is going to work, does it,” laughed George. “You’ll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a completely new idea. Drinking outside the box, that’s what you need.” More laughter.

“Oh no,” said the box. “I’m not giving up that easily. I’m not going to come in here and let you lot have a good laugh at my … appearance … all over again. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to go for a drink without being stared at. A man’s entitled to a bit of privacy and dignity. Hence the box.”

“What’s he on about?” said Horace, “and who’s in the box anyway?”

“It’s Enoch,” said Fred. “Seems he took offence to some remarks certain patrons of this bar made about his new toupee.”

“Oh, right. What sort of remarks?”

“There were queries concerning whether Enoch was aware he had a squirrel on his head, and would it like some peanuts.”

“Exactly,” came a voice from the box. “They were mocking me, making me look ridiculous.”

“Whereas coming into the pub wearing a giant cardboard box, that’s not ridiculous at all,” noted Horace.

“In fairness to Enoch,” said George, “if you’d seen the wig, I think you’d agree the box is a big improvement.”

“I can’t help thinking there’s something missing, though. How will anybody know it’s Enoch?  I suppose we could write ‘Enoch’ in felt tip pen on the front of the box.”

“I’ve got a better idea,” replied George. He walked to the door and returned with the doormat, placing it squarely on top of the box.

“Oh yes,” said Horace. “That’s Enoch all right, I’d recognise him anywhere.”

“D’you want any peanuts for your friend, Enoch?” said Fred.

From inside the box came a muffled sigh.

 

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