Welcome to another ‘writing sprint’ – feel free to join in, take a week to write your piece (no more than a couple of hours worth of writing effort required 🙂 and then share here in the Comments, or on your own blog and drop us a link here, so that we can come and check it out!) Don’t be bored, give it a go.
This week’s five words are:
Pole Bodies Pyramid Inch Slink
So, this piece links to the other sprints and is another snippet from a book I’ve been playing around with for a few years – quite enjoying adding to these little episode-style chapters.
Date: 5th September 2003
Age: Not far off twenty-three and probably too young to be letting one of your best friends get married…
Life Lesson: Being the life and soul of the hen party may leave you without your soul.
Ho. Lee. Shiiiii. T.
As I watched the troupe of monsters approach along the train platform I realised I was doomed. Actually doomed. And in fairness, the cute Disney princess trapped in the centre of the carnival parade – who all looked like they had come fresh from an Ann Summers stock clearance – was also doomed. I really did not fancy her chances of surviving this weekend.
“Hello ladies,” I waved slowly, savouring my last few seconds of peace and sanity before the hen party officially descended. The head of the beast swiveled towards me at my words, wide-eyed and already looking bolstered by alcohol.
“Whoop, whoop – Katie Baby’s here!!”
Ally launched herself across the platform for a massive hug, complete with minor pelvis rub, which I was going to put down as accidental / automatic for her on any full body contact with another breathing human.
“Hi,” I gasped from within her grasp, looking to Becca for some help. Becca helpfully shrugged and took a lady-like sip from a plastic cup of wine instead, staring off into the distance.
Relieving myself of my newly acquired shoulder buddy, I turned my attention to the slightly more demur bride-to-be.
“Hello lovely,” I gave Carolyn a non-pelvis rubbing hug and whispered, “Are you ready for this?”
“Not at all,” she whispered back, clutching me tightly. “I’ve already had five shots on the first train and it’s not even lunchtime.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I patted her back, “I’ve come straight from London and been carb loading on the train journey up. I’ll distract Ally enough drink wise for you to get a break.”
“Thanks,” Carolyn let me go.
“How long are we on the train to Edinburgh?” I asked no one in particular.
“About three hours from Leeds,” Becca replied.
“Enough time to get you DRUUUUUUUNK!” Ally announced, pressing a can of pre-mixed cocktail into my hands.
“Sounds like it,” I agreed, popping the ring pull on the can and taking a sip of the rather nice Pimms and Lemonade inside. Probably wouldn’t be getting my five-a-day without the usual fruit and cucumber to go with it, but that was always a pretty tenuous claim even when you filled the jugs yourself.
I turned my attention to Becca, as Carolyn was swallowed into a small group of three girls I didn’t know. Or maybe one was vaguely familiar. Hen parties were always an interesting mix with old friends, in-laws and people you probably wouldn’t normally risk going out with for three days straight for a whole host of reasons… “How’s this morning been?” I asked Becca.
“Good,” she sipped from her wine cup again and grinned. “I managed to keep Ally at a reasonable level on the train over.”
“Really?” That seemed unlikely as I watched Ally trying to put a mini-veil and golf cap combo hat onto Carolyn who was resisting reasonably well, but probably wasn’t going to win the war on this one.
“Well, she did clear our train carriage of other passengers within the first ten minutes, but we didn’t get thrown off, so I’m taking that as a victory.”
“Fair enough,” I agreed. “That sounds like progress from our last train-related night out.”
“Crap, you’re right there,” Becca shook her head, remembering the moment Ally had managed to take down the train conductor whilst performing an ill-conceived pole dance on the Transpennine Express between Sheffield and Leeds.
I chuckled. “I thought she did well up until the point she collapsed onto that poor guy – I don’t reckon its easy to tilt yourself upside down on those handrails when you’re anything over the age of seven. You have to hand it to her for her confidence…”
“Absolutely,” Becca was nodding for a second, before she pulled a face.
I turned to look over my shoulder in the direction she was staring, and immediately clocked the slightly wardrobe-challenged ladies that had just teetered their way onto the platform opposite.
“Don’t say it,” I whispered, turning back to Becca.
“Don’t say what?” Her eyes were wide, all innocence, but I knew her eviscerating tongue was working up some form of comment.
“We’re all sisters remember? We’re supposed to lift one another up, not pull each other down.”
“Yes well, where are the good friends to girls like that who should be reminding them that a bit of sunshine is not an excuse for baring your beer belly on public transport? If they were my friends, I would tell them.”
It was hard not to roll my eyes. “Yes, it is a wonder that you don’t have more friends with helpful and kind words like that.”
Becca snorted and downed the rest of her wine. “I was being kind. I didn’t say that if your hotpants cost £25 but your arse is eating £20 of them, that means they are too small…”
“True,” I acknowledged, “but still…”
“I also didn’t say that a neon crop-top should not be worn unless you have a flat stomach, and that dyeing your roll of belly fat Ronseal brown does not suddenly make it attractive or any smaller.”
“Well, in that case, not saying more makes you positively Mother Teresa,” I patted her shoulder and turned her towards the train that was trundling towards us down the platform. “You don’t need to worry about that now, here comes our ride… Edinburgh Weekender here we come!”
* * *
“And now, you just pour the champagne from the top glass and it will fill everything perfectly all the way to the bottom…”
Sigh. There was something quite sexy about watching a bar man at work when they were mixing cocktails and making pretty alcoholic sculptures with a pyramid of champagne glasses. Especially, when they had a soft Scottish accent, were six foot three and handsome as hell.
“I’d bet Callum would fill everything up perfectly all the way to the bottom,” Ally whisper cackled in my ear.
I might have cringed, just a little, but she probably wasn’t wrong. “He’s too young,” I whispered back to her.
“For me, maybe,” she thought for a moment. “Nah, not too young really…”
“You’re a dirtbag,” I whispered back. “Can you imagine how much these poor guys must get hit on by randy hen parties when they are running these cocktail making classes?”
“Really? That’s what you’re thinking about right now, his work-life balance?!”
“No, but – ”
Yes, just a bit.
“Anyway, he’s not too young for you is he? Probably only about two years – he said he’s in his last year at uni didn’t he?”
“Yes,” I acknowledged, without adding that I knew a degree in Scotland was four years and not three, like most of them in England, and had worked out that our gorgeous bar tending teacher for the afternoon could well be my age or just a bit younger Definitely not Mrs Robinson territory anyway, although the same couldn’t be said for Ally…
“Here you go ladies, a little welcome drink to get you started.”
Callum was carefully dismantling the champagne pyramid and passing the glasses out along the bar to the waiting pack of wolves – sorry, women.
“Nice,” I clinked my glass against Carolyn’s. “What a good place to start the first night of your hen weekend. Cheers!” All of our group – ten girls altogether – bumped our glasses against one another and toasted the bride-to-be.
“Here’s to a great weekend!” Becca agreed.
“And taking it easy on the first night,” Carolyn added firmly, taking a small sip of her drink.
“Yeah, when have we ever done that?” Ally asked, downing her drink in one long slug, swallowing the decorative raspberry as well without flinching.
“There’s a first time for everything,” I smiled, guessing that this was not going to be that time.
“OK, shall we get started?” Callum drew our attention back to him and we fanned out along the bar onto the waiting seats.
“Yes please,” we chorused, almost as one.
“Perfect. So, a little bit of foreplay to get you warmed up…”
I dared a glance at Ally at his words and saw the spark ignite in her eyes with this mild innuendo. She was going to spread him on the bar and savage him I feared. Oh well, it was his job after all and he was a pretty big guy, he could probably look after himself.
“I need a couple of volunteers for our first round of cocktail races.”
Ally had grabbed my hand and was already dragging me from my seat towards the opening at the end of the bar. “Me and Kate will pop your cocktail cherry tonight Callum.”
Wow. I kind of wanted to drop through the floor or slink out the stairs at the back of the room right now, not go and stand behind a narrow bar with a hot man and an insatiable gal pal. I’m not sure it was possible to be in such close proximity to both of them and not become an accessory to the sex crime I’m pretty sure Ally was thinking about committing.
“Sounds great,” he answered, showing no fear and making room for us both, one on either side of him. We squeezed our bodies into the narrow gap between the bar and the shelves behind, Ally rubbing a lot more of herself against the poor bloke as she passed than I’m sure was necessary. Or decent. I was just glad we hadn’t hired Butlers in the Buff – it didn’t bear thinking about – at least clothes would slow her down for a good ten seconds or so.
After asking us our names and introducing us to the cocktails we were going to have a go at preparing for everyone – game show host style – Ally and I spread out and prepared our bottles and glasses for the race. I had some ridiculous creamy, chocolate affair to make; whilst Ally had got some mega fruity thing that looked like a rainbow in a glass. Four of the same cocktails each, as quick as we could; the loser would have to a down a shot as punishment. I looked at the chilli vodka shot that had been set on the side as incentive to win and my stomach turned over. I did not want to start tonight on champagne and chilli shots.
“To match with the cocktails you are making, I have a little something for each of you before we start…just to check that you are up to handling the cream.”
“Oh-kay,” I muttered, mainly hoping that it would be OK.
Callum produced what looked almost like a truncheon from behind him on the bar and then a second matching one. The rods were about an inch in diameter and looked to be about a foot long – and my hopes that this would be OK vanished in the same instant that Ally’s eyes lit up. I didn’t feel much better about it when Callum took the squirty cream bottle from the little collection I had readied for making my cocktails and drew a line of cream from one end virtually to the other on each of the rods.
Unsurprisingly when he was done, he held out one towards me and one towards Ally. “This is just a little test before we start making the cocktails to make sure you’re comfortable swallowing creamy things. We want to ensure everyone leaves satisfied with their cocktail experience.”
“You don’t need to worry about me feeling comfortable swallowing things,” Ally said, grabbing his hand and pulling it towards her mouth, “I gulp darling.” With a flourish, she steered the truncheon into her mouth and cleared the cream about halfway down.
Callum grinned at her as he dropped the half-eaten truncheon into a sink below the bar. Turning his dark eyes on me, he gave my rod a little wave. “Your turn,” he told me, holding it out straight for me to take my dose of dairy. It probably wasn’t the best time for me to get competitive, but I could see Ally over his shoulder gloating at me, and you know, that little streak inside me that hated to be outdone came rippling to the surface.
Taking his hand, I tilted it upward and ducked beneath the end of the rod. “If you let the lady handle the angle, you’ll find they can do a lot more with it.” I told him. The girls cackled with laughter and whoops as I took the rod between my lips and cleared the cream well beyond halfway and used my tongue to clean the last couple of inches of cream off.
“Very nice,” Ally applauded me, as I returned the object of torture entirely to Callum and he dropped it into the sink with hers, with nothing much to clean off. “Excellent technique! A worthy win.”
I snorted a small laugh, and grabbed my glass of champagne to wash away the creaminess. I’m not necessarily sure that it was a competition I should have wanted to win, but what the hell – it was a hen weekend – that was pretty mild by most standards. Anyway, a win was a win.
Callum coughed and drew our attention back to him, getting ready to start the actual cocktail races we were behind the bar for. He passed me the bottle of cream with a smile and I added it to my collection of bottles ready to shake up a cocktail storm. I definitely didn’t want to have a chilli shot on top of that cream.
When he turned to Ally to finish getting her set up, Becca leaned over and grabbed my hand. “Holy crap, Kate,” she hissed. “You should have seen his face when you did that! I think he almost creamed himself.” She let go of me as he turned back around.
I grinned back at her. “What can I say?” I asked. “If you’re going to do something, might as well do it one hundred per cent.”
Becca laughed and took a big drink from her glass. “Well, you certainly did that. Now, make sure you win this race because that chilli shot looks disgusting and I’m not sharing a bedroom with you if you’re puking later on.”
“Yes boss,” I saluted her, putting on my game face. Six months as a student working the bar in Frankie and Benny’s – I was confident I could shake up a cocktail fast enough to win.