- Vol. 04
- Chapter 06
It all went 'tits-up' the minute the stripper arrived at the bar. We were expecting a young Russian beauty, not some wrinkly bloke over ninety. But that's what you get when your not-so-worldly-wise mates rely on internet translator software; when the cheapskates have organised your Stag-Do in Somethingistan, a former soviet republic, somewhere between China and medieval Europe. So, to get the night back on track, we ordered some more shots – a couple for the old geezer, “no hard feelings, mate” – before trying to manhandle the old 'stripper' out of the bar. But he wouldn't go, put up a fight and strong as an ox he was. He decked a couple of our lads, he did, put the frighteners on 'em. Of course, no one wanted to go near the wrinkly old sod after that. He stood, fists raised, shouting something about 'honour', he had 'honour' or so Uri the barman, who spoke some English, said. “Honour what?” we asked. “He has contract ... been paid to 'do' the husband-to-be ... he must honour this contract,” translated Uri. Me being the husband-to-be (and peacemaker) told the old bloke, “It's okay, you don't have to do anything (especially me!). There's been a misunderstanding, no honour lost, so don't worry about the money, you can keep it.” I approached him gingerly, hand extended, ready for a forgiving handshake. The old man unclenched his fist, slowly moved his hand towards mine and held it in his vice-like grip. Staring me in the eyes he said that word again, the one that I now knew to mean 'honour'. I should have run then. I woke up, having an out-of-body experience. I could see myself stretched across a table. I looked thin, my muscles without tone – all that time down at the gym, wasted. The old man whistled as he brushed me down with a stiff brush, leaving my skin pink-lined from the brushstrokes. However, I could not feel the bristles. I could only sense a general burning over my whole body. The pain was immense. I was hyper-ventilating. The smell of fresh blood ... where was everyone else, the bar?