I was pleased with my own performance and fitness. The jogging on the sand had worked. A lot of questions were asked about my age. My stock reply was that a man is as old as the woman he feels, making me nought.
As I worked nights I did not have the chance to visit the discos and tout my wares. I had known barren times before but this was as arid as the Negev during the dry season. I, therefore, devised a plan, simple but stupid.
The Gordon hostel prided itself on giving the best value for money in Israel, some might argue that is not saying much. I felt it might be a good policy to offer, at no extra cost, a special wake-up service. Mark 1 was the sleeping Beauty call whereby the slumbering maiden would be woken with a gentle kiss.
The mark 2 version was that, as the princess was put to sleep by a little prick, then she would be woken by the same method. I had previously asked a sturdy Australian if she was from the Antipodes, she replied, “Nah, Australia.”, so she might be interested. She did not listen correctly and replied, “No good being gentle with me, mate. You’ll have to whack me arse to wake me.”
“I’ll put you down for mark 3 then, madam.”
Life was progressing smoothly; no ups and downs, well, not for me anyway. There were rumours of mice in the kitchen, but these were unsubstantiated. Perhaps I could train them to wash the dishes. I thought about asking Steve and Nicole but they always looked wobbly kneed.
A tempest was brewing out at sea with menacing Mediterranean madness. The Voice of Peace was invisible to the naked eye, and ironically played ‘Riders on the Storm’. This was always the last tune played at my college discos. It was the final chance to try and grab a female. So many ears had my tongue lashing about inside them. Hardly ever did it follow with the euphemistic ‘coffee’.
I pulled Diane gently towards me, our bodies a perfect fit. The vague movements could not really be called dancing. It only took a second before, “Oi, get your Germans (bands= hands) off ‘er. You don’t know where she’s been. Come on, we’re off to the rub-a-dub (drinking establishment).”
I was lucky as I had an extra duty to perform that night- take the beer crates downstairs. Why I had to do it I will never know. However, there were only 3 in the corridor- easy peasy.
“Are you right footed?” I asked Dave.
“You mean I can’t use my left?”
“You remind me of Freddie Jones. He used to play for our 3rd team. He’s dead now.” It was all too easy.
While we continued our idiotic banter, I noticed Diane holding hands with some new guy. Maybe our dance had stirred something inside. Either way I knew she would not be mine that night.
My love-life was full of near misses, and a few near marrieds as well. I was engaged once to a girl with a wooden leg, but I broke it off and told her to hop it. Besides, I valued her friendship far more, said he with a tad of sour grapes. How could I deny her 5 minutes of happiness? My only protest was to not bring her tea in the morning when I eventually found her.
That night some regulars brought in a tatty cardboard box, from which emerged a tiny bundle of bones covered in fur. “What’s that?” I lamely asked.
“A cat you twat!” As rough and tough as these construction workers were, they took pity on a fellow waif and stray. “It’s a present for you Bob. You need a pussy real bad.”
“No, I need a real bad pussy.”
“Well, it’s claws for the asking.”
“Stop pussy-footing around.” I was not going to be outdone.
A Geordie asked, “Did you know that this cat went into the garden, dug a hole, had a crap and then filled it in afterwards?”
“All cats do that.” said I completely falling into it.
“What man, with a shovel? Anyway, we got it to catch the mice.” Suspicions were confirmed.
“I told you I am not washing up after you.” I said emphatically, It can’t stay here. What about the fleas?”
“It won’t mind catching a few.”
“One thing I don’t understand is how they manage to fit collars onto fleas. You thought they would be too small.”
“Well at least give it a wash.” I said.
“Anyone got any shampoo?”
The next day Nicole’s husband was free, or more accurately, released from police custody. I never once saw him sober. If he was, he did not let on. Having the English sense of fair play, he, Steve and Nicole formed an unholy alliance- a menage-a-trois to indulge in orgies of alcohol and narcotic abuse, as well as the other. When the husband crashed the other 2 broke the 7th commandment along with several of the lesser known.
Dave summed up the husband, whose name I never learnt, rather succinctly, “That fridge (+freezer= geezer= man) is radio rental (wired to the moon).”