Last night was very strange....
“ I’m back from my holiday! “ declared my best friend, Hazel, down the phone, “Meet me at the pub, early doors, like really early doors, about 4.30 pm”
“Putting my lippy on now.” I rushed upstairs to find a suitable summer gloss and a pair of big sunglasses. The weather was beautifully warm and when that happens over here, the great British public all go to the pub; shirts off, warm ale and a packet of quavers.
I arrived to find her already seated on a bench under a parasol and with a nice, fruity bottle of pink wine and two glasses. This is why she made BF status.
We sat talking about the wonders of the world, when suddenly from behind me, a random bloke came over to our table as if he was looking for something.
“Yes...Can I help you?” Hazel asked the man who then scuttled off to another bench nearby without answering. We shrugged and carried on. As we continued talking the man kept turning round and looking at us. I was going to ask if he found our conversation of interest but then noticed he had headphones in so couldn’t possibly be eavesdropping. He looked like he was a runner, dressed in a black sports t shirt, shorts and running trainers. He was a middle aged guy and looked like someone who took care of himself and seemed relatively standard issue so I left it at that.
About ten minutes later an arm reached between myself and my pal and plonked a brand new bottle of wine on our table. “I hope you will accept this as a gift,” the male voice said gently and then skidaddled off before I could say “Whaaa?....from?....why?” We watched opened mouthed as the running man left the pub and buggered off down the street.
“WTF?” I looked at Hazel...”Do you know him or something?”
“Nope. Never seen him before in my life...but that just saved us twenty quid!” We both stared at the free bottle of wine on the table and then looked around. A guy and his girlfriend were sat nearby also staring, open mouthed, “He just bought us two bottles of beer...” they said in unison.
“Why? Do you know him? Has he bought anyone else drinks?” I questioned the couple carefully incase they were in on it.
“No, never seen him before in my life,” they replied, “And it’s just us four that he’s bought drinks for. He just said ‘please accept this as a gift,’ then we watched him come over to your table and do the same and then he just left.”
This totally baffled me and also left me feeling a little traumatised. People don’t just get their cash out and buy select random strangers drinks unless they want something, hence this made me very cautious as my natural nature is to believe that everyone is guilty until proven innocent.
Other people began to come outside and get involved in the “why did this man buy us four drinks” conversation and also getting slightly pissed off that it hadn’t happened to them.
“Just wait...” I warned, “He’s probably going to come back round the corner in a minute with a sawn off shot gun and mow us all down. He’s setting us up with a false sense of security before he goes on a massive killing spree.”
“Ha! Bloody hell, you’ve got a vivid imagination!” Said another nearby chap, eyeing our wine bottle up, covetously.
“You have no idea.” I kept looking down the street, just incase I was right. “Or maybe he’s planted a bomb in the pub...or maybe it’s poisoned...” I looked suspiciously at the bottle that had its cap removed.
“Yeah, it could be laced with something.” Hazel concurred but since I’m a nurse I can always fast track us through A&E. Are you going to drink yours?” she asked the couple.
“Too fucking right!” came the healthy, English response from the guy, “If I’d have thought faster I would have asked him for a whisky chaser!”
Everyone laughed but behind the laughter was a sense of foreboding.
“Maybe he hates people who drink in the afternoon. He was a runner right?” They all nodded. “Well maybe he finds our behaviour abhorrent and it’s a Darwin attack to be rid of the scum of the earth.” I continued.
“Or maybe he’s a secret millionaire and those weren’t really headphones he was wearing but listening devices. Maybe we’ll all be on channel 4 later on a documentary called “How the Brits really feel about random acts of kindness!” The boyfriend replied.
“Why would someone just do that?” His girlfriend was well on my suspicious track.
“Maybe he’s Jesus.” Hazel offered, “Maybe he turned the water into wine and now he’s running along the river as we speak! “
“Are we gonna drink it?” I asked knowing that we were.
She just looked at me like I was stupid and poured the wine into our glasses. “Well, here goes!” She lifted up her glass to the party around us.
“What if we die?” I asked worriedly as I sniffed the contents of my glass even though you can’t smell arsenic.
“Well at least we’ll die together!” She smiled,” I can’t think of a better person to snuff it with.”
“Maybe I should quickly write my own obituary before I get too far down.” I pulled out my phone and went into notes. I was too busy in the head to put anything remarkable so I just put “Victim of psycho wine killer” and left it at that.
We clinked our glasses together, “All for one..” and allowed the liquid to flow into our mouths and down our throats.
A few glasses later and still very much alive, I suddenly had a horrible thought. “ What if this was his last act of random kindness and now he’s gone home to kill himself. OH MY GOD....we need to do something!” I stood to my feet, unsteadily (tipsy or ...poison?) and quickly sat back down again. “ Now I feel awful, what should we do?” I looked at Hazel for advice.
“Enjoy it, that’s what he’d want.”
Eventually we finished up and both went our separate ways back home. On the way back I remembered a Criminal Minds episode where the victims had been poisoned but had taken 3 days to die. I was a bit annoyed about that as I really didn’t want to die on a Friday.
At precisely 3.12 am I woke up in a cold sweat with a burning in my chest and stomach.
Holy crap, this is it, I’m done for, I thought. I got out of bead quickly and felt very light headed as I stumbled to my dresser to get my phone. I really didn’t feel well and started to go into a mild panic. I would have made a great voodoo queen as I have the ability to convince myself of near death with ease and bring on any related symptom. I really am a case of bad Juju.
I decided to ring Hazel.
“WTF?...” said a sleepy voice from the other end.
“Don’t feel well, mate. I think I’m gonna die.”
“I’m at work in 2 hours, so fuck off or you will.”
“Fair enough, but if we ARE still alive next Tuesday shall we go there again, same time, same place and see if he comes back?” I asked, tentatively.
If I’m still here to tell the tale, I’ll keep you posted.