by Dave Early
“No no, hear me out, it was a super bash. You would not believe the shenanigans that went on.” The portly gentleman chortled and leather armchair sucked and spat in tandem like the movement of an unflattering wetsuit against naked flesh. The gentleman reached forward, once again producing the same dubious sound as before, as he scooped from the table one of the glass fish bowls on a stork and brought it up to his face so his man sitting opposite could no longer clearly distinguish between the colour of the wine and that of the corpulent countenance behind it.
The other gentleman sharing the low table at the centre of the distinguished member’s club waited impassively to hear more. In contrast to his well-insulated colleague, he cast an air of the intelligentsia, with his sturdy chin supporting high cheekbones and a pair of deep set eyes sparkling beneath an erudite brow. His thin lips pressed together authoritatively.
“By God, man,” the portly gentleman resumed, the redness in his face subsiding to a more acceptable fluorescent pink. “this was a mightily debauched affair. Ho ho. You have no idea what these people are like.” Then he lost himself for a time in hilarious reverie, coming to only when the impulse to brag had conquered the scandalous sensations vividly held in the pit of his tremendous stomach. He spluttered, releasing a trail of spittle from the corner of his mouth, which he quickly mopped up with a lavishly monikered handkerchief. As his laughter died, he dabbed his moist forehead with the same handkerchief. “Honestly man… Some of the finest fillies bred this side of the Patagonian paddocks. Beautiful drawn facades, properly prominent teeth, good strong shapely thighs and a rump that could eclipse the sun from a mile away.”
The thinner man sitting opposite, the one with the sturdy chin and erudite brow, nodded thoughtfully, uncrossed his legs, reached for his own glass fish bowl and crossed his legs again, the other way to how they were, right over left. And with the subtle flexing of his left cornea he transmitted a query to his fleshy friend.
“Lord no. University students. Prime fodder for us learned men. You know how it is…” Said the portly gentleman, with the impatience of an expert. “feed them all that guff about thinking for themselves then speak confidently over them with words of experience and maturity, throw in some quotations of eminent historical figures, mention you have several papers published yourself and then Reggie’s your uncle, my dear… your trusted, experienced uncle.” He raised a solicitous eyebrow, somewhat losing the intended effect as the one above the other eye was hauled up along with it by the wiry connecting hairs.
“There was this one.” He leaned back, causing the upholstery to yelp in terror, a wistful glazing of his eyes carrying him back through time, across county lines and moral discrepancies. “She was stunning. The longest face, the largest teeth, the strongest thighs and the rump… oh dear fellow, what an arse. It was like…” he groped the air for an accurate likeness, “like a… like a… a huge arse.” He rolled his lips, spilling more spittle over his chin, pleased with his simile. “She would have been the most superb mare in the stables…” He trailed off, gazing wistfully at the distorted reflection of an incredibly red and fat man in an incredibly expensive and ill-fitting suit gazing back at him from the fish bowl on the table. There was no laughter this time. The extended silence hanging over the table was pulsing with licentious longing. Then the broad grin of the blubbery businessman dissolved to be replaced by a look of startled reminiscence, “if only she hadn’t turned out to be a stallion.”
For the first time that evening, the deceptively aloof figure sitting opposite coloured his blank expression with the wide-eyed anticipation of a gossiping school-girl. He lurched forward, clutching his knees, and losing any sense of enigma in the process. “Good lord.” he piped, pressing those knees tightly together. “What on earth did you do?”
The fat man raised his bowl to his lips, poured a gallon down his throat, which undulated like a Boa constrictor digesting a Volkswagon. He sighed satisfactorily and met his companion’s eager eye. “When in Devon…” he shrugged.
Dave Early cannot be summed up in one sentence; one word perhaps, but not one sentence.