Babs and I recently retreated from the sub-tropical Colonial paradise of St. Lucia after becoming completely fed up with Pina Colodas laced with fresh coconut, sunshine, and sitting in a reclined position–all three being symptoms of the greater ill known to most Presbyterian ministers as ‘idleness’. There truly is only so much ‘idleness’ one can take before the delights of the modern world begin creeping back into your dreams. . . the traffic congestion . . . the endless stream of penis enlargement offerings that flow into one’s inbox . . . wearing pants. . . those everyday delights we take for granted until their gone, forsaken for some white sand beach in the middle of Bananaville, West Indies. Phooey.
Our second evening at Sandals–a place where Americans go to tan until they’re burnt purple–we managed to get a reservation in their swanky French restaurant, La Toc. The joint has a dress code–no shorts, no sandals (ironically enough, being at a Sandals and all)–and the good-faith presumption on behalf of management that you’ll be sober enough to sit upright and not make an ass of yourself when they serve the frog’s legs. Fortunately, little policing is done to moderate the “polite dinner conversation” and thank heavens for that. You see, for some, there aren’t enough rules in the Bible, nor rungs on the evolutionary ladder, to prevent them from behaving like a well-dressed animal. In this particular case, behaving like an animal is likely the most polite way of putting it.
While Babs and I sat chatting, and not chatting, I tweaked to a conversation that was going on just over my right shoulder. Two English couples were engaged in some polite, Get-to-Know-You kind of chit chat. The where-you-froms and what-do-you-dos that are so common in a place like Sandals as folks connect with new drinking partners and excursion buddies. These two couples clearly hailed from different social strata: the first were refined, West End types, who could likely quote a sonnet or two by Shakespeare; the second were coarse, East End types, who likely heard the Bow Bells as they drifted to sleep after throwing plates at each other during a particularly animated family dinner. Of the second couple, the man was of particular interest; all 5 foot 5 inches of him looked like he had tumbled out of the craft wagon drunk on a Guy Richie film: big wire-framed glasses with hard little eyes, and a thin, downturned mouth.
For the purposes of this retelling, WE will stand for the West Enders, and exclusively the wife, who drove the conversation boldly along; EE stands for our little East Ender troll–his wife spoke not a word.
EE- I could tell you stories about my youth that would curl your hair.
WE- (rather doubtful) Oh really?
EE- When I was a lad, me and me mates Billy and Michael used to go down and help the shepherds sex their sheep. An’ when we was done helping them shepherds, we’d get those lambs to suck on our cocks.
No. I am not making this up.
Upon hearing this statement–which, I might add, rolled off his tongue as casually as the alphabet–my head started to spin. I was completely intoxicated with the absolutely abominable remark he had offered to his fellow dinner guests–casual acquaintances, by my estimation–and I had to hear more. What followed was a moment’s silence, and then:
WE- Excuse me?
It was clear that she either: 1) could not believe her ears; or, 2) was so gobsmacked that he had actually said what she thought he had said, that she wanted to give him a chance to take it back and pretend that he had really just said, “Smoke cigarettes underage”. The ungulate pedophile took his guest’s exclamation to mean that she was hard of hearing, and so repeated himself, with greater volume, and more careful diction:
EE- Suck our cocks. We’d get them lambs to suck. . on. . our. . cocks.
My mind officially blew. I couldn’t resist it any longer, and turned around to let my eyes rest on the man who was about to take top spot in my roster of dinner party anecdotes. What I saw, was a scene of surprising composure. EE was blinking at those assembled; the rest of the dinner guests were staring intently at their soups.
Finally! I had a story in my arsenal that Babs hasn’t heard 3 times–so I turned and anxiously brought her up to date, to which she promptly replied that I was a big, fat, exaggerating liar, with a peculiar way of trying to introduce some kink into our honeymoon. I swore up and down that not even the darkest reaches of my imagination could concoct such an absurd tale of childhood sexual exploration–I mean, I’ve heard of lonesome soldiers finding comfort in the warm inviting cloaca of a hen, but this. . . this is something totally different than buggering a chicken.
It wasn’t until a roving photographer passed by, snapped our photo, and was then told to sling his hook by the table of Britons behind me that Babs became a believer. EE piped up, as the shutterbug flitted away:
EE- I’ll tell you what–if you like photographs, I’ve got one of me and Billy and Michael and them lambs!
I turned around, this time to catch the other three dinner guests gazing longingly at their salads–dreaming of a time when they were carefree and drunk, sitting at the swim-up bar, far away from the dinner table, La Toc, and visions of fellating lambs.
FAST FORWARD to the next evening, and the incredibly named Sandals’ Manager’s Honeymooner’s Sunset Cocktail Party. I had fought off the desire to international calls to my brother–indeed, calls to EVERYONE I KNEW–and tell them about the dinner conversation I had overheard. For those that know me, a new tale is nearly the most exciting thing that can happen in my life. I don’t tell jokes–I tell tales.
After twenty minutes of idle chatter, and two glasses of sparkling wine, one of the Playmakers (the Sandals version of a social convener–a brilliant chap named Ricky) told those assembled that we all had a chance to win a “Candlelight Extravaganza” (retail value of $250!!) in exchange for the funniest wedding day story. The first couple to leap at the chance got things off to an abysmal start by opening their story with, “This story isn’t actually that funny” and ending with the morose punchline of, “. . . and after three people had been rushed to the hospital in 36 hours, my uncle said we needed to get married before someone died”.
In the right hands, their story could have been at least mildly diverting; in their hands, it was a bit horrifying.
The next couple–a chubby little pair–told a story, between fits of giggling that wobbled their twin chins, of how the bride had given her husband an apron because he loves her cooking. In my less-than-charitable mind I surmised that even without the apron, there was ample evidence that her new husband loved her cooking. His breasts, for one, told me that–at the very least–he loved someone’s cooking.
Babs began pestering me, as the Playmakers began doing a “Going once! Going twice!”, to tell a funny story. The stories in competition were awful, and that I could certainly do better. In a panic–and wishing to please my wife–I called out that I would like to add our story to the contest–although it was of our honeymoon, and not our wedding. I then, to the chagrin of animal lovers everywhere (and no–I don’t mean the type of folk who love playful kittens and waggy-tailed dogs–I mean the other kind. . .) told the story of a gentleman, and his pals Billy and Michael, and what they did to satisfy their darkest urges.
About halfway through I realised that telling a story, at epicentre of a resort, on an amplified speaker system, during the dinner hour, which detailed the sexual assault of lambs was perhaps not the most thoughtful idea I had ever had. Indeed, the “author” of the story could, at any moment, stroll by and hear his youthful indiscretions being retold by some cheeky Canuck with an improperly functioning social filter–but once I’ve started, there’s just no stopping me. When I finished, of the 9 honeymooning couples and 9 Sandals staffers, only Babs and one other couple showed any sign of having enjoyed the story; all the staff thought it was hilarious. Luckily for me, a vote by applause was taken to determine the winner–and the judges of whom received the loudest applause were the staff, so we walked away with our very own “Candlelight Extravaganza”.
The next night, when we returned to our villa to enjoy the aforementioned Extravaganza, we found candles lit on the main floor, flower pedals strewn up the stairs, a warm candlelit bath drawn with more pedals floating in the perfumed water, and this: