from A Squandered Life / The Battle of Scoot '66

Dan keeled over with blood pouring from his nose....

My friend and accomplice from the previous year, Scoot, and her equally wayward room mate Mary had rented a small flat in town and me, Dave, and Donny used to visit them there. One dark winter evening we went down there with our Doyle House colleague George with whom we had been drinking and who was developing a love interest in Scoot. When we got there we encountered a scene of drunken debauchery as Scoot and Mary were entertaining a gang of Frat boys. It all got very emotional as it became evident that one of the Frat boys, a mouthy guy called Dan, dressed for some reason in a smart suit and matching Raglan rain coat, was also pursuing Scoot with similar intentions.

Dave, Donny, and I sat on a sofa behind a low coffee table and watched as a certain amount of loud talk ensued and Scoot retired to a back room in floods of tears. Dan and his mates were doing a “Now look what you've done” number, and Dan took it upon himself to go back “to see if she was okay”. George was remonstrating more and more loudly with Dan's Frat buddies who were now doing a “calm down, calm down” number. Outnumbered, George came and sat on the sofa with us, complaining that he should be able to go in and see his love “to see if she was okay” too.

Suddenly Dan reappeared, strode manfully up to the coffee table in front of us, cocked his polished shoe up on it and, leaning forward authoritatively on his upraised knee, looked down at us and said, “Scoot's really upset. I think you'd better leave.” There was a momentary stillness, and then, in a flash, George had jumped up and popped him straight in the chops. Dan keeled over with blood pouring from his nose and suddenly the room was alive with drunken punching heaving bodies. George was trying to follow up by kicking the shit out of Dan and the rest of the Frat boys leapt on George and we leapt on the Frat boys. The coffee table and a couple of chairs were the first casualties, followed quickly by bottles and glasses, as flurries of punches and lurching lapel grabs were punctuated by an incessant shrieking from the women folk who had now re-emerged from the back at the sound of all the breakage.

As exhaustion quickly caught up with all combatants, the fog of battle receded, and the two sides realigned themselves, it became apparent that the only real injury was Dan's from that first pop. He was bleeding profusely from his mouth and nose and, to our immense satisfaction, all over his expensive suit and Raglan. His troops ushered him out, slurring bloody epithets, on the pretext of taking him to a doctor. In the brief calm that followed we turned, pleased with ourselves for having seen off the enemy, to Scoot and Mary. They, of course, were very far from being pleased as they surveyed the collateral damage strewn around the battle field and, unsurprisingly, despite George's protestations of love, began to shout at us to fuck off out and kept pushing until all four of us were out standing in the dark cold air again.

George was still very emotional, bleating about love and injustice as we staggered off back to the campus, but by the time we were in sight of the residences we were all helpless with laughter. We were lucky not to have collapsed completely in the snow banks, to be found frozen solid the next day.


© 2013 Deacon Martin

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