STORYLINE - 8: "THE NAME'S KING, NOSMO KING! Stub That Cigarette!" (Fiction? Well, maybe... not)
'One more drag before it goes in the bin - ah, shame to waste a light'.
There I was in my local one day, supping a pint. I thought, 'I know what's missing...'
I felt so much at home *I thought I'd have a light-up. Stretching back on the chair I reached into my trouser pocket and fished about for my lighter. Coins ran through my fingers, house keys... Ah, the lighter!
Having found it I checked to see it was still working and flicked the flint.
Nice! The flame was steady and I 'stubbed' it again. My left hand reached to my shirt pocket, the fingers stirring its contents, mobile phone, car keys... Ciggies!
'Okay', I thought. 'It feels as though there's a couple still in the packet. I can spare one for the time being until I pass another paper shop'.
With two fingers I fished out the packet, and knocked one out with a quick flick of the index and second finger of my other hand. 'Dead sexy', I figured, with these Yank ciggies. I squinted like one of these Western characters - or maybe James Dean - into the middle distance at a couple of nice-looking, slim, long-legged and mini-skirted birds out in the street, and then picked up the lighter from where it lay beside by my glass on the table in front of me.
I lit up and took a long drag.
That was just the beginning of my woes! With a flash someone upended a glass of water over me. Boy, was I doused! I looked around and saw this character standing behind me, beaming as if he had done something truly heroic! He was dressed in a weird manner, a bit like Superman - you know, all 'Goody-goody' - with thick glasses, a red T-shirt tucked into his blue 'Y'-Fronts, and what looked like Wellington boots on his feet. A bit dinky if you ask me, but I wasn't disposed to sight-seeing right then. I felt like putting out his lights. Permanently! I reached up for his scraggy neck with both hands -
Wrong move! I was on my back before you could say 'Camel Filter'! Clean out of breath, with the clown standing over me. I thought I'd give him time to lose interest in me and let his thoughts stray elsewhere. I tried to rise and push him out of the way. Teach him a lesson! Well I thought I would!
Wrong again! Before I knew it, I was on my knees with my hands behind my back, a bit constrained you might say. He eased his hold on my hands. I thought he had relented but a few words whispered into my right ear let me know why,
'Health and safety! I might over-strain myself holding onto your arms like that'. Thus saying, he ruffled my hair in a friendly sort of manner, like an older brother. I didn't need an older brother right then, though, and tried asking what the strong-arm tactics were all about. But my input wasn't needed right then. 'What'd you say?'
He taunted me, knew I wasn't able to say much from where I was, on my knees with my cheeks rubbing his mucky boot soles. Well-polished, I had to admire them that close up, but was it necessary for me to smell the polish - and dog muck as well? Was this some sort of Fascist state suddenly, where if your face didn't fit you got the 'treatment'? When at last I was let up, I straightened my clothes. My lighter was somewhere near the door, but I couldn't see where the ciggie had got to. I looked all around - no! Gone(awol)!
'Were you looking for this?' the comedian asked, brandishing my last-but-one tobacco tube, coffin nail or whatever you want to call it.
He crumpled it up, letting the tobacco flakes fall to the floor. My jaw seemed to drop with it. Mind you, there was another here who wasn't too pleased with him. The pub dogsbody-cum- cleaner frowned, dustpan and brush at the ready.
'Who the **** do you think you are?' I asked, really naffed off by this time. Everybody was looking at me, all superior and such. Who did they think they were? Toffs! This was supposed to be the end of the working day after all, wasn't it? A long day of toil and trouble, and a visit to the local ending with - what? A drubbing, that's what! Why the ****?!
'I asked, "Who the **** do you think you are"? I still haven't had an answer!' I was going to get it out of him one way or another, even if he was going to wipe the floor with my beard before I got it.
'Temper, temper', he wagged a finger. 'You really think I should need to tell you?'
He beamed at everyone around him and received a standing applause from all the 'beano-brains' sitting around. They were probably waiting for him to finish off the job. This was the last time I was going to stop by here for a jar on the way home!
'You really don't know?' He stood there, arms folded across his chest, looking at me as if i'd come straight down, non-stop from Mars or somewhere out of this universe. I thought maybe the blank look on my face was enough to give him a clue. His 'fan-club' didn't have any more idea than he had.
'Oh well, I suppose I'll have to tell you...' He was taunting me again. I looked at him, waiting for revelation.
'The name's King, Nosmo King'.
Was that it? Some sort of joke! I had to put up with all that 'aggro' for a joke?
'So what's the big game?' I demanded. I reached for my last ciggie, but thought better of it. He might go overboard again. That would give the bystanders another treat.
Then it began to sink in... King - well there's plenty with that name. I remembered a comedian-turned actor by that name, Dave King. He wasn't that much of a comedian, though. I thought again, Tara King in 'The Avengers' with Patrick McNee. She was a bit of a martial arts freak, tossing the 'usual suspects' through the air...
It tumbled home then - with a vengeance. Clank-clank into the brain-pit like a penny in the weighing machine ! Nosmo King! It was still turning over in that sieve I call a brain later that evening when I dropped off in front of the telly, watching some quiz programme. I looked up suddenly in a Eureka moment during the commercial break, an advert advising on how to quit smoking. The 'hero' of the ad stood crumpling up his ciggie outside a pub, in front of him a red sign: 'No Smoking'.
*The author wishes to inform this is total fiction. He doesn't smoke - not since 1962
Anyone got a light? Course, up there on the ceiling!
Give up smoking
Here's an admission from the author: I smoked a long time ago, back in 1962 (when I was 15, started a couple of years earlier but gave it up because I couldn't afford it, simple - had to keep cash aside for my *5/- bus fare home to Teesside on Fridays when I was at art school in Scarborough)
There are many other reasons why smokers should pack it in, mainly for health issues. Take a look inside and do yourself a favour -
* 5/- (five 'bob' or five shillings is equivalent to 25p in today's money, doesn't seem much but my spare change didn't amount to much more after meals at college etc)