we dyscordians must stick apart


Warriors on the Edge of In(s)anity

This is a little post that one or two people missed due to it being so inconspicuous (hi Ali...maybe I should have posted this on Monday?)

I have for you a story. It is the story of a quest but, more importantly, it is an illustration of just how much I was able to rely on my friends for help and support during a crisis back in the day.

Our story begins one fine Sunday morning after a night of carousing and wenching. We three hung over handsome adventurers had woken feeling somewhat whimsical and, after a hearty breakfast of beans on toast washed down with lashings of Nescafe's finest instant coffee, we decided that we should embark upon a quest. We would go in search of the Strawberry Duck, on foot no less.

The Strawberry Duck was not some fabled beast as the name suggests but an oasis of pleasure in a neighboring village where one could purchase the world's best steak and kidney pie and some of the finest ale ever brewed. Some might call it a pub.

So it was that we found ourselves at stupid o'clock in the morning emerging from the mist on the edge of the moors overlooking the sleepy hamlet where I grew up. The sky was clear and the sun was just above the horizon, and I mean only just. We stopped to survey the terrible terrain of towering tangled tussocks and treacherous trenches that we would have to traverse if we were to succeed in our quest. The landscape was, to our eyes at least, almost Tolkienesque. Well it would have been if it was rocky and had more orcs and trolls but it was Tolkienesque enough for us first thing on a Sunday morning.

At this point in the story, while we're just standing around wondering just whose fucking bright idea this was in the first place, I will introduce you to my companions and give them fitting names lest you become confused later. The distinctive names are required because we were all three called Michael and at the time we all went by the name Mick so, for instance, the following exchange would sound odd if I didn't differentiate between Micks.

"Mick," said Mick. "What?" chorused Mick's companions. "Whose fucking bright idea was this?" "It was Mick's idea I think," replied Mick. "No, actually it was Mick's idea," interjected Mick.

You see?

Actually my nickname was Mik but everyone pronounced it with the 'c' so it sounded the same as Mick to most people. I've been asked many times "Why Mik with no 'c'?" but, truthfully, I have no idea how I lost the 'c'. I wish I did have a funny story about how I got my old nickname because it would have made this paragraph a lot more entertaining. Sorry.

But I digress.

For the sake of our story my companions will be called Mick the Mad, because he was, and Mick the Mard, a local term for someone who was a bit of a softy. Actually most people thought he was as bent as a barking snail but he wasn't. He was just a thirty two year old virgin. I'll call myself Mick the Unsteady just in case I need a name later. I picked Unsteady because I had drunk way more than the other two Micks the previous night and I couldn't find a suitable 'M' word that meant the same thing. Together we were the notorious Licky Hand Gang™, feared across the region by partygoers and publicans alike...but that's another story.

Right, let's get on with this tale of derring-do-do. Where were we? Oh, yes, surveying the terrain.

Nothing stirred in this barren-ish wasteland but we had all heard the stories of the fearsome and ferocious wild sheepses which, according to local legend, roamed the moors in search of unwary travellers. They would, if the stories were to be believed, suddenly spring from behind a tussock or out of a hole in the ground and have their wild and woolly way with their quarry (try saying that with your false teeth out) and leave them to die a slow, embarrassing death as the sheepses gambolled off into the distance in search of more prey.

We foolhardy companions weren't scared. On many occasions we had laughed in the face of danger and then run away and so with a glance and an almost imperceptible group-nod of agreement we marched on to the moor...slowly and carefully and, in my case, a little Unsteadily. Conditions underfoot were treacherous; wet and slippery the ground was pockmarked with hidden holes. Pretty soon I had fallen forty or so yards behind my companions. They turned frequently to shout encouragement like, "Hurry up you slow bastard, we want to be there for opening time!" but they didn't stop. I was starting to feel a little anxious and every time I heard the gentle breeze rustle through the grass I would look, fearful of a surprise attack by those cunning sheepses, and it was that caution that would prove to be my downfall.

Hearing a little rustling (no C & P, a little rustling is not baby rustle) behind me I turned my head and in that instant disaster struck. I brought my foot down on a concealed and very slippery clump of clustered cockspur. My foot shot up into the air and sent me backwards. Losing my balance, I began spinning my arms forward trying to regain altitude but it was too late. My waving efforts slowed my fall but by now I was at a totally unnatural angle to the perpendicular and stayed that way for what seemed like an age before gravity, who had been distracted by something in the distance, noticed my predicament and kindly helped me into the nearest hole.

I lay in my hole stunned for a few moments before deciding it would be best to get up in case my friends saw my plight. Lying in a hole being pointed and laughed at is no way to spend a Sunday morning. I tried to sit up but quickly realized that both arms were pinned against my body. I was stuck, like baby pooh on velcro. I had no choice, I had to call out to my friends. I shouted out a couple of times before hearing their answering call and soon I could hear their rapid footfalls pounding towards me. Rescue was seconds away, I thought.

I thought wrong. As I lay there, staring at the sky, their footsteps became a skidding sound as they stopped feet away from me. I strained to bend my neck so I could see what Mad and Mard were doing. What they were doing was reaching into their jackets. Maybe they had first aid kits I thought. Wrong again.

They had CAMERAS and the bastards were snapping pictures of me and giggling like schoolgirls. Furious, I started to rock from side to side and after about a minute I got one arm free. My 'friends' knew danger when they saw it and they were off as fast as they could go haphazardly changing directions to avoid holes and leaping over tussocks whooping with delight as they put some distance between us.

A short chase ensued but I quickly gave up having sprained my ankle. On the bright side, and to cut a long story short, we quickly reached the nearest road and found a phone box from which to call a taxi to take us the rest of the way. Of course I spent the afternoon being pointed and laughed at as Mad and Mard went around telling everyone about our earlier misadventure but the beer helped me forget.

As I look back on that and other such days I realize that if it wasn't for character-building experiences like that, and 'friends' like those, I wouldn't be the total bastard I am today so it isn't all bad.

NOTE: There were actually four of us out there that day but I edited one companion from the story because he wasn't called Mick and he was, in my estimation, a complete and utter gibbon.

We lost track of Mard Mick that same year, soon after he walked into Mad's house brandishing a newspaper declaring his innocence. We hadn't read the paper that day but we got interested in the local news real fast. Apparently, somebody with his name and matching his description had been arrested for soliciting a prostitute in the local red light district. He claimed it was really his father (who was arrested, not the prost...oh never mind), who had the same name, but we had to point out that he told us he'd been dead for several years so we weren't buying the stiff with a stiffy story. Maybe all the ridicule, pointing and laughing upset him but, whatever the reason, he stopped hanging out with us soon after.

Mad Mick stuck around a couple more years and many more misadventures were had by the Licky Hand Gang™. We stopped hanging out together after he ran off with my girlfriend.

I miss those guys.

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