|Series 1 – Episodes||The Grumblies|
|May 17 2019 |
|Eddy’s Twisted Difference Bucket?”|
|July 10 2019 |
|The ‘alf Price Bucket List”|
|Sept 05 2019 |
|Somewhere deep, deep, deep in Europe!”|
|Oct 12 2019 |
|“As Socrates used to Say!!”|
|Nov 11 2019 |
|“Just Trees Here, No Embassy”|
|Nov 26 2019 |
|“Still Finding Timbuktu Funny?”|
|Dec 13 2019 |
|“I.EST Not Finding This Funny!”|
|Jan 28 2020 |
|To Me Like I Am Four!!|
|Feb 20 2020 |
|Two Bucket Lists??|
|Mar 03 2020 |
|The Bucket Bunch|
|Eddy’s Twisted Difference Bucket?|
|Wednesday 13th 7.45pm|
|“Alright Alby!” George shouted heartily over the rising din of the King’s Head in way of both greeting and showing where he was, which was at the request of Albert prior to their evening drink so he talk to his brother about a problem he was having. Albert waved to George and walked to the bar where Mabel was awaiting his request.|
“Hello my old duck, what’s it to be? The usual, a pint of Doombar?”
“Evening Mabel, no, l am a worried man this evening, l need something stiffer and stronger, l think l’ll have a very large Jameson please.”
“Good grief Albert, that’s quite a change, whatever is wrong?” Mabel asked whilst pouring out the required tot and watching Albert as he requested even more.
“All in good time Mabel, all in good time, l need to speak to my brother first, has Eddy come in yet?”
“Eddy?” Mabel asked looking around the bar and not seeing the man in question turned her attention back to Albert. “No it appears not Albert, do you want me to send him your way when he does come in?”
“Please Mabel, very much so.” Albert answered and collecting his somewhat large Jameson’s walked over to where George was seated.
“Evening Alby, so what’s the problem, why are we here earlier than our normal meet up?” George enquired of his brother as Albert sat down, made himself comfortable and took a large mouthful of the golden liquid. “Whiskey Albert? Whiskey, l haven’t seen you drink a whiskey since you found out that Esther was having you on about not calling you ‘hubby’ anymore, but partner, and that you were now in an open marriage?”
Albert glared balefully at his brother remembering the incident a few months previously, where upon reading some silly glossy magazine Esther had found in her local hairdressers, an article that suggested that the term ‘hubby’ was antiquated and now most modern thinkers used the term partner and that it was old fashioned to say you were married and that is was more upbeat to suggest married couples be involved in an ‘open marriage’ and with that Esther declared she was going to start seeing Jim the Butcher on a Sunday for gratifications, as he was a man who knew how to handle his meat properly!
It turned out to be a joke, and once Albert had picked himself off the floor, Esther, always known for a good giggle who had been laughing so hard her dentures loosened suddenly told him to stop being so silly, it was April the 1st and she had got him a corker!
“Mm, don’t remind me George, that was not a good morning, if l say so myself.” Albert muttered taking another sup of his Jameson’s.
“So why the whiskey now then Alby? What’s happened?” George asked, concerned for his younger sibling, who held the facial pallor of something from one of those early Hammer House movies they used to watch.
“It’s that bloody Eddy, George, he came around to see Esther whilst l was out and he was talking about one of his silly half price holidays he has been trying to offload for the last few weeks.
Eddy or rather Edward Bucket [pronounced bouquet], had been a friend to George and Albert for years, since school in fact and had become a self made millionaire in the seventies with his idea of self improvement and how that if you started believing in the power of one single ‘Ant’ you would become a much truer inner version of yourself and who knows how, but people started believing in the concept and it wasn’t long before ‘Ant Power’ and “The Power of Ant’ was as popular as pyramid networking had become!
It had made him millions and yet in the eighties’ he had practically blown it all away with his lavish ways of living life, womanising, holidaying and basically up to the no good ‘ant’ics of being a fat cat! Since then Eddy was always thinking up outlandish ideas. Last year he had tried the same ploy again, but this time using the concept that the common mosquito had an intrinsic connection with the mighty ant!
This year however, Eddy’s brilliant money making scheme was Married Holidays abroad with a twisted difference, “Great for those concerning couples who wanted to add some zest to their lives!”
“Right, and what did he say to Esther then?” George asked a little confused. He liked Bucket and he and Mabel had considered going on one of his holiday packages before, but they had always been somewhat concerned about the term ‘Twisted Difference?” Like what did that actually mean? With Eddy as the salesman were you suddenly going to find yourself holidaying in Bognor Regis in a giant ant nest or something?
“I need to see Eddy George and tell him to cancel this damn holiday that Esther has already booked, as supposedly a birthday treat for me!” Albert said, taking a huge swig of the Jameson’s. “Esther’s only gone and bought something called Eddy’s Twisted Difference Bucket?”
“What’s that then? Sounds a bit ominous Alby , do you mean Bucket or Bouquet though?” George asked.
“What?” Albert asked looking at George as if he had lost the plot.
“Well Eddy’s surname is Bouquet according to him, but spelled like Bucket, so is it Bucket or Bouquet?”
Before Albert could answer, Eddy was walking towards their table “Alright Albert? Mabel says you want to see me? Has Esther told you the good news about the holiday she has booked and completely paid for as your birthday treat? It’s going to be a real eye opener for you both l think!” Eddy answered looking right chirpier than normal.
“About that Eddy?” Albert began ….
|The ‘alf Price Bucket List”|
|Wednesday 13th 8.15pm|
|Eddy looked at Albert and seeing that glint in his friend’s eye, hesitated before getting to the table where both Albert and George sat looking at his approach. “You alright Albert? I ask as you seem, l don’t quite know how to put it but l guess …”|
“Angry is the word you’re looking for Bucket!”
“Actually, as l have said before, it’s pronounced ‘bouquet’, l even did it by deed poll – it’s not Bucket, it’s Buucquet, l sort of went for a European style. I have said this to you before Albert, and l genuinely would appreciate you referring to me by either my first name and that being Edward or , or Eddy, but it’s not Bucket any more, but ‘buucquet easily pronounced as ‘bouquet’.
Albert wasn’t in the mood for niceties under any circumstances “Fuck it Bucket sit your arse down there!!” He said pointing to the additional chair, in a voice meant to cause alarm.
Other’s around the pub, quieted their conversations, and although not looking directly at ‘the table’, everyone was listening in, the ol’ village ear so to say!
Eddy sat down and brought his bearing up to his full height, which wasn’t much, looked Albert squarely in his eyes [well the top of his lip], “Right Albert, why are so upset? Your lovely wife has gone and bought you a lovely holiday for your birthday and all you can do so far, is try and provoke the agent, that being me by referring to me as like some kind of squalid pig trough?”
George looked a little alarmed, he could see Albert’s temper rising, and he wasn’t entiredly sure why. Granted Eddy could be a bit of a fly boy, but he had not heard any complaints about his friend’s holiday agency so far, mind you in truth George hadn’t heard of anyone actually going from their village. “Calm down Albert, let the man at least hear you out and put your mind to rest?”
Albert although ‘just’ liking Eddy had never told George that Esther had quite possibly been the only person in the village, next to Jigging Higgins that had bought into that silly Mosquito Positivity plan last year and all that really ended up happening was that Esther totally convinced by Mosquito Power had allowed herself to be almost bitten alive that night by thousands of the bloody things.
I mean WHO sits in a shed down by the local pond having not bathed for three days to become ‘one’ with the environment, whilst wearing baggy shorts and a tee shirt? Well Esther and Jigging Higgins for starters and ………. Albert, talked into it by his wife!! “It’ll be good to have some positivity in our lives Alby, you can at times be a little cynical! You have to learn to seize the day by the proverbials!”
That had cost them literally almost their arms and legs and that they had been taken to the cleaners by more than one type of bloodsucker! Eddy’s response of course was that they hadn’t taken it all seriously and yet Eddy had done well, £2000 lighter and later and here he is looking across the table at that gormless smiling face who had now just had another £5000 from his wife!? Esther always a sucker for a smiling face in a nice suit! But additionally she had a soft spot for ‘Edward’, as he at least tried to make things happen!
“Alright, okay, fine. So Eddy tell me about this holiday that you have sold to Esther then, l am quite eager to know?”
“That l will do Albert, me old mate!” Eddy said beaming that gormless smile again. Albert kept his hands under the table and had to cross his legs in case he kicked out Eddy’s chair from under him.
“You see Albert, this is the holiday of a life time, proving very popular in London at present, the amount of people l have sent on this , well it’s not for me to boast. But all have come back breathless from the excitment of it all!”
“Uhuh, right and what does it entail? What is it then, that is so, so, so exciting Eddy?”
“Well of course the things you get to do Albert. I mean we are talking a holiday that is meant for the rich and famous, it’s that good! People just love the thrills and spills of it. It’s all location, location, location these days Albert. Plus you got it for half price, because we are mates!”
“Oh right, so this would have cost us, normally, £10,000? That is what you are saying, have l got that right Eddy?”
“Not quite, it actually would have cost you £11250, but, you know l felt bad about last year and thought l would try and make it right. It’s my civic duty to one of me oldest friends ……… Esther.
“Yes of course.” Albert answered looking sidewards at his brother who was looking confused and asked “Last year??” The last thing Albert needed, his brother laughing his socks off at the whole mosquito affair! “I’ll tell you another time George not, not now.”
Eddy was quicker off the mark, and then started to tell George about how poor ol’ Esther and Jigging Higgins were the only ones that believed him and …. but Albert cut him short. “The holiday Eddy?”
“Oh yes, right you are Albert. Okay, well you are away for 12 weeks, so three months. You are to stay in top notch accommodation – all very highly starred, full board. You will depart from Heathrow and land in a secret location in Europe where you and the others will be met by my partner, Slavios and his wife Ignes. They are to be your official tour guides for the entire duration of this listed holiday. Now, tell me honestly Albert – how does that sound?”
“Too good to be true!” Albert shot out.
“Well, worry not, it’s all one hundred percent kosher, no word of a lie my friend, it’s the very least l can do!” Eddy smarmy smiled at Albert.
“Wow Eddy that sounds awesome, what’s it all called then?” George asked, now very keen to be signed up himself. “I think Mavis and me would be interested in that as well?”
“Well the more the merrier George, least the four of you would all be together sharing the same experiences and yes l can cut exactly the same deal more or less, considering Esther’s misfortune last year.” Eddy beamed.
“What ‘s it all called Eddy?” Albert asked.
“Oh that is easy it is Edward Buuquet’s Listed Holidays! It rhymes that way.”
Something didn’t sit right with Albert and then it clicked “Wait a minute, are you telling me that you have sold Esther an ‘alf price bucket list??”
Eddy just looked at them both and smiled.
|Somewhere deep, deep, deep in Europe!”|
|Saturday 23rd 11.53am ..|
|“Please , please take off the blindfolds, you no longer no more need them, please, please, take them off!” The heavy voice requested.|
Albert blinked several times as the bright sunlight hit him full in the face and wide eyed he took in his surroundings and the others. George was just as wide eyed as were both Mavis and Esther and were all looking like startled rabbits caught in the beam of an approaching car. It wasn’t lost on him, that ‘whenever ago’, which now seemed like a lifetime Eddy Bloody Bucket had driven them all to Heathrow in his own minivan.
“Sorry Albert mate, but the er, coach it broke down and ah, so l thought l would step up and take you all to the airport myself, you know, helping out!” Eddy spluttered.
“…. and the other tourists Eddy?” George asked.
“Oh mate, they are already at the airport, don’t worry it’s all set up, if you miss them, you’re bound to meet them in the secret location on the other end.”
Where exactly is the secret location Eddy, l seem to have forgotten?” Albert asked
“Worry not Albert, you haven’t forgotten. I never told you, and l can’t tell you now … because um, well it’s called secret for a reason Albert … the reason being it’s secret!” Eddy smiled.
“Oh Albert stop it. This is a surprise holiday that l got for you, where’s your sense of adventure?” Esther chipped in and turning to Mavis, both of the girls laughed, much to the chagrin of Albert.
“Yeah calm down Albert, Eddy was always one for surprises, you know that, remember school?” George joked.
Albert remembered school all too well, and didn’t laugh back. George had obviously forgotten about the so called ‘surprises of Eddy which always resulted in him getting clean away and George and Albert getting their arses stroked by a solid piece of birch by the Head!
“Are you sure we are dressed in the right attire Eddy?” Albert asked looking down at his monstrously oversized walking boots, puffed up padded socks, moleskin trousers and ten layers of shirts, tee shirts and jackets. The four of them when bundled into the mini van with their rucksacks more or less had filled the entire width and breadth of the vehicle!
Eddy side glanced Albert who had insisted on taking the front seat and smirked, “Of course, the holiday starts in Europe, deep Europe, really, really deep Europe, so you need to be protected from the elements like.”
“Elements? What elements Eddy, this is supposed to be a holiday, we are not looking to climb bloody ice capped summits!” Albert had snapped, feeling the nausea rise again and threaten to escape if he didn’t shut his mouth.
“It’s an adventure holiday Albert, l did explain this to you over and over and over again. Esther, Mavis and George get it, but you me old mucker seemingly can’t grasp it …. it’s an adventure holiday that starts in deep Europe! So, you need padding for the elements.”
Albert decided to just keep quiet.
Eddy dropped them all off at the main entrance of the airport, gave them their tickets, and told them all to go to their required desk at Terminal 4 and once there ask for ‘Good Ol Sal!”
Who turned out to be one of the receptionists at the desk. A desk that seemingly appeared to be miles away from any of the regular desks! Around the desk were four badly beaten up chairs!
Sal, was tall, much taller than Albert had ever seen a woman of her age be? She was wearing a strange flight attendant’s uniform, which looked more like what he would have expected from a pilot of a Spitfire from World War Two in comparison to what the other receptionists wore. She smelled of cheap perfume, whiskey and cigars, which might be the reason behind her dark husky voice…..
“Oh yes!” She gruffed in a voice similiar to something from one of the Chucky films Esther enjoyed watching. “Oh Eddy l do like Eddy, such a playful man isn’t he? Such a charmer, l do so like Eddy!” Both Esther and Mavis nodded their heads in unison.
“He is so lovely!” Esther beamed.
“Well, the holiday starts here ladies and gentlemen, and l am to be your host for the time that you are here. I will personally drive you to your private plane.”
“Private plane??” Albert asked, “What private plane?”
“Oh how exciting!” Esther squealed! “Eddy has made sure we travel in style and privately! Such a sweet sweet man!”
“Oh yes he is…” Sighed Good ol Sal, “He thinks of everything. By the way, l have to give you these, as the location of the Holiday Hostel .. erm, no not Hostel, they have such a bad repuation in Central Europe ever since that awful film, l mean the Forest Hotel … deep, deep in the forest!” With that she handed out four heavy duty black blindfolds!
“What are they for?” It was George this time, finally saying something sensible, a shocked Albert thought.
“To keep the secret location a surprise of course silly!” Sal answered. “It’s all part of the package you have bought and paid for… ha ha no turning back now!”
“Oh l say Mavis, for once you and l and the boys are all going to be blindfolded and crammed into a dark space together on a private plane!” Esther almost screamed in delight, “Eddy was always one for these silly little games!”
Despite Albert’s protests, George albeit only slightly alarmed agreed to the blindfolds and worse than that, agreed on behalf of them all to have them put on there and then!
At this point, Albert was all for picking up his already heavy rucksack and getting a taxi home … this was all some kind of sick nonsense from Eddy!
“Albert get your arse back here!” Esther yelled. “I paid for this holiday and this is a surprise for you and you ARE GOING to enjoy it! Now if we have to be blindfolded for the secret location, then we are blindfolded!”
Albert stopped dead in his tracks, turned around to see George and Mavis trrying not to laugh and looked at the stern face of Esther. “Yes, my beloved!”
“Right everybody please take a seat … Would you like a drink, something strong maybe, you are going to need it for the flight out!” Sal laughed out loud and upon seeing all of their shocked faces beneath the folds joked again, “ha ha, ha, ha……ha ……….. ha, only joking.”
They all agreed to perhaps a small brandy, which once sipped and taken back, tasted odd, very odd indeed ………………
Albert awoke once during the flight out, to the sound of Sal laughing to the point of almost crying, the stench of cigars, sour and spilled whiskey, chicken poop and the rather sickly sweet smell of maraschino cherries. He had to be dreaming, but the bumps and cricks and clanks and maybe a stuttering engine with the additional smell of burnt diesel and smoke convinced him perhaps he wasn’t … but he was just so tired………….
“Please , please take off the blindfolds, you no longer no more need them, please, please, take them off!” The heavy voice requested.
|“As Socrates used to Say!”|
|Albert, George and the girls Mavis and Esther were all looking at their surroundings as they looked out of the windows of the small log cabin they found themselves in. Bunk beds of three high no less stood in rows alongside one side of the wall. Albert counted six rows, so 18 beds and you would be polite to call them beds. They looked more like slabs of straw with a rough blanket thrown on top.|
“It’s a bit rough and ready… isn’t it?” He asked the room … “I mean, Esther did you deliberately book a holiday is Stalag 13 or are you as surprised as me?”
Esther, never one to be put out or show herself to be wrong smiled …”It’s all part of the environment Albert. Eddy came over one night when you were at the pub with George and filled me in … it’s a very natural holiday with lots of adventure and because it is filled to the brim with all ‘sorts’ of adventures the expense of the holiday is NOT hyperfocused on the accomodation and niceties, so knuckle down boys, it is indeed time to get ready for rough, rough, rough! Back to nature it is …. oh there ‘s more than a mere log cabin in the woods with no amenities what so ever, no la di da’s on this holiday Albert … l assure you!”
Albert looked at her smiling, and wondered exactly what else Eddy had filled her in with, because this wasn’t just some rough and ready holiday for the outdoorsy types – but if anything looked to be a holiday in hell!
“So you are completely okay are you Esther with the outside facilities then?” Albert asked pointing to the toilet shack leaning against the broken wall and covered in moss – which having already used it and discovered that it was home to more than two buckets one of which was empty whilst the other filled with sawdust that itself had seen better days and he would not be surprised if it was used sawdust judging the colour!
Esther looked at where her husband was pointing, and admittedly felt that rising horror in the pit of the stomach – as one does when faced with the unknown, she already believed that Eddy was a swindling bastard who for some unknown and bizarre reasoning seemingly thought it would be funny sending the four of them on this holiday …. what Esther hadn’t told Albert, George or even Mavis was that they were to be the very first to trial it all out, they were the guinea pigs and this was the pilot programme.
She was not going to tell Albert that of course … Eddy had said it would all be a bit rough around the edges with very few pretty aspects to it, but that is why it was so cheap. However, looking at the toilet shack, with its sombre exterior, broken windows and overall appearance, she did feel a little concerned, especially now as it was getting darker and it seemed to be getting so dark, so hauntingly dark?
Where on earth had the two guides disappeared to after they left them at this ‘cabin?’ They had been there one minute and then the darkness just swallowed them up! She couldn’t quite understand why they had to walk almost ten miles to get to this location … it creeped her out a little if honest. they had seen other people on their trek here, and the guides had said they were ‘fellow inmates’ and then corrected themselves and said ‘holiday makers ….” She thought perhaps it was European humour …
It’s not often you see naked people hanging by their toes getting paddled like that … well it had been a long time since she and Albert had taken a holiday together. But she did notice Mavis and George looking a little pale as they trekked further into the depth of the forest … she thought Eddy had gone to a lot of trouble to make it appear as if it was like that film she saw once a long time ago , what was that called again Severance or was it Hostel? She always got a little confused …
“Yes Albert, of course l am fine with it … l just have to squat, quite used to it, l used to have to do squats when l was a dancer, okay so it HAS been a few years since then, but we must think of the adventures we are going to experience on this holiday – Eddy said our guides would be explaining the itinerary to us tomorrow and from the few things l could see l am … astonished , l think that’s the easiest way to describe it all. This part of the holiday is l think to prepare us for the adventures themselves – to strengthen us, to toughen us up, to award us more stamina … l think. So, a bit a crummy looking shack for the loo for a few days is nothing!”
With that, as if to prove to everyone she wasn’t worried she stormed off and out into the dusk and marched her way to the toilet……!
The three of them watched her go.
Like Albert, George had paid a visit upon arrival to their shack … or log cabin or whatever this was … and decided that he would simply take his chances with the actual woods rather than venture into that small shack again [or just pee in one of the corners of this building]. He daren’t tell Mavis and was a little concerned about her ‘funny tummy syndrome’ and wondered how many tissues she had actually brought with her. There had been a rather strange looking plant growing on the inside, and he was pretty sure it was giant hogweed and again pretty sure that meant severe burns …. mm. This could be tricky!
A deep, nasty terrible scream of pain and anguish came from the ‘toilet’ and suddenly the door flew open and Esther came flying out her jeans down by her ankles, her face contorted in terror … screaming, “Get it off, get it off, get it off!!”
Albert and George ran to her side whilst Mavis herself shrieked and ran to hide behind the beds….
…. Esther had always hated spiders and the one in her hair, well what could be said? Big wasn’t the right word or a description of the size. Albert and George had never been that bothered, but this thing looked like it came armed with a spiked baseball bat of it own!!
Once the spider had been tossed out of the building and Esther had calmed down, she pulled herself up to her full height and said she was retiring for the night! George and Albert watched her go and watched as Mavis consoled her and the two girls spoke in hushed tones whilst every now and again, Mavis gasped and paled a little more and looked absolutely mortified!
“Blimey Albert, ” George said, “Whaddyer think then?”
Albert looked at his brother sternly and thought for a moment or two, before answering “Mm well George, l think as Socrates used to like to say , “We might be a little bit fucked here! But l could be wrong, l could be very wrong. It might not be right to say we are up shit creek without a paddle but ….. l don’t even think we have a boat! I am a little bit concerned, but then, not one to say ‘I Told you so … but l did!”
George looked at his brother, “Oh well l guess the easiest thing to do is ‘sleep on it eh?’ Everything is usually brighter in the morning. Bit of sunshine, some breakfast … do we get breakfast here Albert or do we have to catch it, kill it and cook it ourselves??”
“Yeah, l guess you are right George, not like we can do anything about it now. We are deep, deep in Europe somewhere, who knows where … let’s call it a night and sleep on it.” Albert said and both he and Geroge walked off in the direction of the triple bunk beds. Mavis and Esther were sharing one bunk and huddled together in fright.”
As Albert shut his eyes, he took one last look at the creeping darkness, thought of Esther’s spider the size of a melon, Mavis looking terrified and George trying to brave it up. He then thought of a hundred ways of flaying Eddy the next time he saw ……….. if he ever saw him again, that was!
No one answered him, but somewhere outside, Albert could of sworn he heard a bear digging … and drifted to sleep believing he had answered the age old question of ‘Does a bear shit in the woods? Must do, because it would be mad to use that bloody shack!!”
|Just Trees Here, No Embassy”|
|The four awoke to feeling seriously grizzled, each in turn had experienced a rough night alone on their basic straw beds nevermind the traumas they had tackled as a group!! Half a dozen times they had woken up to strange scratchings at the door and at the side of the house on the walls and something at 3.13am was most assuredly trying to squirm its way down the chimney!|
None of this was helped by Mavis running around the cabin flailing her arms whilst squealing ‘This is the evil dead’ all over again!!”
Despite not drinking a great deal the previous day they all needed to get up and down several times during the night to wee and pee into the one already putridly smelling bucket in the corner of the building!
Then when all seemed quiet, at 5.51am the front door already ricketty, started shaking in its frame and there was some kind of monstrous maniacal laughing on the other side??! Just when they thought the door was about to give and each one was pretty damn sure their hearts had stopped, the shaking stopped and in walked this brute of a man … oh wait a moment, Albert realised his mistake, it was a woman, not a man! She was covered in fur and animal skins and had a seriously dirty dirty face!?
She was carrying some kind of luncheon pail the size of a mini cooker and a large bottle of clear liquid. The ‘guide’ if that was the right word, spoke deep and gruffly …
“Morning l am your tour guide, Madam Elgoloski – you can call me Madam for short. This is your breakfast, it is speciality here ‘deep European’ speciality – eat, build strength – for today your holiday starts, but first ve need to train you! It is a mixture of famous dishes from around Europe, l make it myself and mix them all together for extra strength and vitality! You have the lungs of a cow, the tongue of an ox, liver paste, lots of blood …pudding, pigs blood, hearts chopped and tripe – smells terrible, but eats good! Bulls testicles and pig farts and fats! I mix it with vhole vegetables … It’s good, you like … eat alll, be strong! I call it ‘Froupalottashlokka Mix!!”
“This wodka, is good, hot, strong, make you strong, make you vee harder, faster and quicker. It burns everything vay in and vay out! Do you understand?” Madam asked and before any of the shocked four could answer she produced a thick envelope from somewhere within her fashioned skinned attire and thrust it into the hand of the startled Mavis! “Here, read. Bucket List Agenda – Mr Eddy says you must sign waver for the ‘events’
The four just looked at Egoloski before Albert asked “Waver? what do you mean waver?”
“If you die, if you the training kills you, or something else kills you … dead as in no more living, you understand?? Breathing gone!”
Mavis stared at the envelope in terror and squealed “I demand to see someone in the Embassy and l need to speak to someone. I have a wobbly tummy and this ‘throw up a lotta mix, really doesn’t sound healthy!! Nor, may l add does dying sound healthy for a holiday! I am here to relax, l am 72, George is 79!! Don’t you know these things? This is supposed to be a holiday where we relax, do ‘things’, relax some more, not die in our beds, and a bucket is NOT a proper facility for toiletting and where is the bathroom, l need a shower … l feel icky!!”
Esther, George and Albert stared at Mavis and Madam, and Madam and Mavis awaiting the response…
Madam looked at Mavis with curiousness and then laughed a deep bellowing laugh, and through her laughing face, she smiled at Mavis before saying ..” You are funny!! Mr Eddy said you vere all funny, you like joking, you like laughter, you like funny … l can do funny here too, my husband can do funny too, our children, cousins and all family can do funny. Embassy you say?? We have no embassy, we have trees, this is training holiday camp, you want embassy, use trees make embassy!”
Madam looked out the window and pointed “Look out window, what do you see? No, l tell you … tree, trees and more trees, trees, tree, oh look another tree, ooher over there another tree, hahahaha, trees, just trees here, no embassy. Stop being baby, now eat, drink and …. read!”
With that Madam Elgoloski, turned on her heel and thumped her way out of the cabin like a disgruntled elephant.
“Oh Albert, l think l may owe you an apology, but either this is a huge Eddy joke, or we are in a spot of bother?” Esther spoke for the first time.
Albert looked at her, baffled as to how ‘only now ‘ did his lovely wife potentially see that there might be a problem here, took his time before answering … “Mm, oh l don’t know Esther – what’s not to love? Country air, who knows what country, but country air all the same, at one with nature – so many trees to not be, and there is wildlife here, bears for sure! Organic living, environmental holidaying, puke your own food menu, plenty of drink, good humour, knowledgeable staff and to boot … a fixed exercise regime! What’s not too love darling?”
Before Esther could answer, there was the sound of a cat behind them trying to cough up a furball, only to discover that it was Mavis who had opened up the huge cooker pail with their ‘breakfast in’. She was green and slowing turning a kind of purply red as she crumpled towards the floor spluttering, she appeared to be fighting for her breath, looking for George, Albert spotted him with a huge wooden spoon and sampling the ‘mixture’. “It smells really bad Alby, but it tastes alright – different although l can see the vegetarians in the group having a problem … but if you wipe some of the blood off the turnips or the carrots you can probably eat those!”
“George your wife is choking!!” Esther screamed rushing over to her friend.
“No, noooo, no she’s not, that’s not her choking noise … her choking is more like a dying gurgle, that noise is more like the ‘l can’t believe it’s not butter’ gurgle! She’ll be fine, but her touchy stomach might have a couple of problems with breakfast admittedly.
So in the end all four of them, sat on the wooden floor and looked through the mish mash that was their breakfast… the vodka they came to the conlusion was quite possibly the only friend the vegetarian really had and Mavis and Esther not full on vegetarians but more that than meat eaters swigged the 100% proof white spirit. George, sickeningly rather liked the mixture and was happily gobbling and grunting away in a corner by himself ladling huge quantities of his portion into his face!
Albert, well he took out a couple of the vegetables and a couple of pieces of red something that didn’t seem to still be breathing and started to read the contents of the envelope.
“Oh MY …. no, no, no – oh my, oh no, what?? Seriously, you have got to be kidding me, no way!!!”
The others all stopped what they were doing and looked at Albert who had suddenly turned white … “What is it Albert? What have you just read?” Croaked Esther.
|“Still Finding Timbuktu Funny?”|
|“Albert, what is it?? Tell me, tell us, why have you turned so sickly looking!?” Esther demanded of her husband, who was sitting on the edge of the bunk shaking his head.|
“It’s that bloody Eddy and his sense of humour, he must be living up the high life on our money somewhere exotic, whilst we four are stranded ‘somewhere in deep sodding Europe! I am tiring of saying and hearing it, we may as all well be in bloody Timbuktu, and..!” Albert stopped and looked at his brother who was chucking and chortling out loud!
“What is your problem George? What’s so funny?”
“Ha ha, Albert it’s what you said just then, it reminded me of that ol’ joke we used to laugh about!” George laughed.
“Are you going to enlighten me then to this pearled humour of yours?” Albert snarled.
“Yeah alright you know Timbuktu? I bucked one but Timbuktu – it’s the old dancing pick up line!! Ha ha, it always makes me laugh, gorta laugh, l mean look at us, stuck deep in the wilderness. You now a shade of vomit green, Esther well she’s gone and gone even whiter than my toothpaste and as for Mavis … well a runny tummy doesn’t even cover how’s she is looking, you know?”
Albert just looked at his brother, wondering if their mother had dropped him on his head when young. Curses, he thought, why me, why is it always me? I could have been at home, going down to the pub for a quiet pint in familiar surroundings eyeing up the occasional totty that hardly even ventured there, but yet, and yet and always bloody yet, he wasn’t there – he was here, with a lunatic for a brother!
“Oh yes, ho ho ho and bloody ha ha … sometimes l do wonder if we are related … why is it always me that has to be the serious one?”
“Well you could ‘try’ laughing a bit more , l mean what’s the worst that can happen to us now? I mean we could all die of course … we could be mauled by some wild beast, Mavis could disappear into the bucket there … so Alby my old bean, you gorta lighten up!”
“Lighten up, if you had just read, what l have just read, you would not be saying this!!” Albert yelled, making the Esther and Mavis jump in unison.
“Well alrighty, what’s got your knickers in such a twist then?” George asked, seeing that Albert looked as though he was going to blow a gasket!
Albert calmed down, it didn’t help to worry the others, he knew George only laughed like this when he was nervous. If Albert had to be the calm and serious one, then he best start acting like a responsible adult. They were here now, they had to deal with it … unless, they could figure a way to escape!
“It’s our holiday agenda George, all twelve weeks of it – three months of Eddy Bloody Bucket’s humour!” Albert sighed.
“Actually Albert, Eddy is quite particular about his name, he Deed Polled it you know , it’s actually pronounced more like Boooq….” Esther began, but seeing her hubby’s eyes darken, she decided to let the matter drop. She hardly ever saw him this angry, probably best to not cause even more friction.
“Well, let’s hear it then Albert, unless you are waiting for Christmas, what are the next 12 weeks of our lives filled with?” George asked his brother, sensing the major storm had passed.
“Well the next three days is classed as “Intensive Extreme Sports Training?” Albert began ….
“Mm, that sounds nice though doesn’t it though, l do like sporting activities Albert.” Esther said.
“Esther, were the words Intensive, Extreme and Training, lost on you?” Albert asked in a bewildered fashion of his obviously deranged wife. He was surrounded by absolute nutters!! “That sounds like we are being trained for some daring mission – we are supposed to be on holiday relaxing, not going all Rambo gung ho!”
“Anyway Albert, continuing along …” George prompted.
“Yes, yes of course, okay, what’ll do is just basically say it all as it is written, okay? Questions can be asked afterwards … not that l have much more information than this? How does that sound?”
“Do it, just do it!” Esther said through gritted teeth.
“Well first off we have the “Intensive Extreme Sports Training?”, this is then followed and apparently in no set order buy the following ”’ fun and exciting activities”’ … ballooning, surfing, bathing in Pepsi?” Albert stopped and reread that again to himself …. bathing in Pepsi? What’s the bloody hell is that all about??”
“Swimming with sharks with Chum? What chum, do they means chums perhaps, as in we are all doing it together? Fire eating and sword swallowing … surely not both at the same time? Pretending to be Elk in season? What on earth does that mean?
Feeding the raccoons, drinking civet coffee, learning to use a buzz saw …. Albert stopped reading and looked up at the three baffled faces looking at him in utter shock and wide eyed!
Albert looked back at the agenda and started reading again ….”Close shaves with an epilator?? What the hell does that mean or for that matter this next line … It just says ‘raw kidney beans’ and soiled tapioca? You wait till l next see fricken Eddy … providing we all do that is as in EVER again see anything, l am feeling quite queasy! Fugu? why does that ring a bell, anyone, any clue to fugu? No? okay, anyway … Pamplona Plastic Bull running? Seriously?? Do you see what l mean now .. this is why l am worried. This list has been put together by someone either on a l hate human day or with a very warped sense of humour drunk on liquid prozac!
“Oh is that all of the agenda then Albert?” Asked an ashen faced George.
“No, that is just the first paragraph George!” he answered a nail biting George.
“Right, so there is more then?” George asked.
“Yes, Four Wheeling after piercings, midnight Mogwai feeding .. wasn’t there a film about that? I thought that came with a warning? Chernobyl skinning dipping … mm, that rings a bell as well, grouse hunting, snake charming, two days of imagination gone wild games, potholing, boot walking in Antarctica, mountaineering, volcano watching with lard?? Who is Lard when they are at home? Promoting SAD in the Vatican ….”
“Oh l have always wanted to go to the Vatican!” Mavis who had been deathly quiet squealed in delight!
“Really Mavis, dressed as a nun?” Albert asked.
“No, why would l do that?” Mavis ventured.
“Ask Eddy when you next see him!” Albert answered with a smirk … “Rolling coasting in the desert, Pinata gaming. Oh l see we will be attending a Slipknot concert wearing Justin Beiber t-shirts – why is that here under ‘outrageous adventure’, something here about a convention called Twi-Hard? Anyone? No, okay then … thunderstorming with electrics? Learning to Lambada with fire ants and finishing off with grizzly bear tickling??”
Albert stopped reading and looked up … “Well any questions?”
Three hands shot upwards to the roof and Albert looked at a baffled George. “I thought so, so still finding Timbuktu funny then are we?”
“Well admittedly put to me like that Albert … it does all sound a bit grim!” George whispered.
“Yes, yes it does George … l think it’s safe to say the ‘introductory package’ to the holiday is over and it’s now all scary path from here!”
“Let the adventures begin then!!” Esther squeaked trying to maintain a brave face.
|“I.EST Not Finding This Funny!”|
|“You, ‘little legs’ lift those knees higher! “Brutish 1′ as they had nicknamed him and the others hollered yet again! He seemed to spend his entire day yelling at them, they all did, like that was a sport in itself, Albert thought. But he looked at his brother and had to concede, that George did seem to have little legs and admittedly they were not as high as they should have been. But then, his legs were only marginally longer and he too was experiencing the same cramps as he had been twenty minutes earlier – so perhaps hardly surprising that George’s little legs were struggling. I mean, honestly how long can one be expected at their age to jog on the spot ‘knees high?’|
All the same, he decided to strain further and lift his own legs higher just in case Brutish 1 turned his attention to him, there were only another ten minutes to go and then they could stop for ‘lunch’, or what they had become accustomed to calling ‘slurry slush sloop’ which comes with additional proteins!
Albert was starting to become obsessed with the thought of killing Eddy next time, if he ever saw him again. He had thought of a hundred different ways since the “I.E.S.T” had begun … he further wondered if this was an actual training ground for military prisioners or something? Did the S.A.S come here to be punnished in this manner? How many tourists actually had to undergo this Intensive Extreme Sports Training, or I.E.S.T as the gang of Brutish called it .. everytime they did so, they laughed!
Did Eddy actually come over and set this all up? This was their third and final day. He hadn’t really seen much of Esther or Mavis in the last couple of days. They were up at the crack of dawn at 04.30, had to endure the joys of sloop in strange wooden bowls with matching spoons and honestly he felt like he should have been back in a pram for all the nutrition he derived from it!
But they exercised from 05.00 to 21.00 with a break every four hours or so – the Brutish said it was exactly as the holiday agenda had requested. So that had to be that bastard Eddy! What on earth was he thinking? But then Albert thought back three days earlier to when the four of them had pondered over the actual agenda for the holiday itself – The Half Bucket List!
Mavis and George both had been very quiet that night when they retired to the bunks for sleep. Making matters worse was that Albert always a light sleeper had been awoken twice during the night by both his brother and his wife talking in their sleep about lard and chum .. eeewk a terrible mixture!
But Albert thought about that, l mean what really was meant by the two words in relationship especially to the selected activities? Wasn’t chum what Roy Schneider had been using to lure Jaws to the boat in that film? Was there a connection between ‘swimming with sharks and ‘chum?’ Plus who in their right minds would go near a volcano with lard – wouldn’t the two together be kind of dangerous?
That first night, Albert hadn’t really seen much of any of them, the strange thing was that he had been ‘exercising’ with George all day and yet he thinks he may have been delirious or something because he didn’t really remember looking at his brother for the entirety of the day itself? The two girls, well they were nowhere to be seen at all and according to Brutish 1, they were off on their own activities with Brutish 2!
There were five in the Brutish Clan – all built and dressed exactly the same – it was only their faces that allowed he and George to tell them apart – just – and so it just became easier to number them! 1 – 5, 5 – 1, mattered not, they were just numbers to them!
However, Albert had to also concede to the fact that he had lost considerable weight … he wasn’t heavy to begin with unlike George who could have done with losing a few pounds before this trip, and he had succeeded in the diet he never wanted to take! He looked much slimmer, they all did. He knew George was thankful for the extra cushioning he had on day one, more so because that rock climbing exercise with no ropes was very tricky and they had managed to achieve the 100 foot high climb up pretty well with only a few grazes. Sadly however, 15 feet from the bottom George slipped, cut his knee and fell on his gluteus maximus!
Albert probably would have cried as well, although he is not quite sure if he would have sobbed quite as hard as George did? But who knows, he didn’t land bum down on a pointy rock! George had injured himself that day, and Brutish 3 had come out of nowhere, hoisted George over his shoulder like a bundle of balsa and walked off into the forest with him! Only for him to return twenty minutes later with George hobbling beside him wincing.
“Are you alright George ? What happened??” He asked his brother.
George shuddered considerably before answering in a whisper …”Brutish 4 stuck a finger into my anus, on it was some kind of green sticky substance that looked like moss … Albert Brutish 4 is it a man or a woman?” George answered.
“I don’t know, why?”
“Well , they laughed and giggled as they wiggled their finger in there, and then slapped me on my bottom and then whoever they are gave me their card and signed the ‘call me’ action, blew me a kiss and sent me on my way!
“Oh, oh right .. well l am not quite sure what to say or what to advise you George, how did it feel?” Albert asked.
George looked at his brother … “Honestly?”
“Yes of course, honesty is key, as our good ol mum used to say!”
“Well l enjoyed it … not the finger and where it went mind, but whatever was on the end of the finger, as my bottom doesn’t feel so bad, although l am not entirely convinced l haven’t now got to bum holes!!”
Albert didn’t know how to respond, however he didn’t have to worry for long, as Brutish 3 rounded on them both. “Why you stopped??
The two brothers looked simply into the huge brutes face “Well …” began Albert.
“Don’t care, you climb again, we do this, till you get right, bum or no bum, you climb! Then lunch!” Brutish 3 yelled.
“I would love to see him fall on his arse!” Snarled George.
Albert thought back to that day, which was only two days ago … he remembered the next morning that George had to coax a shattered, whimpering and simpering Mavis out from under her bed … she looked terrified. The strange thing was when asked what they had been doing the previous day, the girls had gone ashen faced and nodded their heads in a unison ‘NO’ We don’t want to talk about it!!
Upon further coaxing Esther admitted that it had involved lots of dark caves filled with who knows how many creepy crawlies and she could hear Mavis screaming at the top of her lungs every five minutes!
“I have told her Albert, that she and George need to do more gardening, she would become used to seeing more spiders!!” Esther said when they two were huddled in the corner eating their sloop.
“You told her?? Esther you hate spiders as much as she does?” Albert said quizzicially.
“Yes, yes l do, but l wasn”t in with the spiders, l was 300 feet up in the air walking on a rope bridge barefoot and blindfolded!!” Esther snapped.
“Oh right, blimey, mm … did you have fun?” Albert enquired.
“Actually l did, it was scintillating – l was naked at the time .. what do you think l will need to be naked for on the holiday as an adventure then? She asked and answered with a crazy looking sneer on her face.
Albert really didn’t know, so decided to say nothing.
“YOU!!” A voice snapped him out of his thoughts.
“Yes?!!” Albert answered sharply.
“Knees higher! You need muscle in legs, l feel you will all be running a lot on your holiday! A lot …..!!” Brutish 1 laughed with pure evil in his voice.
|…. To Me Like I Am Four!!|
|“Albert, can you explain this to me again, like l am four? It might make it easier to understand?” George asked of his younger brother.|
Albert, sitting next to George, eyed him suspiciously, sighed and then looked out the window again of the rickety mini bus they all found themselves now in, driving around who knows where for the second day, although that was unfair and untrue, it wasn’t the second day.
To say day would mean there had been and they had enjoyed some kind of break time therefore making it appear like there were actual days. But they hadn’t apart from the pit stops or rather piss stop toilet breaks on the side of the road and even then, they had to be blindfolded on account of the ‘”Oh it vill be part of ze ‘oliday fun!” attitude and held by the shoulders when they actually peed, in case of the dreaded …. ‘Zu vould not like to fall down the chasm, vould zu?”
Looking out the window all Albert could see was rock, where ever they were now, they had driven for the last 8 hours through rock? How was that even possible? Were they going around in circles? Where on the planet does one drive for 8 hours solid and only see sheer upwardly rising rock faces and ONLY rock?
Albert thought that was bad enough, but yesterday all they had seen was barren wasteland, if he didn’t know any better he might think he was on bloody Mars!
He thought back to the afternoon of the day they had left the training camp, which he figured must have been the day before yesterday. They had received the very last of their ‘survival training’ and oh good grief, they were all absolutely mortified by those particular ‘survival’ modules! That last exercise was aptly if not frighteningly called…
Rather astonishingly he now had all this ‘just in case’ training in his head, what to do if chased by a swarm of bees, how to get out of a broken toilet bowl using only your thumbs, how to appease a ravenous bull shark when its only raining blood – your blood, how to disarm a nuclear bomb in 27 seconds with an ear bud, what happens when you fall from a great height with only a pillow – cobras aren’t dangerous only misunderstood! Because THAT is what everyone needs to know, and more worryingly the trainers said ‘they all needed to know these things for their holiday!!?’
So now, every five minutes he had George asking him survival questions ….
Albert had had an easy life back home, before all of this so called ‘half price bucket list holiday’ nonsense began! He and George used to enjoy meeting up at the pub for a quiet drink or two a couple of times a week. The girls at home would be involved in their crochet and word puzzles, crosswords or just something stupid on the television … but now, NOW!! Here they were ‘ who knows where on a bloody shambolic mini bus that felt like a permanent earthquake with all its shaking and bits and pieces falling off it!
He cast his head over his left shoulder and could see both Esther and Mavis asleep on the seats. How they managed to sleep was quite beyond him, well it wasn’t not really … the two had only been marginally close before this holiday began, but now they had more in common with each other and could relate. If it wasn’t so serious, Albert would laugh at the moment shared between the two women just last week, comparing their cuts and bruises and it reminded him of that scene in the movie Jaws!
So that was at least something, they had bonded with each other more – although he himself had found on more than one occasion – George to be ‘quirksome!’ But even they who were already closer, were now closer still.
Behind the girls, the rest of the mini van was filled with equipment, tents, sleeping bags, their rucksacks and a host of other strange looking …. things. Most of those ‘things’ were to do with the survival part of their bucket holiday. At the front were two of the Brutes from the Training Camp, Brutish 1 and 3 he thought? He wondered if that was the married couple? All bloody bizarre really, he just ……
“Albert?” George spoke to his brother again, “Did you hear me?”
Albert shook his head out of the clouds and looked at George, “Sorry mate, yes l heard you … okay so listen up – if you ever find yourself confronted by a twenty five foot seriously angry and pissed injured alligator and only armed with a wooden toothbrush and a bent hairpin – don’t run, instead, this is what you do ……
|Two Bucket Lists??|
|“Vake up, vake up – you are here at your destination – it’s all fun from this moment on!” Brutish 1’s voice echoed throughout the van to the occupants.|
Albert stirred, his neck stiff from the unusual angle he had fallen asleep in. His eyes peeled open to take in the surroundings. He felt remarkably sticky and in places he didn’t wish to feel that sticky and other places he hadn’t felt sticky in for years! The heat inside the van was intense. Before he had accidentally fallen asleep? He guess he had, because he didn’t specifically remember wanting to fall asleep, his mind was a bee hive of questions and concerns for Esther, Mavis and George and how on earth they were going to survive this monstrous holiday they found themselves in … mm, being more correct that Eddy had placed them into and Esther had bought into!
Straightening himself up, he saw George sat beside him, also stirring. Poor sod, he had fallen asleep hanging out from the side of the seat with his head resting on the floor on the minibus, that was going to hurt now and later and later still. Looking over his shoulder, Esther and Mavis were awake, eyes wide open in shocked disbelief maybe, horror perhaps or that slow dawn of realisation that ‘yes’ they were still on this bloody holiday and ‘no’, it wasn’t a bad dream!
Albert took a sip from his water bottle, the contents just worthy of drinking and started to help George get into a position more dignifying to a human being. “Where are we Albert?” George asked of his brother.
Albert looked outside the window, more rock, no more cliffs, but if anything it looked like ‘jungle’, there was dense vegetation everywhere? No buildings. But the sun was shining and it was daylight – hot jungled daylight. As he continued to look he could see brilliant colours in the foliages, colourful birds flying in the skies and was that a growl somewhere deeper in?
The Brutish were busy unloading from the back of the minibus all their belongings and chattering excitedly about getting out of this place and getting back home to the cosiness of the deep forests! The deep, deep forest somewhere in Europe!
Albert wondered if that was all a ploy, were they actually in the European forests to begin with? They hadn’t seen any signs whilst they were there, they had seen very little life of other life suggesting ‘other life’ existed in the first place, so where were they really?
If they were in Europe at the start and they hadn’t left Europe, where in Europe were jungles? Albert at a push thought that they had begun their ‘holiday’ somewhere in Romania – that would have made sense with the forests, and if not there, most assuredly eastern Europe. They had driven almost solid for two days in an old minibus – l mean how far could they go per day? Albert dreaded the whole thought process and decided to leave it for a time when he didn’t feel like he had wet and shat himself!
“Are we here then?” Mavis had discovered her voice again, “Is this it? Is this where our holiday actually starts? Will we start having some fun? Is there a hotel, with flushing toilets, proper food, drinking water, a shower or even a bath …oh how l would love one of those, l feel like the inside of a dried up and scrunched vomit bag!”
“Oh Mavis, just stop talking for a moment, please!” Esther was just starting to gather momentum to her own thoughts and having her friend ask too many questions all at once was proving tiresome and somewhat overwhelming. She had to listen to her questions the previous day non-stop.
Esther didn’t know anything, anymore than the rest of the party and Mavis’s constant harping on about her fears and phobias was leading to murderous thoughts from Esther! However, she couldn’t blame Mavis, they were all thoroughly decent questions … she had trusted Eddy because she had always had a soft spot for him, he had lovely hair! “Sorry Mavis, that was uncalled of me, l don’t know , l hope so too.”
Slowly Albert, George, Mavis and Esther got up from their cramped quarters and made their way off the bus into the wretchedly hot environment. First things first a quick warm up, to take away the strains, a few stretches, a couple of squats and yes, they all started to feel a bit more human again.. so the exercise training at the camp wasn’t a complete waste of time.
“You’ll need to change your zox and put on some good valking boots, you have a valk before you are at your first base camp. Here is fresh vater, a small lunch, a map with directions, compass, a machete each and your first envelope with your ‘adventures ‘ for this part of the holiday. You’ll know you are at your destination when Franco Mungo meets you at the rope bridge. If you set off now, you zhould be there in a few hours – my advice here is this 1] remember your survival training and 2] don’t stray off the path and if you do, make sure there are two of you all the time. It’s not the greatest area for zafe valking, ok?” Brutish 1 handed Albert a large box of contents to be divied up between them all.
Mavis blurted “Are neither of you joining us, helping?”
“This is your special holiday, not mine lady. You pay Eddy Bucket for Half Price Bucket List – you get what you pay for. If you had bought full bucket list, things would have been different.” Brutish 3 answered.
“No, that’s not right – Eddy offered us the Bucket List at half price, not a ‘Half Price Bucket List!” Esther snapped in defence.
“No, that’s not right you are wrong – there were two holidays – The Half Price Bucket List Holiday and the Bucket List Holiday! You all paid for the first one, so the packages are different. Anyway, no we are not helping you valk three hours to see Franco, that – you do!”
With that both the Brutish, waved to them, wished them luck, got into the minibus and sped off laughing!
Albert had watched this exchange with worried interest and when the Brutish were a speck and a dust trail in the distance he turned to Esther “Darling, were there two holiday packages then? Two Bucket Lists??”
|The Bucket Bunch|
|“Well l don’t think it’s an unfair question Esther!” Mavis said to her friend, “You are his wife, you ask him! We have been trudging about now for half the day if not longer, and l am beginning to think we are going around in circles!!”|
“Mavis, firstly you don’t need to practically shout it out for the world to hear l am just behind you and secondly we are not going around in circles, and whilst yes, l agree we seem to have been walking for longer than l thought we might be. Let’s not forget a small incident with you and the bloody ants not long back!” Esther snapped!
“There is no need for the attitude Esther, it was merely a question … not once have l brought up the elephant in the room! The obvious error of the day! No, l haven’t – because you are my friend and that wouldn’t be fair! Everyone makes mistakes, who knew there were two holidays? I could very easily have made it … it’s not like Eddy corrected you is it? I mean, he obviously didn’t explain the holidays, properly did he??
“I have always liked Eddy’s hair – considering his age, he still has so much of it and still the same lovely colour….” Esther daydreamed instead of addressing Mavis’s question.
“I don’t know how many times l have to tell you Esther, but Eddy’s head is like his surname – as in Bucket, and inside every bucket is a mop and your swoony Eddy is no different – he has a mop in it, he wears a wig for goodness sake!!” Albert had stopped from his lead walking position, turned and shouted up the line to where Mavis and Esther were talking! Do hurry along please, l have no desire to be walking in this bush in the darkness!
Esther shrugged, “Well it’s a nice wig – at least he still has hair even if it is a wig!”
Albert sighed again, annoyed at the loudness of the complaints from the rear of the line from Mavis and the irritating complimenting of Eddy Bucket and his false hair from his wife! Once more they had to stop to wait for them both to catch up – but hey, at least NOW they were back on the right track!
Albert stopped, not just to wait for them, but to catch his breath. Swinging a machete in the denseness of this bush was hard work. George tried it but had nearly cut off his own head, so Albert took the blade from his brother and took on the full-time position of lead walker and machete swinger!
He was still reeling from the disclosure before the Brutish had buggered off at the start of their trek … two holidays?? Two bucket lists?? Esther had looked genuinely frazzled by it! He knew his wife well enough to know that she had been so taken in by Eddy’s dashing hair and charming locks and suaveness that he could have sold her cow dung in pastry and she wouldn’t have known! This bloody costly so called ‘lavish holiday of a lifetime’ was an awful experience on one hand and an eye opener on the other! He had wanted to be very annoyed at Esther – but seriously what was the point, what was the anger going to achieve??
As he had been walking and swinging the machete, he had been working to a rhythm and thinking about the position they were all in! They had paid for a three month or thirteen-week holiday and so far they had been away from England for just under two weeks. They had so far trained in a survival camp for the so called ‘bucket listings’.
They had endured and survived decrepit living quarters, indecent bedding and washing facilities, inadequate nutrition,
insomnia and lack of sleep combined, bouts of jelly belly, beaten up transports, wild animals, wilder insects [Albert shuddered at the recent experience with the hairy ants], blood sucking mosquitos – the real deal, giant furry spiders and the list went on and now here they were trekking through ‘wherever’ looking for someone called Franco?? This was beginning to feel like the inside of the film set of the latest Indiana Jones movie!
His biggest confusion was really their location?? Where were they? If they had started in England and landed in Europe, deep, deep Europe and now they were in densely and thickly populated jungle where were they really? Perhaps they didn’t land in Europe to begin with – maybe they had been so seriously drugged that they were out of it for days? If that was the case, they could be anywhere in the world ………….. ?
“Albert?” George nudged his brother who was looking upwards at no fixed position and had been doing that for the last five minutes – holding everyone up. “They have caught up again, we need to get going, don’t we?”
The nudge brought Albert out of his reverie and made him look at the other three again with clearer eyes. “Water break, l think and a map check maybe first George.”
George nodded, turned and told the two girls to have a sit down and take it easy but to watch out for the creepy crawlies which made both turn green. George tried not to laugh, thinking back to about an hour in after the Brutish had left when Mavis had trodden on some kind of nest of big black furry ants who were not at all happy at the disturbance and had shown their displeasure by swarming them all. George was astonished at just how fast Mavis and Esther could run when the need was there??
Mind you, they had all run away luckily in the same direction, but according to Albert – they had not run in the direction they were meant to – so now, well now they were trying to find their way back to the pathway. George knew that, Albert had told him, but the girls didn’t … no need to upset them further!
They had made good headway back to the right path, but Esther and Mavis kept on falling behind, it was hardly surprising. George was still trying to push down his upset and panic at the discovery of two different holiday packages but had to agree with his brother “Can’t do much about it in the bloody jungle George!” You couldn’t argue with that. But he was also going to speak to Mr Bucket on his return!
Esther was taking small sips of water from her flask when in the distance ahead of Albert she could see something moving, something very colourful, very vibrant? Was it a parrot of some kind? A walking Jungle bird maybe? Suddenly she could make out what it was! It was a face…. “Albert!! Look straight ahead there is a man looking at us!!”
Albert and George looked down the path and there in front of them by a good thirty feet stood a long-haired spectacled guy in a brightly coloured Hawaiian shirt, grungy shorts and mad looking walking boots with bright pink fluffy socks! He was not alone … within seconds a dozen men all dressed the same stood by him. Whilst the lead guy was smoking what looked like a joint and smiling, the others weren’t smoking – but the lethal looking guns slung over their shoulders looked like they could!!
“Eddy’s friends, right? The Bucket Bunch, yeah yeah, been expecting you, maybe a little earlier, but we watched you for a while first, had some laughs and giggles, it was funny seeing you run like you did from the Carpenters! Reminded me of that song ‘”We have only just begun!” Fitting yes? Carpenters and the giant Carpenter’s Ants get it?? Anyway, welcome to my camp. Now you are here … finally, your true holiday can begin! Don’t let the guns worry you … not yet anyway, we have to protect the plants! I am Franco! Pleased to meet you!!”