May 19th 2006
It had all gone swimmingly until Harrison shit in Atkins’ trousers. Harrison, and his friend Hargreaves, from nearby Disley, had taken advantage of my offer of the 11th of May and had joined Atkins and I on our trip yesterday to the charity shops of York.
The shops in Goodramgate were all that John Laithwaite had promised, and more, and the four of us had a great time. I spent about fifty pounds on ‘new’ clothes, including a superb black and white houndâ€™s tooth-check sports jacket from Age Concern, which complemented perfectly the pair of charcoal grey Daks slacks I had acquired from SCOPE (Atkins said I would look like a bookie but I think he was a bit jealous because I’d spotted the jacket before he had), and the others spent about the same.
Happily we experienced no problems with students so Atkins had no need to use the cricket stump he had brought along to poke them with should they happen to go for the same item of clothing one of us had our eye on; much to his disappointment, I might add, as he said he quite liked the idea of poking a student as it was a student who had recently poked his granddaughter and got her pregnant before going off to university and leaving her in the lurch.
Ironically the only problem we had in this regard was when Atkins and Harrison both went for the same pair of trousers. Harrison claimed that he had laid hands on them first, a claim Atkins hotly disputed. The matter was resolved only when Atkins pointed out that not only was he the driver of the car that had carried us all to York, but would not necessarily be carrying all of us back, but that he also had a cricket stump that he was itching to use, whereupon Harrison reluctantly let go his grip on the trousers and Atkins bought them for Â£3.50, a bargain.
After we had gorged ourselves on the charity shops and stowed our purchases in the boot of Atkins’ car, Atkins and I made our way to the Jorvik Viking Centre, as planned, but Harrison and Hargreaves didn’t join us, claiming they’d had more than their fill of Scandinavians with ABBA, so we agreed to meet back at the car later and went our separate ways.
At least one of the separate ways that Harrison and Hargreaves went led to a pub because when we met up with them some three hours later both of them were worse for drink. Another of the separate ways that Harrison and Hargreaves went was to the banks of the River Ouse where, no doubt due to his inebriated condition, Harrison had tripped and staggered into the river almost up to his waist.
If he had fallen into the river headfirst and wet his top half it would have been fine, for Harrison’s purchases from the charity shops had included a variety of shirts, sweaters, waistcoats, jumpers and jackets. However he had not bought any trousers, the only trousers he fancied having been bought by Atkins, as explained above. Atkins, who can be quite uncompromising if you get on the wrong side of him, was all for making Harrison travel all the way back home in wet trousers until I pointed out to him that if Harrison were to do this he would leave the back seat of the car wet through and smelling of the River Ouse for weeks, something which Mrs Atkins might have a thing or two to say about. Atkins, Harrison and myself had all purchased charity trousers so clearly a loan of a pair of them to Harrison was the solution. Hargreaves was a much smaller man than Harrison so any trousers he had purchased would clearly be unsuitable, and both Atkins and I, whose trousers would be the right size, were reluctant to loan them to Harrison. In the end we tossed-up for it, and Atkins lost.
All went smoothly on the return journey until we had been travelling for about an hour, in fact Hargreaves and Harrison, the latter now clad in Atkins’ trousers, had been sleeping off their booze for most of the way; then, about a couple of miles after passing through Penistone and entering the bleak moorland of that area, Harrison awoke, farted, and shit himself. Atkins and I in the front seats knew he had woken up because he made waking up noises; we knew he had farted because we heard it; and we knew he had shit himself because he said: “Fuck me, I’ve shit myself!” The smell was immediate and appalling. Atkins stopped the car and turned to Harrison.
“You dirty, smelly-arsed fucking bastard,” he said. I couldn’t have put it better myself, although I might have added a few more expletives.
“Sorry,” bleated Harrison. “I’ll pay you for the trousers.”
“Too fucking right you will,” said Atkins. “Now get out of the car and take them off, I’m not putting up with that stink for another twenty odd miles.â€
“I’m not sitting here without trousers,” protested Harrison.
“Nobody’s asking you to,” said Atkins. “Now just do as I say. Get out of the car. Take off the trousers you have shit in. Go to the wall at the side of the road and throw them over it. Try not to hit a sheep. Then go to the boot of the car, which I will open for you, take another pair of my charity trousers, put them on, then get back in the car.”
Harrison got out of the car and did exactly as Atkins had instructed him until he got as far as going to the boot of the car, whereupon Atkins, instead of opening the boot for him, set the car into motion in a fair imitation of the driver of a getaway car in a bank robbery, leaving Harrison stranded and trouser-less in the middle of the road.
“That’ll teach the bastard to shit in my trousers,” said Atkins.
Hargreaves, who by now had also woken up, protested. “You can’t just leave him in the middle of the moors!”
But Atkins could. And did. Like I said, Atkins can be quite uncompromising if you get the wrong side of him and shitting in his trousers is definitely not the right side of him.
Apparently, according to Hargreaves, who I rang later for possible news of his friend, Harrison had eventually been given a lift back by the driver of a passing car, but only after about fifty cars had refused to stop for him, presumably because he wasn’t wearing any trousers and thus attired represented something of a risk. Even then he had only managed to obtain a lift after assuring the driver of the car that he wasn’t a sheep-shagger, and after offering him twenty pounds for his trouble. Serve him right too.