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Smoke Two Johns in the Afternoon

Smoke Two Johns in the Afternoon

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Published by Jude Ellery
Nigel Interlude #5 -- originally appearing in Man and Ball Issue One
Nigel Interlude #5 -- originally appearing in Man and Ball Issue One

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Published by: Jude Ellery on Oct 06, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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“What, all of you? Really?”“Yes, Jonathan, all of us. The cus-tom’s been passed down for ages.Wouldn’t make this sort of thing up,would I?”“What about Davies?"
(Bigger nod)
“Wolstenholme?!”“Are you kidding? Ken was thegrandfather of it all, he loved thestuff. He popularised the fatty inEngland! Seriously Jonathan, I’mtelling you, we’re all at it. Come on,
Smoke Two Johns In The Afternoon,And It Makes Them Feel Alright
Illustration:CHRISTOPHER LEE >
give it a try. They only do the pureshit here now, since the tobacco banthree years ago.”The two men were speaking inhushed, secretive tones, but Nigelhad little trouble making out their conversation from across thesparsely populated Amsterdam café,even with the ceiling fans whirringand clicking away. They were fromhis neck of the woods, these two. Hewasn’t familiar with their faces butrecognised their voices from some-where.The sceptic, Jonathan, was middle-aged, with a round, stubbly face,topped with dark, wavy hair that hadwon its morning battle with hiscomb. He was dressed in a plain butrumpled pastel blue shirt, baggy black trousers and a pair of sensible black brogues.His cheeky companion looked agood twenty years older. Hiswashed-out hair was neatly trimmedand slicked back, but the twinkle inhis eye and his rosy cheeks gave theimpression of a youthful spirit. A bright, ill-fitting ensemble con-firmed this suspicion. The light or-ange t-shirt with black sleeves, andmatching black shorts were em- bossed with the letters ‘BFC’. Thekit was completed with a pair of  black stockings, pulled up to theknees. On his feet sat a pair of brightgreen sandals. Nameless was polishing what turnedout to be a pair of thick-rimmed sun-glasses with his napkin. He lookedeven more pretentious than hesounded when he put them back on.Returned to their station they now perched themselves on the end of hisnose. What was the point of darlenses when the dim light barely punctuated the dense smoky air?The conversation became more ani-mated as Nameless tried to cajole astill unconvinced Jonathan.“I dunno. Really? You having meon?”“Well, I better just say, in case thereare any pesky gutter press listeningin, this is all made up and in no wayrepresentative of my professional be-liefs.”Jonathan looked relieved. “Oh.
So… it’s not true?”“No! Of course it’s true, it’s all fuck-ing true. That was just a disclaimer,my son.” Nameless sported a mocking grin ashe passed Jonathan a rudimentarycigarette. He leant forward and heldout a lighter at arm’s length, pointingit at his partner’s head like a re-volver. With a metallic flick andclick a flame appeared and Nigel’snostrils flared at the faint but pun-gent odour of butane. Nameless mo-tioned for Jonathan to light thecigarette. Jonathan obliged. Copi-ous coughs ensued.A waiter appeared by Nigel’s side,interrupting the show momentarily,so a drink was ordered to keep up ap- pearances. These two were provid-ing ample entertainment to justifywhatever ludicrous price he wasabout to be charged for a mug of hotwater and sprinkle of coffee bean.Tea wasn’t even on the menu – whathad these Europeans been smoking?A small bell sounded as someone leftthe café, and a light breeze sweptthrough the room. Nameless took alarge sheepskin coat from the back of his chair and draped it round hisshoulders. He left his arms andhands unhindered to craft another cigarette.They were both at it now, inhalingloudly and spluttering broken senti-ments. The latest creation was passed across the table to Jonathan,and it was eagerly received this time.“Frees the mind, see?”“Yup… that it does! You’ve never…never done this before going live onair though, surely?”The older gentleman’s cheeks wereredder than an urchin’s spanked backside now.“Aha! All the time, Jonny boy. Youdon’t think I could come up with half my shit with a clear head, do you?Those falsetto moments don’t comeout of nowhere.”Jonathan looked bamboozled, almostcrestfallen.“Oh. Mine do. You know… some-times I forget where I am and ac-credit a goal to Matilda or Sir 

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