The main characters in the book have been friends for a very long time-hundreds of years. Showing the cameraderie of old friends was very hard for me to write. It took me I don’t know how many goes to get it how I wanted it.
I slept like a baby but I was awake about 2, thirsty and in desperate need of a pee. We always pitch well back from the fire in case of stray sparks. I did what I had to do and got myself a drink from the cooler.
I could see the two of them still sitting around the fire, obviously I was the only one who was sleepy. I wandered quietly over, neither of them saw me but I saw them. They were swigging from a bottle, passing it back and forth. By the look of it this had been going on for some time, Dad in particular looked a bit on the wobbly side.
They were smoking something, it wasn’t a cigarette, this also got passed around.
Evening lads I said making them both jump
They both looked pretty guilty
I just tried to keep a straight face, after all they were almost pensioners, they could do what the hell they liked, but I was certainly learning a few things on this trip!
After the hard time you gave me over 1 lousy joint I said!
Dad shrugged, you were 14 and it was manky with God knows what in it. What was I supposed to say, help yourself to one from the pot behind the biscuit barrel in the kitchen, it’s what the big boys smoke!
Hardly sound parental advice Dave, Marc said taking a pull
Right, well I think parent of the year over there is about to fall off his log,
too late, as if on cue dad went over backwards, feet in the air
Well pull me up then you idiot I heard him say.
Marc a bit unsteady heaved my father upright, he made a face
Ooh I think you fell in badger shit Jonny
Dad sniffed, oh yeah it is a bit rank or is it just one of your giant mega farts, they both collapsed into giggles again like a couple of kids.
In 36 years I had never seen them this gone, they were both steaming!
Ooh that hurts, I must be getting old dad said wiping his eyes. Sorry Davey we were just letting off a bit of stress!
I gave them both a pretend hard look, well you could at least pass it round.
Marc gave me the bottle, go easy it’s your Uncle Bernie’s finest. That man is a true artist!
What the rocket fuel I said. It’s not so bad if you drink it quick!
He waved a finger, no my boy this is vintage, Gussie gave her all on this one, it’s only for the grown ups.
Gussie is the Still that Bernie keeps in his barn, named for the noise she makes. You never got a sniff of it until you turned 18.
You can give me a go on that as well I said looking at the joint
Marc looked at dad for approval, it’s powerful stuff
Oh for fucks sake I’m 36 just hand it over!
I took a pull, Jesus it was powerful, I’m surprised you old buzzards can still walk.
Told you Marc said
What the hell is in it
It’s a herb, Hugh grows it in his garden Dad said
Oh no, I’ve been working with Hugh in that garden since I could just about walk, I would know if you were growing weed.
They both looked guilty again, it grows wild all along the fence
That stuff, it was everywhere, Hugh used to make me chuck it on the compost.
Yeah we know, it got liberated
I was astounded, shame on you getting a small child to harvest your dope
Dad sat up, you loved helping Hugh. Little pair of batman wellies and a wheelbarrow kept you happy for hours.
I sat down again laughing, you devious old sods!
Marc took a swig and passed it to dad. Only problem with it is it doesn’t last very long. But this stuff he said holding the bottle, we are gonna die tomorrow!
You ok Jonny, dad put a thumb up!
They started singing again, this time it was very obviously filthy because they wouldn’t translate.