As promised on Friday, today I will regale you with the story of the day when I trod on a penguin.
It started like any one of a thousand other Saturday evenings, the kids had gone to bed, there was a half-decent film about to start on Sky Premiere (other broadcasters are available), dinner had been successfully eaten and all was right with the world. Apart that is, from one glaring omission...
The whiskey, and its partner in crime, the slightly oversized glass, were still in the kitchen - a whole floor away, rather than being on the table next to the sofa - within lunging distance. I stretched out my hand and concentrated reeeeaaaaly hard... But unlike Luke, in the Wampa cave, with the lightsaber, it didn't spring into my outstretched paw. I asked Mrs Dandy if she was thinking of going down to the kitchen for anything in the near future, but the withering look she gave me told me that I was actually going to have to get up and service myself.
So I struggled to my feet, trudged the length of the lounge and started downstairs - The thought of impending alcohol the only thing keeping me going. It was this momentary lapse of concentration and premature ribaldry that led to my, quite literal, impending downfall.
We've all trodden on things going down the stairs haven't we? Especially those of us lucky enough to be blessed with children. But how many of us can say that we've trodden on things that are roundish, possesed of small, almost fur-like injection moulded feathers, usually found in the antarctic and of a piscavorian persuasion? Contrary to millions of years of evolution, the penguin (for it was he - But I was unaware of this fact at the time) flew across the stairwell, bounced off the clock and disappeared into a boot that I wear very infrequently.
I however, performed an almost perfect vertical triple salchow and finished with an impressive three point landing, the points being the heels of both hands and my left buttock - The assembled audience of the downstairs bookcase, my cashmere crombie and my amusingly ironic cowboy hat all gave me 6.0 for execution, but minus several million for good thinking*.
I proceded to slide down the remaining stairs in the style of a dimensionally blessed Homer Simpson, complete with the '*bang* Ah... *bang* Uh... *bang* Sunnova... *bang* d'oh...' soundtrack, belting my wrists and behind on every single step. When I came to rest, in a heap, at the bottom of the stairs, I noticed that my left forearm looked a bit 'funny' and was flopping about to the point where, apart from the excruciating pain, I could have quite easily done the David Brent, floppy arm-y dance without relying on the optical illusion.
I cradled the offending limb, in much the same way as my Father did the frozen pigeon and let out a distress call to alert Mrs Dandy that her assistance was required. She came to the top of the stairs and peered into the gloom.
'Are you OK?' she asked, 'Only, I heard a noise'
'I'm fine,' I replied, calmly, 'I could do with a hand in the kitchen if you've got a second.'
'The film's due to start, shall I pause it?'
'Yes, that'd be for the best, it might take a few minutes.'
I stood up, gingerly, and walked to the kitchen, opening the door with my good shoulder, I turned to Mrs Dandy and said,
'I need you to hold something for me and not let go.'
'Oh, really?' She replied, smiling, grasping the wrong end of the stick entirely.
'No, not that, this.'
I proffered the limb in question. which took this opprtunity to flop alarmingly in the wrong direction. Mrs Dandy's visage took on an ashen colour and she backed away.
'Erm... nope,' she squeaked, quite sensibly, 'Go to the hospital.'
'Casualty? On a Saturday night? With my reputation?', I quipped, trying desperately to make her feel more comfortable, 'Look, all you have to do is hold on, it's a really simple dislocation, as it swings, I can feel it wanting to go back in.'
On the whole, this didn't have quite the calming effect that I'd initially thought, and Mrs Dandy's complexion went from grey to white.
'OK, really, just grab my wrist, I'll try and pull it out of your hand, but don't let go - It'll pop back in, then we can go and watch the film.'
'Erm... I don't know.' She said, reaching for my wrist.
I contemplated yelling out as she touched it, but thought better of it. She took hold, braced herself against a cupboard, and closed her eyes, pushing aside the obvious similarities to our wedding night, I gritted my teeth and yanked my left arm back. Apart from a few stars appearing behind my eyelids, and having to resist the urge to invent a couple of new expletives, nothing happened. It seemed that Mrs Dandy hadn't been quite prepared for the violence on the movement involved. My arm waved around at my side like a particularly boneless octopus.
'Shall we give that another go?'
'No, just go to the hospital...'
'Look, really, it will only take a second, you just really need to hold on.'
So, my wrist was dutifully grabbed, the slack was taken up, nods of implied readiness were exchanged and I threw myself backwards. This time Mrs Dandy was ready, she kept hold of my wrist, my humerus and ulna seperated and reloacted with a loud *schlock* and I swore, loudly and earthily.
'I'm just going to have a bit of a sit-down,' I said as I slid to the floor, quite dizzily.
The rest of the evening passed without incident, the occasional twinge perhaps, but nothing more than that. The bruising came out nicely and the story joined the ranks of those that get told when anyone mentions falling down the stairs, whisky, dislocations, stairs, McDonalds, hats, trees, carpet or the number 43 bus (i.e. any time I can shoe-horn it in)
In actual fact, nothing was really mentioned about it until a couple of weeks later when I decided to wear a particular pair of boots. Giving rise to a phrase that I have only uttered once, but may well have printed on a T-Shirt one day;
'Why is there a penguin in my New Rocks?'
*(c) Douglas Adams 1978