“Pen outta ink, didja say?” His face tightly scrunched up with a frown near as deep as the Grand Canyon, then eyebrows raised to almost meet his hairline, eyes blinking blearily. No-one would EVER have guessed Baz was the legendary ‘three sheets to the wind’… or travelling the drunken driveway to oblivion in the near future, thought Joe, laughing out loud at the very idea.
“Wot’s funny ’bout that, then?” Baz voice was abruptly belligerent, unusually for him. Mostly he was a docile, happy drunk… although Joe had to admit, Baz preferred laughing at himself than being laughed at.
“P-E-N-A-L-T-Y, I said, you great daft idjit.” Joe mentally chastised himself for falling into the same sloppy speech as his best mate. Privately, he often called Baz an idjit, along with quite a few other, more choice adjectives. Silly old bugger, he thought, and gave him a rough clap on the back. There was not the slightest animosity in his words. Baz was his best and oldest mate. Nothing more to say about that, then.
“Oh yair, I know penalty.” Baz rocked dangerously on his usual bar stool – the one that had never let him topple over… yet. “Issa bonus kinda kick they give to them sissy-boys, the soccer mob. Poor little nancys… need all the help they can get, flimsy little fellers that they are.” Emptying the last of his beer, he thumped his glass down on the bar. Joe hid another chuckle in a pretend sneeze into a handkerchief he’d whipped out of his pocket – but he didn’t fool George, the trusty bartender, who’d known them since Day One and was yet another of the usually affable Baz’s amused audience. A flicker of his eyebrows and a secret wink to Joe, and George automatically poured a refill. It always tickled him to think about the solid base of all the sizes of beer glasses. The designer of this lot certainly knew drinkers, he mused. Baz was not the first glass-thumper George had seen, and he surely wouldn’t be the last.
“No-no-no! This penalty is in the way of a punishment. Yep?” And when Baz nodded his understanding (at last, thought Joe, with a grateful sigh), he was able to continue. “Just heard about this one. About as bizarre as it gets,” he said. “There’s these cops in Thailand—NO! The cops don’t wear ties!” Phew! That was close. Just as the silly bugger drew breath.
“It’s when the cops just misbehave a bit – uhrr – like chatting up a floosie when they’re meant to book her for being a street girl, and flashing their siren and speeding when they’re late for an appointment – pretty mild stuff like that. But they have to be punished.” Baz nodded his most sage agreement.
“They make ’em wear a bright pink armband with ‘Hello Kitty’ and a cute little white kitten embroidered on it. THAT’s their penalty. See?”
“Bet they’re wishin’ they were soccer sisters, instead!”
Author’s Note: Really want to expand this one… and I will – in that promised collection one day. But I’m dutifully daunted by the demands of the Keystone Cops (alias the word-count police) presently targeting the overly verbose (uhrr… why are you staring at me??).