A RIGHT PAIR by Rick Haynes
A RIGHT PAIR by Rick Haynes
A walk in the cool of the morning is always welcoming, as long as the amount of raki eagerly sipped the night before hadn’t affected the brain cells too much.
And at eight am, the beach was empty apart from the rows of sunbeds. Each taverna had used different colours and most allowed free access but woe betide any holidaymaker that relaxed on one but purchased a drink from the enemy next door.
Someone had been up very early for the sand had been carefully raked and looked like one unblemished beige carpet stretching into the distance. I could see the blue and white pennant - certifying the honour of being a blue flag beach - trying hard to raise a smile in the still air.
Plunging my whole body into the water seemed to wash away any last cares that still lingered. I enjoyed the feeling as I swam back and forth. At last, I emerged, dried myself off, and took a deep breath. I knew I should have stood upright for a minute or two in the deeper waters for now my body was telling me to move and relieve myself.
I shuddered with the thought, my brain already trying to tighten up my nostrils as I headed towards the hole in the ground the local council dared to call a public toilet.
The reek greeted me ten meters away and as usual, the flies were swarming. I recalled the two cubicles, the doors that wouldn’t lock and only partially closed. Dark stains adorned the floors, as well as the two holes in the ground complete with the adjacent footwells in the ceramic. Everything was stained with filth. I’ve seen broken and rusty oil tanks with lesser shades of dark brown. The word disinfectant came to mind but I doubt that cleansing agent had ever been used.
How this area could ever be given a blue flag certificate with such a disgusting toilet was beyond my comprehension.
I paused in the doorway, wanting to turn and run away but knew I’d never make it to the loo of the nearest taverna.
Readying myself I took a deep breath. I’d be in and out in a flash – I had to be. But something moved on the edge of my periphery and I slowly turned. Two large Muscovy ducks were nibbling at some grass, surprisingly bright green. I looked closer and on seeing the waste pipe leaking filthy water at the bottom of the short ramp, I had my answer. Good luck my friends, I thought, you are braver than me eating and drinking anything contaminated with that muck. Yet, I had to admit that, perhaps, they would grace any dinner table. Roast duck with trimmings came to mind.
Turning around I felt like an idiot at a sewage farm for who would want to eat anything feeding on raw effluent? I ignored the ducks on the ramp and walked in. The stench hit me like a perfume of purest shit.
I did what my body implored me to do and let out a long sigh of relief. Getting out was all that mattered for my nostrils seemed to be filling up. My hands needed washing but even that would be an event to cherish.
Someone had firmly fixed a long length of hose to the tap and I didn’t have the tools to remove it so I searched for the open end. Needless to say, it was untidily curled in one corner of the bog, and with so much hosepipe, I couldn’t see the open end. Switching on the water did the trick but the water pressure must have been really high. My clothes soon began to cling to my body as I wrestled with the water snake. If a hose could cause so much trouble I shuddered to think of anyone grabbing hold of a giant anaconda.
Turning the water off saw the hose return to its normal benign self but I still gave it a good kick as I turned to leave.
Nothing soaks me and gets away with it.
‘Time to go,’ I said to myself confidently. I stopped dead in my tracks for two mighty birds had entered the door of the cesspit behind me and were now staring at me.
“Bloody hell,” I shouted. With beaks that size I could lose my manhood in a flash and I really didn’t like the way the female edged ever closer. She definitely had evil intent in one eye, maybe both, but looking side on I only saw the one and that scared the hell out of me.
Be confident. Be brave and be bold, I thought. I tried to move towards safety but she bared my path and hissed. In such a confined space it sounded deafening to me, particularly as she now spread her wings and went for me.
Mixed feelings ran through me but I was bloody glad to be behind a closed door, even in an effluent-rich sewage farm.
I yelled to my wife through the open window explaining my predicament. It didn’t take long before the tears fell down her face. I yelled for her to do something, anything, to help.
And she did. She took photos on her camera of me trying hard to get out and the two ducks determined to keep me in. Her explanation of having a good laugh did nothing to assuage my trepidation.
Even viewing the photos later failed to calm me down for maybe Mrs. Duck had understood my words. In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t have said, ‘You’ll look great on a plate with some nice plum sauce.’
Eventually my beloved walked behind the ducks and gave me a running commentary of what she saw.
“Husband, you’ll be able to leave any minute soon.”
“How do you know?” I screamed in anger.
“Simple. With so much fresh water coming out of that hose the two ducks simply wanted a drink and you, my lovely idiot, stood in their way.”
“But, but, they were some way outside. They couldn’t see the water.” My voice faded away.
“Of course they didn’t see the water but they could clearly smell it and with so little around in this heat, you’d probably had to shoot them from joining in your water fun.” She pointed at my wet t-shirt, laughed once more, and beckoned me to leave.
How can you leave me stuck in my vile prison, all alone, I thought? I forced myself to act and peeked around the door, my hands held together in prayer. It was tight but I felt I could chance it. I walked onto the ramp and readied myself to run off as fast as I could. Yet as soon as I moved, two huge wings bared my way as the female hissed at me once more. Her mate was at the bottom of the steps and she was making her way slowly down the ramp. Clearly, she would not be hurried. I could see her droppings, chocolate brown, some fresh and soft, others older, harder, yet all were giving off a smell akin to rotting vegetable matter.
I could see the tears falling from my wife’s eyes once more, her hands trying to keep her mouth from sniggering … too much. Once the lady duck had left the ramp I inhaled deeply and took my chances. I guessed six strides would do it so I ran. But she had turned back, spreading her wings like a giant fan, blocking the lower end of the decline. Jumping high in the air should have been enough but her parting shot of an open beak caused me to stumble, right into fresh duck poo.
Her work done, lady muscovy had already turned away. I took a last look in her direction, just in case, and moved to the beach shower. As I washed the shit off my clothes my wife walked over.
“Learn your lesson husband. Never rush a lady duck because her bite is so much worse than her bark.”
“And remember, duck poo sticks better than Velcro.”
Even I had to laugh at that truism.