Story Time with Gavin: The Festive Fall

Story Time with Gavin: The Festive Fall

I bloody love Christmas, so I’m going to tell you a Christmas story. It’s my favourite Christmas story. There might be a lesson hidden in there about goodwill or… responsible alcohol intake over the festive period, but I honestly doubt it so don’t look too hard.

T’was the night a couple of days after Christmas…

Four of us stood outside one of two trashy clubs in Balloch, though I use the word stood wisely. See, this winter had been ferocious and stubborn. Night brought snow, day melted the snow, evening froze the ground, the night brought the snow. As a result, snow packed on top of black ice and left very little walking space on most of Balloch’s pavements.

So yeah, we weren’t really standing. We were in a state of flux, somewhere between slipping and standing still. Every gust of baltic wind or sharp intake of sub-zero air threatened to throw us one way or the other.

It matched the tone of our whole night, though. State of flux was the theme of the evening, considering we went out in that space between Christmas and New Year (flux), didn’t really know why we were out (flux) or for how long (flux) or who we were really out with (you get it).

The roster for our night changed several times, but it landed on Jamie (of this fall, this eating challenge and the panic attack brought on by this hot sauce), Michael (who kind-of surprisingly hasn’t shown up in any of my chronicles so far) and Tall Ian (who is twenty-feet tall).

Jamie, that evening

A bit of background story about Jamie that evening: Jamie was Christmas. He showed up for the evening in the best of moods and nothing would break it. Jamie attired himself in his lovely new cardigan. So very proud of his new cardigan was Jamie. I would like to say as much as ten minutes went by without him mentioning the bloody cardigan, but it didn’t happen. As I said, the weather was absolutely fierce, and every single shiver or complaint about the weather came with a smug grin from between the cosy collar of that bastard’s new cardigan.

Steadying ourselves on the ground outside that Balloch nightclub, we – at this point – wanted to be too drunk to feel the cold, but found ourselves wanting.

Jamie was toasty warm as he declined a trip to the takeaway. ‘Nah, no thanks. Don’t want to spill down my new cardigan,’ he said.

(I don’t think he actually said that. Sorry Jamie.)

Michael wanted chips and cheese. ‘M’gon’get chips n cheese…’ he slevered.

We waved him off into the front door of the takeaway, living somewhere between a slip and a stumble as he went.

We took time to lament on how he ended up quite so hammered.

Michael, in general

Well, Michael is an old soul, clocking in at twenty-two going on eighty-six (at the time, anyway… I think). Weather like this rolls around, and we all genuinely fear that he might not make it, that we’d find him curled up dead in his bed, frozen to stone. He wraps up tight in the winter and walks like he’s shit himself to make sure that he wasn’t to take a fall that day. Make no bones about it, though, Michael is so partial to a fall. It became an annual event. Michael’s Festive Fall. It’s a thing.

This old soul, dear Michael, can handle his drink. But can he handle an abusive amount of drink? Can he handle such a volume of drink when he hasn’t eaten?


Black Ice

Michael stumbled from the takeaway holding his portion of chips and cheese like a baby. He hobbled towards us, joining a chat about an after party round at Jamie’s. We’re all up for it, apart from Michael. He’s sorted. He’s got his food, which I was not allowed (if I wanted chips and cheese, I should’ve got some myself – he was right), and he wanted to get in a taxi and get up the road.

Jamie, kindness that he is, asked if he’s sure. Michael seemed a touch uneasy and slinging him in the back of a taxi seemed shady.

Michael insisted, and off he went.

Hobble hobble. Shuffle shuffle. Off to the front of the taxi queue. Ready to get himself up the road. His slippers waited on him there. His cosy slippers and chat with his dog about his evening. Sounded positively lovely and WHOOMF.

Black ice.

Into the air, he went.

But do not confuse this with any particular fall, dear reader, please don’t. This arsehole piece of the blackest ice in Britain waited on Michael. Michael had the bones of a bird, the density of a bird and, for a minute, Michael flew like a bird.

His legs were snatched from under him, like a giant ran his whole arm across the pavement and heaved poor Michael up and up, legs first. His entire bottom half boomeranged over his head, kicking at the clouds. For a moment he stayed there. Suspended in the air in the shape of a perfect C – a C engulfed in the frosty night air and a whole portion of chips and cheese, scattering through the sky.

And then he came back down to earth. Right on the back of his shoulders and neck with an empty thud, followed by every single chip and grating of takeaway cheddar.

The noise he didn’t make was so gutting that a bouncer from a skeezy nightclub ran away from the door to check on him.

Horrible People and the Nice Guy

Look. I’m not a good person. I laughed a lot and so did Tall Ian. There’s a general rule amongst my friends and me that if someone goes down for any reason, you first check they’re okay and then feel free to find it absolutely hilarious afterwards. We broke that rule that evening.

Jamie didn’t though. He made sure to glare over his shoulder at us in disgust as he jogged to Michael’s aid. ‘Fucking hell, guys…’ he muttered.

I regret nothing.

Especially since Jamie approached Michael, waved the bouncer off, helped Michael up to his feet, only to have him spew a stream of putrid yellow vomit all down Jamie’s lovely new cardigan.

‘FOR FUCK’S SAKE,’ Jamie cried, shoving Michael back and – consequently – right back on to his arse.

Jamie emerged with his arms held out, gagging at the smell. Jamie, bless his wee soul, is one of those whitey-makes-me-whitey kinds of guys. As a result, he had to take himself off for a bit of a spew, screaming about what an atrocious bastard Michael is.

When Michael got to his feet, a minute or so later (with the dulcet wretching of Jamie backdropping the affair), he approached me with the crippled remains of his chips and cheese box scrunched in his right paw. He approached with a face like thunder, as though he prepared to reprimand the fact that he could’ve pretty seriously hurt himself and I couldn’t stop laughing.

But that’s not what he was angry about.

He got creepy-close to me, looked me dead in the eyes, to the container in his hand, back to me, and said, ‘you been eatin’ my chips?’

Michael fancied the afterparty now, but Jamie no longer had any issue with slinging him in a taxi.

We mourned Jamie’s cardigan that night.


I’ll be back next year. Catch me on Twitter, Facebook or Insta in the meantime – I’m there.

Alternatively, should you need a gift for a Kindle reader, and they are an avid fantasy fan with a taste for dark humour, then GIFT THEM MY BOOK.

(Though it should be noted I have no idea how to do this.)

It’s Gavin


Comments are closed.