Noggin Strikes! By MD Stoffa © 2017
‘I had the fever once,’ Marcus said with a shrug. ‘It came upon me like a beast. Ravaging my spirit with gnashing teeth and…’
‘Why’re you talking like a twat, Marcus?’ The voice of Noggin bellowed over the heads of the little uncomfortable crowd of listeners. ‘You’re from Drighlington, ya mong! That acting shit’s just turned you into a reet soft southern twat! Sean Bean doesn’t have to talk like a poof. Why the fook do you?!’
The rest of the Gog and Magog burst into laughter. The patrons of the backwater pub had wondered for too long when someone would say something, then in popped Noggin.
Noggin: The Pretension Killer.
After a few more pints the ordeal was forgotten to all but a still seething Marcus.
But how on earth would he defeat such a mammoth of a man like Noggin.
He grunted and left the pub. He knew he was no match for Noggin so staggered the short, dark distance to his cottage.
Though soon the seething turned to anger with help of the fermented alcohol. He would leave his cosy cottage, its real fire crackling, its flames dancing across the low-beamed ceiling and face the beast. He would challenge the monster.
He slammed the front door as he left, strode down the small front garden and threw himself onto the pavement. He looked left to see the pub lights still shining.
‘Good,’ he grumbled. ‘I’ll show him.’
Then a voice from the right caught his ears.
He turned in the voice’s direction to see Noggin wobbling down the dark pavement.
‘Ah ha!’ Marcus whispered and turned to follow.
He would face his tormentor man-to-man and tear him limb from limb.
It would be like his last fight, thirty years previous.
He stomped towards Noggin, who grew more huge in size every yard Marcus closed the gap.
The larger the other man grew the more the anger in Marcus’ mind reduced. Until, within three steps of his prey, The pursuer was no longer angry at all. Quite the opposite.
The calm idea of maybe just turning on his heels and scurrying back to the warmth of magnolia walls sang in Marcus’ mind.
He stopped his stalk.
Although, as he skidded to a halt, his shoes scuffed the tarmac.
Noggin screamed like a child on a ghost-train and ran all the way home.
Marcus, jaw swinging in wild wonder, felt his brain flip as he watched with wide eyes Noggin flollop down the road.
He turned, giggled and staggered off to sleep on his warm, cosy couch.
The next day Marcus dressed for the day feeling, beyond the thick hangover, good about his life.
He couldn’t wait to stand in Gog’s, have a little hair of the dog and then shut Noggin up for the first and last time.
The pub had only four other patrons when Marcus strode in, like John Wayne in the Wild West. That didn’t matter when one was Noggin and the little village had a gossip line faster than 4G.
‘Hey up, Noggin!’ Marcus called across the bar.
Noggin lifted his lead head from the sticky bar and growled something about shutting up.
‘Oh, you can bite today, eh?’ Marcus asked with a grin.
‘What the fook are you dribbling on about, ya soft southerner?’
Marcus strode closer to his enemy, feeling his confidence buzzing along his skin.
‘Last night you squealed like a girl and today you are filled with false menace once more,’ said Marcus. ‘If only people knew what I knew, eh, Noggin, old girl?’
The flying fist, crushing bone and blinding pain offered many awkward questions to Marcus as he hit the scuffed wooden floor, knocking the wind out of himself.
There were lessons to be learned from the experience, but Marcus found breathing too difficult at first to recognise them.