The story continues…
When we left our heroes – click here – there was a sense of disappointment in the air. Nobody had received a present they had wished for and although the beer was beginning to flow, there were concerns that Bar Steward Redknapp would not stay sober enough to deliver his ‘End of Year’ speech and that Matty Taylor would starve to death.
The call of number seven brought the large Icelandic frame of Hermann Hreidarsson to the Grotto. Hermann was presented with a large bag of frozen food attached to which was a label, which read ‘from Iceland, love VP’. Demonstrating his Icelandic tongue Hermann thanked Sacha and skulked slowly away muttering “what good is food, when all I want is a first team place” under his breath.
A change in the evening’s convention then occurred as elf Tony called for number eight and number nineteen, to come forward together.
Diop and Kranjcar, who had been staring into each others eyes since arrival sprung to their feet and skipped hand in hand into the Grotto. The sight of such an event woke the slumbering club photographer ‘Ninja Tim’, who having polished off four pints of Gleamer was just about to nod off for the rest of the evening.
Somersaulting from his chair ‘Ninja’ obtained an excellent vantage point not only to snap the happy couple hand in hand, but also to catch Sacha Claus handing the pair of them a set of car keys.
“Now then” lectured Sacha Claus “we have a special gift for the two of you. Go outside with one of Sacha’s little helpers and all will be revealed”. Placing his false teeth into his ‘just started’ pint of Gleamer (to ensure nobody else would drink it); Elf Joe beckoned the lovebirds to the door.
Intrigued by the proceedings, Matt Taylor, David Nugent and elf Tony followed the two of them in to the Car Park.
“Gosh Niko! Look” shouted an excited Diop “It’s just like Aunt Wallops”
In front of them was a silver grey Renault Clio with the message ‘Papa and Niko, happy motoring, Chix’ written across the windscreen.
The couple jumped up and down, clapping their hands in glee and started to walk around the vehicle to get a closer look. As Kranjcar opened the boot he turned towards Taylor and stated “Look there’s even plenty of space for Storage-Matt”
Meanwhile, Diop had been overcome with emotion and was busy wiping the streaming tears from his face “What’s the matter mate” asked Nugent. “It’s my driving license, it only allows me to drive in my homeland” explained Diop.
Looking a little perplexed and convinced that what Papa had said could not be correct, the still sober Nugent, wandered over to elf Adams and enquired “He can drive that car in the UK Tony, can’t he?”
“Sure can” replied Adams “but not in his state, he’s had far to many pints of Gleamer, unlike you Davy boy you look as sober as a judge” Nugent smiled knowing that a drop hadn’t touch his lips all night. He was saving his drinking until after he received his present.
“You sober then” asked the now starving, Taylor of Nugent. “Sure am” came the reply.
“Brilliant, can you drive me to Eastney-Dave so I can get a kebab, I’m on my last legs and if I don’t eat something soon I’m going to kneel over” he explained.
As Nugent was about to climb into the drivers seat elf Joe beckoned everybody, except Papa & Niko, back in to the bar. He’d heard that Sacha Claus was getting a little impatient looking for a number nine.
“Number nine, number nine” bellowed Sacha, annoyed that he had been keep waiting so long. Redknapp finished another mouthful of turkey and shouted to Sacha across the bar “Oh sorry! Didn’t hear ya my son, I was on the dog and bone. Number nine you say, nope not got one of them, sold the last one in the summer and not had a sniff of another one since”
Sacha huffed loudly with disbelief as Redknapp turned away and sunk his choppers into his second turkey leg of the evening.
“Number ten then, surely we have one of those?” asked Sacha of the elves. Before either of them could respond, the excited little frame of a sober David Nugent was seen bouncing up and down wailing “It’s me, it’s me!”
Stuffing his mobile phone into his pocket he ran into the Grotto to inform Sacha that as he’d been a good boy all year and waited patiently on the bench, he’d like just one present. Ninety minutes.
The bar erupted with laughter. Benjani and Muntari, who for the most part had been very quiet, fell to the floor in a fit of giggles, taking the table decorations with them. John ‘The Torpedo’ Utaka guffawed very loudly as he smirked, “ninety minutes, you have to be consistent to get ninety minutes”. Kanu meanwhile slid away to the darkest corner of the room and hid from the contagious laughter echoing around the bar.
Suddenly, the atmosphere changed. Redknapp, jumped over the bar and leaving a tray of glasses in his wake grabbed Nugent by the collar. “You greedy little beggar, you’ve had your ninety minutes this year” he said seething “You had twenty against Man United, ten against Everton, seven against City and so on. You add it all up sunshine”.
Luckily, the elves released Harry’s grip on him just in time for Nugent to recommence breathing and sent Harry back to his position behind the bar.
Gasping for air, Nugent sat down and opened his presents – A glimmer of hope and a pair of tweezers to remove the splinters from his backside after sitting on the bench for so long.
“Typical, I’m a good boy all year and this is was I get. A crap present and gobful of abuse from that overweight turkey gobbler behind the bar. That’s it; I’m going to have a drink. To hell with this sober lark” he mumbled to himself, fully aware of the fact that nobody was actually listening.
Meanwhile, Sacha had presented number eleven Sulley Muntari with his present. A book entitled ‘Nigel Quashie’s book of shooting skills’. “I’ve read it” stormed Sulley. It’s what you should have given to Diop, but no! He gets part share of a car just because he’s pally with the Golden Boy” Muntari flung his unwanted present at the tree so hard the tree broke completely in half.
As the evening wore on the recently refurbished pub started to look as shoddy as the Reading defence. The floor was covered in splinters of glass, broken ornaments had been thrown into corners, smashed pictures were left to hang crookedly on the walls and to top it all the two halves of the Christmas tree lay strewn at either end of the bar room floor.
The players were also in a state of decline. Some, egged on by the now ‘part’ sober Nugent and ever hungry Taylor were beginning to get agitated at the proceedings and had turned to the booze.
“Oi! Red-hic-red-hic-red-hic-Knapp, I’ll have another three pints of that Gleamer stuff” requested David James still trying to work out what pieces were missing from his ‘Build yourself a bigger airing cupboard’ kit.
The next number to be called to Sacha Claus was fourteen. Matthew ‘Oh my god I’m so hungry’ Taylor marched into the Grotto and gleefully accepted Owenspompey present. A look of confusion came over his face as he found a reel around wrapped a yard of pace inside his parcel, but not wanting to cause any more of a scene he thanked the elves, kissed his wedding ring, saluted Sacha and returned to the more pressing pursuit of searching for food.
The call for number fifteen brought with it the distinctive towering frame of Sylvain Distin who glided gracefully into the now distinctly grotty looking Grotto, with its felled tree and unwanted gifts scattered everywhere.
Sacha handed Distin a small parcel, which he duly opened. Seeing that it contained a French passport cover he smiled and read the gift tag ‘you may need this, when your country needs you? Hopefully, very soon – VP’. Wryly he smiled again and left quietly, avoiding the mess and the debris on the way.
Back in the bar area. Matt Taylor, wasting away in front of everybody’s eyes, looked on as Tracyc asked Rug what he could do about Harry and the fact that he’d eaten more than half the turkey. Much to Taylor’s annoyance Rug admitted that unfortunately there was little he could do. He didn’t have any more food and even if he had, there was no time to cook it.
The famished and disgruntled Taylor returned to his seat – A plan to obtain some calories had to be hatched soon, otherwise somebody was going to die.
End of Part Two.
What will happen as the ‘Vital Arms’ starts to resemble and scrap yard? Will ‘The Landlord’ have enough stocks of Pompey Gleamer to keep the punters happy? What’s happened to Papa and Nicole? Will the ever deteriorating Bar Steward Redknapp stay sober enough to conduct his ‘End of Year’ speech and most importantly of all will Matty Taylor get something to eat… or will somebody die?
Watch this space for the next exciting episode of… The Pompey Players Christmas Party.
Written by eastneydave and Chix.
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