I was minding my own business last night having a quiet pint with a couple of friends when the new owner of an old establishment accosted me.
You! he said.
What? I replied, wittily.
I want a word with you.
About what? I demanded.
About the fucking submarine.
What fucking submarine? I demanded, devastatingly.
The submarine that somebody drew on the wall of the men’s toilet. The newly-painted men’s toilet.
I stared at him, as scathingly and as steadily as six pints of Guinness would permit. Your point?
People are saying you did it.
Are they now? And what exactly are these people saying?
That you drew a submarine on the wall of the men’s toilet. The newly-painted men’s toilet, let me add.
I don’t draw on toilet walls, I said. That’s a job for my underlings, but now that we’re on the subject, why did you paint out the great toilet-submarine of Tom Collins’s?
To decorate the place, he intoned slowly and patiently. To clean it fucking up, y’know?
Some things should not be cleaned up, I advised him, including submarines. You can’t sink a submarine.
Tell that to Günther Prien, he said.
I had no answer to that so I decided to flounce off, but unfortunately, men are not born with flouncing muscles, so I just slammed the door in his face and said Fuck you!
The flouncing didn’t last too long, because my friends were sitting at the bar nursing full pints and studying both of us pityingly, so I decided to have a look at this new submarine, and that was when I realised how defective the information was.
Come here to me, I said. Are you seriously suggesting that I might have been satisfied with that childish scrawl in Biro? Do you really think I’d put something like that on a toilet wall?
You’re depraved enough, he countered. And sufficiently unprincipled.
Indeed I am, I replied, but that is not a scribble I’d lower myself to. I have my standards. Nonetheless, I admire the fellow who kept the sub afloat.
The new proprietor studied me for a moment before answering, and it was then I finally knew he had a heart.
So do I, he said.
One of my friends leaned over and whispered quietly into my ear. Your round.