Now I know what you’re thinking, performing a vasectomy on a Badger using your wife’s shoes with a gun to your head sounds like a serious situation. And you’d be absolutely right. In fact, as serious situations go, it’s right up there. And in such situations, there’s really only one thing to do; defuse the tension with comedy.
“At least we’re not trying to do this with a pair of flip-flops” I quipped, glancing at the man holding the gun and wondering how exactly he’d got hold of a Colt “357” Magnum in the middle of the Isle of Mann.
When I say “man holding the gun” I might be over-stating his age a touch. He looked like he could easily be best mates with Justin Bieber, and had a hairstyle that only a teenager would seriously appear in public with. In fact, come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure that he wasn’t Justin Bieber, except that I imagine the pop star to come with an entourage that threatens timid veterinarians on his behalf.
I tried to focus on the vasectomy, when it suddenly occurred to me that if I’d learnt anything from Clint Eastwood, it’s that you have to be a grade-A level stone-cold badass to fire a 357 Magnum one-handed and not have it do more damage to you than your intended victim. Particularly from across the room, the chances are that you’d probably miss and the recoil would knock the gun from your hand. Do I feel lucky?
This is what counted as a comfort in this time of insanity.
My wife meanwhile, was taking this all in her stride, surprisingly. Perhaps it was shock that was keeping her quiet, but she was sat very still in the far corner of the operating room, clutching her handbag.
Fuck it. This badger’s just going to have to make do without the vasectomy.
I turned and in one motion threw both shoes at Justin Bieber’s mate. He looked as surprised as a meerkat that just discovered LSD, and instinctively fired the gun before the shoes hit him, throwing him backwards into a cabinet of books and knocking a stone carving of a trout onto his head, rendering him unconscious, possibly dead. I wasn’t sure. I’m only a vet after all.
Unfortunately for me, I was in fact, not lucky. The bullet hit me right in the heart and I was dead in under a minute.
Two hours later, I woke up, propped up against a bar, with a bottle of tequila next to me, bearing a post-it note with the writing “George says hi”. I inferred a reference to the great George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead, and general horror legend. I also deduced that I was therefore what you would call “a zombie” but given that I was able to make such a deduction, I realised that Romero hadn’t got everything right when it came to my new brethren.
The writing on my post-it note was my wife’s. I didn’t blame her for leaving – it can’t be easy to watch your husband get shot at the very best of times. I wondered how long it had been before she realised I had reanimated (or whatever you call it) and why I didn’t remember that part, yet at the same time remembering the lyrics to her favourite song, “Call Me Maybe”. Quite why anyone would want them to call them “Maybe” had always escaped me, it’s a terrible name. I’d quite like people to call me “Maverick” but the suggestion was laughed down at my bachelor party.
It hadn’t been a particularly good day (what with dying and all), so I was about to take myself home, when the stripper made her nightly appearance. She was announced as “the Princess of Lichtenstein”, with an image of her riding a tongue (an idea lovingly ripped off from a Rolling Stones album cover) behind her, with “Lichtenstein” scribbled out and replaced in a scrawl with “lick-ten-times”. Her connection to the royal family of Lichtenstein was never proven, partly because by the middle of the routine anybody who doubted the veracity of her claim to royalty had been distracted somehow.
She performed her usual routine, which I’d never really paid any attention to before, but she certainly knew what she was doing on the pole and showed a great deal of flexibility, along with a surprising amount of grace. She got dressed and came to the bar, sitting next to me. She looked across at me and grinned a mischievous grin of which the Cheshire cat would have been proud.
I know what you’re thinking, and I was thinking it too. This was not lost on her. She took a shot of my tequila (without asking, I might add, not that I was complaining) then poured two for me, telling me to “keep up” without any apparent recognition of the double entendre. Within minutes, we were in the (disgustingly dirty) toilet cubicle and she had my trousers around my ankles, attempting to prove whether or not I was still “fully functional”.
I was. It was glorious. Really brightened up my day.
We returned to the bar and had some more tequila to wash our mouths out, before checking into the motel next door. She paid in cash. Show-off.
The next thing I knew, the sun was shining on my face and some flies were hovering above my head, which ached as if someone had done exploratory surgery on it in the middle of the night. I looked over to the other side of the bed, expecting a naked woman and finding only her head and the empty bottle of tequila.
At the foot of the bed was an extremely muscular man, with plenty of tattoos, who did not look best pleased with the situation he found himself presented with. I sympathised. You know it’s not going to be a great day when you wake up dead, and you can be fairly sure it’ll be a bad day when you wake up dead with a hangover, an empty bottle of tequila, and the head of the princess of Lichtenstein…