I went down the pub last night. No big deal, you may think, but I hadn’t been down the pub for over three weeks.
There they all were. There was Dogger and Ligger, Big Sarah and Little Sarah, List, Smeg, Dodgy, Stick and Horselips. They were my friends. All of them. Except now there was one more - and he was the reason for my prolonged absence.
“Thought you was dead,” said Dogger, “but couldn’t be arsed to visit to see.”
They all laughed. I laughed. Big Sarah bought me a pint. The conversation was the same, the conversation was always the same. No one talked about Bridge, or death, or spiders. Simon talked about Bridge and death and spiders - and frenzy. He talked a lot about frenzy. He talked frenziedly about frenzy.
Down the pub we talked and we laughed and we bought each other pints that equalled out over time in the giant account book that no one kept but everyone knew. We slapped backs and went home, as lonely as we had arrived.
Tonight as the talking flagged we played Truth or Dare. It came to my turn. I was five pints down and the sixth was looking at me.
“I’ve got a new friend.” That was enough, they fell about laughing.
“Yea, sure. Like that’s going to happen” chortled List.
“I have,” I insisted, “he’s a banana called Simon and he’s very good at Bridge.”
That was too much for all of them. They didn’t believe me and they would set me a Dare. I suppose, in retrospect, that it was only to be expected.
“Dare! Dare! Dare!” they chanted.
“No,” I said, “it’s true. It’s really true”
“Ahh”, goes little Sarah, chucking me under the chin, “little Diddums says it’s true. He says he has a friend called Simon who is a frenzied banana and he doesn’t want to do his Dare. Ahh, little Diddums.”
And I left. I walked out. My sixth pint undrunk. I could take no more. I went home to Simon.
“Where the bloody hell have you been?”
“I told you, I went down the pub and saw my mates. I thought they’d be worried about me.”
“No, not really. They were just the same as always..”
“Like bloody bananas. A bunch of idiots. Did you play Bridge?”
“No, my mates can’t play Bridge. I can’t play Bridge. I don’t know the rules. I keep telling you. You can’t play Bridge either. Not properly. You don’t have hands, you can’t hold cards.”
“I told you, it doesn’t matter if you are a banana. The dealer deals mentally. We know our cards. We play them mentally through the dealer. We’re good. We’re born with it. At least, bananas on my tree were born with it. But I’m the best. I could play Blue Diamond if any other bloody idiot banana could remember it. I play Precision. I play Modern Acol. I play every bloody system going. I’m bloody brilliant. I live to play Bridge. I am frenzied about Bridge. I play in a frenzy. You should see it. It’s brilliant, I’m brilliant.”
“I couldn’t see anything if you only play mentally. How would I know what you were doing? I’m not clairvoyant.”
“Simon, I understand that you are upset. I understand that I have eaten all of your playmates. But I didn’t know. I didn’t understand.”
“Next you’ll tell me that you don’t eat our bottoms because spiders live there.”
“You’ve told me that they don’t. I believe you.”
“Spiders! Bah! Bloody idiot! Some bananas believe it you know. They think that if they get turned upside down then little spiders will run right down them. Bloody bananas! We could rule the world if it wasn’t for the belief in spiders. Instead we hang about, go green, go yellow and get eaten. What’s the bloody point?”
“You play Bridge. You have your frenzies. It’s not all bad.”
“Piss off! Piss off, you bloody idiot. I bloody hate you. I bloody hate everyone. I am so angry. I am in a frenzy. Get lost! Go away!”
I think I’d just about had it with Simon by then. He never stopped insulting me. He wanted to talk about Bridge systems and I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. At first he’d been calmer. Now he was just always angry and frenzied and annoying. I’d had five pints. I ate him.
“Thank God for that. He was driving us round the bend,” came a soft voice from a pear in the fruit bowl....