It was in the middle of July and on a Friday evening. I was only a couple of weeks away from my 21st birthday and I was still with Claudia (who'd I'd whacked with a table tennis bat). But not for long. It was also about a week after that I was informed that I had failed my exams, the first year of an HNC in Applied Physics. I could have passed if I had worked but I had lost motivation and was questioning everything; including the value of life itself. It was the beginning of the end for conventional ambition for me: the 2.4 children, the career, golf or squash with the boss, the house, the new car and foreign holidays. It was to take me a few more years, and a few more failures too, to finally realise that though.
I also knew that Claudia, despite the mutual interest in spanking, was not the right person for me as she was - though very attractive physically and also kinky - quite ignorant and annoying to be around. I needed and was looking for someone else.
So on that Friday evening I had met up with my mates, Tom and Jeremy to go out on the town with the intention of getting drunk and meeting the woman of my dreams. A ridiculous way of doing things, now I look back on it.
Well, it was a hot and sultry evening and the town was full of tourist and revellers (a fancy term for pissheads) and we had trailed round the usual bars with a pint of lager in each establishment for me and Jeremy with Tom being a little bit more restrained as he was driving. Around about 10 o'clock we debated about what nightclub we should go to with me suggesting a place that seemed friendlier with better music - or rather music that I liked. However, I was outvoted by my chums who wanted somewhere with a 'little more action'. Well, we certainly got that; 'be careful what you wish for' and all that. So, we'd bundled into Tom's red VW Beetle and were driven the couple of miles out of town to the discotheque.
Even though I wasn't keen on the place, I felt it was rough and too loud, I soon got into the swing of it by boozing even more and eyeing up the talent. I even ventured onto the dance-floor; I was a crap dancer and was self-conscious about that I was so I must have been pretty pissed. The music was deafening and with the flashing and rotating coloured lights combining with the effects of the alcohol I just kind of felt overwhelmed. It was just after I had casually noticed Jeremy amble off to the toilets that the trouble started.
It had taken me a second or two - I think I had been a momentarily stunned - to realise that I had been attacked because all of sudden I was on the floor looking up at this short stocky blond guy wearing a black leather jacket with his arms pumping back and forth - at me.
In an instant we were both on the ground and he was grappling with me. At this point I began to resist as he seemed to be attempting to get me in some sort of hold which he never quite achieved because I was as strong as he was. However he did get his hands round my bollocks and began to squeeze them hard. The funny thing was though that it didn't hurt where I was so fucking drunk. I was also wondering why nobody, especially my mates, were doing nothing to help me. I was fucking angry yet impotent as the guy was a better fighter than me (I later found out that he was into judo and his mate was an amateur boxer). Then suddenly he was being pulled away by one of the bouncers. It was over. I was then helped to my feet. Shocked and livid I had looked around to see Tom also being helped up just a few feet away. A few seconds later Jeremy had returned from the loos with a look of amazement upon his face.
As I had taken stock of my situation I realised that I wasn't in too bad of a state physically - I had been overpowered and battered but it was the feelings of humiliation and inadequacy that were worse.
As I had looked at Tom he had appeared to have got it worse than me as he was standing there with a cut lip and a blackening eye. He had also been consoled by the fact that it hadn't just been him who had been done over.
Somebody must have also phoned for the police - it wasn't one of us - as about ten minutes later a couple of coppers turned up to talk to us.
"Can you recognise who assaulted you?" the copper had asked me.
"He was blond with a black leather jacket," I had replied to the copper noting his exasperated expression.
"There's a lot of fellows here who are blond with black leather jackets. Can you point him out?"
I couldn't because the cunt, the cunt, had melted away.
"Sorry, I can't identify him," I had responded.
The second copper had then whispered in the ear of the copper who'd been questioning me. The first copper then turned to us and said, "There's been a serious car accident and we've got to go. Contact us at the station if you have any more information."
They'd then walked hurriedly to the exit and disappeared into the night making me feel a little like the Britons after the Romans had left - anxious.
"I think it's time to go home," Tom had announced sensibly prior to making for the exit.
I should have gone home as well but too much drink had resulted in too less sense.
And then I'd seen the blond guy arguing with a bouncer with his taller dark haired mate being restrained by another bouncer against a wall. My anger and thirst for revenge suddenly overwhelmed me so I ran over and smashed Blondy hard in the face; it was the only good punch I got in. But then to my horror he broke free from the overweight bouncer. To make it even worse his mate had also shaken off the hold of the other bouncer too. They then both headed my way - fast. At this point I experienced sheer fear so I ran off but all of a sudden there was nowhere to run. I was backed up against a wall.
I don't recall how I ended up on the ground but I do remember flash bulb after flash bulb detonating in my consciousness and my head feeling like it was going to explode. I asked them to stop at that point; the most humiliating thing I remember from that fateful night. But they didn't and I managed to curl into a ball and bring my arms up to my face which warded off a lot of the heavy kicks. Nevertheless a few were still getting through. I remember thinking that I was going to die, beaten to death in front of everyone and that nobody gave a fuck...
In desperation I had lunged at one of the legs with the intention of up-ending one of the cunts and ripping his fucking balls off before he had time to regain balance. But when I had launched myself my hands had clutched empty air. He had seen it coming.
And then it was over. The bouncers had finally got their act together and pulled them off.
I was lying against a wall with people just looking at me. The music had stopped and the lights were on. Harsh fluorescent lights.
"You've got to go the hospital you're in a right state!" Jeremy had said. I'd never been so pleased to see him. My friend.
Next, the bouncer was looming over me. "Clean yourself up and then get out. You've caused everybody a whole lot of trouble."
I'd felt like smacking him too. But wisely I didn't.
I'd then got up and walked or rather dragged my sorry self into the toilet.
In the mirror I could see one eye closed and the other badly bruised. My ear was lacerated (I can still feel the scar to this day) with blood still trickling down onto my ripped T-shirt which when I lifted it revealed a chest covered in reddening and purpling bruises. Of course the only thing the mirror hadn't shown was the pain; or rather the humiliation. You see, I always thought I could handle myself. But I hadn't and that had hurt as much as anything.
"I've ordered us a taxi, I'll pay, don't worry," Jeremy had calmly said when I'd exited the toilet.
"You're fucking banned," the bouncer had sneered as we had passed him at the cloakroom.
"Like I'll be coming back. You lot were bloody useless," I'd retorted.
The taxi that had taken us up to the hospital was a Ford Cortina Mk IV. It was a car I'd always wanted.
After we'd left we'd heard a couple of days after that more fighting had erupted and even that knives had been drawn. A little while later in the local paper we'd read that there'd been thirteen arrests. I wasn't one of them, thankfully.
The Outpatient's was rather full of fellows with fight injuries and I'd wondered if it was like that every weekend. I hadn't recognised anyone which was probably a good thing. Nobody had said anything either; they were all losers like me. Victors didn't need to go to hospital.
I was patched up with my ear taped back together before being given a painful tetanus jab in my bum by an unsympathetic nurse. She had then said, "You'll need to come back tomorrow and get an X-ray done of your head. Just a precaution."
"So, when I get back in, just after twelve, my dad is still up and he's about to tell me that he's heard on the radio that there's been a massive fight with a number of people being arrested and as many taken up to the hospital and did I know anything about it? And then he sees me with a black eye and a split lip and goes quiet for a moment before saying, 'I guess you don't need me to tell you anything.' It was kind of funny, now you think about," Tom is saying to me and Roy as we are walking down the pier.
There's a bar at the end - it's where we are headed - and it's the Friday after we were duffed up. We've still got most of our bruises, and the funny thing is that Roy has his arm in a sling after injuring it at work...
We swing open the door to the Pier Bar. It's pretty full and it looks like we'll be a while getting served. But as the other punters see us they adopt wary expressions and part, letting us through; kind of like the Red Sea for Moses.
We get to the bar and are served first. Because of our injuries people think we're hard and they don't want to piss us off. All three of us share a knowing smile and say nothing. Funny that, people's misconceptions.