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The International Writers Magazine
The Adventures of Guy Block

Road Block
Mark Cunliffe

As Guy Block walked briskly across the windswept concrete square that was optimistically called a ‘piazza’ at an incredibly early hour of the day he knew that what lay ahead for him did not bode well.

The fact that ‘Anarchic Anna’, the resident tramp or bag lady of Hopemouth University who enrolled in its first glorious year back in the 60s and had remained ever since, though no one knew why, wandering its environs with multiple blue plastic carrier bags, drunk, stoned or just plain bonkers, proceeded to point and cackle at him as he passed, was certainly his very own ‘hides of march’. He turned to look at her and felt a chill run through his bones that was surely not just down to the weather. With a jolt of his head he turned and continued his walk.

It was a rare day out for Guy. He was going to travel across the country to another decrepit failing University and deliver a paper on the stylistics of pain and despair in English Literature. Something Guy felt he was a justified expert in as he had certainly known some pain and despair in his time. And today would be no exception. Already he was rushed and stressful, he had barely shaved allowing for sparse smatterings of blonde and grey stubble to still permeate his chin and he had chosen to wear a turtleneck pullover that was uncomfortably itchy.

As he finally reached his beloved MG, he realised that the first of many mistakes was surely in inviting along a student of his for the trip. A rather gorgeous, delectable young female by the apt name of Tottie Love, with whom Guy had enjoyed some rather vigorous nights with. It was indeed one such night that Guy asked her to come along with him, an offer he had regretted ever since. She was also it was worth noting a student of some merit and a keen musical fan; having had several reviews appear in The NME. Sadly for Guy this meant that some of these vigorous nights involved less of the horizontal tango and more of the hopping up and down and tempting a blown eardrum in dingy cellars where loud and annoying music was played live by spotty slobbering idiots professing to be ‘the band’
This was not exactly enjoyable for Guy, for although he was indeed a music fan of longstanding, he could even remember when Glastonbury was all fields, he preferred his audio tucking in of an evening to be a haunting Dylan song or a wistful jazz record before dozing off in the comfort of his own bed. Girl optional.
Still, these live acts he had to suffer to ensure he did get a chance of sleeping with the NME
Read it back quickly now.
There she was, leaning her trim figure onto his MG’s passenger side, reading one of her own articles and chewing bubblegum, a finger curling her glossy blonde hair. She was clearly adorable, though ever so bloody annoying, and Guy realised as he greeted her that he was in for a very long road trip. "You’re late" she offered helpfully with the barest of glances in his direction. "I know" he apologised curtly.
With a quick peck on the cheek he slumped into the car, selected Alan Price’s O’ Lucky Man CD, and revved off, hoping for the best.
It was not to be.

Guy began the journey by attempting to explain to Tottie how important the day was to him. That he considered it an honour to be asked by the notable Prof Worth to give a paper, especially as Prof Worth was quite a high flyer. He was mockingly known as ‘Self Worth’ in academic circles, on account of his ability to talk majestically and at length on a variety of subjects, that would essentially all revert back to himself to an enrapt audience. He was often described by colleagues as an ‘assured man’, ‘very confident’, and ‘balls out’….

Though this troubled Guy, as he had never felt very confident with his balls out.
Tottie nodded her way through Guy’s speech before metaphorically kicking him in said balls by innocently enquiring "So why did they ask you to give this paper?"
With a heavy sigh Guy explained that he was not first choice, and that his good friend Prof Emma Latimer had passed on the opportunity, suggesting Guy might like to take her place.

Emma Latimer was something of a puzzle to Guy, in that she was a deeply attractive, witty and erudite woman whom he would dearly love to conquer, but for some reason this would never be. The reason being that for Emma, Guy was simply a good friend.

Now, this is just wrong. Women having a man as their best friend struck Guy as somewhat akin to being invited to a job interview where you are told you are simply by far and away the best candidate, but that they won’t ever employ you. No, they will instead offer the vacancy to a drunk, unreliable and potentially violent candidate who will eventually leave before a succession of similar wastrels take up the job role. The unsuccessful candidate however will be expected to be somewhat content to know that his CV will be the one that is constantly held up by the employer as the template for the prospective workforce on how they should be and that said unlucky candidate will also be expected to answer the telephone at several opportunities to hear the employer bemoan of their latest recruit and how they cant find someone like you, and wished that they could find someone like you, though not of course, you. That would be absurd.

Guy’s reverie was broken off as he realised that Tottie was informing him that they were stuck in a deeply unpromising looking traffic jam on the motorway. This was not good. He felt a shiver run down his back and into his bottom. With a panicked look at his watch he closed his eyes tight and cursed whatever God had decided to piss on him from on high.
Relax he told himself; there’s plenty of time. No need for a panic attack.

An hour later and they had barely moved. Tottie, a delight in the bedroom, was proving a pain of a passenger. Guy could feel the blood run through his veins as she twittered on.
"Oh look at that over there" she said
"What?" Guy replied through clenched teeth. Realising that she had the most appalling voice. It grated on him immensely. He recalled her recital of Blake in class, God that was awful, but at least that day she had the good grace to not wear a bra and stand by the window affording him an excellent view of her nipples.
"That old car, you like old cars, what’s that one?" it droned on in reply.

A momentary glance in the direction revealed it to be a rather good example of an Aston Martin DBS from the early 70s. Guy informed of this fact and watched her brain take it in slowly.
"Have you ever had one? There supposed to be really good aren’t they? Martins"
"What?" Guy asked incredulously
"A Martin, have you ever had one? They’re dead classy aren’t they?"
Jesus Christ on a bike on Boxing Day Guy thought. Can someone be so monumentally stupid? Guy corrected her as patiently as he could, which wasn’t very.
"They’re Astons you dim-witted bint, not Martins, Astons!"He withdrew his face from hers and forcefully twisted himself back into the driving position. Martin I mean honestly come on, Guy smouldered to himself, how could someone think a graceful panther of an automobile would be called a Martin? Martin suggests some wimpy, snivelling ginger type dwarfish in stature who likely as not would give a parking ticket to an Aston.

He had come to a decision, one quite rare in his life; he must lose the girl.

The opportunity presented itself some twenty minutes later when the traffic calmed and they crawled to a service station, Guy suggested she run in and bring back some sweets to eat on the long journey. As her beautiful back and behind encased in a long red Mac faded from view he speed off at great haste. Already he felt better and calmer. A panic attack had been averted. With a sigh of relief he turned the radio on and up. The song playing was The Police’s Don’t Stand So Close To Me, a rather apt song on two fronts, in that it’s detailing of student and teacher lust mirrored Guy’s life, and also Tottie, ever the music fan, once suggested that Guy looked not unlike the drummer from the band. With good cheer restored and an only slight nagging feeling that he was late, Guy smirked as he contented himself that Tottie would forgive him his abandoning of her and that vigorous nights would occur once more. He began to drum along on the steering wheel, unaware of the ominous black clouds rolling over the hills.

Eventually the stretch of motorway that lay promising ahead became increasingly hard to see as the rain bounced down with all the alarming force of Dawn French on a trampoline. To make matters worse, the heavy rainfall reminded Guy’s bladder that it was rather full and in need of unloading. With some annoyance he moved further and further across lanes until eventually he saw ahead a quiet lay by that looked suitable to pull in for the operation of pulling out.

Slamming the car door shut Guy tugged his tweed jacket close around him and hunched his shoulders up to make his neck disappear, which is of course the internationally accepted and completely futile action we all make when faced with being out in a downpour. He began to hop across to the lay bys end with a distressing feeling that water was coming in through his Cuban heels.

It was with great relief that Guy unzipped his trousers and urinated freely into the bushes below. He breathed out deeply and was momentarily distracted by the sight of his breath billowing in the cold air. It was indeed very windy out too, unbearably the rain kept slanting into his body from every direction. He needed to get back in the dry so he willed his willy to cease sometime soon.

Suddenly as he was almost finished a huge articulated lorry juggernauted passed the lay by, the full force of which sent a sheet of icy cold filthy rainwater up the legs and back of Prof Block which ultimately sent him off balance and still freely unzipped, into the bushes.

Unfortunately, the said bushes consisted of large stinging nettles that attacked Guy’s offered penis causing Guy to swear at the top of his voice as the unbearable stinging pain inflicted what he treasured most. It certainly brought tears to his eyes, not that you could see with all the rain.

Thankfully nature provides and Guy hurriedly, or as hurriedly as he could with trousers now round his ankles and trailing through puddles, found himself some neighbouring dock leaves. Clutching at a few he proceeded to wrap his sore member with them and rub at it to ease the pain.

It was an alarming sight for the drivers and passengers on the motorway that day to see a middle-aged man hop from foot to foot in a lay by in the pouring rain apparently relieving himself sexually with the aid of a selection of leaves whilst howling to the elements no doubt in depraved ecstasy. Some drivers and passengers would point in abject horror, others would point and laugh, some attempted to shield small children’s eyes whilst others in that typically British way would pretend that they had not seen anything and would look ahead determinedly, keeping their eyes on the road.

One car pulled up to assist. Sadly this car was one fitted with flashing blue lights and a siren that whooped once lamely in deference to its duty. Did I say assist? Sorry I meant arrest.

Guy Block was later let out of the local police station some hours later, dejected and hurt in more ways than one, still he was thankful for the TCP cream and the offer of a plaster. No charge was brought forward to the embarrassed Block, but a good deal of merriment was brought to the constabulary in attendance; as well as the occasional wince and ‘there but for the grace of God’ sentiment that most males would no doubt feel.

Needless to say Guy did not make it to give his paper, but as he traipsed off to his waiting MG for home with a painful throb in the trouser department, the onset of a cold brought on by his soaked attire and the laughs still ringing in his ears, Guy felt assured that if anyone was an expert in pain and despair it was surely him.

© Mark Cunliffe March 2007

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