A Date for Beady
Many plots were formulated around the kitchen tables of the Halls of Residence, where we played cards in our first year of university. Jokes were told, tales were spun, reputations were enhanced or ruined. It was a great time to be alive.
One of the lads was called Beady, that wasn’t his real name of course, it was his nickname earned because of his small, beady eyes; he always looked at you like he suspected you of doing something you shouldn’t, which wasn’t far off the mark. He was as good as gold though, despite being a southerner.
I can’t remember how it came about, or whose idea it was, but we decided that Beady should go on a date. The reason he was the victim? He wasn’t there at the time; it could have been any of us, it’s just his bad luck – or his turn.
We sat around the table: Doddie, Derek (“it’s Joe, it’s bloody Joe!”), Leeds and yours truly. Derek, aka Bloody Joe, whose name at birth was actually Joseph but he let slip his middle name was Derek after his dad, and from then on we called him Derek which he hated and would protest “It’s Joe, it’s bloody Joe!”, was nominated to write a note and slip it in Beady’s postbox. It was a job given to him because it had been pointed out that his handwriting was “like a girl’s”.
The note was from this imaginary girl who said that she had seen him around and asked one of his mates who he was etc etc…you know the plot. Anyway would he meet her in the bus station cafe at 10am the next morning?
Oh how childish! I know that’s what you are thinking…. it was, but on my life it was funny at the time, as we sat there trying to compose this note between us, coming up with content that didn’t sound cheesy but enticing enough to get him there and realistic enough so he thought a girl actually wrote it. Derek was getting annoyed because we made him do several drafts, he said we were wasting his notepaper. He shut up when it was pointed out to him that real men didn’t even own notepaper!
In the end we were satisfied with our efforts and Leeds took the note downstairs as he was Beady’s flatmate.
The next morning Leeds came back up to see me and told me that Beady had got the note and fallen for it hook, line and sinker. He was down there now ironing his best shirt and had even asked Leeds for a couple of quid to buy her a cup of tea. Poor students.
We stood at the window watching him stride off towards the bus station before heading down there ourselves: me, Doddie and Leeds - Derek couldn’t make it because he had other plans he couldn’t get out of so he would have to miss the show. We approached the plate glass window and peeked in. Beady’s beady little eyes spotted the three heads stacked one above the other, looking in at him at the side of the window and stood up shouting “Oh you Bastards!” Our makeshift stack of heads disappeared from view as we leaned too far and collapsed in a heap.
Beady took it well, we actually bought him breakfast to make him feel better. He admitted it was a great joke and congratulated us for catching him out like that. We just looked at each other in mock surprise. “This wasn’t us Beady old son, we only found out about it this morning, this was Derek setting you up…”