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When You Find Yourself Wondering What Marjorie the Stuffed Chicken Would Do, You Know You're In Trouble

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"My biggest regret," Penny said, picking the beer coaster out of her cleavage and tossing it over her shoulder and across the pub, "is that with Brian now gay, I never got to shag him."

"Nooo," Susan said. "Why would you want to do that? Look at him, he's like a St Bernard puppy in a tracksuit, with a blood alcohol level higher than some of my students' midterm results and worse prospects than a real estate agent in Sellafield. Only someone like Kurt could love him."

"Fuck off," Kurt said, knowing he sounded bitter but not able to stop himself. He wasn't going to be able to sound normal until he was much drunker. All the way shit-faced, even. Oh look, Simon had left his lager unprotected--that was careless of Simon.

Brian looked over his shoulder from where he was tossing darts at the board with JP and Simon. He flipped two fingers at Penny and Susan then threw a dart that missed the board completely.

"If he's the sporty one, we're all fucked," Susan said bitterly.

"Jenny said he was the only one of you lot worth fucking," Penny explained around the slice of lemon from her G and T. "And now he's going to be buggering boy's bottoms. I'm never going to get any, not until the end of term when I can finally wash the smell of chalk, students and school lunches out of my hair."

"I didn't say that," Jenny pointed out. "You're misquoting your sources, Penny. I hope you hold your sixth formers to higher standards."

"You did say Brian was better than Simon," Kurt said. "It's important to remember that. We should all make sure we remind Simon of that as often as possible. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo of it."

"Jenny said Brian was much more fun and less complicated," Susan said. "Then Simon demonstrated why by whining and sniveling like a first former who lost his tuck shop money. As an endorsement, it wasn't ringing."

"Simon is a dick," Kurt said. "You're all dicks."

"At the time, you said it was very good," Susan added, looking at Jenny through the bottom of her empty glass. "You told the whole staff room that. Did he pay you?"

Jenny groaned and took the glass out of Susan's hand. "If you'll stop, I'll buy you a drink."

While Jenny was buying a round at the bar beside the owl--because it was always cheaper to buy a round when at least some of the group was playing bowls or darts--Susan leaned back in her chair and pointed at Kurt and Penny.

"If you had to sleep with either Simon or Brian, who would it be? Simon, with his boyish good looks, self-destructive tendencies, and whinging? Or Brian, sometimes odorous and the kind of person who owns a stuffed chicken named Marjorie, but endorsed by Jenny as a good shag?"

"Brian," Penny said. "After all, Jenny is my NQT mentor this year, so it's part of her job to sort out the whiny overgrown boys from the stuffed-chicken-owning men for me."

"Kurt?" Susan asked. "Who would you put your ankles behind your ears for?"

"Firstly," Kurt said, putting down Simon's empty glass, "the rules say that us blokes never have to pick another bloke."

"Overruled," Susan said. "We make JP pick women all the time."

"Secondly, what makes you so sure that it wouldn't be me bending one of them over the table in our kitchen and giving them a good seeing to?"

"And there's a disturbing image," Susan said, over Penny's shrieks of laughter. "Stop prevaricating and choose."

"Stop whatting?" Kurt asked.

"Just fucking choose," Susan said, as Jenny set another round down on the table and sat down.

"What are you making Kurt choose?" Jenny asked.

"We're making Kurt pick between Simon and Brian," Susan explained, between Penny's giggles.

"Oh," Jenny said. "Shouldn't he also be offered JP and Bob? Or maybe he'd like Bob's arse and Simon's legs? Or Bob's tits and JP's dick?"

Susan slapped Kurt hard on the back, and said, "Nah, I think we all know what Kurt wants," in her creepy, confidential voice.

Kurt gulped. "You do?"

"Oy! Where's my lager?" Simon demanded, pushing in between Kurt and Susan. "Which wanker drank it?"

"Use it or lose it," Jenny said. "Just like the rest of us."

Later that night, while they all waited for Penny to be sick behind the bus stop before getting into the cab, something bubbled up in Kurt's mind, like a burned bit in a vindaloo.

"I'd choose Brian," Kurt told Susan, his arm around her waist. "He has a very big penis when he has an erection."

Unfortunately the scrabbling motions Susan made to get away from Kurt pushed him off balance and onto the footpath at Jenny's feet.

"Oh, God," Jenny said. "He's been sick in my shoes."

* * *

Kurt rolled over and dug himself out from under the bedding. His head had exploded from pain, something utterly unspeakable had shat in his mouth during the night, and if he didn't piss in the next ten seconds by choice, he was going to piss involuntarily.

The bog door was locked when he jiggled the door handle.

"Bugger, bugger, bugger," he said under his breath, clutching his dick through yesterday's trousers and shoving the bathroom door open with his other hand.

"Get out, you weasely fucker!" Brian shouted from behind the shower curtain and a bottle of JP's shower gel sailed past Kurt.

"Crisis!" Kurt called out, getting his zip undone and his dick out in front of the hand basin.

He let out a deep groan as the pressure eased in his bladder and leaned his forehead against the mirror, hoping the cool glass and condensation would do something about the fucking hangover goblin jackhammering at his brain.

"You dirty fucker!" Brian called out and Kurt grinned to himself at the sight of his appallingly orange piss swirling around the hand basin, washing away beard scrapings, dead toothpaste and odd lumpy bits as it hit the drain.

The shower stopped as Kurt was shaking and then Brian clapped a wet hand on Kurt's shoulder, sending the last drips up onto the mirror.

"Dying?" Brian asked sympathetically. "Remembered anything yet? Want a beer and a fryup for breakkie?"

Kurt tucked himself away and ran the tap for a moment because the smell of pissed-out lager from the basin was making his eyes water.

"Yes, no, yes," Kurt said. "What should I be remembering?"

He followed Brian's bare arse out of the bathroom and stared at Marjorie on Brian's windowsill while Brian pulled on trackies retrieved from the bedroom floor. He always felt that Marjorie understood him.

JP's sofa bed was still spread out so Kurt starfished onto it and took the bottle of water and handful of headache pills that Brian handed him.

"Well," Brian said, opening the fridge and taking out a slab of bacon. "You'd better hope Jenny doesn't have expensive taste in shoes. I would have aimed for Susan, because she definitely wears cheap shoes."

Kurt lifted his head enough to open the bottle of water and gulp down the pills.

"Shoes?" Kurt asked helplessly.

"It was awesome," Brian said, dropping a slab of lard into a frying pan. "Four eggs or five?"

"Off my bed," JP said from behind Kurt, and Kurt only just managed to get the cap back on the water bottle before JP heaved on the edge of the duvet and flipped him onto the floor.

"Owowowowow," Kurt said, clutching at his head while his stomach lurched and heaved and the world swum around him.

"He's suffering," Brian said. "Don’t mind him."

"Bet he is," JP said. "Has he remembered yet?"

"Nah," Brian said. "I'm running a book, since he can't run one on himself. Simon has already taken with-burned-eggs-and-greasy-bacon. What do you want?"

"On-the-bog," JP said. "Or did Susan already get that?"

"Nah, Susan never bets on anything like shitting, she's too nice," Brian said. "She's got in-the-shower. She also overestimates how often Kurt washes."

"Righto," JP said, grabbing Kurt's arm and hauling him upright then dropping him on the reassembled couch.

"What about me?" Kurt said. "Can I bet?"

"Don't see why not," Brian said, tossing chunks of bacon into sizzling fat. "When do you want?"

"Is that legit?" JP asked, sprawling next to Kurt. "Couldn't Kurt, you know, fake when he remembered in order to win?"

"He's not going to fake this one," Brian said, smiling evilly at Kurt.

"Okay," Kurt said. "I'll take at-the-pub-this-afternoon."

Brian nodded. "JP?"

"During-his-next-wank," JP said.

"Niiiiice," Brian said. "There are no clean plates. Do either of you mind if I just reuse yesterday's? A bit of korma goes well with bacon and eggs, if you ask me."

"What if I wank in the shower?" Kurt asked, when Brian handed him a plate of blackened eggs and scorched bacon. "Or in the bog at the pub? And remember then?"

Brian paused, egg slice loaded with charred bits hovering over a plate. "Ahhh," he said. "Ahhh. Don't do anything like that, or the pot will have to be split. None of us can do that kind of complicated maths, so we'd have to get Mr. Chong to help."

"Can we stop talking about Kurt wanking now?" JP asked plaintively, as Brian handed him a plate of fried goodness and a bottle of HP sauce. "I'm trying to eat."

* * *

Kurt rested his forehead against the rain-slick bricks of the wall outside the pub and let out a deep sigh of relief as he pissed.

"It's uncanny," JP said, zipping up beside him. "How much your pissing moan sounds like your wanking moan."

"Brave words from a man whose sex life happens on a foldout couch in our living room," Brian said, on the other side of Kurt.

"At least I have a sex life," JP said.

"Feet!" Kurt said, hopping backwards, out of Brian's piss stream. "Watch your splash, Brian!"

"Like you haven't had my piss on your feet before," Brian said, turning towards Kurt more, sending piss up the wall and spraying back on both Kurt and JP. "Ahhhh."

JP stepped back, off the footpath, and said, "If Susan was here, she'd tell you all about how girls always get pee on their feet."

"She's not, so we don't need some feminist rant about penises from you, thank you," Kurt said, shaking both his foot and his dick at the same time.

"I don't think feminists rant about penises," JP said. "I don't think they talk about them at all if they can help it."

"You're a poofter," Brian said, turning around to face JP and Kurt with his dick in his hand still. "I think your personal lifestyle choices mean you don't get to pass opinions on what feminists do or don't say."

The car full of soccer hoons behind Kurt's shoulder shouted their encouragement at Brian's indecent exposure, and Kurt said, "Uh oh," and dropped to his knees in a puddle of rain and urine.

"Watch your shoes, Brian!" JP shouted as Kurt covered his face with his hands, rubbing cheese and onion crisp crumbs into his eyes accidentally, and began to cry.

"Ah, ah, ah, ah," Kurt sobbed, rocking back and forth on the wet footpath.

"He's remembered," JP said. "You can put it away now, Brian, you're scaring the children."

"Ah, ah, ah," Kurt cried.

"That's not his wanking noise," Brian said. "He's definitely remembered."

"Oh God," Kurt said, curling up on the footpath. "Kill me now."

"No way," Brian said, and strong hands hauled Kurt to his feet and held him steady until the dizzies had stopped. "You said it, you have to live with it."

"And us," JP supplied helpfully, shaking Kurt just a bit while guiding him around a bike chained to a fence.

At the flat, Kurt hovered in the doorway to Brian's room.

"Oh God," Kurt repeated. "Oh God, oh God."

"You said that, on the way home from the pub," Brian reminded him. "If this is going to be one of those nights when you climb into my bed, scared out of your pissed mind by something stupid and pretending that you're cold, you have to brush your teeth."

Kurt shook, limbs going in random directions and colliding with doorknobs and the balustrade. What would Marjorie do?

Marjorie would seize the opportunity, brush her non-existent teeth, get into Brian's bed, and warm her scrawny feet on Brian's arse, like a sensible stuffed chicken.

Marjorie was much bolder than Kurt, and also had not just humiliated herself the way he had.

"Even though I said that thing?" Kurt managed.

"I know people reckon you're the smart one here, but I have no idea why," Brian said. "Brush you teeth, and I'll show you my willy again."

* * *

In the morning, Kurt fumbled his way numbly down the stairs to the kitchen and stood helplessly in front of the kettle, trying to remember how to make coffee. JP wandered in from the bathroom wearing only a towel and reached around Kurt to flick the kettle on.

"Good night?" JP asked.

Kurt managed to blink at JP then shrug.

"Righto," JP said, putting three mugs in front of Kurt. "Spoon of instant coffee in each, then add water when the kettle boils. I'll tell you what to do after that."

Brian pushed his way past Kurt and opened the fridge while the kettle boiled.

"Help Kurt put milk in the coffees," JP called out from inside the T-shirt he was pulling over his head. "He's forgotten how to."

Brian made a helpless noise behind Kurt and shoved the milk carton onto the counter beside the mugs.

"Well, well," JP said. "Isn't this interesting. Brian is also more stupid than usual this morning. Good thing we don't all work in some intellectually rigorous field like, oh, teaching, eh?"

Kurt swallowed and Brian shuffled dishes in the sink behind Kurt.

JP shouted, a loud delighted and inarticulate sound, and said, "Oh God, it's not stupidity, it's embarrassment!"

The muscles in Kurt's shoulders twanged with tension and he could feel Brian flinching.

"No, boys, no," JP said, bounding over his unmade bed and into the tiny kitchen. "This is not what mornings after are like." He grabbed Kurt and turned him around, sending the coffee mugs and coffee granules flying.

"Now, Brian," JP said, taking hold of Brian's hand and putting it on Kurt's shoulder. "You can do this. I'm sure you did, last night."

"Do what?" Brian asked, his face as blank as his voice.

Bewildered Brian was Kurt's favourite. Probably Majorie's as well.

JP's exasperated eye-rolling was deafeningly loud in the silent flat, as was the smack he delivered to the back of Brian's head.

"God, no wonder you're both single," JP said. "Lean forward…"

Brian bent stiffly at the hips so his nose bumped against Kurt's scalp.

"Good," JP said. "Now, with a bit of affection."

JP's hands appeared around Brian's head, grabbing his hair, and Brian's face zoomed in on Kurt's, really, really close. Then Brian's lips collided awkwardly with Kurt's.

"That's right!" JP said. "Keep doing that. I'm going out for breakfast."

Brian kissed Kurt again, with much more coordination, and the front door of the flat slammed.

When Kurt opened his eyes next, he was on his back on the kitchen table and Brian was pulling down his pyjamas.

Someone had spelled out Sunday on the ceiling in the kitchen, using jammy toast to make the letters.

END