5 September 2014
I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. But then, even if it did, I’d still be tied to a lamppost. Naked.
Squinting against the early morning sun and cursing my former best friend to hell and back, I tried to shake off the fog in my brain.
The clock on the spire above me read 7am, which meant anytime now the patrons of Pudsey would wander into town and find more than they bargained for. I was probably looking at an indecency charge.
My eyes dropped to the ground, where my clothes were folded in a neat pile. My boots were beside them, and my wallet, keys and phone balanced carefully on top. All were out of reach by a few inches.
A flash of red in my peripheral vision had me turning to the right. I groaned when I registered the postman’s uniform. Bill would enjoy my discomfort, hell he’d probably take a picture of it and paper his Facebook status with my sorry hide.
He perked up the moment he spotted me. His normal unhurried walk became decidedly quick footed.
When he’d finished laughing, he pulled his phone from the front of his postbag and I heard the tell-tale sound of his camera.
Thankfully it was a head shot and captured my scowl perfectly.
“How about a hand?” I asked, narrowing my eyes when he continued to chuckle at the picture.
He turned the screen towards me and held it in front of my face. “Aren’t you going to look pretty on your wedding day,” he said, wiping away a stray tear.
A clown stared back at me, looking gruesome with my frown. I wasn’t naked after all.
“Just untie me,” I said on a sigh, already envisioning the slogan as the picture went viral.
“No can do, my friend. It’s against the rules.”
My angry stare clearly had no effect on him because his expression didn’t change. He did scoop down to pick up my phone though. “What’s the code?” he asked, brown eyes twinkling.
“I’m a moron,” I said and watched his head tilt to the side.
“It’s a numeric code, though I don’t disagree.”
The headache which had been brewing since I opened my eyes hammered a nail into my brain as my face scrunched up.
“Ha. Ha. It’s 2239.”
Bill tapped it in and scrolled through my address book. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he was playing ‘call or delete’ with my contacts.
With a grunt of satisfaction he pressed the screen and moved a step closer so he could balance the phone on my shoulder.
I snapped my head to the right to catch it, fighting a wave of nausea at the sudden move.
“Hey…” I called when he walked away, whistling as though he didn’t have a care in the world. He probably didn’t.
“What have you gotten yourself into?” A husky voice breathed into my ear and I closed my eyes. The old rat had called Olivia.
“It wasn’t me. Dillon thought it would be funny to tie me to a street lamp. I’m in town…” I swallowed down my discomfort. “Look I know I’m not supposed to see you before the church, but could you…”
“What are you wearing?” she asked, and the question was so out of the blue it took a moment to process.
Son of a bitch, she was in on it too?
“I feel like a clown,” I muttered, glancing down the street to the fading red figure of Bill.
“Then you’d better use that industrious brain of yours and find a way out of this,” she said, sounding amused.
“You’re not going to help me are you?”
The silence told me she was at least thinking about it. “And spoil everyone’s fun. No, I think I’ll let you figure this out all on your own.”
“And what if I get arrested and don’t make it to the church?”
She laughed and the sound blew the rest of the haze away. “I have every faith in you,” she said, her voice dropping an octave. “And I’m worth it.”
The phone went dead and I grinned like an idiot. She was right. I’d find a way to take the damn lamp post with me if I had to, because there was no way I’d miss my chance to marry her.
When I let the phone drop, I gave it a tap with my shoulder and watched it bounce on the pile of clothes before coming to rest on the ground.
“Hey!” A young voice shouted to the left of me. “You’re that footballer.”
I turned, ignoring the blinding pain and focusing on the two boys who were looking at me with open scepticism.
“You’ve got a good eye,” I said, thinking about the gunk on my face. “How would you like the chance to meet the rest of the team?”
There was a moment’s hesitation before the older one looked at his friend slyly. “That’s a start. What else have you got?”
“How about you start by untying me and we’ll take it from there?”
The kid might have a smart mouth, but he wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. I breathed a sigh of relief when the pair walked around me and began to work on the rope.