THE SABOTAGE OF NICOLAS CAGE
David threw his cigarette to the ground and watched as the cherry hit the pavement and burst into a spray of embers around his feet. The orange ash quickly faded and he looked over the road at The Chatsworth which was starting to get busy. People were beginning to hang around outside and he smiled to himself as some bloke danced around a lamp post and professed his love to one of the barmaids who was watching from within. She smiled and shook her head in mock embarrassment. The man saluted her and lit up a cigarette as she turned and got back to work. David began to unzip his jacket and walked through the doors to the pub. Chris and Matt were sitting at a table by the window and he walked over and waited for Chris to finish speaking.
‘…I’m telling you man, Nicolas Cage is fucking mental.’ He lifted his beer and drunk from it.
‘Why?’ Matt asked.
‘Haven’t you seen that Freaking out thing on Youtube?’
‘You gotta see it. It’s fuckin’ funny.’
‘What is it?’
‘Just watch it. I’m telling you. He’s mental.’
‘Saying that, you look a bit like Nicholas Cage.’ Matt said and finished his beer.
‘What? You sayin’ I’m mental?’
‘No, just that you look like him.’
‘What are you talking about?’ Chris raised his hands to his face and felt his skin. ‘No I don’t.’
‘You do. He does, doesn’t he?’ Matt looked at David and they both turned to Chris and examined him. ‘Look at him. It’s the ears.’
‘Yeah, I guess. And the nose. It’s all about the nose.’ David agreed.
‘What the fuck are you guys talking about?’
‘Your nose.’ Matt and David smiled and watched Chris as felt his nose and moved his nostrils.
‘What’s wrong with looking like Nicholas Cage anyway?’ Matt asked
‘I dunno.’ Chris said.
‘So what’s the problem?’.
‘Nothin’, I guess.’ Chris continued to feel his face.
‘If you like that sort of thing.’ Matt added.
‘What sort of thing?’
‘You know. That.’ Matt pointed at Chris’s face.
‘Hhmmmm. It’s the receding hair line too.’ David pointed and smiled.
‘Shut up.’ Chris smoothed his hair down and began to examine himself in the reflection of the window. ‘I don’t have a receding hair line.’
‘No, course not. Just an oncoming forehead.’
‘Well, anyway, what do you guys wanna drink?’ David asked and signalled the empty glasses on the table.
‘It’s my round. I’ll get ‘em in. Sit down. I wanna get away from all this Nicholas Cage shit.’ Chris got up from his seat and ushered David in. ‘What you havin’?’
‘Fosters please.’ David answered.
‘Kronenbourg please man.’
David took his jacket off and placed it in the corner of the seat. ‘Where’s James?’ He asked Matt and leaned back on the cushion of the bench.
‘I don’t know. I haven’t seen him in ages. He doesn’t reply to my messages. I don’t know what’s up with him.’
‘Same here. I texted him earlier about coming out tonight and he didn’t reply. When was the last time you saw him?’
‘Shit, probably a month ago. Maybe more than that. What about you?’
‘I can’t remember. What’s wrong with him?’
‘No idea. He’s been strange since he lost his job. The last time I saw was when I went round there. His place was a dump. And you know what he’s normally like. It was weird. ’
‘Is he smoking again?’
‘I think so.’
‘Shit. How’s he managing to survive?’
‘I think he had a bit of cash saved up, but I think he’s on the doll as well, which I don’t blame him for doing. He’s been working since he turned sixteen so why shouldn’t he. I would.’
‘Yeah, I suppose.’
David looked over at the bar and saw Chris receiving his change from the barmaid. He said something and she giggled subtly and turned away, but not before giving him another little smile. He picked up the three pints and walked over to where they were sat. ‘Here ya are lads.’ He placed them down and pushed each over to its owner. ‘Cheers.’ They picked up their drinks and clinked glasses. ‘Happy fuckin’ Friday.’ He lowered his pint and sucked in the head from his upper lip and moustache. ‘Ahhh. So what were you guys talkin’ about?’
‘James.’ Matt stated and took another sip of his beer.
‘What about him?’ Chris asked.
‘When was the last time you saw him?’
‘I dunno. A while back. Texted him today, not heard anything though. Why?’
‘Should we be worried?’ David asked and looked at each of them in turn.
‘I dunno. Maybe we should go round and see him.’
‘Yeah, sure. Let’s do it.’ Chris looked at the barmaid and watched as she served another customer. He ran his fingers across the pint, smearing the condensation and clearing its cloudy grip on the glass. ‘What do you think?’
‘The barmaid?’ Matt asked and examined her up and down.
‘Yeah. What you reckon?’
‘She’s fit.’ Matt concluded.
‘Yeah, man. But you ain’t got a chance.’
‘What you talkin’ about.’
‘I’m tellin’ you man. No chance.’
‘How much you wanna bet?’
‘I ain’t bettin’ nothin’.’
‘Why? If you’re so sure, put some money down. Or, if I get her number, you buy a set of rounds.’
‘You buy a round on each of our behalf’s. Three rounds. With chasers.’
‘Do it. If I don’t get her number, I buy the rounds. Come on.’
‘Fuck it. Yeah, go on then.’
‘Wicked. You’re going down, motherfucker. Down to China Town. Down to where the mi-so-miserable soup’s served. Over sticky ducks and to-fu chicken beaks. Dem Sing Dings gonna get you.’
‘Yeah, all right, well, you know what Jack Burton always says, what the hell.’ Matt picked up his pint and took a couple of large swigs. ‘Anyway, fuck this shit. Let’s get to the reason why we’re here.’ He looked at David and smiled. ‘So…Davey boy…you gonna be a man now huh…gonna be a daddy.’
‘Yeah, shit, congratulations man.’ Chris lifted his glass into the air and out across the table. ‘Well done.’
‘I didn’t do anything.’ David said and reached for his beer.
‘No, but your balls did.’
‘It would appear so, yes.’
‘So how do you feel?’ Matt added.
‘In comparison to what?’
‘The man with no balls.’
‘No, seriously.’ Chris nudged Matt and the tone was levelled. ‘When did you find out?’
‘Were you guys planning it?’
‘Yeah, sorta. I mean we talked about it and then forgot about it and then did it.’
‘I’m fucking chuffed man. Well happy.’
‘Good good. Congratulations. This is big. This is mega big. This is mega big trouble in mini little’ –
‘Stop all that Kurt Russell stuff man.’ Chris said.
‘Why? He’s a legend.’
‘So is Bruce Forsyth but I don’t keep going on about him.’
‘Bruce Forsyth ain’t a fucking legend. How can you even compare the two. Bruce Forsyth never met no Wang.’
‘Jesus. Stop it already man.’
‘Bruce Forsyth probably ain’t even got no wang. Like Cliff Richard. They’re probably wangless together with Debbie McGee and little Jeff Daniels.’
‘Paul Daniels. It’s Paul Daniels. Not Jeff Daniels. Jeff Daniels is the guy from Arachnophobia and Dumb and Dumber.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘What the fuck has he got to do with anything?’
‘You were talking about Bruce Forsyth and Cliff Richard and’ –
‘I was talkin’ about Wang.’
‘Fuck me man, stop this shit already.’ Chris looked over at David. ‘You wanna go out for a fag?’
‘Yeah, okay. You gonna be all right here on your own while we go out for fag?’
‘Course. I’m just gonna go over and talk to that barmaid. Tell her what Chris here is like. Tell her about his problem, you know, down there.’
‘I ain’t got no problem. Don’t even think about sabotaging this bet.’
‘Yeah, you. I’m watching you. I know what you’re like.’
‘I like Gino Ginelli and his mint choc chip. But he gone. Gino gone.’
‘Shut up. I’m being serious. No sabotage.’
‘Okay, fine. No problem, Nic.’
‘Shut up.’ Chris turned and began walking towards the door. David smiled at Matt and put his jacket on and followed Chris through the pub. Outside, the queue for the Chatsworth was bigger still and the bouncers were slowly letting people enter. David took a cigarette out of his packet and lit it. He inhaled and stood beside Chris. ‘Do you really think I look like Nicholas Cage?’ He asked.
‘A bit, yeah. But he’s a good looking man.’ David said and inhaled again.
‘Hmmm.’ Chris flicked the ash from his cigarette and watched two women in short skirts try and sit on the window ledge on the other side of the road. They were drunk and unaware he was watching. ‘Check that shit out.’ He nodded towards the girls. David looked over and straight away noticed that it was possible to see up their skirts. ‘Sorry, I forgot you were married and gonna be a dad.’
‘It’s fine. I still like women.’
‘Good. Good.’ The two girls pulled their skirts down and closed their legs. ‘Ahhh. What? Why? Shit…So…anyway…how’s thing’s going?’ Chris asked David.
‘Things are fine.’
‘How do you feel about the whole baby thing?’
‘I feel good.’
‘A bit. But, I suppose I should be. I’m gonna have a little kid to look after. A mini-me. Shit, things will change and stuff, but I’m gonna have a kid. I’m gonna be a fuckin’ dad, man. It’s cool. I’m well chuffed.’
‘Seriously, man. It’s proper good news. I’m happy for you.’ Chris threw his cigarette to the ground and put his hands in his pocket. ‘Shall we go back in?’
As they walked through the doors and into the pub, Chris looked towards their table and noticed that Matt was no longer there. ‘Where’s Matt?’ He asked as they glanced around the pub. ‘What the fuck?’ The barmaid placed the beers on the bar and Matt said something and she laughed and threw her head back. She looked over at Chris and smiled. ‘What the hell’s he doing?’ They took their seats and watched and waited for Matt to return with the drinks. He said something else to her and then turned to make his way back to them. Smiling, he handed them their pints and sat down. ‘What was all that about?’ Chris asked.
‘What?’ Matt replied.
‘That. You talking to her.’
‘I was ordering a drink. She was there and served me. What did you want me to do? Ignore her.’
‘I got the drinks. What’s the big deal?’
‘What did you say to her?’
‘Bullshit. What did you say?’
‘I just spoke to her about Nicolas Cage.’
‘Oh for fuck’s sake Matt. What did you say?’
‘Nothing much? So why was she smiling at me?’
‘Well…I guess…we were talking and…well…I told her you were his hhrrrppgggh double in one of his films.’
‘What? What did you say?’
‘I just told you.’
‘I don’t know what you said. Stop being a prick, just tell me.’
‘I told her you were his hhrrrppgggh double.’
‘His what double?’
‘His ccccrrrrkkkkkppp double.’
‘What? Tell me.
‘Okay okay. I told her you were his cock double.’
‘Cock double? Cock double? Ah shit man.’
‘It’s fine, don’t worry about it.’
‘When the hell was he in a film when got his cock out?’
‘I told her it was one of his first films’.
‘Yeah, man. And she fuckin’ believed me.’
‘For fuck’s sake Matt.’
‘Come on man. She likes cock. It’s fine.’
Chris pulled his hand down across his face. ‘How is this fine?’
‘Nothing to worry about.’
Chris was shaking his head and trying to ignore the fact the barmaid now thought he was in a Hollywood film with his cock out whist pretending to be Nicolas Cage.
‘She said she thought you looked familiar.’ Matt began to chuckle to himself and sat back in his chair. ‘What? What’s the problem?’
‘You’ve done gone and sabotaged me.’ Chris said.
‘No I haven’t. Here.’ He pushed a beer mat towards Chris. ‘Take it.’
‘I don’t want it.’
‘I’ll take it.’ David said.
‘No, it’s for him.’ Matt repeated and once again pushed it closer to Chris. ‘It’s for Nic.’
‘What are you talking about?’ Chris finally took the beer mat and looked at it. ‘What’s this?’
‘That, my friend, is Chloe’s number.’
‘Sabotage. How little you think of me.’
‘Are you being serious?’
‘Yes. Take it.’
‘How do I know you’re telling me the truth?’
‘Why would I lie?’ Matt asked.
‘Because you’re a knob.’
‘You can thank me later.’
‘Now go. Run free, little one, run free.’
‘Shhhh. Hush now. Let us drink.’ Matt raised his glass and held it out in the middle of the table. ‘Congratulations to you both. To new beginnings.’
‘To new beginnings.’ They all repeated and clinked glasses. Chris put the beer mat in his pocket and rose to his feet. He squeezed past David and walked across the pub towards the toilet, disappearing behind the door.
‘Is that really her number?’ David asked.
‘Of course it is.’ Matt replied with a smile.
‘Whose does it belong to?’
‘Did you ask her for her number?’
‘She prefers John Travolta.’