It was New Year’s Eve. 2003, maybe 2004?
I remember it being a Saturday, because I had an away match at a club, about 80 kilometres away. For some reason they had scheduled fixtures on the holiday and we had a lot of players missing. I agreed to play, as bailing on the match would let a lot of people down. I didn’t realise that it was a 4pm start under floodlights.
I had inadvertently double-booked myself. The only way round it would be if I jumped straight in the car at full-time and changed on my way back to the city.
As expected, events conspired against me. One of my teammates broke a leg and some of the guys had to take him to hospital. I wasn’t going to spend my New Year’s Eve in a waiting room with injured sportsmen, toddlers and drunks.
I jumped in the car and drove at breakneck-speed along narrow country lanes, navigating myself onto a freeway. I managed to get my shin-pads off while doing 90 km/h – no mean feat, but I was still wearing my sweat-drenched kit.
I was due at a party in 30 minutes.
I was 45 minutes away and was hitting traffic on the outskirts of the city. I rang the party host, an opera singer. A pretty, confident girl who had just got out of a longterm relationship when her boyfriend was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. She was the most bubbly, vivacious soul you would ever have the good fortune to meet. She told me to come straight to her house – I could shower there.
The party was already in full swing when I arrived. I was still in my shorts, playing shirt, had one sock, one bare foot and a bag of clothes and toiletries.
I was welcomed out of the cold and directed upstairs. I couldn’t find the light switch, but managed to shower and change in the dark, with only the light from a clock radio. I ventured downstairs and breathlessly accepted a beer. I uncapped it and drained it in one. I belched into my sleeve and repeated the trick.
My head was starting to spin and I realised that I had not eaten since breakfast.
A toast was made and champagne was thrust into my hand. I clinked glasses and introduced myself. I then realised: I did not know anyone in the room.
Not a soul.
I explained my late arrival and hungry state. I was bombarded with enthusiastic questions, which I fielded with expert hyperbole, drawing nods and gasps.
Why had I been wearing shorts? Where was my other sock? Didn’t I realise it was below zero outside?
A fleet of cabs turned up to whisk us off to a club. Both my hands were grabbed, as I was simultaneously claimed by cocktail-dressed beauties.
We arrived at a club and the doorman ushered us in. He nodded at me as I Hefnered* past him surrounded by glamorous girls.
I got a round of mojitos, cleaning out my wallet. However, plates of tapas arrived and I was fed Coronas and fine wines far beyond my palette for the rest of the night.
The night was going terrifically. We went back to a house party, where my mate Elmo was having his birthday celebrations.
My soprano friend was now quite drunk. My head was swimming.
I had my arm around her waist, holding her up. I left her on a chair and went to get a couple of drinks from the kitchen.
When I returned, she was gone.
We met up the next day for the postmortem.
Not only did I not know that Elmo had pashed the soprano at a few recent parties and was keen on a repeat performance, but when she had vanished the previous night, she had in fact grabbed the nearest guy: Elmo’s housemate.
As a result of the arctic conditions the hot water system had frozen and burst, pouring freezing water through the ceiling and into Elmo’s bedroom, all over him and his bed.
He ran downstairs to get some help from his housemate and caught him mid-coitus… with the soprano.
She was spectacularly naked, eyes closed and grinding him… noisily.
Being the early hours of New Year’s Day, the plumber charged triple-time for the call-out and had to turn off his water until he got a new system fitted.
Happy Birthday, Elmo!
Akin to Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner.