‘Just five more minutes.’ I hiss, as I look at the big clock and notice the two girls, with the enviable legs and taut tummies, all the waiters have been keen to service, strutting by. In a few moments – quite a few actually – I imagined myself giving them the benefit of my experience, until my wife reminded me I was advanced enough to be their father. A fact confirmed by my more realistic urge to tell them both they’ll regret those tattoos when they’re old enough to buy a house.
I clamber out of the water for one last time and pull in my stomach and hope the man boobs don’t look as bad as they feel. I pass the couple we met on the boat trip I chatted to while bobbing up and down in the sea, hoping nothing bigger and more unpleasant than crabs were taking an interest in my undercarriage.
‘Off today aren’t you?’ Asks the man from Atlantis. He and his wife asked me what I did as we swam. My shamefaced admission was negated slightly when he coughed to being a policeman and his partner sheepishly said she was a civil servant – compounded by the further admission, that her role was a tax inspector.
‘Somebody has to do it.’ Was her familiar plea, as I warmed to the girl - until my wife reminded me it was their honeymoon and they weren’t much older than my senior son.
Partially dried and with an hour before the coach departs, I do the same. Nodding to the few people I deigned to talk to. Mentally saying goodbye to the greater number of fellow holidaymakers I gave nicknames to. “Staggers”, the constantly pissed old boy with his blousy partner. “The Creeper” and his gaggle of Thai followers – the wife tuned out to be the one I thought was the daughter, and the creased and saggy one, her mother. Sadly, this sex tourist Englishman fitted the stereotype - weird, paunchy, greying, with bottle-lens glasses and a propensity to letch even more conspicuously than me. I wouldn’t trust him with a family pet.
I ignore “Bonehead” the multi-tattooed thug who starts drinking at breakfast and buys a day old copy of The Sun every day. He was over-competitive at water polo and didn’t seem to bring enough tops to wear. On past the “Husband Hunters”, then the “Adams family”, I take my leave and start wondering about what’s happening at the office, in earnest.
‘Don’t turn your phone on yet.’ Hisses my wife as I fiddle with the unit like a strung-out junkie. The coach is full of sweating leavers, all looking stressed already. I don’t want to know the drivers name, or to empty coinage into his tip-box just for reluctantly heaving the cases and getting us to the airport four hours earlier than needs be.
‘I just need to check.’ I whine, as a trickle of sweat runs down my clammy shirt and I wonder if I can still wear those knee-length flight socks with shorts and sandals without looking a dick? Fashion-sense versus deep-vein-thrombosis always a toughie.
My e-mails scroll relentless on once I’m home and hosed, dodgy landing and customs negotiated. The pain in my leg builds, as I see I’ve been missed by Russian hookers, Kenyans’ needing my bank account details and scores of penis-extension purveyors. Then I open the work-related nonsense and wish I’d spent more on the duty-free trolley.
Sales-fallen through, a couple of complaints, a dodgy survey, conflicting house price reports and a breakfast meeting to attend - my trunks might still be damp in the case but I might as well have never been away.