We met at The Accident Prone Society Annual Dinner and Dance. Always a messy affair. I’ve been going for three years now and it always seems to consist of a group of awkward people dancing in their dinner. I can never work out why the organisers book the same ballroom, up three flights of stairs. Either they have a strange sense of humour or they get a commission from medical supplies companies. At this event ‘tripping the light fantastic’ had another meaning.
Mary caught my eye immediately. Fortunately, I had some Optrex on me. I asked her to dance. It started off okay but then a chair decided to join us swiftly followed by a curtain and curtain rail. I can’t remember how we ended up in the caretaker’s supply room but Mary looked fetching with a bucket on her head while I found the mop handle down my trousers a little uncomfortable.
“Would you like to come in for coffee?” she asked as the car’s airbags deflated.
I was thrilled. “I’d love to.” This was my first proper date for ages. The last time, the sudden interruption by the sprinkler system had dampened my ardour.
Picking our way through the debris, Mary showed me down to her basement flat. “I really ought to get that loose railing fixed,” she said as we examined our cuts and bruises at the bottom of the steps.
“So do I!” she gasped. “We’re so alike!”
I settled down on the settee while Mary scalded herself in the kitchen.
“Could you use any help?” I called through.
“Well, yes. The biscuits are on a shelf out of my reach. Could you get them for me?”
Like a knight to the rescue of a fair damsel, I tripped over the runner and somersaulted through the louvre doors into the kitchen. One of the doors swung back and clouted me on the head. “Oh dear,” said Mary. “Sorry.”
“Not your fault, Mary,” I said manfully. “Now, where are these biscuits?”
“They’re on the top shelf, there, above the sink.”
The kitchen was tiny so I had to proceed with great care, stepping up onto a three-legged stool right behind Mary who was engaged in a titanic struggle with kettle, teapot and boiling water.
I could steady myself with my fingertips on the edge of the shelf while leaning my right knee against the kitchen sink.
“My goodness, what a lovely mosaic,” I said, catching sight of the bit of wall above the sink. “Did you do it yourself?”
“Yes,” said Mary. “But it wasn’t meant to be a mosaic. It was my first attempt at tiling.”
As I stretched up towards the biscuits, the first thing to go was the stool. My left foot swung backwards, burying my left foot in Mary’s groin. She gasped and bent forward, jamming the teapot spout down the back of my belt, pouring its boiling contents down my trousers. With Mary clinging onto both legs, the shelf was going to collapse in any second and I didn’t want to fall on top of her, so I levered my right knee into the sink and managed to direct the shelf full of biscuits, tinned fruit and strawberry jam behind my head, hoping that most of it would miss Mary, as I propelled my body through the tiny window. I only got half way through. Thankfully it was not double glazed and broke quite easily. My legs were stuck in a sink full of washing up and my upper body and arms were dangling out into the tiny space between the neighbouring buildings. The taps found parts of my body I never knew I had. A battered and sticky Mary was draped over my backside with her hand down my trousers trying to extract the teapot. This would have been just the right moment for the vicar to call but fortunately this was real life, not a farce.
“Well, I didn’t really feel like biscuits anyway,” said Mary as she applied the thirty-ninth plaster to my face. We now almost matched eachother with the range of surgical dressings on our faces and bodies.
We had managed to make a safe retreat to the living room and had settled for glasses of cold water instead of tea or coffee.
“Best to be on the safe side,” I said.
“That’s what I always say,” she said. “We’re so alike!”
Mary had a lit a couple of candles and placed them on the coffee table for atmosphere. I reckoned I was in with a chance.
All of a sudden, she pushed me backwards on the sofa and pressed her body against mine. My head was hanging off the end near the coffee table.
“I’ve heard them talk about you down at the Society,” she purred, pushing her face closer to mine. “Apparently you’re really hot stuff.”
“Well, you know,” I blushed. “You might find yourself playing with fire.”
“I think you might be right,” she squealed as I pulled her closer. “Your hair’s burning!”
There’s always something, isn’t there? I thought morosely as I ran to the toilet and doused my flaming head in the bowl. The toilet seat came crashing down and I accidentally flushed the cistern.
“Thank you,” called Mary. “I forgot to flush it the last time I went.”
We decided to call it a night. “I’ll call you,” I told her as I staggered up the steps.
As I walked home, I wondered what the lads back at work would make of it. We were always swapping our stories of romantic conquests. Anything to make life a little less boring at Sizewell B‘s Department of Health and Safety.