Parp! Parp! Ppaarrpp! The beeping of the car horn was loudly insistent. Medders opened one eye, then closed it again and hoped that the noise would go away.
No such luck. Parp! Parp! Pppaaarrrppp! He opened both eyes this time, fell out of bed and groped his way to the window. Pulling the curtains open he squinted into the morning sunlight at the vision that presented itself below the bedroom.
‘Medders, me old segotia!’ The voice was familiar but the get-up of the figure waving up at him was not. Dermot was adorned in trousers of a vivid red colour reminiscent of tomato ketchup. These flared monstrosities were topped by a polo shirt of a puke-inducing shade of green.
Such vivid garb represented a significant sartorial shift in a man previously noted for his subdued sense of style. In his every previous incarnation, Dermot tended to be downbeat and dowdy in his attire. Yet here he was dressed up in peacock splendour, clad in the sort of brash clothing normally only found on the…
‘Are you coming out for a few holes, Medders?’ Yes, his friend had at last discovered golf.
‘No I am not coming out for a few holes. I am staying in for my Saturday lie-on.’
‘Oh, don’t be like that. Where’s your youthful energy? I have the first tee booked.’
‘My youthful energy is gone with my youth. Now go away.’
But Dermot was disposed to linger, leaning into his car to retrieve a golf ball. He then stood repeatedly tossing and catching the ball, occasionally glancing up at the window. Then he caught the ball and squinted at it, reading out: ‘Titleist 3…Titleist 3.’ He paused and chanted: ‘Free the Titleist Three! Free them now.’
‘Dermot, that is not a political slogan. Titleist is a brand of ball. Three is nothing more than a random number. Now go away.’
‘I thought you might help cure my slice. My drives are all ending up among the fodder beet growing in Smeeton’s field.’
‘There are a dozen reasons why your drives may be veering off to the right. The club professional is the person to sort you out, not me. Just go away.’
But Dermot was still not disposed to leave. He had another ball to hand, again tossing and catching in an effort to hypnotise Medders into surrender. Then, as before, he caught it and scrutinised the text: ‘Srixon 4. Srixon 4. Free the Srixon Four! I think I have heard of them, languishing for years in an Indonesian jail and not a shred of evidence against them. Or maybe it’s Venezuela. Free the Srixon Four!’
‘This is ridiculous. I am going back to bed.’ Medders closed the window shut and pulled the curtains across. Parp! Parp! Ppaarrpp! And again. Parp! Parp! Ppaarrpp! It was evident that Dermot had no immediate intention of leaving. Hermione was unaffected by the disturbance, snoring gently in relaxed slumber, but Medders could not shut out the noise. Parp! Parp! Ppaarrpp!
Lying there, his hands unavailingly clamped over his ears, he thought back over the sporting career of his friend. He recalled how Dermot was always a whizz in his day at any code to which he applied his talents.
A creative midfielder on the soccer pitch, he was said to have been on the radar of Saint Patrick’s Athletic, no less. A nifty scrum-half, though of larger build than most number nines of the time, he had a reputation for being able to look after himself as a rugby player, as the saying goes.
Dermot never bothered to deny that the state of his nose, permanently skewed off centre, was the result of a sparring session in the boxing ring. His only comment if asked about it was: ‘You think this is bad? You should have seen the other guy.’
Now, here he was, ready to tackle golf, the last refuge of every sporting scoundrel.
The parping ceased and Medders slid from bed to peep out from behind the curtain. Dermot was still there, now peering at an old ball and saying: ‘I know it’s a big ask but is there any chance at all you could free the Dunlop Sixty-Five?’