Mike relaxed in the limo’s back seat surveying the carnage. Phil and Max had passed out. Franco was struggling to open a beer. Leroy, shortly to be married, was duct-taped to his seat.

Their driver had abandoned his car and his clients somewhere near the coast. Taking his keys, he’d marched off while they partied.

Mike considered the evening another buck’s night triumph—he remembered the club, the strippers, the stolen rowboat, the police station where they’d dropped off Charlie when he said he’d had enough.

Franco looked at him through glassy, eyes. ‘Where are we?’

‘Dunno.’

Franco paused to process the response. ‘When’s the wedding?’

‘Six.’

Back in town phones were ringing—Jen and her friends in a panic, their husbands, partners and fiancés nowhere to be found. Except Charlie. He’d turned up, blue with cold and red-hot with anger.

By five they’d all somehow be re-united. Charlie and Laura would help with the flowers. Louise would have Phil on his best behaviour. Harriet and Max would take a bit longer—but they’d end up dancing the night away. Franco and Dee would look like film stars. Leroy would greet his wife with a new haircut and a sheepish smile.

And Mike would be alone as usual, cracking jokes with the bar staff.

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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