“This is really, really not what I feel like doing this morning.”
Sunday. Standing in the Chipper Barman’s back garden. Short Tony and Big A are there. In front of us is a shed.
“Thanks everso for offering to help, guys.”
I am not sure about this new use of the word ‘offer’. I resolve to look it up on the Internet when I get home, in case I am wrong and it also means ‘to consent, possibly under the influence of rohypnol’.
“So basically, the shed’s been constructed here, and it’s currently resting on bricks mortared to individual concrete slab bases that I laid there earlier. What I’ve done is to set down these wooden planks over here, so the shed can sit levelly. These other planks under here, we can use for lifting it sideways onto the new foundations.”
I am already intimidated by the Chipper Barman’s DIY prowess. Whilst I have lots of sheds, he has built one himself, laid proper foundations and formulated a shed-moving strategy. My hangover and tiredness boosts my sense of manly inadequacy. My cock shrinks to Berliner format.
“Can I have a light corner?” I ask.
“You can have any corner you choose,” replies the Chipper Barman kindly. This is good, but makes me feel even worse. The Chipper Barman is actually only about the size of Short Tony. They take heavy-looking corners. Big A, who is disabled, takes the heaviest.
“I think we’d better go very slowly,” I offer. “In case it… falls to pieces or something.”
“On the count of three,” announces the Chipper Barman. This is a mistake in my mind, as I would prefer to lift it on the count of 237239.
We reach ‘three’ and lift the shed unsteadily. It is a bit like the World’s Strongest Man thing that they used to have on the telly where a fat Dutchman used to have to lift an articulated lorry and hold it unsteadily above his head for five seconds before his legs buckled and he dropped it to one side. But with a shed.
We put the shed down on my finger.
My life flashes before me as the pain hit, which is quite depressing. I shout ‘fuck’ a lot. I would start jumping around in agony, but my hand is pinned to the ground by a shed. Short Tony wanders over to my corner, lifts the thing again on his own and I withdraw my hand. I am expecting crushed bones and bleeding, but I appear only to have a little graze, which is a bit disappointing.
I have often been told that I have very strong fingers, but not in this context.
We move the shed. Sweat pours off me, dripping on to the concrete below. With a final push, we have shifted it the five or so feet required.
“That’s great, fellers. Can I buy you a beer?”
I make my excuses and leave.