“So are there any volunteers?” asks the Chairman.

The floor collapses under the weight of eyes hitting it.

“It would be great to have somebody else help out.”

I sink slightly lower in my chair. Beside me, Short Tony sinks slightly lower in his chair. On the other side, Big A is sinking lower in his chair. Realising that sinking low is a relative concept, I sink a bit more low, but this manoeuvre is anticipated by the others, who follow suit in the sinking stakes. It is a strategy of diminishing returns, especially since Short Tony has such a head start on us.

Volunteering for high office in a local club is a bit like having sex with Mary Archer – you have to be either a relentless social climber or very, very drunk to do it, and whilst your friends might be polite and congratulatory about the act to your face, deep down they will be clutching the side of their head and crying ‘WHY??? WHY???’. Not being the social climbing type of person unless you count watching BBC4 occasionally, I maintain my ‘gazing at the floor’ pose until I realise that several people are looking at me with aggressive intent.

I briefly consider setting myself on fire in spectacular fashion. However, whilst that sounds good in theory, much of the immediate impact is lost if you have to excuse yourself to drive down the road to the Q8 garage for petrol first, and then scrabble round the pub on your return in order to find somebody with a spare match.

Kev pipes up. “Maybe it needs a sub-committee. People who could liase really easily. If, say, they lived next door to each other.”

I sink slightly lower in my chair. Beside me (ect. ect.)

But it is to no avail. The three of us are now the official Bowls Club Social Events Subcommittee. I am not entirely sure what this will entail, or whether my idea of a social event will coincide with theirs. But I will be careful. Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts, a lot.

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