He's not a bad-looking guy is Bad News, and wonderfully lacking in pretension of any kind, and eventually he persuaded Tory to go out with him. They got on remarkably well and it was a good fit, and two weeks later he announced that he and Tory were getting married and we're all invited. Black Tony (striker and our top scorer last season with 42) was pencilled in as best man.
In Tory, Bad News reckoned he'd found his soul mate at last. They were almost telepathic, he kept telling us. Brian the manager said she could play up front for us, so she and Bad News could forge a lethal partnership in the last third.
The day after Bad News had "Tory" discreetly tattooed on one of his ear lobes, they had a tiff. It was so silly. They went to see The Matrix and had an argument about the armrest. Then it got personal and Tory turned round and said she wasn't going to marry him after all. And later on she said she didn't want to see him any more either.
This was bad news indeed for Bad News. He'd already booked and paid for the church and persuaded a broad-minded vicar to conduct the service. A bowling alley just off the A13 was booked for the reception. And he'd put down a hefty deposit on a honeymoon in the Dominican Republic.
Fortunately all was not lost. For just two days after the row with Tory he met Katey, this Czech bird, in the 10-items-or-under check-out queue at Tesco's. And instead of calling off all the wedding arrangements, he proposed to Katey, who accepted.
The original invitation cards were sent out, though with Tory's name heavily crossed out and Katey's substituted. It was all done at the last minute and Bad News dished them out as if they were advertising flyers. Altogether he gave out 350, and on the day there were about 90 of us gathered at the church to witness the event.
I have to say I didn't enjoy the bit in the church much. The congregation was a rabble. There was no reverence. People talked all the way through the exchange of vows; and one bloke's mobile went off twice during the sermon. His ring tone was the theme from the Lone Ranger. He took both calls. Then this woman had a protracted fit of the giggles which was still afflicting her when we filed outside for the team photo. Worst of all, I thought, was the way Bad News kissed the bride. Instead of the loving kiss before their God who had joined them together, they got straight down to a spot of throat hockey.
The reception at the bowling alley I did enjoy, though. The DJ really knew how to get the people out of their seats and it's many a year since I sang along to "Heigh Ho Silver Lining". And Bad News, who can always be relied on to be the one who goes "woo!" during the chorus of "Brown Sugar", was in his element. When a fight threatened to break out between two of his guests, Bad News was over there like a shot, getting himself between the protagonists and pleading with them, arguing with them and finally threatening them with some violence of his own if they didn't desist.
Towards the end of the night I found myself standing beside Katey's dad, Pepek, (who along with Katey's mum and four of her brothers, had made the trip from Bratislava. He had on an ordinary work shirt and looked like the sort of bloke who was good with engines. Bad News was doing his Mick Jagger impersonation, strutting his stuff. He was slitty-eyed with drink, his shirt was off and his flies were undone. He certainly didn't look like much of a catch. He looked more like an escaped lunatic. But the old man was prepared to give Bad News the benefit of the doubt, you could see that. He watched with approval and not a little nostalgia for the days of his own youth too, one felt.
"Bad News," said the old man fondly to me, as he watched his new son- in-law performing on the dance floor. It was all the English he knew.
"Tragic Pepek," I replied. "Absolutely tragic."Reuse content