Jolly Holiday by Melanie Browne

When Carolyn first wrote her bucket list, she was soaking in the tub after getting all the kids tucked into bed. Her oldest had a Spanish test and her youngest was complaining of a headache. She had recently discussed the idea of a bucket list – the things you want to do before you die – with her friends at a backyard bar-b-que. Her bucket list wasn’t long, but it was a bit unusual. She started giggling to herself after number five, when the effects of her muscle relaxant she had swallowed began to kick in. She could hear her husband laughing while watching his recorded shows in the other room.

“Don’t drop your iPhone in the water, honey” her husband yelled from the den.

“Blah blah blah,” she yelled back.

“I’ve got a black marker and a legal pad, fella!”

*

The list was getting interesting. She had actually achieved the first one, meeting the drummer for her favorite psychedelic band, Ashram Baby. He was thin in person, thin and more than a bit distracted. It had not been the meeting of a lifetime she had imagined, but that was what fame did to people, they were cats on a leash, fish on yachts. Her thoughts weren’t making sense, she was falling asleep in the bathtub.

“Don’t fall asleep either,” her husband yelled.

*

#6 was a strange thing to put on a bucket list.

Get in a glassing fight

She had recently become fascinated with the primitive form of a bar fight in which a bottle is smashed and used with a weapon after reading an article about it in limey newspaper, The Sun.

Carolyn’s sleepy eyes looked at the page and the finished list. She would have to find a place to hide the list where her husband couldn’t find it. It’s not that he was overprotective but he might not understand #6 as it might require extensive plastic surgery or even mean a mortal injury.

Meeting the drummer for Ashram Baby, Pete Trip, had made her feel invincible, like she could accomplish anything. The glassing fight would be yet another bucket list achievement.

The next morning she searched the internet for message boards related to glassing fights. She figured it was all underground and that there were rules like in Fight Club. She found a couple of YouTube videos that were pretty gory, would things have to get that messy? She hoped not. After picking up groceries from Wal—Mart she loaded the dishes and then hopped back on the internet.

She found it. The golden ticket. The website she needed.

https:///ukga.uk – short for: United Kingdom Glassing Association.

They had a telephone number, she would call after lunch.

*

After eating a pimento cheese sandwich slowly and thoughtfully, Carolyn dialed the number on the website.

“’Ello”

“This is America calling, My name is Carolyn. I am calling to request an application for the… uh, the Glassing fight association. I live in Atlanta.”

“Miss, I don’t know, er, I don’t know anything about the website, a bunch of my friends were just having some laughs,”

“Oh, can you write my name on the glassing fight list somewhere? it’s on my bucket list. I am planning a trip out to England pretty soon and you know -fish and chips, Buckingham palace, lighters with a picture of Union Jack on them, and finally a glassing fight.”

“Miss, are you pissed? Y’ know… bladdered?”

“Oh no, I’m making a bucket list, and I want to get in a glassing fight. I just don’t want it to be too violent, I have kids, and they want their mommy, or as you would say mummy, to look the same as they remember her, get what I’m saying?”

“Yes Miss, but there is no such thing as I was telling you before. Me and my mates made the site for fun, all of the blood on there is rubbish, doesn’t look right.”

“Okay, thanks for your time.”

Carolyn got off the phone and collapsed in a chair by the kitchen table. The pimento cheese was giving her a stomach ache. She suddenly had the inspiration to look for her passport. Her husband was always saying that she should take a vacation by herself to relax. Maybe she could see Jolly old England and get in a glassing fight where no one actually cut anyone else. Or maybe they would only leave a small scratch which would heal with Neosporin.

That evening Carolyn cuddled with her husband and told him about her idea, leaving out the idea of the fight.

“You want to go to U.K. by yourself? I don’t know that doesn’t sound like a good idea. Can’t you get your sister or your mom to go?”

“You said yourself I needed a mental vacation, and I promise to let you know where I am at all times.”

Carolyn put her head on his shoulder and purred.

The flights and hotels were booked and Carolyn got busy researching the most violent bars in the U.K.

The day of the trip arrived and Carolyn hugged her daughters goodbye, and soon found herself on a long flight to Heathrow.

After checking into the hotel, Carolyn got online and googled “how to find a violent bar in England.”

One article informed her to seek out Neo-Nazi’s and to walk towards the direction police vehicles were headed. She dressed in fake black leather and stuck some brass knuckles in her handbag. She had found them at a garage sale in her neighborhood shortly before the trip. A martial arts enthusiast, he let her have them for half price. How they made it through the airplane security was another story, but sometimes Carolyn got lucky. It helped to have such a heavy make up bag.

She didn’t have much time. She had to visit major landmarks such as the London Bridge and Buckingham Palace, eat some fish and chips and sing songs from Mary Poppins while feeding the pigeons. Her day was packed. She might have to get in the bar fight at lunch time. In other words combine her fish-and-chips-eating with a glassing fight. The problem with that is she wasn’t sure how drunk people would be at noon, and she might make an ass of herself.

She started walking from her hotel, and found a corner pub called Dicken’s Skull.

Taking a seat at the bar she ordered a fish and chips and a Harveys Blue Label from the bartender. She never took a bite of the fish or the chips, but she ordered seven more Harveys Blues and guzzled them in quick succession.

She looked around, but saw only business people wearing suits. She would have to insult someone, she would need to do it quickly.

She saw a group of youngish twenty-something professionals who were laughing louder than the rest of the crowd.

Walking over to their table, she knocked over one of their beers.

“Stupid cunts, I saw you steal my wallet!”

“What did you say? No one here took your wallet, love. You just spilt my friend’s pint for nothing.”

Carolyn smashed the beer against the side of the table and that’s when she heard people start to yell and gather around the table. A couple of women screamed, but it might have been because someone was passing around a picture of Justin Beiber’s penis on their cell phones.

“Look at his knob!” she had heard them yelling.

The bottle wouldn’t break, but she did get the very bottom of it to slice in half and she held it to the man’s throat who had yelled about her replacing his friends beer.

“Are you mental?” the man asked her.

He smashed his bottle against the table, and the way he did it was near genius, with a nice sharp end right in the middle, a perfect specimen for a glassing battle.

The manager was calling the authorities, so Carolyn knew she didn’t have much time.

She lunged the bottle forward towards the man, who was really disinterested in the whole ordeal.

“Is that how it is then?’ he asked, looking back towards his friends, who merely hunched their shoulders upward as if to say “what the fuck?

The man pushed his sunglasses back up further on to his head and lunged towards Carolyn’s right cheek, narrowly missing her nose.

She spun in a circle, threatening the manager and security and anyone who threaten to ruin this beautiful moment in time.

“Get back!” she screamed.

The man, not wanting to look like a coward, lunged forward a few times and then walked backwards hoping the manager would put an end to this awful fuss.

Carolyn saw her chance and took it and sliced a bit of flesh from the man’s arm quicker than you can say, Chim chim cher-ee!

He howled like she’d never heard a man howl. An awful guttural sound like something you would hear in a medieval dungeon on the four a.m. shift.

There was blood pouring from the man’s arm, dripping from his hand down to the dirty floor.

That was when Carolyn Jane Snodgrass lost her left eye.

*

The surgeons tried to save it, but the optic nerve had taken a beating with a hideously sharp sliver from the Harveys Blue bottle. This was complicated by the fact that she didn’t have traveler’s insurance. After a lengthy recovery back in Atlanta, Carolyn was back in the new world.

Carolyn’s daughters soon got used to the patch, which Carolyn special ordered from overseas, it had a serene Donald Duck saluting a Union Jack.

Carolyn and her husband burned the yellow Bucket list in the fireplace that winter, cuddling on the couch with hot cocoa and hot ham and cheese sandwiches.They never brought up the idea of a bucket list again, and when the movie Bucket List came on with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, they changed the channel.

*

WEBSITE

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s