“Jesus Christ, we’re going to Hell. You kicked a monk in the knackers!” I was beginning to hyperventilate.
“Not like he needs them, is it?”
“He’s not a bloody eunuch, Barry.”
“He is now.”
“Let’s get him inside. He’s gone a funny shade of purple.”
“That’s puce, that it,” Barry argued as he lifted the deflated monk and hefted him into the brew plant.
“Oh God. The Vatican will order a crusade against us. Swiss Guards with halberds are going to hunt us down.”
Barry shut the door. A figure suddenly loomed in a doorway ahead of us, wielding a huge wrench. For a monk he sure looked mean; his gaunt face was pocked with scars. Instantly Barry said nonchalantly, “We’re here to fix yer fridge.”
“We dinnae got a fridge, pet,” the monk said in perfect Geordie English. He slapped the wrench into his palm. “What ya dun to Bruvver Trubert?”
All eyes glanced at Brother Trubert, who had now turned a rare shade of indigo and was emitting a constant, high pitched wheeze. Barry shrugged. “’e’s havin’ a metaphysical crisis?”
“You on the nick, eh. Afta wor brews? Cus if ya are…” time paused for a too-long moment “…I want in, like.”
“Aye, man. It’s piss borin’ ‘ere, like.”
“Why the hell did you become a monk then?”
“Ah wuz tranna forget me lass but the Foreign Legion wouldne ‘ave me so I came ere, man.”
Barry and I looked at each other. Barry shrugged again. “Fine, whatever,” I said. “Show us where the beer is kept so we can load up the van and get the hell out of here. This is all too fucking heavy for me to take much more.”
Our new friend introduced himself to us as Brother Fuggler and led us to the storage shed. He unlocked the door with a large key tied around the waist of his cassock. For a moment I stopped to take it all in. It was like looking into the warehouse where they kept the Ark of the Covenant – stacks of crates containing the most precious and forbidden of treasures. The moment didn’t last long. Barry and Fuggler barged past and started lifting crates onto hand trucks.
Together we carried a dozen or so crates back to the rope. I tied them one by one to the rope, Barry hauled them up and over the wall, and Fuggler untied them on the other side and chucked them in the back of the van. It was slow going. It took too long to do one crate. I was beginning to sweat again.
“Hoi!” A mob of monks, led by Brother Trubert, who was now only a bright mauve colour, shouted at us from further down the cloister.
“Hurry up with that rope!” I shouted at Barry. I was stuck. The rope was on the other side, the last crate being untied by Fuggler. The mob of monks, armed with bibles and large crucifixes, were almost on me.