This was it. I always knew Barry would be the death of me. I just never expected to be beaten to death by a crowd of angry beer monks. I wondered if praying might help when a rope end bounced off my head. I grabbed a hold and was hoisted rapidly into the air as Barry and Fuggler pulled in tandem. Monks swung their crucifixes like billy clubs at my legs, battering my shins with the sharp corners, but it only lasted a few seconds before I was on top of the wall. I didn’t hang around.
Barry and I leapt off the wall and bounced off the top of the van. Fuggler had already fired up the engine. We jumped into the back with the crates as the van roared off into the Belgian countryside.
“Nee worry, man. I know these roads,” Fuggler shouted back at us with a laugh. Barry laughed and, I couldn’t help it, I laughed as well. We rolled around the floor of the van with our crates of Westvleteren, hysterically laughing until we sounded like a pair of motorbike engines.
“A pair of motorbike engines?” Barry asked.
“Fuck! You can read thoughts now?” I asked in terror.
“What? No, you pillock. I can hear a pair of motorbike engines.”
Our brief reprieve hadn’t lasted long. Far down the road, in the direction of the monastery, we could see dark shapes on the horizon. Monks on motorbikes. They were closing fast. The front two were closely followed by another half dozen more. Teeth gritted in determination, they each held a weapon, a makeshift assortment of chains and crucifix clubs.
“What’s that noise?” Fuggler asked. A crucifix whizzed past us and embedded itself in the side of the van. Fuggler saw the pursuit squad in the mirror and put his foot down. The van lurched forward sluggishly and the crates slid back. Barry and I held on to them and watched helplessly as the monks caught up with us.
They whipped the van with chains and went for the tyres with a holy lance. The sound of chains beating the metal skin of the van reverberated around us. A bible on the end of a chain wrapped around the driver-side mirror and yanked it off.
“You gotta shake ‘em for me, man. I cannae outrun ‘em,” Fuggler called back.
“What can we do?” I asked. “We’ve got no weapons.” Barry and I looked around the inside of the van in desperation, trying to seek something to fight back with. There was nothing. Nothing except… “Oh no,” I said to Barry as he tore open a crate and tossed me a beer bottle. “We can’t,” I protested.
At that moment, a burning thurible flew in through the back of the van, embedding itself to the roof. Flames and incense burst out. Coughing, Barry emerged, wreathed in smoke. The monks looked at the abomination standing at the entrance of the van. They didn’t see the bottle coming.
It sailed true and clean, a perfect cricket bowl, and wiped out the lead motorbike monk. He flipped front over end and landed in a tree. His brothers moved in on us, revving their engines menacingly and hurling more bibles. I picked up a bottle and joined Barry with a tear in my eye as I hurled it at the monks. Another went down.
It seemed like we were about to turn the battle when we heard a ferocious noise like a jet plane taking off. In the distance, but closing rapidly, was a huge hog, and riding it was the Head Monk, the Abbot. No mere beer bottle would stop this guy.