“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”
“That’s a lot of fucking you’re doing, mate. Wish I was so lucky.”
“I’m not in the mood for smart-arse remarks, Gary.”
“Come on, Sean, where’s your holiday spirit?” Gary asked as he casually perched himself on the edge of Sean Martin’s desk. “The sun is shining, it’s finally starting to warm up; there’s one more week of work and then it’s shutdown for Christmas.”
“Don’t remind me.”
“Come on, tell Uncle Gaz what’s the problem. Didn’t get your Christmas shopping finished? Or did you just find out that your mum’s already got a... whatever you got her for Chrissie?”
“If only it were that easy,” Sean groaned, rubbing his hands over his face as he leaned back in his chair. “I just got off the phone with my mum. She’s expecting me for Christmas.”
“You booked your flight home last week. What else is she demanding?”
“And she won’t accept any excuses for why I’m not bringing my boyfriend with me.”
“But... you don’t have a boyfriend, Marto.”
“Hang on.” Gary frowned, trying to puzzle out just what the hell his friend wasn’t saying. “You don’t have a boyfriend, haven’t had one for... well, have you ever had one?”
“Not what I’d call a boyfriend anyhow,” Sean said with a shrug.
“So, why is your mum insisting that you bring one home with you?”
“Because I told her I had one, obviously, you fuckwit.”
“Hey! You told your mum you’ve got a partner when you don’t, and you’re calling me a fuckwit?” Gary started to laugh. “Man, you are in so much shit.”
“You’re no fucking help at all,” Sean said with a sour expression. “You haven’t heard the worst part.”
“Oooh, tell me more!” Gary crowed gleefully, enjoying Sean’s predicament thoroughly.
“My parents are friends with my slag of an ex’s family... and she’s going to be there with her new boyfriend.”
Gary fell off the desk he was laughing so hard, landing on his arse on the floor.
“Any time you’re finished there,” Sean grumbled. “Come on, Gaz, get up and help me think up a good excuse why I can’t go.”
“You’re fucked, Sean,” Gary said when he finally managed to rein in his amusement. “You’ve got to take some poor bastard home to meet mummy and daddy and you don’t know anyone.”
“I know you.”
“Oh no, no way. I am not going home with you for Christmas,” Gary protested.
“Come on,” Sean pleaded. “You know me, Gary, so you’re not going to screw up and say I like VB when I’d rather a Toohey’s.”
“Your parents should know what sort of beer you drink, Marto,” Gary said, not the least bit convinced that he should help Sean out of his predicament. “You’ll just have to tell them you were lying.”
“Grow a set, mate,” Gary said in exasperation. “I’ve seen pics of your mum, she’s no bigger’n a minute. What can she do to you, ground you?”
“I’m begging you, Gary,” Sean said desperately. “I can’t go home and see Mandy with her new bloke on her arm and me with no one. You’ve gotta do this for me, mate. I’ll pay you back.”
“Yeah, how you gonna do that?” Gary asked, interested in spite of himself.
“I don’t know! Anything you want, it’s yours!”
“Well...” Gary drawled, pretending to ponder. “You do have that signed bat.”
“You want my Steve Waugh cricket bat?” Sean said in horror. He didn’t know if he was quite that desperate to get out of the jam he’d got himself into.
Gary smirked, the look on Sean’s face at the thought of losing his pride and joy payment enough. “Nah, mate, I know you’d rather give up your firstborn than your signed Tugga bat. I’ll do it for you, but only because it’ll get me out of having to put up with the ferals.”
“Shit! I forgot, you’re supposed to be going to your sister’s!”
“No biggy,” Gary shrugged. “I’ll call her and tell her I got a better offer.”
“You can’t do that, Gaz.”
“Sure I can.” Gary pulled out his mobile and pressed the button to call. “Shazza! How’s it going? Got your ferals trained yet?”
Sean raised his eyebrow at Gary. He wouldn’t dream of talking to his own sister that way, but Gary was most definitely a law unto himself.
“Yeah, well, about that,” Gary was saying when Sean recalled his attention to the conversation. “I’ve got a better offer.... Bugger off! No, I’m on a promise.... No, I’m not telling you his name. If it pans out, I’ll introduce you at Easter when you bring the unruly mob to this side of the country. No worries there, I gave the pressies to Mum and Dad before they left. Awww, my heart bleeds for you, Shaz. You know you’re rapt to have the olds all to yourself.... Well, if you can prise them away from the grandkids. Yeah, you too. Happy Christmas, Shaz, I’ll try and give you a ring on Chrissie Day.... Well, yeah, of course if I can make it out of the bed. Cheers.”
Gary hung up and grinned at Sean. “All set, mate, Sharon knows all about being on a promise. Getting a fuck is high on her list of priorities so I knew she wouldn’t chuck a wobbly if I said I was getting some.”
Gary snickered. “Don’t worry, Marto, I won’t expect you to put out for Christmas.... New Years, though.”
“Fuck off!” Sean laughed, relieved that Gary had agreed to help him out. “We’ll be back in Sydney for New Years, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Shit! I’d better see if I can get you on the same flight as me.”
“Would look a bit suss if we arrived on separate planes,” Gary agreed with a laugh. “I’ll leave you to it, better get back to my desk and get some work done. Lunch?”
“Yeah,” Sean agreed. “Swing by on your way out. I’ll have your flight details for you.”