The Al Fresco Fiasco

“Well, it’s all good to go,” John said as he observed the tables and chairs laid out in the Hangman’s Noose’s beer garden, ready for when the first visitors arrive.

“Are you sure about Philip over there?” Simon asked John whilst looking at the large portrait of the recently deceased Duke of Edinburgh displayed on a display stand by the pub itself.

“‘Course I’m sure. Originally the menu was going to be displayed there but given the circumstances I thought this would be more appropriate.” John explained.

“But people think the reaction to his death is an over reaction anyway,” Simon said, “maybe we should have a collage of everyone in the local area we’ve lost to COVID instead.”

“But it’s the Duke of Edinburgh,” John said.

“Suit yourself,” Simon replied.

“At least the weather is good. I was worried it was going to snow today,” John said.

“You could have pretended it was Christmas and that everyone was having the meals they were going to have in December,” Simon said.

“Well, we couldn’t do that since we’re not doing the Christmas menu anymore,” John said.

“I suppose,” Simon replied.

A few hours later, and the first guests had arrived at the pub.

John personally gave out the menus himself.

“Welcome back everyone, everything on the menu is available.” He said as he gave them out.

“Fan of the Duke of Edinburgh are you?” One woman asked John.

“Well, I’m not obsessed. I just thought I’d put a tribute out.“ John replied.

“Hmm. Well I’ll have a Pinot Grigio to drink and a jacket potato and salad with tuna Mayo,” the woman said.

“No problem,” John said before taking the orders of the other people on her table and enter the pub to get them.

As John left the pub again, another guest had arrived. Someone who was already fed up with Prince Philip.

“There’s no escaping the Duke of Edinburgh is there?” The guest said angrily. “We get it, he’s dead. Can we please move on now?”

“You don’t have to look at the portrait if you don’t want to,” John said as calmly as he possibly could.

“My grandad died last week. Do I see portraits of him? No!” The guest shouted in John’s face.

“I didn’‘t know your grandad,” John said.

“It’s the same excuse, isn’t it?” The guest replied. “You don’t know us, but you knew him.” The man pointed at the portrait.

“Perhaps it’s best if you face away from the picture and enjoy your meal.” John replied.

“It’s alright for you in your pretty cottages and idyllic rural setting. Who lives in the big house behind the wall?” The guest said.

“The Petersons, they’re actually very nice.” John said.

“The whole lot of you could find the NHS. Instead you hoard it for you’re own greedy purposes.“ The guest said.

“Actually, we use it for the food you’re eating, which you pay for,” John said. “Therefore you’re contributing to our wealth that you clearly have an issue with by being here.”

“Corbyn was going to get rid of the lot of you, and now we’re stuck with you.” The guest replied.

“How about I remove the portrait?” John asked.

“Agghhh!” The guest screamed before punching John in the face.

After someone told him what had happened, Simon took John to his house and took over the pub.

After replacing the Prince Philip portrait with the menu as was originally planned, Simon went round the guests and took their orders.

“There’s no God, vicar,” the difficult guest said to Simon as he was serving another table.

“I think it’s best if you leave the garden,” Simon said. “You’ve caused enough trouble as it is.”

“There’s no God. There’s no Jesus. It’s just a fairy tale.” The guest continued.

“Do you mind? I’m serving another table.” Simon said.

“You’re all paedos, the lot of you,” the guest said.

“Right, what was it you wanted?” Simon asked the guests he was serving, trying his best to ignore the man.

“I bet you’re a paedo as well.” The guest said.

Simon turned round, resisting the urge to punch the guest in the nose as the guest had done to John.

“What?” Simon asked.

“I said, I bet you’re a paedophile!” The guest said.

“Right, that settles it.” Simon said before turning round to the guests he was serving. “Sorry about this, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

Simon went onto his mobile and called the Police.

After the guest had been removed from the premises and detained, Simon resumed to serving the other guests.

The rest of the day carried on as was hoped when the day began.

“I’m not going to lie, that could have gone better,” John said at the end of the day whilst holding a bit of kitchen towel to his nose.

“Well, the afternoon was fine after that man was removed from the premises.” Simon said.

“I should have listened to you and removed the damned portrait.” John said.

“Well, at least you know for when the Queen dies,” Simon said.

“Well, we’ll have to do something. It’s the bloody Queen for goodness sake!” John replied.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Simon said.

“Yeah,” John replied.

Knowing that John was fine after having his nose broken, Simon left John’s cottage and went back to the vicarage.

John chuckled as he nursed his nose.

It was good to be back.

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