Tie Wars

30 Dec

How to tie a tieIt was when the Gripper decided that Captain Sensible had dominated the top of the department Stupid Tie Chart for far too long that events spun out of control.  Had the Gripper not gone out that fateful Saturday afternoon, clutching a wad of hard earned dosh in his Gripper fist, totally intent on purchasing a piece of weapons grade polyester, adorned with shock and awe cartoon characters, the Great Tie War would never have begun.

In a way, you can’t blame the Gripper for wanting something a little more lively around his neck. Considering the relative gaudiness of his entire collection of ties, a display of magnificence was well overdue. However, he didn’t have to transgress one of the unwritten rules of the Gang: he didn’t have to go all out for wrecking Sensible’s reputation as the man with the loudest, proudest, most bile provoking kipper collection this side of 1979.

Revoltage

It’s Monday morning and the Gripper’s in before me. This is a miracle. Not the walking on water kind, or the feeding of the five thousand kind, granted. If resurrection of the dead were the Liverpool FC of the miracle Premier Division, then this miracle would be parked firmly around the bottom of Scottish Division Two.

I eyed him suspiciously, not entirely sure what was happening.

“Morning,” said Grips.

Something wasn’t right. The Gripper was never this polite, until after lunch.

“Have you been putting beer on your cornflakes again?” I asked suspiciously.

“Siddown,” he motioned, jovially. “I’ve got something.”

My mind raced. Had The Gripper finally had prosthetic surgery, and got that long-dreamed of third leg?

The Gripper bludgeoned forward, menacingly. “Here,” he said unbuttoning his jacket. “Whaddya think?”

I was stunned. What I was seeing was horrible. Truly revolting.

“Well?”

“That’s possibly the worst tie I’ve ever seen. Appalling. Well done, mate. Congratulations!”

I stood up to shake his hand.

“Owww.”

The Gripper beamed. “Do you really think it’s that bad?”

There was no escaping the terrible conclusion before my eyes. “It’s bad. It’s horrendous and then some. There’s no doubt about it, it’s the worst tie of the year so far. In fact, it’s so bad it warrants a new word: revoltage. As in a revolting collage of colours.”

“Why, thank you.”

“I’m not sure about Sensible,” I added as an after thought, “I doubt he’ll be impressed.”

The Declaration

cartoon tie“It’s NOT for sale,” stomped the Gripper, adamantly. “Get one of your own.”

Sensible looked on dejectedly. “I want THAT one. If I buy one the same, I’ll be copying. No. You must sell it to me, now.”

“Sorry.”

In walked Harry the Haddock. “What’s the problem?” he asked, hanging his coat up.

I looked at my watch. 9:30. Harry’s late and the Gripper’s early. An unusual twist; the Universe must be balancing things out.

“Tie argument. Gripper’s bought the most disgusting object ever, and Sensible wants it. The Gripper isn’t selling.”

“Oh, is that all?” said Harry dismissively. “Come on Gripper, out with it. Errggh! That’s really nasty. I say, well done.”

“Sell it to me,” demanded Sensible. “You’ll regret it if you don’t.”

“Tssssphhh!” rasped the Gripper. “Do your worst.”

“Then,” declared Sensible, making for the door, “I have no option but to declare a state of hostility. I’m recalling all my Ambassadors and breaking off diplomatic relations. They will be restored only when the crown for worst tie is returned to its rightful place, on top my head. From now on, I’m advising all present to carry a pair of very dark sunglasses and a brown paper bag at all times. Expect the unexpected. This could get messy.”

“What do you think Sensible will do?” asked Harry. “I’ve never seen him get angry before.”

“Except over no beer.”

“Well, obviously.”

“His dignity’s in tatters, he’s never been out revolted before. He’ll calm down eventually, we’ll have a laugh about it, and soon we’ll be back to normal.”

Except I was wrong.

Vomit

Two days later Sensible struck.

“Prepare yourself,” he announced to the assembled office, “For an assault on the senses.”

“Do your worst,” retorted The Gripper. “C’mon.”

Sensible turned to face the window. Slowly he unzipped his coat, removed it, undid his jacket and twirled around.

“My God,” twitched the Gripper. “What is THAT?!?”

beetles“Isn’t it disgusting? While I was away in Wales, fixing problems, I paid a visit to Gran. It’s one of Grandpappy’s World Tour souvenirs, acquired in Peru. The background is woven from grilled pig’s hair, the raised pattern is sun-dried llama vomit ground with dead beetles.” Sensible puffed his chest out. “It was hand painted by dying, poverty stricken school children. So there.”

“Hey mate, that’s vile,” congratulated the Kiwi, on one of his flying coffee visits. “Yer should git a prize for that.”

“Why, thank you.”

“Yeah,” enthused Harry, “It’s even worse than the Gripper’s. Nice one.”

“You know, “ I concluded, “that tie’s so revoltage, it needs a new word to describe it. Sidelic should do it. That’s sick-making and psychedelic.”

The Gripper dropped his bottom lip sulkily. For the last two days he’d been the centre of attention in a positive way, which was a new experience for him. Ever since he’d started wearing that ghastly cartoon tie, people had taken an interest in him. Everyone wanted to know him; strangers bought him pints at lunch-time. The vile tie opened up doors which were previously barred. And now…and now…his crowning glory had been rendered insignificant by a master stroke. In the Gripper’s brain, feelings of revenge gunned the throttle.

“You know that war you declared? Well, it’s not over yet.”

“Do your worst,” retorted the Captain. “You’ll not better this beauty.”

This time, it was Sensible’s turn to be wrong.

Scratch ‘n’ Sniff

sniffBy the following Monday, The Gripper was once again the master of ceremonies.

“The realistic stains are all foodstuff,” he explained. “They’re scratch and sniff. Go on, try it.”

Harry scratched a dark brown patch and inhaled. “Je….sus. That smells like… like the gents after you’ve been on the chicken vindaloo.”

“Correct.”

The Kiwi gave it a try. “Cor, mate. Tandoori baked beans.”

“Spot on.”

I had a go. “The red one. It’s chilli burger, with something extra.”

“Think treble chilli burger with double extra garlic mayo, and one of my special pickled onions on top.”

“And the green one?” asked Harry, scratching. “Phoarrr! That smells like…”

“…Cabbage, beer and sprouts.”

Sensible refused to take part in the little ritual. His eyes became glazed; his expression one of sheer contempt.

“Hey Gripper?” I asked. “You still haven’t told us where you got this…this work of art.”

“I made it myself,” he beamed. “It took me all weekend, but I did it.”

“That’s gross.”

“Top one, mate.” exclaimed the Kiwi.

“This tie of yours, it’s so revolutionary, it needs a new word to describe it. ‘Grench’ sounds about right, as in gross stench. You’ve got the grenchiest tie ever.”

The Gripper beamed from ear to ear. “Grench? That sounds like some of the sounds that I made creating this baby. Just wait until I tell Mrs Gripper I’ve had a new word made after me, she’ll be so proud when she reads it in the Oxford English. Her suffering won’t have been in vain after all.”

Reluctantly, Sensible handed the tie crown back to the Gripper. “You shouldn’t have done that,” he said under baited breath. “You’ll regret it.”

“I doubt it,” smiled the Gripper.

He was wrong too.

Teats

Lordy me. Tuesday, and already Sensible had retaliated.

“Basically,” he explained, “You’re looking at a cross section of mummified whale penis, which has been preserved in alcohol for nearly 70 years. Grandpappy brought it back from Greenland with him, he picked it up there on his World Tour. The bumps are dried out walrus teats, an ancient Eskimo delicacy. You can try one if you like, they’re removable.”

1024px-Blue_Whale_Penis

A Mummified Whale’s Penis Yesterday

“You can’t eat one of those.” Harry screwed his face up in revulsion. “That’s completely vile.”

“Watch me.” Sensible removed one and put it in his mouth.

I winced. Stomach curdling stuff. The Gripper, not to be outdone, snatched at Sensible’s tie, grabbed a couple of shrivelled brown objects in his ample Gripper fist and popped them both in his mouth.

“That’s what I think of your tie,” he said, swallowing. “So there.”

Sensible opened his mouth and removed the brown thing he’d inserted seconds earlier. “You’re only supposed to suck them,” he said. “Otherwise, you’ll get absolutely horrible runs for days. If I was you, I’d head for the nearest hospital now.”

Harry grimaced; the Kiwi laughed.

The Gripper was not amused at all. “Just you wait. You haven’t heard the last of this.”

Asbestos

A full two weeks passed before the Gripper returned to work. He strode into the office like a man possessed, intent on reclaiming the crown he’d come to regard as rightfully his. Sensible wasn’t kidding when he said that eating walrus teats was a bad idea. The stomach bug the Gripper contracted in his moment of indiscretion was not pleasant at all; the hospital for rare and unlikely diseases had a field day with him, monitoring this, that and the other in an attempt to discover an antidote for what the Eskimos call ‘liquidbottomofthemidnightsun’.

“Come outside,” he said, ushering us, his gang, towards the door. “Come and tell me what you think of this. Oh, and Harry – grab that fire extinguisher.”

The car park was silent with an air of expectation. Slowly, with great deliberation, the Gripper removed his jacket, just as he’d done that first Monday, to reveal the strangest tie that anyone present had ever seen. Not only was it bigger than your average tie, being 18” across at the base, it also looked like a dead hedgehog. A dead hedgehog with a sky rocket strapped to each side. And the circular patterns…no…they couldn’t be.

“Let me introduce you to the Gripper Foorkes tie, MKIII,” said our host congenially. “Don’t ask about the MKI and the MKII, you don’t want to know, although you may well read about them eventually, if the RSPCA decide to sue.”

helmetThe Gripper removed a tin helmet and visor from out of a large bag he’d been carrying and put them on. “Note my specially designed asbestos shirt and underpants,” he said nonchalantly. “A significant advance from the MKI. Now, if I was you, I’d stand back at least ten feet. Harry, are you ready?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Good then let the show begin.”

Once the blue touch paper was lit, the transformation from Gripper to human firework took less than five seconds. In every direction, sparks flew. They were certain, in their little spark minds that the safest place to be at that particular moment in time was away from the Gripper’s tie, and they were right. Following suit, the four of us backed off further than the suggested 10 feet, unsure any longer of what exactly constituted a safe distance.

Cath WheelSparklers sparkled; bangers *banged*; screechers screeched; roman candles shot out flume upon flume of bright red and green. The catherine wheels, once they’d begun twirling made standard issue paisley look very ordinary indeed. Actually, come to think of it, the display on offer wasn’t actually that dangerous after all. Granted, the tie we were looking at could never be lit in an office or a Comms room due to stringent fire regulations, but apart from that, it hardly appeared life threatening.

These thoughts were soon dismissed, as the first of the rockets ignited.

Melons

There was a fizz and a whoosh, as a stick whistled past Sensible’s left ear hole and arced over the road, navigating its way around several parked cars, onwards towards the local superstore, where it was stopped dead by a revolving door. Or not, as we found out later. The door was away being repaired, allowing the rocket to smash its way into the store and embed itself in a pile of melons, where it exploded, showering the staff in cantaloupe. As we watched, the store’s fire alarm began to ring.

color-fireworksRocket number two shot off in an equally ridiculous horizontal trajectory, down the street and through the open window of a Fish & Chip shop.

Fortunately, due to the hour of the day, there were no customers present.

Unfortunately, the owner had left all the fryers on slow heat, while he nipped out the back for a fag.

Fortunately, the rocket missed them all, as it hurtled through the slender opening.

Unfortunately, it found its way into the kitchen, where it thumped into a cylinder of butane, striking the ‘ON’ button for the gas flow. A flash of flame was swiftly followed by a wall of broken glass; unsurprisingly, a second alarm bell began to ring.

The third rocket would have gone skywards as planned, but for the overhang on the Gripper’s helmet. As the rocket took off, it glanced off the helmet’s rim and became entangled in the camouflage netting, wedging itself solid. At first, The Gripper just mouthed obscenities. Then he began to panic.

“Harry, put me out.”

“What’s it worth?” asked Harry, cautiously.

“Hurry up. This rocket’s packed with Gripper strength gunpowder, it’s the grand finale.”

Reluctantly, Harry obliged. The Gripper removed his goggles, spitting foam from his mouth. His helmet continued to smoke. In the distance, the dulcet tones of a fire engine could be heard.

“May I suggest,” said Sensible, “that we continue this inside, where we won’t look so guilty?”

“Done.” The Gripper removed his helmet and tossed it aside, into a nearby rubbish bin.

“I have to say Gripper,” I said as we climbed the stairs back to the office, “That that’s the scoudiest tie ever.”

“Scoudiest?” enquired Sensible.

“It comes from the word ‘scoud’, meaning scary and loud.”

“Sorry I asked.”

Vampire Bat

Guiltily, we crept back to the Support Desk, fearing the worst. The rest of the office were too busy looking out the window, pointing at the fire engine to notice.

“So, waddya think?” The Gripper held up a shrivelled piece of burnt cotton, still attached to his neck. “Do I get the tie crown back?”

“Yes, you get it back, “ conceded Sensible. “Now, we must stop this nonsense before it gets any more serious. As I’m not prepared to risk life and limb over my appearance, I concede defeat. From this day forth, I shall no longer wear silly ties.”

“You can’t do that,” gasped Harry. “Think of your reputation.”

bat

The World’s Scariest Bow Tie

“My boy, I haven’t quite finished yet. The Gripper has shown us that he is the King of silly ties. His devotion to the cause is exemplary, and I take my hat off to him.”

Outside, there was a loud bang, which sounded like a tin helmet detonating in a bin.

Sensible continued: “From now on, I’m only going to wear bow ties. Yes, you heard me: bow ties. Beginning tomorrow with a stuffed and jewelled vampire bat, which Grandpappy acquired in the depths of the Borneo rain forest.”

The Gripper gave his smuggest smile. “I’m the King of the ties. So there! And don’t you lot forget it, because if you do, I’ll start work on the Gripper Foorkes MKIV.”

“No problem,” said Harry warily, backing away.

I nodded in agreement.

Then the Kiwi spoke. “Say, me old mate, I quite fancy one of them Gripper Foorkes ties myself. Being a Kiwi, I don’t need none of that asbestos stuff, though. Do you think you could knock me one up for Saturday? We’re playing the Aussies at rugby, and me and the lads are off out drinking in Earl’s Court. Imagine a packed Aussie pub, they’ve just lost to the All Blacks, and I set light to me tie. Them wallaby boys won’t know what hit ‘em.”

“Consider it done, mate. Consider it done.”

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2 Responses to “Tie Wars”

  1. misslynn2 January 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Liebster blog award. http://whatthe42.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/liebster-blog-award/

    Like

  2. ferretmelder January 14, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Wow! Thanks! Lots to do to make that nomination happen 🙂

    Like

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