Friday, October 12, 2007

Mossy's Backpackers #8

“This was a brilliant idea Mossy,” Greg called from the other end of the table.

Sitting to Max’s left, Mossy leaned forward to catch Greg’s eye, gave him a wink and a nod, then settled back into his chair. As he did so, Nigel’s perplexed face came back into view.

“Aw’right Max,” he began. “Wot the bloody ‘ell is going on?”

“Guys night out, girls night in,” Mossy boomed with a touch of pride. The big man was obviously pleased with how well his idea had gone over.

“I don’t know if I can add much to Mossy’s wonderful explanation,” Max told him dryly, “but I’ll try. Basically, we’ve rounded up all of the guys staying at the hostel for a night on the town – this dinner being the first stage.”

Max paused for the waiter to clear off his dirty dishes, declining his offer of another beer. The explanation was necessary because the poor Brit had arrived just as the guys were walking out the door. Nigel barely had time to unload his pack before getting stuffed in the back of the hostel’s van.

“We’ve left the hostel to the girls tonight,” he continued, “and next Friday night we’ll do the opposite.”

“Girls night out, guys night in!” Mossy chipped in helpfully.

“Yeah, thanks for that Mossy.” Max rolled his eyes at his boss before returning to Nigel. “So while we’re out dining, shooting pool and whatever else we get up to, the girls have rented a hideous collection of chick-flicks and are doing up a potluck dinner.”

“I gotcha now mate, tanks.” Nigel grinned and went back to stabbing and hacking at his rare hunk of steak. Max looked away before the sight made him ill – as the only vegetarian at the table he had been keeping his eyes on his veggie stir-fry ever since the food had arrived. He did not object to others eating meat, he just preferred not to have to watch it.

“So what happens if a guest shows up right now?” Tim the Texan (as Max had recently dubbed him) asked Mossy from across the table.

“If it’s a guy?” Tobias shot back. “He would think he had just walked into the best hostel on Earth!”

All twelve of the guys wedged around the table burst out laughing, nodding happily and winking at each other.

“And if it’s a girl?” Tim followed up once the table had returned to some semblance of quiet. His question was greeted with sideways glances and silence. Eventually Max broke the quiet.

“She would think, I reckon, that she had just walked into the best hostel on Earth.”

His theory was met with less vigorous nods and rueful agreement.

“We are so bloody unnecessary,” Greg sighed.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Tobias replied, gazing thoughtfully at his empty beer mug. “But I will say that we need them a lot more than they need us.”

“Sperm banks will be the end of us,” Tim announced only half-jokingly. “Once they have enough saved up that’s when they’ll off the whole lot of us!”

“Yeah, I thought I saw a can of Man Be Gone in Cindy’s pants drawer back home,” Greg quipped. “I reckon there’s some secret website they all go to that’ll announce when it’s time for men to go.”

“Alright, that’s enough of that you nitwits,” Mossy laughed. “Settle up your bills and I’ll shuttle you over to the pool hall. I’ve reserved four tables from nine to eleven tonight - after that you lot are on your own. Just remember that the girls have the hostel until one a.m.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a reverse curfew before,” Max responded. “I think I might try that with my kids one day – ‘Alright, go have fun with your friends at the playground and I better not see your cute little face until at least midnight!’ Parent of the year award written all over me I reckon.”

“Oh shut it,” Mossy told him with a wink. The big man finished off his glass of water and fished a few bills out of the front pocket of his blue jeans. “Caitlin has my number and I told her to ring me up if she sees any of your ugly mugs before the ‘reverse curfew’ is up. You do not want that to happen gentlemen – I do not appreciate having my sleep disturbed.”

“Sir! Yes sir!” Greg stood up and gave Mossy a crisp salute – the effect of which he promptly ruined by belching grandly.

“Let’s get out of here before they kick us out,” Mossy muttered to Max. Max gave him a quick nod, dumped some cash on the table to cover his portion of the bill and began herding the guys towards the door. Once everyone was outside he noticed Mossy relax his shoulders and take a deep breath.

“Alright mate?” he asked as they fell into step behind the group.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Mossy replied. “Danny did me a big favor giving us the best table in the house and a nice discount to boot. I just didn’t want to repay him with a scene.”

“Gotcha,” Max told him quietly as they rounded the corner and the hostel’s van came into view. The old blue beast was a bit beat up but still ran like it was brand new. “Don’t worry, we have a good group here. I’ll keep an eye on them after you leave, so don’t give us a second thought.”

“Aw Max, I want you to have a good time too! Don’t spend the whole night babysitting them.”

“Oh I won’t big man. Besides there’s only one of me and ten of them! The best I can promise you is that if anything happens, I’ll do my best to keep your name out of the morning papers.”

Mossy unlocked the side door for the guys and shooed them in. Once everyone was squeezed in, he turned and gave Max a hard look.

“I wish I could say that I know you’re only joking.”

“Me too mate,” Max winked at him and climbed into the passenger seat. “Me too.”

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