He undid the rope and pulled her gently in the direction of the straw, only to discover Mildred had other ideas. She had decided that although it was quite shady where she was standing, it looked a lot cooler inside the bar. As he leant to pull her, she shifted her weight in a surprisingly nimble manoeuvre and headed in the opposite direction. . Scott lost his footing in the sand and the rope slipped from his hands long enough for Mildred to carry out her plan. There was just enough room for her to get through the door but not enough room to turn around once inside. Not that she had any intention of doing so, as the first thing she came across was a sack filled with bread rolls on the floor by the fridge.
As long as she had shade and bread rolls, she was not moving, and Scott was at a loss as to how to shift her. He sat down to plan his next move when a couple arrived.
‘Hi, can we get some drinks?’
‘Sorry, we’re temporarily closed …’
At that moment, Mildred revealed herself to have perfect comic timing by raising her head and peeking over the edge of the hatch at the voices.
‘There’s a donkey in your bar.’
‘Yes, there is,’ agreed Scott. ‘That’s why we’re temporarily closed. We’ve been the victims of an equine coup.’
‘There’s a donkey stuck in my bar and I can’t get him out,’ explained Scott.
‘Ooh, I love donkeys,’ said the woman, and headed over to say hello to Mildred.
Mildred took a break from the bread rolls to have her ears and back scratched a bit more. ‘What’s her name?’
‘We call her Mildred,’ said Scott. ‘Although I think Winnalot would suit her more,’ he muttered under his breath.
‘Why do you keep her in the bar? Not very hygienic, is it?’ asked the man.
‘Look, mate, health and safety is the least of my worries right now. I have a donkey in my bar, eating its way through my stock, and I can’t get in to sell any drinks.’
‘Well, you shouldn’t keep her in there,’ the man retorted.
Scott gave up.
‘Thanks for the advice. You are absolutely right and I apologise for not thinking about that before. Going forward, I promise not to keep a donkey in my bar. Now, sorry I can’t help you but I don’t have anything to sell you right now. I recommend the bar at the other end of the beach which has a strong no-donkey policy.’
After they had left, he leant into the bar and tried to get her interested in handfuls of hay, without any success. Mildred, it seemed, was full. So he reverted to a brute force approach. He fed the rope back behind her through the open door and stood as close as he could to her back end, without risking a kick, and heaved on the rope. As he strained against her weight, Mildred decided she would make a movement. A bowel movement. Whether it was down to the strange situation or the new diet was a moot point, but the result was she had a dodgy tummy, the contents of which were sprayed all over Scott’s bare legs and feet.
He dropped the rope and looked down at himself. He was covered in slimy brown shit from the waist down.
Scott walked briskly away from the main bar towards the no-man’s land between holidaymakers and naked Germans, where he ran into the sea. As he waded out, a watery brown cloud surrounded him, forcing him to walk as fast as he could into deeper water. He swam out until he felt confident he was clear of donkey diarrhoea and then swam parallel to the beach before heading back in towards the bar.
He was met by Oliver, who had returned with a box and a couple of shovels.
‘What are you doing pissing about there? I promised Ma T we’d look after her donkey. While you’ve been swimming, she’s only gone and got into the bar.’
Scott proceeded to swear, and in between his many swear words he conveyed a brief précis of his recent adventures, at which Oliver laughed and laughed and then laughed a bit more. When he had finished laughing, he went up to the bar and, by means of standing at the door waving sachets of sugar, got Mildred to obediently back out of the bar and submit to being tied up where he had left her.
After using one of the shovels to move the sand that had soaked up the small amount of donkey shit which had not landed on Scott, Oliver opened the box. In addition to the shovels, he had somehow managed to rustle up a couple of full white body suits as worn by crime scene investigators, plus boots and some seriously thick rubber gloves.
They reopened for business, and after a number of cold beers Scott had calmed down to a point where, although he wasn’t exactly seeing the funny side, he could acknowledge that somewhere, just out of reach over the horizon, there was one.
Extract from Love's Labours by Simon Truckle out now https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1527238873