‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house
I could hear a strange scuttle – please God, not a mouse –
I’d rewired the doorbell with cynical care,
In hopes that I’d hear when my parcel was there.
The children next door had now gone to their beds,
Having spent the whole evening screaming off their heads.
And my friends in their onesies, with gifts yet to wrap,
Had just settled our brains to watch Christmassy crap.
When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
We looked up from Netflix to say “what’s the matter?”
Away to the front door I went, unaware
That I’d stepped on the cheeseboard and left my sock there.
Some rushed along with me to look at the street,
While others snatched up the Brie under their feet.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But our tipsy friend Nick, holding eight tins of beer.
Then one girl poked her head out, and said very quick,
“That isn’t enough beer for all of us, Nick!”
More rapid than eagles his answers they came,
And he ranted, and shouted, and called us rude names.
“You ******! You ******! I brought you guys beer!
I had to get on a night bus to get here!
I can’t find my keys! I forgot my ID!
I’m lucky the guy in the shop would serve me!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-tops his diatribe flew,
And he woke up a dog, and the neighbour’s kids, too.
And that point we dragged our friend Nick through the door,
Telling him to shut up and sit down on the floor.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
I saw him head for the cheeseboard with a bound.
He was dressed like a hipster, from head to footwear,
And we raised our eyebrows at his strangely styled hair.
His new job in Shoreditch paid Nick “loads of dough”,
But he looked like a wanker, and we told him so.
Though ’twas stuffed with cheddar, his face looked annoyed.
He said (very muffled), “I’m hashtag employed!”
Exchanging expressions of wary dismay,
We tried, as a team, to decide what to say.
“The thing is, Nick, mate,” one brave soul began,
“We’ve been putting this off for as long as we can,
But the fact is that your job has made you act like
A git who takes selfies on a Boris bike.”
“But James works in East London!” Nick cried with rage,
“He posts cat videos on his Facebook page!”
“The difference,” James said, “is that I am a banker,
And as such, I was always a bit of a wanker.”
For a while Nick became a right grumpy old sod,
But conceded he had become just a bit odd.
He saw that we meant well, and though it was cruel,
His true friends just had to provide ridicule.
We shared out the beers and we finished the feta,
And soon Nick’s demeanour had changed for the better.
We spoke of times past, of embarrassments shared,
Of what had become of May’s ex (no one cared).
We ate and we drank and we laughed through the night,
And soon we’d forgotten our earlier fight.
And I heard Nick exclaim, just before he passed out,
“Happy Christmas to all…hashtag great night out.”