I ambled into Lock 'n' Load just after 7pm to find the Christmas 'Burger gathering already in full swing.
The laconic Mr Birmingham was propping up the front bar, accompanied by a mysterious stranger who called himself The Lurker and refused to reveal his actual name. At the other end stood Dr Yobbo, the holidaying temporary New Zealander admirably tricked out in a genuine 1971 polyester jungle print shirt. Damian and his Good Lady were in attendance, as was the jocular Moko, smartly-attired Uamada, and smiling newcomer Mayhem. I made the startling discovery that Medway is a youthful 23-year-old; and the pleasing discovery that Hughesy is as full of cleverness and Earth Mother goodness as I imagined her to be. Beeso strolled in, still sweating from another epic touch football training session, and NowhereBob followed, keen to sample some of the venue's house cider.
Squire Bedak made an appearance via Skype video-conferencing on Damian's tiny notebook PC; I may have somewhat accidentally (?) thrust my cleavage at the webcam, but then again, I do need to encourage him to finish work on that script for The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco. Jennicki was the next to arrive via interwebz; beaming in from Kalamazoo, Michigan around 4:30am local time. As the only Burger who truly appreciates pop music and the genius of Madonna, I proposed we begin a cross-continent pop culture podcast; an endeavour I believe will blow the collective hive mind once I figure out how all this technical recording business works.
Jen stayed on the 'puter for well over an hour; much of which was spent conversing with Mr Birmingham, as he tested out Lock 'n' Load's wireless hotspots. I assume that's what he was doing, otherwise perhaps the famed author of He Died With A Felafel in His Hand found something else growing in the shrubbery:
Figuring a burger was the suitable choice for dinner, I opted for the haloumi version. It was tasty enough, but I've decided dry, floury bun is not the best delivery system for a reasonably dry and dense cheese, even if it was accompanied by sweet potato and mayo. Beeso had more luck with his salt and pepper squid tapas selection, and I was too busy guarding my shoestring fries from sneaky fingers to see what the others were enjoying.
Table talk was sophisticated, intelligent, debonair - well, until I joined in. Mr Birmingham began a conversation about the dilemma Tiger Woods is currently facing, and how he must have had people covering his tracks for him for years. My question - "Gee, how would it feel to be Tiger Woods' babe caddy?" - drew a polite snickering from the crowd, as did my attempt at a joke about Tiger's choice of mistresses (Succinctly summed up by Mr Birmingham as "playing in the rough").
I then distressed the cool-as-a-cucumber Albion Love Den somewhat by taking him through my new "Sweaty Genitals Theory" (blog post to follow), before somehow leading the conversation into Hilarious Stories People Tell Doctors When They Shove Something Stupid Somewhere Stupid. Moko, however, topped my story about the 22-inch-device being lost up an important orifice by recounting the tale of a woman and lobsters - a tale so extreme I don't think I'll ever look at The Little Mermaid in the same way again.
The evening came to an end when our table waiter - a bleached version of Dante from Clerks - told us irritably that he would have to shut the courtyard shortly so he could get to the pub, lamenting "I wasn't even supposed to BE here today!". I hope he was saying it with irony; I fear perhaps he wasn't.
All in all, a tremendous evening out with the Burgers, that irrascible crew of swaggernauts and story-fibbers who populate Mr Birmingham's online world. Good cheer to you all; I wish you well in 2010!