Caught Short (Urban Legends)

A fantastic little tale of a young (nameless) man, the son of a wealthy influential London bookmaker. One day his father gave a summer party at his offices on Piccadilly in the heart of London’s West End. The lad, fresh out of college, duly attended prior to a date with his new girlfriend later that evening. A little nervous of both events our hero spent the first hour mixing whisky and champagne, a calamity in the making. Wet behind the ears and at that time ignorant to the danger of alcohol in great quantities, the lad was not expecting to lose control of his bowels and soil his trousers before five in the afternoon.

In blind panic the hapless chap minced along to Simpson’s of Piccadilly and asked the first assistant he saw for a pair of trousers. ‘What sort of trousers?’, enquired the assistant. ‘Any sort at all’ he said, ‘The first pair in my size you can find’. With that he paid for his purchase, grabbed the bag and ran out into the street to hail the first cab he could find to take him to the station.

Once safely on the train home, he telephoned his new girlfriend and arranged to meet her at the station and then went along to the lavatory to clean himself up as best he could. Carefully removing his belt and the contents of his pockets he was relieved to throw his dirty trousers and underwear out of the window as the train sped through the countryside. Breathing a long sigh of relief he then turned to the Simpson’s of Piccadilly bag, reached in and drew out a smart cashmere V neck sweater. In his haste he had grabbed the wrong bag.

This is all we know of the story but there is much more fun to be had with it. For example, we now know he is in the toilet of a fast moving train, naked from the waist down with little hope of covering his modesty. Now, he could squeeze his legs into the arms of the sweater but which way round does the V go, to the front or to the rear?. I suppose he would have to choose his best side and leave that exposed, whichever side he thought that was.

Even then he had his new lady to confront. Did he get off a stop early or a stop later – and how does he explain not meeting her. Also, what would the ticket collector or other passengers make of him. He is probably a broken man by now and I doubt he drinks much whiskey. I don’t know if this legend is true, but I am afraid I rather hope it is.

Extract from The President’s Brain is Missing

Albert Jack books available for download here

A Square Meal (Phrase Origins)

A Square Meal is a phrase used to describe a good solid dinner. Often its origin has been confused with the four quarters of a good meal, i.e. meat, two veg and potatoes. In fact it is a nautical phrase dating back centuries. Old battleships had notoriously poor living conditions and the sailor’s diet was equally as bad.

Breakfast and lunch would rarely be any better than bread and water but the last meal of each day would at least include meat and have some substance. Any significant meal eaten on board a ship would be served upon large square wooden trays that sailors carried back to their posts. The trays were square in design to enable them to be stored away both easily and securely and hence the phrase ‘A Square Meal’, meaning the substantial one, passed into parlance.

Extract from Money for Old Rope Part One

Albert Jack books available for download here