“Saturday runs were instigated to encourage people to join the hash, see what it’s all about. A nice, gentle introduction, nothing too arduous. A little bit of fun.”
These comforting words from Golden Balls haunted me as I scrambled up the sheer rock face, heart pounding, one hour in to what proved to be a two-hour marathon of steep climbs, vertigo-inducing ascents and a mind-bending puzzle of checks and check-backs. To add to the fun, another race had been set in the area, also using chalk markers. Perfect for the novice hasher.
Joining the fray that day were Gunpowder Plod, Walkie Talkie, Farty Pants, Golden Balls, Penile Dementia, Dingaling, Mango Groove, Velcro Lips, One Eyed Jack, Overdue, newbie Last One (who has been expecting to join another hash, no doubt more civilised), and myself – the piss artist formerly known as Nick. More of that later.
It all seemed harmless enough to begin with, a bit of a jog through some sort of outdoor activity centre, and into some thick scrub. The trails, for now at least, were well marked. But soon came the ascent. Mango and I passed Velcro and Last One, the latter of which, admitted between gasps, that she’d been following the “clever one”. I looked up to see One Eyed Jack. Not him then. Who is this Clever One? Could it be Sam, the dog. He’d made more correct choices than most of us (particularly Mango) at the checks. At this point Gunpowder Plod bailed out and sniffed his way back home in 1:25. How he came to be smeared in blood he wasn’t saying.
On On. And on, and on, and on. One of many check-backs at the top – Mango ran the wrong way, a move that came to typify his modus operandi for this run. Shouts from Dingaling and it was back on trail. Then some country park road and some nice views of the reservoir, before another confusing check. I was ahead at this point, and began dreaming of being the first back. Scenes of adoring scantily clad babes welcoming back the conquering hero, me. Yes, I could do it. I was delirious at this point, of course. But Mango and I headed the wrong way, and by the time we heard the call, were well behind. Mango regained ground, but I was done for, and after yet more checks and check-backs, and many mutterings about underhand failures to mark the way, limped back in. Last One lived up to her name, coming in with Velcro a few minutes later.
The circle, then. Among the punishments meted out was one for Balls, for setting such a heinous run on a Saturday and some sort of excuse involving “his band”. Dingaling and myself for musing upon Anne Boleyn’s extra tit while teacher was talking, and Mango for not marking the way. Other miscreants included One Eyed Jack – two down-downs – something to do with not marking the trail again? Balls again for making his long-suffering helper bring him his lunch and hair products, only to be summarily dismissed for a long walk back to his gaff, clutching his sweaty gear. Velcro for ignoring the option of taking the wimps’ trail, and another for Dingaling, for working on the railways but sporting a watch an hour slow. “That wasn’t two hours!” he exclaimed, ignoring the sun sinking like a ship to the west.
And then my naming ceremony. A play on my surname led to Annus Horribilis; from that, Anus Horribilis (who would have guessed at the Annus/Anus pun, eh?) and from that the truly delightful Anus the Horrible. Like Ivan the Terrible, with haemorrhoids.
I could have stayed at home that day, done a bit of pottering around the flat, a beer or two at the beach bar later. But I instead chose to spend the day with a bunch of low lifes, drink too much and then be daubed with an arse-themed moniker into the bargain. Thanks, Mango. Thanks a lot, mate.
The On On at some greasy goose restaurant in Sam Tseng, copious Asahi and more good fun and banter.
Not a bad Saturday. Not a bad Saturday at all.
– Anus The Horrible