SILENT CALL, BY STEVIE TURNER
Afterwards he wasn’t sure whether the seagulls screeching for breakfast or the stiff breeze had brought him to his senses. Either way, when consciousness prevailed, Gareth found himself in a rather terrifying predicament. He could not look down because the gag in his mouth was tied to a cold pole behind his head, but he soon became aware that his ankles were secured rather too tightly to what felt like railings behind him, leaving just his hands free.
The early morning mist rolling in was leaving an unusually cold calling card across his lower quarters. Gareth felt down under his shirt, and found to his horror that the ends of the shirt just about covered his embarrassment. He swallowed in fright; he still had the bow tie around his neck, but where were his pants and trousers and the rest of the tux that he’d spent an arm and a leg on?
The Esplanade was deserted. Daylight was just breaking, and somewhere in the vicinity a church bell dolefully chimed four o’clock; even the dog walkers were not out yet. Gareth shivered and reached up into his shirt pocket. At least he still had his mobile phone.
Debbie would chuck his engagement ring back at him if she ever found out. His dad was too ill, and no way was his mum seeing him without any pants on. There was only one thing for it…
His fingers were cold and stiff as he dialled 999. A female voice answered almost immediately.
The gag made speech impossible. Gareth tapped 5 and then another 5.
“Okay, this is re-routing to the police, who hopefully can trace your call.”
He could see the coppers trying not to laugh as the squad car drew alongside. Gareth closed his eyes to block them out.
“Had a good evening, Sir?”
At last the gag was loose and he had to look at his rescuer. If he’d had even one shoe, he’d have tried to crawl into it. He croaked back an answer.
“No, not really.”
He glanced down as the tie wraps were cut away, and then stepped free of the iron railings. If he’d had the time of his life at his stag party, the memories were now lost in a haze of alcohol. His so-called-friends had spiked his beer, he was sure of it.
He was handed a blanket and sank down gratefully into the squad car. Now all he had to do was to find a pair of trousers and get home before Debbie logged into Facebook.