7 hours later.

Warhill was a little town on the edge of a place called England. It had nothing much interesting about it except the total lack of noteworthiness, which was in of its self, a noteworthy trait for a town to have.

On this particular cold winter’s night, the dull horizon of Warhill was blighted by three figures walking up a dual carriageway. Or, to be more precise, there were two figures stumbling and one being carried underarm by a viking of a figure.

The first figure of the three was a short, skinny young man with shabby cargo trousers and a t-shirt that was too large for him. His hair was a little too long to be neat, and too short to be ‘long.’ It was blonde and dirty.

He was named Eric, not that anyone actually used his name. Eric was known to his friends as ‘Monday.’ The reason for this nickname stemmed from a disagreement, some years ago, when Eric had borrowed a sizeable sum of money from his friend Ned (it was six pounds fifty) and claimed he would return it “on Monday, when Chad gives me the twenty quid, he owes me.” This excuse wore thin on the fourth week, and forever-more, Eric was branded as ‘Monday.’ Ned eventually reclaimed his lost riches.

The second figure was that of a ‘dude,’ as he liked to be described, known only as ‘Viking.’ This was more than a nickname. As far as anyone could tell, everyone who had ever known him had referred to him as ‘Viking.’ This was some feat of social engineering, as there is no way a parent calls their little boy ‘Viking.’ Monday went to school with him but as far as he knew, Viking had always been called Viking. This was a point of some pondering for him.

Viking was quite literally built like a cartoon Viking. Long black hair, a proud beard and a shirt that was intentionally too tight for him, featuring a band from his dad’s childhood. He also wore flared jeans which hugged his epic rear.

The third figure was the iconic Neil Curious. He wasn’t that curious, not really. It was just a name. He was, in most people’s opinion, a legend among men. Well, a legend among Warhillians. And yes, the townspeople really did refer to themselves as this. There was not a single person in the whole town that did not know Neil, or Ned, as they called him. Usually when they said his name, it was shortly followed or preceded by the words ‘go away.’

Ned looked like one of his grandparents could have been an amphibian and sported a tatty green army surplus jacket and, oddly, red camouflage trousers. His hair was short, black and far more ‘floofy’ than you would expect, looking at the rest of him.

Ned was being held away from the floor by Viking as they walked. “My dude, you gotta stop getting this trashed unless you’re going to call a taxi home,” said Viking in his stoic monotone voice.

“No!” Ned replied.

“What do you mean, no?” asked Viking as he let go of Ned.

“Don’t drop me!” he said, as he peeled his face from the road a little too late for it to be relevant.

“Well, I’m out of cigarettes,” squeaked Monday’s tiny voice.

Viking shook his head in disgust. “And you said that when you ran out, you would quit.”

Monday nodded in agreement. “It’s hard though. It’s like I’m pregnant. You know? But I’m not eating for two, I’m smoking for two,” he lamented. “Do you want my baby to be sad?”

“No one is lending you any more money! You useless wanker,” Ned added, finally stumbling to his very drunk feet.

The ‘guys,’ as they collectively referred to themselves, were not teenagers and had not been for a good few years now. They were ankle deep into their twenties. They were living their own idea of ‘the dream.’ As a group, they had enough money to get by, while never making it as far as well-off or even well-off-enough to pay all the bills. They did manage to squirrel enough away each week to spend a few hours in a pub and keep the internet at home turned on.

“You know Ned, you remind me of my brother,” mumbled Monday.

“How’s that?” asked Ned.

Monday lay back against a lamppost, far too drunk to talk and stand at the same time. He began to tell his theory, “My brother is a genius. You’re like the complete opposite of a genius.”

“Thanks,” interrupted Ned

“Right! What the fuck… Do you want to know what I am trying to say or what?” he yelled in a slurring drunken flash of annoyance.

“Sorry,” added Viking, who, until that point, had seemed unaware of the conversation.

Monday muttered some abuse, then dived back into his monologue. “Yeah, like I was saying. You’re no genius; you don’t even know how to spell it. But, my brother did this science experiment at school. Well, outside the back of the school, where he got a frog and he held it up by its head and spray painted it blue, well, right, it looked like a little fat as fuck alien! I never saw it, but thinking about it reminds me of you.”

Both Ned and Viking looked at each other, wishing they had drunk more at the pub.

“So, what you’re saying is that your genius brother described a blue frog to you and that made you think of Ned?” pondered Viking.

Ned shook his head and scrunched up his nose. “What the fuck! That entire story makes no sense at all, not even a little! And, as for your genius, brother? It sounds to me like he’s a fucking idiot!” he ranted, somewhat triggered by the accurate accusation that his features were somewhat ‘froggish.’

“No, he is a genius, right! But he is also like only five, so it’s hard to tell sometimes is all.”

Ned was about to reply when Viking jumped in with a cunning observation. “How do you know he’s a genius, then?”

Monday licked his lips and took a deep breath before he could muster the focus to answer. “Because his head is really big”

“What? Like he’s a cocky arse-hole?” asked Ned.

“No, like his head is massive when you look at him, it’s like his body is way too small, like them aliens on telly.”

Ned and Viking spoke in unison, “Fuck off!”

A chant which was uttered towards the end of most of his stories.

Chapter 2