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The Stag Hunt

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 3

People often view pubs as a man's world; a place of warmth, copious beer, dreary conversations about football and comforting odours.

But it’s not a man’s world and it never has been. Over 2000 years ago the Roman Empire was to learn this to their cost when Queen Boudica led a near successful revolt against them, avenging the rape of her daughters by rampaging centurions.

After burning the mighty city of Londinium to the ground and offering the hated invaders to her pagan Gods in bloody sacrifice, sometimes by flaying the very skin from their bodies while they still lived, her revolt eventually ended in bloody failure.

Boudica’s body was never found after that last terrible battle at Wattling Street, though some say she traveled as far as this very site. Upon arrival she collapsed in exhaustion and swore eternal vengeance against those who would wrong women. This warning should have been passed on through the generations for all eternity, and it was for a while, but today, thanks to hip-hop, porn and TV soaps women rights are right back to the level of the dark ages.

It is a warning that Barry, Timothy and Pete wished that they had heard when they decided to celebrate their best mate Richard’s stag night.

That fateful night they arrived bedecked in party hats, T-Shirts bearing the logo Team Shagger FC and wanton, plastic false boobies. If perhaps they had stuck to drinking yards of ale they might have survived, if their aim hadn’t gone beyond stealing Richard’s trousers and handcuffing him to a lamp post to die of exposure, the others might at least have lived. But the new barmaid Tiffany caught their blurry eyes, Tiffany was as young as the new year, fresh as a spring morning and definitely didn’t need a pair of fake boobies.

So the stags mischief began; lousy chat up lines and requests for packets of crisps from the very bottom box behind the bar. When Barry, who was not subtle even before enough yards of ale to make a mile told her for the third time that her father must have been a baker as she had great buns, she murmured Oh God under her breath. Or rather Oh Goddess, when Timothy told her to cheer up it might never happen she murmured it again, finally when Richard the man who was supposedly going to swear his eternal love for the rest of his days asked for her telephone number she said Oh Goddess for the third time.

She was an atheist with a well-thumbed copy of the God Delusion so she had no idea why she offered this pagan prayer, it just felt right and praying to Richard Dawkins was just silly.

But on the third evocation the windows rattled, the lights went out, and the urinals in gents spat out their yellow bleach tablets as if in a rage.

Barry, Richard, Timothy and Pete staggered out into the night to steal Richard’s trousers but first to find a kebab shop.

They found far more than a kebab shop that night, as the thing about stags is that they are there to be hunted for sport. Sometimes to be hunted by forces ancient, dark and relentless, forces that are avenging an ancient insult that can never be forgiven by those that first wronged by them.

No one knew who found the four stags that night, hung them by their ankles from a tree and skinned them, judging by the looks on their faces alive. Nor who carefully reattached their comedic fake boobs to their chest.

So don’t pester the barmaid and if there’s a hen night don’t sneer at their antics. Be nice, be a good chap or oh Goddess you might be in trouble,

Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants