Okay the first time it happened it took me by such surprise that I really didn't take much notice. Well now, that isn't exactly true; it came at me from nowhere and to be honest I'm still not sure of what went down that day.
The second time it happened well ... I figured that it had to be a case of mistaken identity or something.
But the third time, that a complete stranger walked up to me and slapped me around the face, I really thought it was about time I talked to the lady in question and found out what her problem was.
Look okay the first time I saw her, or rather felt her distain. I was out with the lads on Ronnie's stag do, and it was highly probable that one of the guys might have taken a verbal liberty with the young lady that she had mistakenly attributed to me. So, when I'd regained my senses, I kind-a took my punishment with a grin, and laughed it off.
Well I have to admit that evening with the quick glance I'd got of her, I'd observed that she was one very tast ... er, desirable looking female. And the guys were getting a little on the horny side; after we'd visited three of London's less reputable strip clubs in quick succession. So it was highly possible one of them had overstepped the mark.
I'll add, we'd been unceremoniously requested to make ourselves scarce from each club in quick succession. Anyway there we were, discussing which purveyor of intoxicating liquors establishment we were going to get thrown out of next, when this gorgeous brunette walks up to me and without a by your leave, clocks me one right round the kisser; much to the amusement of my mates. Then as quickly as she'd appeared, she was gone again.
Several months passed and I was standing by the exit gate to the passport and customs control area in Heathrow airport one afternoon, when the brunette made her second appearance. Once again I didn't really see her approaching, because I was watching out for my sister and her husband's imminent arrival. The brunette was suddenly standing there before me, and then, without uttering a word, she up and clouted me one again. The smack came from nowhere; well, I never saw the bugger coming anyway!
"What got her knickers in such a twist Toby?" My sister, who had unfortunately managed to witness that incident, asked.
"Buggered if I know! But I think that's the same bird who left that red mark on my face after Ronnie's Stag night."
"So, just what did you do to upset her so much that night?"
"Honest Sis, I told you at the time, I never said a bloody word to her. Shit, it was just like this time, I never even saw her until she upped and clocked me one."
"And you expect me to believe that?"
The look my sister gave me announced that my reputation as Mr Nice Guy had taken a little bit of a knock, in her eyes. I'm not too sure what her in-laws, who were also on the plane with her, made of it either.
Okay, several more months passed and there I was at a big company do at a flash hotel in town. Every bugger I work with on a daily basis was there, plus all the company top brass, including the big boss himself, and almost everyone's respective spouses as well. As a company we were celebrating an extremely successful year and several of us minions were supposed to be receiving presentations of some sort for our valiant efforts on the company's behalf; hopefully big cash bonus's.
This time I actually did spot her coming, but far too late to take any kind of avoiding action.
"Smack!" my head snapped around like Cassius Clay had just landed me one, and I staggered backwards for a few paces, almost falling over.
Something had to be done about this, I kinda had it figured that the bird had to be either working out at the gym, or she was getting more proficient at landing her slaps with practise. Whatever, I was getting just a little bit pissed that she was forever using my face to practise on.
And besides, she had embarrassed me somewhat first in front of my friends, then my family and finally in front of my work colleagues
"Just a bloody minute miss?" I said chasing after her and taking firm hold of her arm as she tried to make her usual smart get away. "What in heaven's name was all that in aid of?"
She turned and looked me directly in the eye; boy, could I see that there was real contempt in her expression. But before she on I had the chance to say anything much else, my department manager John Hewlett, an arse-kisser who I was not particularly fond of, was on the scene.
"Toby, unhand Wendy this instant. How dare you touch Miss Montague in such a manner?"
"But she just..." I tried to explain.
But Hewlett wasn't in listening mode.
"Toby I'm disappointed in you, you do not manhandle ladies like that; especially the new chairman's daughter. Well, not in my presence anyway."
"John, she just slapped me around the face for no reason whatsoever."
"Oh don't talk rubbish lad. What did you say to upset her?"
"Nothing, I've never spoken to the girl in my life. She just upped and smacked me one."
"Don't give me that sh ... rubbish boy. Nice young ladies don't go around striking people without just cause. Most likely you said something out of turn. Your trouble is young man that you're far too headstrong, I've warned you about that it the past. God, you'll be lucky if Mr Montague doesn't demand that you're contract is terminated over this! I've got a good mind to terminate it myself anyway."
Now up to a point, John Hewlett is right; I am naturally headstrong. I'm a decision maker, and that's what had made me so successful in my job. Whereas, some of my colleagues tend to procrastinate, rather than commit the company to any particular course of action; I don't beat around the bush. I make snap decisions on the information that's available at the time and usually they turn out to be correct. Of course I'd have studied every angle anyway and consequently I'd prepared for almost anything that goes down. That was the main reason I'd risen to number two in the department at such a young age, hard work and preparation, whilst the rest of the guys were wittering away to one another
Headstrong I might be, but something that I have never been, is short tempered. Unfortunately everyman has his breaking point though.
This Wendy bird striking and embarrassing me in front of my peers on three separate occasions, and without any reason that I was aware off, had pushed my self-control to the extreme limit.
John Hewlett -- never my favourite person, who had regularly taken the credit for my hard work -- stepping into the fray and making threats of dismissal, was the proverbial straw that broke the Camel's back.
"You can stuff your fucking contract right up your bleeding arse." I found myself replying. "This ain't the only company in the fucking world!"
With those words I found myself heading out of the hotel reception room, alone. None of the other guys dared come after me to try and calm me down. They knew me too well, and they were also scared shitless of John Hewlett.
I'm not completely sure of where I went for the rest of the evening. A couple of pubs to start with I think, and then at least one nightclub where I could drink until I lost track of everything.
Wherever I went, I somehow managed to get home safely and get my mobile phone lifted as well. Well, possibly I mislaid it! Anyway on the Sunday afternoon, I was awoken by the telephone with a headache to rival all others before or since.
"Toby mate, where the fuck did you get too?" A so-called mate from the office asked.
"I dunno Tony, I tied one on a bit."
"Jesus mate, I've been calling you all bloody morning, was there some hell to pay after you done a runner last night. You were supposed to be the number one star of the show, you know?"
"Who gives a shit?"
"Jesus mate, Montague was standing up on the stage singing your praises and telling everyone that you had made the greatest contribution to the company's success this year and you were a no show. He looked like a real prune when someone told him you'd left earlier."
"Did they also tell him I'd quit?"
"No, I don't think anyone dared. Anyway it was in the heat of the moment; no one believes you meant it."
I told you that I'm a snap decision maker, maybe what I didn't say was that once I've made a decision I bloody-well stick with it. Probably that was the reason that I did so well in my job; at work I was decisive and didn't get cold feet later and change my mind.
Regretfully, I hadn't always been as astute when it came to the female of our species and of late had been avoiding emotional involvement with any of them.
"Have you ever known me to change my mind Tony?"
"Oh come on Toby mate. This is a little different; your career is involved here."
"Tony, Markham's isn't the only company in the world. And besides, John Hewlett and me have been at loggerheads for so bloody long, I'm sick of it. I'm gone mate and that's the end of it!"
"But your bonus?"
"They can stuff their effing bonus right up their bleeding Jacksey's for all I care. Look Tony, I've only just woken up and I need the loo rather urgently, right now. I'll see you Monday to say good by; when I come in to pick up my gear!"
With that I hung up the phone. Tony was one of John Hewlett's arse-kissers; I couldn't really be bothered with the man.
.... There is more of this story ...