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Okay, I’ll admit it. I was just a teensy bit drunk, and by teensy bit, I mean absolutely shitfaced. But I was happy drunk; Wales had beaten Ireland and the night had been a good one. There was a spring in my stagger as I walked home. Now normally at night I don’t walk along the canal path. It’s got twists and turns and places were modern day highwaymen could launch an attack on unsuspecting drunks. So, I go the slightly longer way around, along with the equally deserted, but at least well-lit streets. But tonight, well the alcohol was like a shield of steel so I teetered down the steps into the darkness, into the unknown.
Actually, it wasn’t that dark, and to be honest most self-respecting muggers were probably at home in bed, so I swayed along the path as happy as Larry, mumbling the last of my hymns and arias.
But my bravado was misplaced. I rounded the last corner and I saw her standing in my path. My drunken crooning must have disturbed her and she had a look in her eye that sent a shiver down my spine. We stood staring at each other for a few moments waiting for the other to back down. She was as broad as she was tall and had no intention of letting me pass. I looked behind me and saw that her partner had emerged from the shadows, blocking any escape. He was a brute and strutted towards me like he was king of the canal.
“Come on,” I repeated. “It’s been a good night, let’s not ruin it,” but the lady was not for turning. Her mate was hissing behind me; this was a classic pincer movement. I was in trouble here. I looked around for a branch or something that I could use as a weapon.
“Let me get by,” I took a step forward. She also took a step, letting me know there was no way through.
I clapped my hands hoping the noise would scare away my assailants, but they stood firm; happy to stare me down. What happened next was a drunken blur of white feathers and wings and beaks and my arms flailing around like a rugby forward in a lineout trying to protect myself from this vicious attack. It was soon clear that my only escape was the canal itself. I knew it wasn’t deep, but I also knew that it acted as a rubbish dump for the citizens of Cardiff; god knows what was in there. I took the plunge. Jumping into the water and wading through the debris to the other side of the canal. I clambered out and looked back to see the swans were satisfied and were strutting back to their nest congratulating each other on their victory, while I was shaking an empty crisp packet and a used condom off my jeans.