I am at The Edge, and we are playing sardines. I am running tonight’s games, and have picked a game I nearly know the rules to. But it’s fine, for I am excellent at doing games.

I tell Rich Moss to stop laughing.

Sardines is a game in the dark where one person hides, and then when someone finds that person, they hide with them until there’s a ridiculous mass of people trying to fit under a bed.

But I have planned to include an injection.

I am going to inject… a lion! I found a 50p teddy Simba from the Lion King in a charity shop and have jimmied it into the game. Seamlessly. Instead of finding a person, The Edge will be hunting Simba!

——-

It is twenty minutes later. And I have lost Simba.

Everybody has got bored and started playing one touch. I decide to abort, and try traditional sardines. I ask Rich Moss how you play it.

Without lions.”

I am disappointed, but it’s probably easier. People are much bigger than lions. I decide to hide first as punishment for my poor performance so far. But as The Edge looks away I wonder… in how many places can a 6 foot 8 man hide in a church?

I only have minutes to hide, so dive straight for the vestry, which apparently is a storage room. For vests. I scour the linen, and find it.

The perfect hiding place.

I climb inside, kneel down, and adjust myself as necessary.

And shut the lid.

99%.

I am inside the case of a bass drum. Except I’m bigger than a bass drum. Even when I’m properly adjusted. The lid’s sticking up slightly behind my head by a couple of centimetres. But it’s OK, because it’s dark. And that small crack is like the drainage archway in Helm’s Deep. It’ll probably be fine. And in any case, I’m not going to find anywhere better to hide. Unless I wear a world record amount of vests.

I wonder what the world record amount of vests is?

I think.

And keep quiet.

——

3…2…1… Alright Dan, we’re coming! You’d better be hidden!”

I hear footsteps and voices as The 20-strong Edge forensics the building.

And opens the door. I am considering how many vests you could fit on a dog, but must now stop. For it is game on!

Someone walks in. I breathe. Silently; through my mouth, but not so much as to properly expand my chest cavity and make me burst out of my shell.

The door shuts.

And somebody walks out. I snigger. And then stop myself. I am Anne Frank. Or a bloke on a toilet in Jurassic Park.

——-

It is ten minutes later, and this has happened a few times. Still nobody has a clue where I am! This is brilliant! I am the king of sardines! Think what I could do with an army of salty fish! Probably become a fishmonger. But a good king wouldn’t do that to his fishizens.

A noise.

The door opens.

I smile. For I am undiscoverable! I don’t need ancient anti-Indiana Jones systems to stop people finding me. I just need my own brilliance! I wonder if I will everbe found, or whether life will just go on without me. I decide to get out. But not yet. Later. Before the Home Office tear up my pool hall membership card. For now I am still… awesome.

I feel a hand.

Oh no!

It feels me. ORC’d!

Game over!

It leaves me alone. And I hear the noise of someone sitting down.

This is terrible! My incredible hiding place has been unearthed by some accidental suicide-sardine! Now people will see this ratfishbag and hide with him! The door opens. Life as I’ve known it for the last ten minutes is over!

What are you doing here?”

I recognise the voice. It’s Wall Heath Dan. And he is seconds away from ending my quarantine-y fun.

I got bored of looking, and just decided to sit here.”

I recognise the second voice. It’s My Brother, who has found me by some ridiculous stroke of square-headed fluke and is pretending not to have found me! He must have worked out just how good my hiding place is and be trying to save the moment. But alas. It won’t work. Wall Heath Dan won’t believe that he’s just sitting alone in the dark because he’s bored playing a game. That’s obviously a lie.

Oh, OK.”

The door shuts.

Oh.

You alright in there, Dan?”

My brother is whispering, and I reciprocate.

What?”

I speak up.

I said yeah, I’m fine thanks. How ace is this hiding place?”

Yeah, it’s class Dan. How have you fit in there?”

I adjusted myself.”

Right.”

Time goes by, and one by one my brother manages to distract everyone from his random presence in a random room, in a game about finding random people randomly in random rooms.

And then I hear the best thing I’ve heard all day. Like Evangeline Lilly calling to tell you she’s baked you some muffins. And bought some Nutella.

Dan! Wherever you are! We’ve all given up playing! We’re all just out here playing one touch in the hall!” Shouts Big Boots, who isn’t lying. I would smile if I had enough room.

Why don’t we just turn the lights on? He’s already won by hiding for this long.” Suggests Bobby.

Great idea.” Agrees The Bootsmith.

They turn the lights on, and I have an emotional cackle as I hear the Stokey Shoulder’s voice.

Gah! Where is he? Even with the lights on we can’t find him!”

I let them search for a while, and eventually climb out and walk into the one touch. “Dan! Where were you?!” I show them my place, and theirs.

I smile, and walk away with a broken body.

Rich Moss has stopped laughing.

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