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Images: Jesse Lizotte
Words: T.B.Riley

September 2021

Recap - As you will recall from our last installment: Vince’s run-in with a sauna radiator had caused a serious dereliction to his nether regions. Thankfully there was a resident plastic surgeon on the island to save the day, but not without gross embarrassment as the entire members list of the golf club bore witness to his seared ‘lambs fry’ or ‘In’N’Out burger pattie’. Patched-up but delicate Vince could soldier through the rest of his now very long Weekend at the Wesleys. (read part 2 in full HERE)

Sunday brought a lazy game of tennis with the courtside assistance of Grand Cru Champagne, olives, and a few oysters. It was ‘doubles day’ - nothing too serious. Vince and Ella versus Nate and his sister Wendy, a late arrival to the island. Wendy ‘Whacker’ Wesley had been on the Grand Slam tour and only arrived that morning by sea plane. Nate, being a man of few words (lisped words, you will recall) hadn’t brought Wendy’s tennis career to the attention of their opponents. She possessed a notorious cannon-like serve reaching 140mph on occasions, and a fierce forehand to match. It was only her feeble backhand that kept her out of the top ten.
Vince had skipped Saturday night dinner in order to rest and recuperate. So while he was now refreshed and sober he was still ginger with his injury. Thankfully he had the full analgesic force of oxycodone behind him through Dr Busby’s generous prescription; ‘Side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea and headaches’ he was warned.

Vince and Ella strolled up to the bay laurel and citrus bordered grass court, Vince wearing his dark navy shorts, navy short sleeve polo and navy ultra light quarter-zip with an insouciantly doffed camel polo coat. Ella thought he looked ‘devilishly handsome with a splash of Ferris Bueller’.
Gracing the other side of the net was a vainglorious Nate in his classically ‘on point’ white shorts and white polo shirt. Wendy, rigid and sculpted, entered the arena with a bag of no less than 6 racquets on her shoulder that did not go unnoticed by her more casual opponents:
“Hi guys! I’m Wendy. Great to meet you both! Nate has told me so little about you”.
“Hi Wendy! I’m Vince, and this is my partner Ella... as in my life-partner... not just my doubles partner”.
“Hi Wendy!’ Said Ella, smiling only with her mouth, sensing some impending grief. “We haven’t heard a lot about you either actually!”.
“Well I’m Nate’s sister and I’m a professional tennis player. I’ve just come back from the Australian Open. I got knocked out in the quarter finals on Friday. I had Pulanova hard-up on service but she just found my backhand hole and kept filling up that hole, ya know what I mean?”.
“Yeeeeah… what a shame! Bad luck Wendy!” said Ella, with a combined sense of dread and absolutely no idea what she was talking about.

A Cracking Match

Our opponents sat courtside for some time, nibbling, gossiping and sloshing through the Champagne. Once they’d gotten comfortably spirited a coin was flipped for service. Wendy won the toss and Vince pulled the short straw of receiving. At this point Lionel had appeared with a second bottle of Champagne:
“Hi kids... Thought I’d come and top y’all up! It’s sweaty business and you need to stay hydrated! Hah! And hey Wendy go easy on the serve sweety, we don’t need you getting injuries before Roland Garros”. Vince whimpered.
Wendy bounced the ball on the ground while Vince crouched, shuddering ready to receive. Suddenly Vince encountered an acute wave of nausea, probably caused by a nasty mix of alcohol, oxycodone and fear. He had also forgotten to jettison an olive pip that he had been anxiously jostling about in his mouth. As Wendy wound up her serve, Lionel, squeezed his thumb on the Champagne cork, at the same time Vince suddenly coiled over and quickly turned his back to the court defensively. Wendy unleashes, firing her cannon while simultaneously, 80 PSI of Champagne’s finest froth unleashes its cork. A tennis ball grenade and a mushroomed-shaped-cork-warhead hurtle at 130mph, converging precisely on Vince’s exposed rear:
TH-THWACK! A double hit, right in the jaffas.
Vince was choking, red, veins rippling in his forehead. He keeled over on the grass grasping both his groin and his throat. The shock caused him to suck in the olive pip, blocking his trachea. His instinctive fight for breath confused by a pain so deep, so powerful that not a sound emitted from Vince except for a faint whistling wheeze like an air leak from a bicycle tyre.

Post-Heimlich’ing, the dust settled. Bruising and swelling set-in amongst the burns. Ella wiped Vince’s eyes dotingly. Lionel, fighting off a laughing fit, reassured Vince:
“Vince don’t worry buddy, nothing else will happen to your testes, I promise”.

The weekend drew to close. The porter loaded Vince and Ella’s luggage onto the plane. Ice pack in hand, Vince gently seated himself behind Ella. The prop whirred and the plane swung around. Vince leant his head on the glass as a row of gaily smiling Wesleys lined up on the deck waving their goodbyes. Lionel’s wicked eyes fixated on Vince’s, a little glint bounced off his white teeth in the setting sun.

Click HERE to view the tennis collection.

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