“Really, mate? Really?!”
Pete was looking at Jeremy from over the top of his mirrored Ray-Ban aviators, with something bordering on disdain. Clearly, he didn’t find his old friend Jeremy’s Father Christmas impression nearly as funny as Jeremy did.
But what else were you supposed to do with the foam at a foam party? Apart from slip over and bash your coccyx – a box that Jeremy had ticked within seconds of arriving at the club. In principle, thought Jeremy, he should probably be dancing topless in it. But, try as he might, he just couldn’t see the point of it. He sneaked a look at his Seamaster. One o’clock in the morning. Late if you were in London, only just beginning if you were in Ibiza. This party – so Pete had told him on the private jet on the way over – was the party of the season, the flag in the top of the sandcastle.
It was an introduction, to be fair, that he had asked for; a plan that had been hatched at his 50th birthday dinner when Jeremy had admitted to Pete, in a moment of middle-aged defeat, that he was worried he would die without having been to Ibiza. Or Glastonbury, for that matter. It turned out that Glastonbury wasn’t happening – to give the grass a chance to grow back – but, by the time the financial markets had opened the next morning, Pete had booked them four VIP days in Ibiza, courtesy of a boutique travel company called Completely Sorted.
And so, here he was, with a Father Christmas beard and a sinking feeling in his stomach. Looking around the flouro-strobe seventh ring of hell that was Pukka, Jeremy had a quiet word with himself. Surely, he should either beat ’em, or join ’em? Go home (to a glass-fronted, surround-sounded villa with only vodka and ice cubes in the fridge) or Go Big…
He elbowed his way through a barrage of bikinis and glow sticks and settled himself down at the black lacquer bar, forking out the equivalent price of two month’s gym membership on a single bottle of tequila.
“Salud!” toasted the barman – whose green T-shirt turned out, on closer inspection, to be an entire torso of tattoos – as Jeremy downed his first shot.
And the rest, as they say, is history…
Three days later, Pete was a broken man. He’d been confident that he’d remain the alpha male throughout the trip – after all, Jeremy’s previous annual social high point had been a school Founder’s Day – but he hadn’t anticipated quite how much unused petrol Jeremy had in the tank. It had been a slow start, but Jeremy’s unexpected podium dancing had had the whole club jumping, and the tattoo he had got done on the way home really suited him.
And so it had gone on vodka, skinny dipping, more vodka, some sleep (not much), waterskiing, beers with lunch, blurry siestas, cocktails with tea, sunburnt shoulders, boat trips, sunset beats, club entry. Repeat. Somewhere in the middle of the madness, Pete could remember a FaceTime call with Jeremy’s teenage daughter, his godchild. Had she, they wondered, seen Jeremy’s excellent #makingupforlosttime social-media feed and would she like them to pull her out of school and book her onto the next available easyJet? When she had refused, they had decided to book themselves a VIP teepee and a chopper for next year’s Glastonbury instead.
Having reached a point of no return – in other words, an inability to actually speak – Pete decided to organise for a plane to take them home a day early. If he didn’t get Jeremy out of there soon, he may go entirely native. As it was, he was threatening to reinvent himself as a DJ.
Getting him off the island was not easy. Not bad for someone of such previously diminished masculinity, Pete thought to himself, as he pushed his old friend, still dancing, up the steps to the plane. “I’ll be back!” Jeremy shouted, as he grooved. “Come on Ibiza! I. Can’t. Hear. You!!!”
As the plane took off, Pete looked down at the beach party that was still going on and felt a wave of relief flood over him. Quite why they were all shouting and pointing at the plane, he had no idea.
Jeremy took a look at his defeated friend, then smiled happily to himself as he glanced back at the tail of the banner he had managed to attach to the back of the plane fluttering in the Balearic breeze.
“HASTA LUEGO! WE’LL BE BACK. NEXT STOP MYKONOS. BAR ALEMAGOU WITH @PETETHEBEAT ON THE DECKS.”