It was good, Ian Botham thought. It was a good dickpic. Strong angle. Good lighting. Bit of chin, bit of tit. Pubes in check. Semi lob-on. Just enough tumescence to pique the interest — titillate, you know? Work up an appetite — but still holding a little back. You don’t want to go full pie with the first sext. Work your way up. The order goes: semi, full-on, holding-it-in-your-hand-pic, Japs’ Eye shot. That’s how you sext. That’s how Beefy sexts.
He made a cheese and onion sandwich and cut it into four.
There’s a certain nervousness that comes with sending a dickpic, and Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham was feeling it. He checked his DMs: no reply. He put the phone down. He checked it again. He put it down. A bit of Sky Sports would put his mind at ease. Bit of sport. Lovely sport. Bit of sport and a sandwich.
His phone started buzzing. Twitter. Ignore it. Trolls.
It started buzzing again. Robbie Savage. The Savagester. Savvy. Terry Savage-las. He picked his phone up and read. “mate think you been hacked.”
Ian Botham runs both taps and screams as loud as he can into the sink.
“Hello Matthew at Essentially PR speaking, what can we Essentially do for y—”
“Matthew, it’s Beefy.”
“Ian, I’m so sorry. I saw the dickpic.”
Ian Botham chokes back a big, beefy sob.
“Matthew, what am I going to do?”
“My career, Matthew. My lucrative after-dinner speaking career!”
“Listen, Ian, we’re at DEFCON 5 here at Essentially. Or DEFCON 1. Whichever one is the really bad one: we are here for you.”
Ian Botham wipes his eyes with the back of his cricket glove. He puts cricket gloves on in stressful situations.
“First thing you do: tell them you were hacked.”
Ian Botham checks his notifications. Lots of trolls, lots of trolls. Lot of followers, though. Hm. Lots of… lots of girls. Pretty ones. Pretty girls. Cheeky follow back? Just a cheeky one? Blonde one, there. Big eyebrows. They like their eyebrows, these days, the girls. Follow back? Just a little follow?
No, Beefy. Not now. Not now.
Ian Botham takes his signed photo of Geoffrey Boycott and cracks it furiously over his knee.
Beefy eats an entire family-sized Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut to himself.
“Yeah, I’ve done a dickpic,” Robbie Savage says. Robbie Savage has come over for a quiet pint of bitter from the bar Ian Botham has built into his front room. Taps in the cellar. Pipes are immaculate. “Some proper sorts on Twitter, like.”
“Is there anyone out there?”
“Filthy. Filthy, filthy sorts.”
“Yeah. Is anyone out there?”
Robbie squints through the net curtains.
“No press, but a couple of kids on bikes.”
“They’re always there. Ignore them.”
“They seem to be doing the wank-off sign at you?”
“Ignore them. They always do that.”
“Do you want me to go out there and say something?”
“Leave it, Robbie.”
Ian Botham goes to the shed and sobs so hard his skin turns permanently a shade more puce.
2.33PM – 2.34PM
Gets to old tapes out. Dusty, these. Dusty some of these. Ian Botham watches himself, at his peak, and his proud, proud peak. There’s a four. There’s a six. Bowls someone out, there. He watches, intently, wanking throughout, then carefully puts them back in the hardback-book video covers Kathy got out of that catalogue once. Didn’t have Twitter, back then. Didn’t have any of that shit. The good old days. The good old days.
The phone rings. He pauses Pointless.
“Hello Beefy Botham?”
“Mark Landhurst, from Macmillan. Wondering if you coul—“
“If you could do a b–a big walk for us.”
“I love a big walk. Always up for a big walk. Always up for a laugh. Where to?”
“Land’s End to Cerne Abbas.”
“Cerne Abbas in Dorset?”
“Why are you laughing? That’s not a very long one. What’s type of cancer is i— oh. Oh, I get it. The Cerne Abbas man. The one with his chopper out.”
Explosive, childhood laughter.
“LISTEN HERE, YOU LITTLE SHIT. YOU CAN STICK YOUR CHALK DICK UP YOUR ARSEHOLE, YEAH?”
He runs outside and up the driveway but it’s too late. The boys on bikes are gone. Nothing behind them but a dangling public phone handset. Bastards.
Locked out. Every bloody time. He knocks next door where Mrs. Morris lives to ask for the spare. “Afternoon, Mrs. Morris!” he says.
“The key again, Beefy?”
“The key again.”
“You want to be more careful in future.”
“I know it!”
She was laughing. She knew.
4pm. A key clicks in the lock.
“Kathy? Is that you?”
“It’s me, Ian.”
“How–how was your sister’s?”
“Good, good. Shall I put the kettle on?”
It’s fine. It’s fine. Kathy doesn’t use the Internet. It’s fine. She doesn’t know. It’s fine. She tried to join Facebook two years ago and ended the night in tears. All her old friends had changed their surnames. Couldn’t get past level six of Candy Crush. Deleted it as soon as she’d set it up. It’s fine.
“So,” Kathy said. “So. I heard you got ‘hacked’.”
“Oh, that. Yeah. That Twitter thing. Yeah.”
“I read about it in the Evening Standard. Awful business, isn’t it?”
“Because I’m sure a lot of people thought you hadn’t been hacked at all—“
“And that you were instead trying to send a picture of your dick to that slag Kerry from the cricket club—”
“Because of course especially, those people might think, especially as you have previous form for cheating on me.”
“You remember, of course, Ian Botham, that I have seen your horrid cock?”
“And I am familiar with its unique brown dappled patterning and the craggy and dirt-like scrotal terrain?”
“And so I know, for example, that that definitely was your cock you put on the Internet.”
The kettle clicked. Kathy looked madder than that time he speedbowled a scotch egg at her during her mother’s wake. Full run up. Perfect form. Straight in the fluffers. Maybe… he could use the same excuse as last time?
“It was just banter, Kathy!”
“No, Ian. No. It wasn’t banter. Not this time. I know what banter looks like. It doesn’t look like you holding your phone by your balls and taking a funny-angled dickshot.”
“How much is this going to cost me?”
“Oh, a Bentley, I would’ve thought. A Bentley and a new kitchen.”
Beefy Botham sleeps on the sofa. Leather, squeaky. Quietly, under the duvet, he checks his DMs. Still nothing. ‘It’s over, Beefy,’ he says to himself. ‘What was I thinking. What was I thinking.’