Seven hours and several drinks later, Craig found the other Craig was, as Bridget had said, "lovely", not at all imposing. Of course, one could say that about anyone who was busy giggling into his pint glass.
Around midnight people had begun to trickle back towards the set, near the outskirts of Auckland, grumbling about an early call time. 1 am came and everyone else had gone. The bar was closing and Craig was thinking that would be it, but other Craig grabbed him by his sleeve, still in obvious good humor and not yet drunk enough.
"I know a pub," he said.
The found themselves god-knows-where outside Auckland, in a tiny dark squat of a building. The flaking red lettering in the windows read HEMI'S. The windows also had a little fish and some palm trees and a sad looking beer menu which had too many pricey imports, but it was still open. The bartender, skin the same color as dark brown tea, smiled when he saw other Craig. His grin was missing a few teeth, but somehow it made him more endearing. The other Craig and the bartender hugged – the kind where there was a lot of slapping each other on the back the way blokes do – and the other Craig asking about kids and the misses and grandfather and all. Craig stood awkwardly and looked around the dingy dark of Hemi's, the jukebox with a splinter through the window-glass.
"This is Craig," other Craig grabbed Craig and pushed him towards the bartender.
Other Craig laughed.
The bartender, Joe, and Craig shook. Joe glanced at the other Craig. A look passed between them and Craig remembered what Bridget had said about meeting someone you had a crush on and tried not to turn red with embarrassment. Other Craig snorted.
"No. We're not. Your mind is complete filth for a church-goer," other Craig told Joe. "We're working together." Here he slung his arm around Craig's shoulders and he noticed the considerable heft in that arm, the firm ripple of muscle. Though, the other Craig did have to stand on tip toes to throw his arm around him.
"Craig here is going to thwart me, Joe," other Craig said very seriously. There was a pause before all three men starting laughing, for whatever reason. The drinking began again in earnest, passing around a pitcher and pouring their own pints, which was, the other Craig noted "very Yank of them".
"Or redneck," Craig quipped and other Craig hiccuped on his swallow of beer.
Joe told some stories about where he grew up as a small child – a spit of an island that ought to have been drowned by cyclones years ago with a name unpronounceable to white men anyways – which made Craig snort his beer out his nose a few times. Then the other Craig and Joe started in on embarrassing school stories. Apparently other Craig was a hideously awkward teenager, which somehow made Craig feel better about this whole prospect of working together. He was human, after all, and, like most humans, his teen years had been shit. Craig told a few stories about his own teen years, including horrible girls he had dated. The other men chimed in with their teen dating woes until they were all crying with laughter at their younger, stupider selves.
"Bridget thinks I have a crush on you," Craig blurted out. Shit. The warning lights blazed a bit too late and he stared at the counter-top as it wobbled mockingly at him.
"He has a crush on you," Joe said. "Told you."
"I do not have a crush on Craig!" Craig protested. "I said Bridget thinks I do."
They all nod as if this is very serious indeed.
"Oh does she?" Other Craig smirked.
"Well, I was all – nervous to meet you and she said it was uh, like uhm," his tongue was not cooperating and he had to keep tripping over it. Damn. "School friends being all 'teehee' about meeting a boy they like and I was like, 'wutever Bridge'."
"Me? I'm a pussycat," other Craig whined. "How would meeting me scare you at all?"
Craig was about to answer when Joe said: "Call her."
The Craigs drunkenly goggled him. Craig's confused expression was vastly exaggerated by inebriation; other Craig twitching his eyebrows as he opened and closed his eyes.
"Call her on the phone and all and make – you know – noises. Like you did uh. Yaknow. Just to pull her leg."
They are silent for a minute, Craig's confused expression still exaggerating until the confusion painted upon it could be large enough to swallow the entire South Pacific. Other Craig might have been in danger of serious eye injury with his twitching.
"Call yourself a hetero – heterosexual. Joe, that's – morb – evil," other Craig twitched. "You just want to hear me make sex noises."
"Brilliant," Craig said. His mates had once told him: oh Craiggy, once you're drunk, you're suggesitable to anything.
The other Craig twitched at him and shrugged.
"Right. Alright. Mobile?"
Drunk dialing Bridget took them a few minutes of fumbling and Craig looking confused again and pushing buttons and accidentally calling someone who called himself "Mr. Wimples". Finally they succeeded. Craig put the phone on speaker and they all craned in, waiting. The clock on the wall said some ungodly hour like 2:45 am and Craig thought – the realization a jab through the brain – call time was something like 5:30? 6ish? Wasn't it?
"Huh?" It was not Bridget's groggy voice on the phone. It was another woman, one Craig thought he vaguely knew but couldn't remember.
"You dialed the wrong number again, you git," other Craig said.
"No I didn't! It says 'Bridget' in the window."
"You. . . can read?" Joe squinted at the mobile phone on his counter.
"Bridget," the woman said. There was mumbling and sounds like a phone being passed around and then "Hi?"
"Yeah? Cr-craig? What the hell are you doing calling me at – two in the morning!?"
Other Craig slapped him and started making what Craig thought were supposed to be sex noises, but they sounded more like a walrus gargling crap. He added a few unenthusiastic grunts and "Oh Craigs".
Whispers on the other end of the phone. Giggles. Then Bridget saying: "Stop, not now Jess, no. Give me a minute sweetheart," in a low, breathy voice which made Craig blush. Both of the Craigs stopped making noises.
"Craig –?" Bridget asked. When she got no answer, she said "Whatever," and hung up.
More silence, but this time Craig felt sobriety beginning to percolate back. And it hurt, like a gigantic brain freeze.
"Was that Jess who plays Denna Jess?" other Craig said finally.
"Oh," Craig held his head in his hands.
"I feel suddenly very sober," other Craig said.
"Me too," Joe said.
"Anyone for Indian food?" other Craig seemed to be perking again.
"Oh," Craig groaned into his hands.