So I’m in our latest bijou east London flat staring at the poster of Amir Khan as Che (the one to the right of the sofa, not the one to the left, or above, or any of the other ones in Bob's bedroom).
Bob is on the stepping machine that arrived from Argos this morning, perspiration soaking through his shorts.
“So who’s the top banana boxing pundit once again, sis! What did I say about those mental midgets labelling my man Amir as being chinny! Muggy cunts had no idea what they were talking about, unlike me!"
Bob had been like a new brother since Amir Khan’s victory over Marco Antonio Barrera. Now this wasn’t totally unheard of at this time of the year as the spring always brought on a change in Bob. I’m not sure whether it was because he could shed his winter shellsuit bottoms and start wearing his homoerotically tight white shorts for his PE lessons, but a side to Bob emerged that unnerved me, and it wasn’t the occasional sighting of his boys leaving the barracks when he got too comfortable on the sofa.
“Face facts, sis. It takes a hardened PE teacher with years of experience to call it like it is and, er, box clever!” When you’ve been surrounded by as many hard and dominant men as I have in the gyms, changing rooms and saunas of east London, you soon learn how to take it on the chin!”
The more excitable Bob became, the more floridly homoerotic his speech content.
“Sis, I’ve lost count of the number of guys I’ve had in the ring! Make no mistake. I’ve always been most comfortable in the centre of the ring! I love it in the ring! Why, the fisting in the ring I gave this guy one time...”
Bob’s unconscious homoerotic innuendo had gone too far. Hearing my brother boasting about how he loved it in the ring was once again inducing those gastrointestinal feelings I dreaded so much. Bob had worn his tight white shorts especially for the fight and hadn’t taken them off since. The next morning I awoke to find Amir Khan pictures all over the house, and my brother ordering a new stepper from Argos, talking about wanting "buns of steel".
“Bob, I’m thinking it’s time we had a little chat about some of your... behaviour.”
“Sis, if it’s about the time I came back late one December night from Hampstead Heath covered in scratches, there’s a perfectly innocent explanation...”
“It’s not about that, Bob. But I am concerned that your pursuit of all things anarchic is not what it once was.”
“Sis! How can you possibly say that? I’m anarchic as hell and not going to take it!”
Bob’s stepping rate increased, to the point a strange clanking noise could be heard from the machine.
“Bob, get down off the stepper and, er, for god’s sake will you fine tune your aerial!”
“Oops! It seems there’s an invader on the pitch! Nothing to see here, ladies and gentlemen, nothing at all! I could really do with a policeman's helmet right now!”
“Bob! What you've just said is yet another example that makes me think there’s something about you that needs some form of... intervention.”
I couldn’t take it anymore. I just had to ask outright.
“Bob. Have you made a lifestyle choice dad wouldn’t approve of?”
“Sis! How could you! I’m a PE teacher! I might resemble an extra from the Blue Oyster Bar at times, but my profession is the ultimate defence against it! We’re the exception that proves the rule.”
I drew on my years of experience as an oh-so-hot-proven-lawyer to present Bob with the case against him.
Bob, have you noticed that we always seem to have pictures of men up in the house and in your bedroom? Jesus as Che, Amir Khan as Che, George Galloway as Che, Ahmadinejad as Che, Che as Che...”
“Nothing wrong with having role models, sis! You know there’s a shortage of role models for wanna-be anarchists as well. I just like to have pictures of men with moustaches around for... inspiration!”
“Ok, but you also spend most of your time watching dvds of men in shorts... performing.”
“Can’t beat the ‘Ammers, sis. I love a good, hard tackle!”
"And that t-shirt you’re wearing. Read out what it says to me."
“I love Jon Spencer’s head.”
"Trust you to get the wrong meaning about all things Dicks-related! My man JD got his tackle in on Spencer's head!"
"Bob! There you go again!"
"He stamped on him with his boot during a game. What on earth did you think I meant???"
It was time to go for the jugular.
“Bob, what do you call women?”
“So you even refer to women by a man’s name!”
"Sis, c’mon. We’re eastenders! Mockney rhyming slang? Dickie Bird. Birds? Richards!”
It was time to hit my brother where it hurt, metaphorically, although his bollocks were drooping out of his shorts once again.
“The mother of your child left you, her reason being that she’d couldn’t take any more of you and the beard thing!”
Bob looked nervous and was clearly distracted. He knew my beard reference was a coded one. Even though he’d stopped stepping ten minutes ago, he was still perspiring heavily.
Then the thought occurred to me.
Would this display of oh-so-hot proven lawyerness prove to be a dead pyrrhic victory? Would the cost of proving outright my first ever case come at the cost of outing my brother?
I just couldn’t do it, and took my finger off the trigger.
But I could always give him enough rope and let him finish off the job.
"So, Bob. Tell me more about the first time you entered the ring.”
“Glad you asked me, sis! Well I lifted my shirt, stripped down to my shorts and pounded away, having a breather every three minutes...”