Tom had his cousin staying for a weekend and so he took him to the pub in the evening for him to meet with us as well. As they came in, we were already sitting at the table and finishing our first pints.

They came straight to our table, we shook hands and as soon as they sat down, the waiter came to get our orders, although he knew very well what we would drink.

‘Is Ironman not coming tonight?’ he asked Tom as he was leaving the table to get the beer.

‘No, Mark, not tonight,’ replied Tom and smiled. We all laughed except for Tom’s cousin.

‘Who’s Ironman?’ he asked when Mark had left.

‘It’s an old joke,’ I explained to him. ‘Ironman is a nickname of Tom’s friend.’

‘Let me guess,’ the cousin said. ‘He is a sportsman, he does a lot of exercising and so he doesn’t drink too often. And that’s the reason why he didn’t come tonight.’

‘No, not really,’ said Peter who was sitting on my right. ‘Ironman is actually quite a fat and lazy man. Or so I heard.’

‘What do you mean by “so I heard”?’ asked the cousin. ‘Have you not met this Ironman in person?’

‘No, I haven’t. Actually, none of us has, except for Tom,’ replied Peter.

‘That’s the point of the joke,’ I added.

‘I don’t get it. The waiter asked whether or not the Ironman was coming tonight.’

‘Well, that’s the point,’ I said again. ‘It was the joke because Ironman has never been here yet.’

‘Oh, OK. And why does he never come?’

‘Look,’ Tom said to him. ‘He is an old friend of mine from the school days. He doesn’t know many people. He spends a lot of time in front of TV or plays his video games, and then he complains that he has no friends.’

Mark came back with the beers and started putting them down on the table.

‘So,’ Tom continued, ‘I invited him a few times to come and join us for the beer. I also told my friends here that he would come. But he never did.’

We lifted our pints, bumped them together for a toast and drank.

‘OK, but why do you call him Ironman?’ asked the cousin as he was putting his glass down.

‘Because every time your cousin Tom invited him, he said that he couldn’t come because he had to iron his shirts,’ said Mark and laughed as he was leaving our table with empty glasses in his hand.

Ironman - Sparrow's English Reader - Jan Vrabec - level 3 English
blog: Ironman Isn’t Coming Tonight

except for – okrem

in person – osobne

complain /kəmˈpleɪn/ – sťažovať sa

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