IT WAS Saturday night and Elaine and Gerry had invited a few of us over for dinner and drinks.
The evening was in full-swing when suddenly at one o'clock in the morning a somewhat inebriated and tired Gerry decided he had had enough.
"Right. I'm off too bed," he announced.
"I'll leave you lot to it. But don't be too late."
We got the impression Gerry wished we had had enough too and would leave.
But, having had a few drinks ourselves, we ignored him and carried on with the karaoke.
About half an hour later and still wrestling to get to sleep, Gerry heard the noise of a diesel engine running outside his bedroom window and presumed it was a taxi that his other half Elaine had called for the guests.
He listened to the noise of the engine ticking over for what seemed like ages when he began to realise that the raucous house guests downstairs clearly had no clue that their taxi had now arrived.
Apparently, Gerry shouted down stairs numerous times to notify us, but due to the hilarity and loud karaoke singing, no one heard a thing.
Snuggled up and with no intention of getting out of his cosy bed, Gerry had a brainwave.
He dialled Elaine's mobile number which rang and rang. But much to his annoyance, no one replied.
All the time, the taxi engine was humming away outside.
Desperate for sleep, Gerry then decided to dial the house phone.
"Shush," Elaine instructed. "I thought I heard the phone."
So I turned the music down slightly and sure enough the phone was ringing.
"Who can be calling at this time of night?" Elaine asked wondered.
"Better answer it," I told her.
"Hello?" inquired Elaine putting on her posh voice.
Gerry, in a not so calm voice, bellowed: "Any chance you could turn that music off and let our guests know their taxi is waiting outside?"
Rather agitated he added: "It's been sitting there for ages with its engine on and it's keeping me awake."
Hanging up, Elaine relayed the message to her house guests and hurriedly we grabbed our belongings.
We thanked Elaine and bade her farewell before running towards the waiting taxi.
Trying to stifle our laughter we piled into the taxi and secured our seatbelts.
However, after a few minutes we noticed the driver's door was open and, in fact, there was no driver.
Appeased with the suggestion that the driver must have nipped around the corner to relieve himself, we continued with our garbled chit chat.
We were still laughing as we regaled the awful singing earlier when we noticed a man coming out of a neighbour's house and who was heading straight towards our taxi.
Looking rather perplexed he peeked in the open door and demanded: "What the heck are you lot doing in my car?"
Thinking it was obvious Christine replied: "Waiting for a lift home."
"A lift home?" he spluttered.
Spotting the bemused look on the drivers face she added: "You are the taxi driver aren't you?"
"Taxi driver? Taxi driver?" he squawked . "No I'm not ... and this is not a taxi.
"I just nipped into to my brother's house to deliver something and the next thing I come out and find my car is full or strangers."
Standing in the doorway, Elaine who was still waving us off came running towards the car.
"Oh, hi," she said recognising the 'taxi' driver.
"We thought you were ..."
Before she could finish the driver interjected sarcastically: "Yes, I got the gist of who you thought I was from my 'passengers'. "
Humbly, we all apologised for the misunderstanding and started to pile out of the car when the driver asked. "Where do you lot live?"
"Not far," said Christine and gave him the address.
"Look, don't worry about it," our driver laughed as he recovered from his surprise.
"Get back in and I'll take you home."
So we bid farewell yet again to Elaine.
Just before we pulled away I rolled down the window of the car and shouted to Elaine: "Remember to cancel the taxi you ordered."
A confused Elaine tried to relive the last hour before finally replying: "But I didn't order a taxi."
"You didn't?" I answered, even more confused than Elaine: "Well if you didn't, who did?"
And, then it dawned on us. NO-ONE had ordered a taxi.