"Keep an eye open," asked Marks, the boy in shorts, "and if you see a chemist anywhere, let me know."
"Will do," I affirmed, and duly kept my eyes peeled for such an establishment.
A few seconds passed.
"Why?" I eventually got around to asking. To be honest, it was a fair question. Exactly why he would be seeking out a pharmacist in this situation was something I didn't have an answer for. If I was going to be pointing out one to him, I thought I was due some form of explanation.
"Oh, I'm going to have sex with Beth," he said, "but I don't have any condoms with me, so I'm going to need to buy some."
We were on a youth camp full of 14-to-22-year-olds, so as I pointed out, there were likely to be condoms everywhere. There had certainly been a lot of nudity; one would assume that there would, also, be a certain amount of sex. One of the younger ones had already left the camp due to the fact that the girl he fancied didn't want to have sex with him: the British delegation, of which I was a part, were mostly upset due to a ban on alcohol and "euphoria drugs". But none of us had left.
Due to the fact that I don't speak Danish, finding a chemist proved to be a difficult task, especially considering the speed at which we were walking. None of the Danes who were hosting us were present (maybe they were upset by all the alcohol and euphoria drugs), not even the hot one with long blonde hair and low-slung jeans who always seemed to find an excuse to talk to me.
Eventually, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a green cross on a white background, relaying this information to Beth, who then told Marks. He grabbed a handful of kroner from her and ran off at the speed of sound, returning with a packet of something mysteriously labelled "Black Cat".
"Black Cat...?" I whispered under my breath. "What on earth...?"
"They're condoms, apparently," replied Marks, slipping the little box into his pocket, "and I'm sure they'll do. Tell me if you hear us having sex, all right?"
"Uhm..." I replied, which was the best I could do, considering all the noise the rest of our group was making. They'd found a shop selling the Danish candy called Spunk, which is - of course - the funniest thing IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
As it happens, I didn't hear Marks and Beth having sex at all, but apparently they did, more than once, throughout the rest of the camp. It wasn't until the train journey on the way back, which took us through Frankfurt, Lille and Brussels before returning to London, that I realised I'd optimistically brought a selection of condoms with me - as I always did to camp; never ended up using one - and that I would have been able to donate one, or the whole lot, to Marks. I liked the guy, after all, and I certainly liked Beth.
"You know," I said to him after a little conversation, "I had some condoms with me. I could have given you one..."
"...a condom. I could have given you a condom I just... just... just didn't," I finished, a little lamely.
"That's all right," said Marks. "I had my lucky black cat." It's the wittiest thing he's ever said.
"What colour are they?" I suddenly burst out, asking the question I'd been dying to since I saw the name on the box.
"Huh? They're clear, like... well... like condoms are."
It really says something when I'm more disappointed by the fact that the condoms that my friend had been using weren't actually black than I was by the fact that I'd brought condoms of my own that had ended up going unused.
Although as for quite what it says...