The poor people of Springwood, pitched against the rasping winds of the promising storm, constitute a public nuisance as they ignore his God-given right of way on the Queen’s crack’d pavements of Lower Springwood High Street.
Every scabby specimen is probably infected with some horrible lower-caste disease like Rickets or Scabies or Berry-Berry.
And a man in the Governor’s position should never be too careful.
Humph! High time Tommy Taxpayer coughed for a car. A Roller and a Jag more in the Governor’s line of thinking. Deserved. Way overdue. Walk walk walk wasting one’s nerves.
‘Aaaargh! Monster!’ Blue eyes of wide curiosity and mischief he greets with a scowl. Which cheers him immensely: ‘Shooo!’
And passing the oasis of an off-licence he ﬁlls hip-ﬂask at the pumps with dragon-fuel.
Were it not for the claret-red sign and the creaky lantern you might easily mistake The Slaughtered Goat for any bug-standard red-brick rabbit-hutch littering the Screws’ housing estate. Never likely to feature in any Good Pub Guide. Attracting visitors uncommonly from outside the closed inbred prison fraternity.
He rolls the stairs and rocks with the bulk of business sensibly turned out in stiff bowler hat, black frilly apron and lace suspender belt.
Oh but a massively tingling thrill to the loins to witness the blackballing of a young Stag from membership of the Lodge <—> The charge pending is pinching whisky from the stocks. But the Governor has a feeling in his water, and empty bottles out back, to suggest the condemned Stag, antler horns on top and with an olive branch protruding from his bottom, is probably innocent <—>
Swaying and dribbling, Governor Gerbil James marvels the bare nipple on show, swells with pride the feather duster and body harness, and becomes gooey-eyed when the Grand-Pooh-Bear (Chief Constable) unveils a silver salver of prunes <—> Which makes for a marvelous spectacle and goes down a treat to the entire satisfaction of every Water Vole, Beaver, Brown Rat, Buck, Stag and Wizard concerned.
The penalty carried out according to the book, and the young Stag carried out on a hospital stretcher, like a bolt from a Colt 45 the Governor is down the stairs, round the twist and bum-splat on his favourite bar stool.
The sort of bar you will find beside a backwater seedy South-African guest-house. Lord Lucan can be found brandishing a chequered towel, and branded to the sink by gold chain and blue cuffs.
The Governor growling in the long grass, down and dirty with the dead men, and scarlet flock wallpaper and hatching in the depths of a Hero’s imagination the cunningest masterplan. He slithers a slime-trail of dribble the copper-clad bar to dangle two shots of poison beneath the noses of demon dicks Pym and Whitelaw.
Butt-cherry nose of Whitelaw explores every redolent atom: ‘Blummy, you’re a dark horse.’
‘Cost yid be the last duffer I’d expect to find fronting a drink.’
‘What? Nonsense. You hen me hest been the best ho muckers hooo ... donkey’s years.’
Whitelaw fiddling the front flap of a black Wizard cape around a pork-scratching belly. ‘You said I couldn’t find me way out me own underpants.’
— ‘Boy! Same again!’
The Laurel and Hardy of Springwood Lodge.
Pym silent and moody from a black and white film. Cowboy bush. Sheriff’s badge. Tallest mountain pine in the Lodge. Nous to settle the inflated bar bill a capital trait in a London policeman.
‘Enjoy the show, old son?’ Whitelaw waving a neap-tide of mud so close the Governor can sniff, can taste, every beaded bubble.
‘Not really. I thought the Stag a singular disappointment. Didn’t put his back into it. Cried like a baby. And those prunes were too small.’
‘Wah! I suggest to planning committee they should try carrots uck!-uck!-uck!’ Puff-pink chops of Whitelaw truffle to within a pork whisker — ‘Here psst! — you never guess who I bump into down Pig & Whistle after lunch ...’
The Governor grunts.
‘... Constance. You remember Constance. Nit she your sister-in-law? Big bird. Lot like your Candy ...’
The scarlet-ﬂock basement ﬁlls with the waft of rotten eggs. ‘... Any road up, Constance is telling bar in the strictest conﬁdence how at SWOPP ...’
‘... Support for Wives of Prison Personnel ...’
‘Oh that lot.’
‘... They run these terrible meetings ...’
‘... They pass these terrible motions ...’
‘Don’t remind me.’
‘... See the ringleader — Camiknickers James — ooops! — sorry, old son — your good lady wife — well she says to the Lodge ladies when you gets home at nights you wets your trousers ...’
‘... And she says ewe not a well man ...’
The Governor rams a fist on the beer-sodden mat — ‘I am well aware what nasty small-minded tales —’
‘... And she says if you don’t get summit done about your twinky problem soon, she’s groina take you to the barber’s.’
‘Look,’ thunders the Governor and thumbing the Bar Steward, ‘the last ﬁllet-o’-fish I need on my plate right now is half a ton of the Lodge ladies — Same again!’
‘Or should that be cleaner’s?’ Black marbles of demon dick Whitelaw roll in their sockets of confusion: ‘She wants her conjured rights.’
‘Conjugal. No? Con-ju-gal,’ cajoles the Governor, twisting bewildered to cock-eye the six smelly codgers smouldering beneath the cuckoo clock and shoulders slunken. ‘What about Hiding the Saucy Sausage? No? Diving for Oysters? The Old Jug-Eared Shufﬂe? Lapping the Grand Canyon?’
‘Not ringing any bells, old son.’
‘Beating the Burning Bush?’
The raw-shaven pink dome of Whitelaw ripples by lamplight. ‘Sorry. You lost me.’
‘Don’t you worry your pretty head.’ The Governor leans closer to within a snake-hair’s breadth. ‘Allow me to ﬁll your crack with affairs of Country. I er bin meaning to heifer delicate word —’
‘Delicate!’ Nudge-nudge-wink-wink Whitelaw to the brass badge of Pym.
‘Ssssshh! Keep it down.’
Pork-pink chops of Whitelaw purse with apple-blossom pleasure. ‘Would you be wanting — you being stiff ’n’ proper ’n’ all — to be spicing up the ole love-life back at the marital love-nest?’
‘Would I what?’
‘Videos? No problem. Strong stuff. You wouldn’t be in the market for hardcore photos?’
‘Have you taken leave —’
‘Delicate, you say?’
‘So your Missus,’ pipes up Pym, birdbox throbbing mechanically, ‘likes to stick these sausages in her burning bush?’
‘Whore you winding me up?’
‘You deffeny mention your Missus,’ complaining Pym. ‘Sausages and oysters and —’
‘I think you did, old son.’
‘Look,’ pleads the Governor, blood rushing into rust-cankered cheeks, ‘my Missus has not got a thing about sausages! Or oysters!’
‘Who the fuck you shushing?’ The Governor spins a spindly bottom and leers at the red spots and rabbit eyes of the Grand Water Vole (the butcher of Springwood High Street) — ‘Same again!’
‘Conjugal oysters?’ contemplates Whitelaw a pickled egg. ‘I’ll see what I can come up with.’
‘I want you to fish in the files,’ counters the Governor, wiping froth from a limp upper lip. ‘The under-cover stuff. Hen trawl me sumptin’ juicy.’
‘I can be James Bond, Pym can be Odd-job, and you can be Blowfart.’ Black marbles of Whitelaw burn from beds of oily red and the loose tongue lashes — ‘We prob’ly sort you out sin’ we bin disbarred from Porno Division. Whole budget gets swallowed with porno.’
‘We’ll call it Natural Security. If you darn mind me saying so — buurrrpp! — I assume you for a straight-lace sort of a bloke.’
‘Pym, be a good chap and zap the Barman.’
‘Delicate not really our forte. Us being policemen hun all.’
‘You’re not working for M16?’
‘Sadly no,’ confesses the oily dome of Whitelaw. ‘The Chief Constable toots our shooters away when we mowed down them old ladies at the bus stop ...’
‘Plah! Shouldn’t worry.’
‘... First wizz on Bugging the Royal Family Duty. Boring. Then wizz on Driving Around in Fast Cars Duty ...’
‘With the loud werr-werrs?’
‘... And on Friday afternoons we gits to take the dog out ...’
‘To the park?’
‘... To see the ducks.’
‘But if you’s thinking of a top-secret mission,’ crows Whitelaw and cocking a shooting gallery of choppers, ‘you’ll be pleased as we’re natural-born killers.’
‘Killers! I’m impressed,’ shouts the Governor above the cackling of codgers in the corner copping the place a bad name. ‘Shame about the shooters. Knees. Jason Knees. Professor of Meaning of Life down at the university. Ring any bells?’