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Life, The Universe and Goats

   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 rozzer.


   Whitelaw waving a neap-tide of mud so close the Governor can sniff, can taste, every beaded bubble.  ‘Enjoy the show?’


   ‘Not really,’ munters the Governor.  ‘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 the 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 strictest confidence how at SWOPP ...’




   ‘... Support for Wives of Prison Personnel ...’


   ‘Oh that lot.’


   ‘... They run these terrible meetings ...’


   ‘I know.’


   ‘... They pass these terrible motions ...’


   ‘Don’t remind me.’


   ‘... See the ringleader — Camiknickers James — ooops! — sorry — 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’s 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,’ grimaces the Governor and grabbing for 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 with shoulders slunken and smouldering beneath the cuckoo clock.  ‘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 streaming under the striplights.  ‘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, ‘likes to stick these sausages in her burning bush?’


   ‘Whore you winding me up?’


   ‘You deffeny mention your Missus,’ objecting Pym.  ‘Sausages and oysters and —’


   ‘I think you did, old son.’


   ‘Look,’ pleads the Governor, blood rushing 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 (butcher of Springwood High Street) — ‘Same again!’


   ‘Conjugal oysters?’ contemplates Whitelaw a pickled egg.  ‘I’ll see what I can come up with.’


   The Governor swiping froth from limp blue lips.  ‘I want you to fish in the files.  The undercover 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, loose tongue lashes — ‘We prob’ly sort you out sin’ we bin disbarred from Porno Division.  Whole budget gets swallowed with porno.’


   ‘Very reassuring.’


   ‘We’ll call it Natural Security.  If you darn mind me saying so — buurrrpp! — I assume you for a strait-lace sort of a bloke ...’


   ‘Pym, be a good chap and zap the Barman five-thousand volts.’


   ‘... Delicate not really our forte.  Us being policemen hun all.’


   ‘You’re not working for M16?’


   ‘Sadly no,’ admits 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 dogs out ...’


   ‘To the park?’


   ‘... To see the ducks.’


   ‘That’s nice.’


   ‘But if you’s thinking of a top-secret mission,’ commits Whitelaw and cocking a shooting gallery of choppers, ‘you’ll be pleased as we’re natural-born killers.’


   ‘Killers!  I’m impressed,’ crows 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?’


   ‘Not at the moment.  But I got a mem’ry on me like an hen-cycle-philiac.  You need that in my job.’


   ‘Knees is a Big Fish.  I want you to dig the dirt.’


   ‘You want me to dig the dirt on a fish?’


   ‘Yes.  Every grass stain — Boy!  Don’t you turn your back on me!’


   ‘Would he be in the same gang as Billy the Fish?  Or Harry the Hamster?’


   ‘No no.  Knees is the mover and shaker from that late-night nonsense on the tele after the pubs close, How to Alter the State of Heavenly Bodies and Other Fun Pastimes ...’


   ‘I’zzz vaguely with you.’


   ‘... He flogged that book The Meaning of Life for Beginners ...’


   ‘A book, you say?’


   ‘... And the follow-up The Meaning of Life: Advanced Studies ... full o’ big words ...’




   ‘... He made a bomb out o’ Supernovas Can Be Fun: But Bin Superstring.’


   ‘I be more Harry Potter man meself.’


   ‘I tried Jeffrey Archer once,’ retches the Governor and reaching for the passing ponytail of the Bar Steward, ‘but came over suicidal.’


   Black marbles of demon dick Whitelaw betray a man of the streets: ‘You don’t see many good Cowboys and Engines books these days ... yo-yos ... and wad ever happen to white dog pooh?’


   A man could die for want of a good lick.


   ‘And why are women orange?’ complains the Governor to the cuckoo clock.  ‘Women were never orange in my day.’


   ‘Life is strange.  I thunk that since they did dat doo-dah Der Dukes of Hazzard.’


   ‘Look.  Bring me the dirt on Knees.  Judge Jeffreys shot the trial in camera on grounds of Pubic Health.’


   ‘We bring you der dirt and der photos.’  Whitelaw the demon dick cooked to the crimson of crayfish.