Nothing has irked you more than the continuous French refusal to hand over to German justice the deserters and dissidents that you know seek refuge in that gang of scoundrels known as “La Legion”. However, until now you have never been able to work out who was who. But today that pompous French ass De Beaujolais has outwitted himself. It stands to reason than those rank and file in the Legion playing in today’s match will be the English. Therefore those Legion other ranks watching from the sidelines, or enjoying the other entertainments of Nine Crocodiles Bay, are most likely to be errant subjects of Kaiser. Alright, maybe a few will be Spaniards, Italians or Hungarians but it is better that a few innocent suffer to ensure that the guilty are punished is it not?
Oh, and don’t forgot that Sheik Omar Sherrif has a little morsel for you. You’ll have to move her discretely from his dhow to your gunboat – you know how prissy the other “civilized” folk around here get when the “S” word crops up.
It wasn’t easy growing up in the East End, the only sister in a family with five older brothers and five younger brothers. But though you had no money you were always happy, and you made your own entertainment in those days.
With both the summer game and the winter game requiring eleven a side it was understandable that your brothers press ganged you into making up the numbers at both cricket and soccer, and, if you say so yourself, you weren’t half bad.
Of course, as a lady’s maid it wouldn’t be proper for you to play these days. Madam is American anyway and she wouldn’t understand. It must be the tropic heat, or the corsets, or just the fond memories of those long summer evenings on the wasteland near the gas works where you hit your first six and learnt to bowl a googly, but when you heard about the Test Match you couldn’t resist it. Your hair pulled back, some binding to reduce the obvious protuberances, and some whites sewn out of Ma’am’s cast off unmentionables and you tried out for Captain Stick’s team under the nom de sportif of “Michael Atcheson”. Who would have thought it but you made the side too? Oh this afternoon is going to be glorious!
Freeing that dreadful Katherine Heartbun was the smartest move you’ve made. At one stroke near normal trading relations were restored and you got rid of possibly the most irritating woman Alah was created. The nerve of the harridan, lecturing you on your wives, your hashish, your arak and your religion!
Anyway, back to business. The “Whiter than White” Sir Hector Brandan has found a new source of hashish and is bringing a shipment down for you. You have paid 50% in advance and wait to secure your property. This strange festival at Nine Crocodiles Bay will give you ample cover to get the stuff into your dowh.
Oh, and you have a little something to satisfy some of Von Stomp’s baser instincts. You don’t like the man, but this far up the Lumbago it doesn’t hurt to have some one you can trust. And you can always trust Von Stomp to do his worse.
Sir Hector Brandon
Who can really blame you for “reinventing” yourself in Equatorial Africa? When seaman ‘ector Branston jumped ship a few years ago you had nothing but your wits to get by on. Now you have a “knighthood” and the reputation as one of the great white hunters of the great dark forest. Of course, all this style takes a bit of maintaining and just because you sometimes move some hashish for the Arabs is that anything to be ashamed of? Of course if the Rascally Rugga Rugga found out that you have been cutting them out of their cut as the traditional middle men then they’d be taking a cut out of something else, and no mistake.
Of course, you are rubbish with the bat and the ball but everyone assumes that as an English Gentleman you were born with a bat in your hand and a silver spoon in your mouth, so you had to look enthusiastic and sign up for the match.
You can trust your bearer Swengo and the Arabs to look after your interests, and of course the British Army will rush, unthinkingly to the assistance of any subject of the Queen Empress, especially a Knight.
The Rascally Rugga Ruga
The hypocrisy of the White Man is no longer a surprise to you, but even so that Hector Brandon’s cheek is breathtaking. They go on about bringing law, and order and fair play, and even stage ridiculous games like today to celebrate it. And then Brandon makes off with seven loads of your best hashish. You heard that Brandon would be at the match today so the merchandise can’t be far off. It’s time to get back what belongs to you and to make sure that honest thieves can earn a decent day’s living.
Chief Bugga Ul
You have never been particularly religious yourself but lately you have been set to thinking. First the whites chose today, of all days, to stage a festival. But no-one outside the tribe knows that this is the most sacred day of the Miranda Rites. And then they choose to hold it at Nine Crocodiles Bay. But only those initiated into the Inner Sanctum of the Rites know that this place is where the Empowerment will take place. And they dress in white and play with six sticks. But only the Guardians of the Secret know the Miranda Rites prophecy of the white god and the six sticks that will be raised and fall four times, and on the fifth time the Chosen Chief will be Empowered by holding the sticks and will be blessed with the powers of the Great Bull Elephant and go on to hold sway on all the lands that feed the Lumbago.
Surely all this is coincidence – but you have decided that you cannot take the chance … those sticks must be yours when the time comes.
Jeremy Cho’ Lobotomy
The two loves of your life are Our Lord and the Summer Game. Your people have taken to the Great Shepherd easily, but when it comes to cricket their batting, bowling and fielding still leaves much to be desired. Like you they fully agree with the Saintly Miss Heartburn’s campaign to eradicate drink and vice from the Lumbago. You will support her when she calls, but, you pray, you’ll be left alone to umpire the match first…
Captain Michael Stick
Some think that just because you are a Captain of the Queen’s Foot you are a bally nit- wit. Well, you don’t know about that, but what you do know, is that if a chap looks after the interests of Her Majesty the Queen Emprees and protects her citizens; does the right thing by womenfolk of all nationalities, creeds and faiths; and keeps a straight bat, then a chap can’t be far wrong. There’s not many people know that…
Major William Holdem
In your time in the USMC you have seen a few colonial shindigs, but this one is a duisy! A cricket match organised by the French, umpired by a Christian Lobotomi, played in a malarial swamp! American interests are limited in this backwater. There is only that millionaire’s daughter, the Vandenburgh dame, who hangs out with the Frenchies to worry about, but she does have some clout back home and her dad has half of Congress in his pocket. But there should be no problems today, and at least there is some hard liquor and female company. You hope the boys don’t get too far out of hand, but it’s a long way from the Brooklyn Navy Yard… that’s for sure.
Major Henri De Beaujolais
It has been a long time in coming but today has brought together the two sides of your character and is the fruition of a noble dream. The First Equatorial Test Match will stand out as a beacon to all that Civilisation and Fair Play are, at last, entrenched on the banks of the Effluent and Lumbago. Nothing will be allowed to spoil it…Nothing!