Bouonne Niet

They looked down on the little fishing harbour of Bouonne Niet with its cosy cottages lining the quayside and colourful snibbies sheltering behind the harbour wall. They watched the protected cruiser Aurora as she hove to between the headlands of Frémont in the West and La Crête to the East; listened to the distant rattle of her anchor chain and the splash as the hook entered the water. They glanced up at the Queen Anne’s Bounty as she, having dropped off her passengers, picked up speed and powered away to the Northwest.

Wing-Comrade Polly Karpova turned to her shiny crimson two-seater scout on loan from the Pirate King. It had a red painted star on the white painted tail rudder and glistening aluminium drop tanks either side of the fuselage.

“Extra fuel to get you to Yorkshire?” enquired Boz.

“Vodka.” Polly produced a long plastic drinking straw from inside her flying jacket and waved it at the ginger cat. “Coming Beryl? You can have first dibs at driving.”

The pair strode across to where the ornithopter perched in the middle of the local crown bowling green, its diaphanous wings quivering in the gentle onshore breeze. The gang watched Beryl Clutterbuck slip a sugar cube under her tongue.

“Onwards through the rainbow’s arch and hang a left at Pluto,” she announced as they clambered aboard.

“I’m not convinced that lass has been handling the pressure any too well of late,” observed Ginsbergbear.

“Our lift home,” said Slasher McGoogs, pointing to where a rubber inflatable bounded from wave crest to wave crest away from the Aurora and towards the shore.

Chatting excitedly they set off down a steep path and by the time they reached the seashore the jet-black commando style VANGUARD XHD535 twelve-man inflatable was drawn up at the bottom of the hard.

“All aboard the rubber duck,” cried the lone Kronstadt sailor as he looped the painter through a handy mooring ring. The matelot picked up Master Dorje, who was having more difficulty than his companions clambering over the gunnel, and dumped him without ceremony into the craft. With everyone ensconced the sailor skipped aboard and began to elbow his way through the crowd towards his place at the stern.

Cast off, someone, will you.”

The Soviet Neptun-M outboard began to burble and they were on their way, slowly, as the 20hp engine would have been a little underpowered even had it been working efficiently, which it was not, and with rather less freeboard than Phoebles would have liked. The waves lapped along the sides, soaking the hapless heroes’ backsides through to their jockeys.

Bozzy’s Back!

“We know. What the hell happened to you?” Flo was truly concerned about the state Boz was in.

“Napalm, mostly. One of you buggers was non too bothered where he dumped it. And I’ve lost my second best telnyashka.”

“But you’ve been gone so long,” said Phoebles.

“Yeh, well, I had to take a bit of a roundabout route coming home. There’s some weird shit out in them there woods.”

“Let’s get you cleaned up and into a change of clothes,” said Ginsbergbear.

“Six penneth of coleyfish and chips and a nip spliff and I’ll be fine,” replied Boz, “So, what’s happening back here?”

“Rotskagg reckons un Chatattack is imminent. The Corsairs are planning to split. And the Kittens and nuns are going their own way too. So it’s going to be down to us to sort things as usual.” Flo delivered her assessment.

 

Boz was looking almost as good as new when he and Ginsbergbear rejoined the Crisis Briefing. His fur was still a bit frizzed, but would soon grow out. He was bright eyed and alert, dragging on the biggest catnip joint the gang had ever seen. He leaned forward across the table and peered at each of them in turn. “The counterrevolution has become a sideshow. For now we can leave the island in the hands of La Résistance Crapaud. I think we need to get back home, Les Chats could be popping up all over the place.”

“I need to get my flyboys back to the Kronstadt Airbase on Hessle Foreshore to lick our wounds,” said Polly Karpova.

“Hand hwee weel keep thee rrevolutionarry end up heerre, Meesterr Boz. Haf no fearr. Guerrillas een thee… ”

Smee crashed in on the discussion. “Cap’n, there be summat rum turned up outside.”

“Great Herrings In!” cursed Captain Blenkinsopp, “What is it this time?”

“That’ll be my boys,” said Le Brocq.

 

Drawn up beside the main gate were two heavily armed Willys Jeeps and an Austin K2 Ambulance, its red crosses painted over, somewhat crudely, with the flag of Free Jersey. The drivers, in leather jerkins and woollen beanies, were having a crafty smoke.

“Anyone coming with us pile into the van,” La Brocq called out. He turned to Mother Superior, “We can give you a lift to La Hougue Bie. But stay alert, you’re awful close to that Chats’ portal.”

“My girls will see that the passage entrance is well boarded up.”

“I’m going with Boz,” said Augusta, “Can I borrow Zelda?”

“For as long as you want, dear.”

“Can we hitch a lift as far as Bonne Nuit Bay, Captain? We…”

“Bouonne Niet,” Le Brocq corrected.

“…have a rendevous.” Slasher finished asking the Pirate King.

“Have we?” said Boz.

“Hang on a mo,” said Phoebles, “We’ve forgotten about Mad Jack.”

“Quite right,” replied Slasher. “Let’s keep it that way.”

Save

A Fruitless Search

The gang returned from yet another fruitless search for Boz.

“This is hopeless,” said Ferdinand, “What on earth are we going to do next.”

“The bird be right,” joined in Captain Rotskagg Blenkinsopp. “We be no nearer to finding him now than when we started. The other matter be going to catch up with us. Les Chats Souterrains have already gifted us more time than I had anticipated and the foo fighter will soon come for the Queen Anne. She be defenceless against its Tesla Death-Ray. We must relocate.”

Mother Superior and Consuella looked at each other and the nun spoke reluctantly, “The Generalissimo and I must scoop up our charges and regroup, prepare for the worst.”

“But…” from Phoebles.

“The air-search is just wasting time,” said Ginsbergbear, “The forest canopy is too dense to see anything.”

“So we start again, on the ground,” said Phoebles. He had been doing some serious thinking. “Last we heard of Bozzy, he was at the omnibus near the zoo. We go there and look for clues. Split up and work outwards if need be. Flo, you’re good at this tracking lark.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” said Dark Flo.

The discussion continued for a while longer, but minds were made up. Soon they were outside, splitting into teams.

“Where will you go Captain?” asked Ginsbergbear.

“Guernsey Hangars first, to restock and assess the situation. Be not afeared Mr Bear we will not abandon the fight.”

“Can you drop us off on the way?” Phoebles was fired up with newfound hope.

“Of course lad. Comrade Pol, you be looking lost without your plane. Would you like to borrow one of my scouts? We could paint it red. Can you fly an ornithopter?”

“I can fly most things,” replied Polly, “How hard can it be?”

“A lot harder than you’d think,” said Beryl, “None of the controls seem to do the same thing twice.”

“Cap’n!” There was a cry from the lookout tower. “There’s something moving in the woods.” They could hear rustling and suddenly a murder of startled crows took to the air, cawing as they went.

“What can you see, Smee?” Rotskagg shouted up to the lookout, whilst reaching inside his shirt for the cold Uzi Pro that nestled there out of sight.

“It’s coming this way. It’s…”

A wraith like figure stepped out into the clearing; covered from head to toe in a coating of light grey ash, streaked with sweat, fur scorched to a frizz, shirtless, jeans tattered and torn. It strolled nonchalantly towards them.

“Boz?”

“I’ve been thinking.” The spectre spoke in a parched near whisper. “We’re going to have to do something about those Chats Souterrains.”

A Writer Writes

I realised recently that there are three of us in this marriage, as somebody once said. No, not a physical entity, but a character, who comes to bed with me and wakes up with me. I’m finding myself thinking of her all the time and as I begin to fall asleep, she talks to me. Last night she said, “The matches are next to the silver-capped scent bottle”. If I’d had my notebook on the bedside cupboard I’d have switched on the light and noted it there and then, but I shut my eyes tight and remembered her words this morning. I’ve thanked her for that little detail and I’ve added it to that scene. She’ll probably talk to me again tonight.

Les Chats’ True Colours

The long, forbidding shadow of the Queen Anne’s Bounty sidled over the pair as they walked back to the corsairs’ compound.

“We have lost Boz,” said Ginsbergbear solemnly.

“Lost as in…?” asked the horrified aviatrix.

“Lost as in we don’t know where he is. No more than that at the moment, but we are extremely worried about him.” Ginsbergbear recounted the events leading up to the destruction of Jersey Zoo. By the time they had reached the stockade gates the pirate flagship was moored close by, beyond the palisade. Rotskagg and the gang had disembarked and as a group they went into the blockhouse. Lady Augusta and Dorje, Mother Superior and Zelda, Consuella with the Kittens were already seated at the roughly hewn communal dining table. McGoogs leaned nonchalantly against an African Blackwood mantelpiece.

“The foo fighter’s back,” announced Polly. “Les Chats Souterrains have switched sides and we were totally routed at the aerodrome.”

“Not switched sides,” interjected Slasher McGoogs. “They have formed an unholy alliance with the CIA and constitute a Third Force. They are on nobody’s side but their own.”

Thucka thucka thuck thuck thuck thuck thuck.

Something passed low over the pirate camp. There was a moment of silence then a loud Crump followed by a grinding and graunching of metal and a springy sort of Twang. Everyone rushed outside.

Parked neatly next to the Queen Anne was a twisted pile of wreckage, haemorrhaging oil and cracking sparks from exposed electrics. Sitting, rigid, in a pilot seat near to what had once been the cockpit of Mr Fluffy’s shiny black Chinook was a tiny Hit-Girl, still tightly clutching the helicopter’s joystick.

“Anna-Vasil’yevna! Hwhat have hyou done thees time?” called Consuella Starcluster. Anna-Vasil’yevna, AKA Thérèse Defarge, last encountered working undercover as Mr Fluffy’s personal secretary, shook herself out of her shocked trance, tossed the redundant joystick away and scampered over to her mentor.

“Oh miss, I don’t think I’ve quite got the hang of big choppers. Did I crash it?”

“Technically, dearr, eef hyou can walk away frrom hyourr helicopterr eet ees not ay crrash eet ees ay harrd landing. But why arre hyou heerre?”

“It’s Les Chats Souterrains, miss, they’ve switched sides…”

“Well that’s an important bit of news,” muttered Phoebles.

“…They’ve taken Mr Fluffy and King Charles hostage. I only just managed to get off Sark before I was captured too. Is Mad Jack still controlling the counterrevolution from St Hellier? If he’s as thick as he looks he’ll not have a clue what’s going on.”

“He is, and he won’t, child, but don’t concern yourself with Mad Jack. For the moment he is irrelevant.” Slasher spoke quietly, “Les Chats are on the move and they are confident. We must formulate a response.”

“The answer will be trapped in my Analytical Engine,” said Augusta, “and Les Chats are barring our access to it.”

“Hang on. What about Boz?” There came a desperate cry from Phoebles. “We have to find Boz before anything else.”

“He’s right,” said Ginsbergbear. “No one’s going to think straight till we know what’s happened to Boz.”

There was a Whump! And flames began to lick around the wreckage of Mr Fluffy’s Chinook. One of the Queen Anne’s mooring lines caught light.

“Smother that! Quickly! Before my airship gets damaged,” ordered Rotskagg.

Save

A Writer Writes

A Writer Writes

No, it’s not quite what Hemingway actually said, but the sentiment is there. If you are a writer, you have to keep writing. But how?
Last week I posted the conclusion to The Way We Lied. If you want to read the early chapters, they are available in the archives, starting in October 2015. And now, while I await reactions to a recently completed novel, set in Corfu, exploring the consequences of deception and the island’s hidden wartime history, I’m going to post about writing habits, good and bad.
Of course, while keeping fingers crossed for the Corfu novel, I’ve not been able to resist starting another project. I’ve got 52,000 plus words so far, but whether they are all the right words I have yet to decide. Today I only managed to add 150 words, which is not much of an achievement considering I worked for three hours. But, after reading through the work in progress, then deciding to weed the garden in the sunshine, my writing brain continued to work and now I have a clearer idea of what to write next.
So, today’s rule for writing is: sometimes you have to take a break and weed the garden. Who knows what idea will pop up as you wrestle with the ground elder.