A greasy trawler hunts the cod. The ocean rises and it falls, and here on deck I am surrounded by the fishing rods, like pikes…and the pike men, they are the toothless fishermen of a fishing charter. The metallic urn feels hot and heavy in my arms.
‘Tea, sir? Sugar, sir?’ I say.
These fishermen, they laugh at me and I am tossed among them, slipping on the green dimples of the deck, and the urn skids across the sole, rests aside a wellington boot. There is spray in my eyes. I wear only my oil skin trousers. Where is my top, my top? I am bare-chested at sea, and simply the fishermen’s entertainment boy, their slave.
‘I am not your bait.’ I say, rising to my feet. They chuckle, and slap mackerel against my cheeks.
Aroused I awake, my mind in a total state of confusion, and then it comes, I hear it first , a rush, it comes out both ends, hyper-vomit, and I am almost proud as I make my fifth retch: potato, cauliflower all that revolting lamb diced and spinning down the drains. I embrace the plumbing, my arms elbow deep in the lavatory pan like a proper plumber man,
‘I love you, my sewer, your cold ice, my lips suck on the rim.’
But nobody comes. Nobody congratulates me for my illness. I have only my mind for company. Why did I buy the fishing rod? It stands there, it taunts me from the hallway. I hate fishing, I always hated fishing. Forcing myself, hours on end to read fishing websites. It just seemed right for an active safari type guy, a rod and reel, oh no, when will it end? When this entire house is entirely stuffed with my one thousand shit gadgets. My gadgets for hiking, camping, killing frogs. When will I wear my head torch again? I have six pen knifes. Thanks Dad, thanks a lot. Even the bloody SAS knife you left me. There was I – thinking you were a secret agent. Yes, it doesn’t take special intelligence to visit an army surplus store, does it!!
‘When will they come?’ I say. ‘I am ready.’
Spy yonder, the darkening shore
hills, the Russians are coming.
Rescuing the two hundred pupils of the junior school – and the half dozen attractive lady teachers was a simple enough task with the air rifle. I was forced to leave the caretaker and Mr Herriot behind, not having the facilities to hand for mixed camping. However, I remain heroic, trailing as family into the Welsh mountains, with songs of folk maintaining morale on our long march. This day is day zero.
‘Mankela…we shall do our best.’
‘Good, good, now listen here children. We shall follow this road. It is called the M4. To the hills…’