CHAPTER ELEVEN: THE ESCAPE FROM THE SAFEHOUSE, THE MURDER OF THE LOCAL CONSTABLE AND THE BEGINNINGS OF A FAIR FOLK CONSPIRACY (PART TWO)
Continued from Ch 11 Part 1.
Ten minutes later, the smell of burning coal oil and curtains and rugs and carpets and wood alerted me to the fact that the house was on fire, so I climbed out of my cubby hole and set my men free one by one. The four of us strode purposefully through the blazing house into the library in a kind of slo mo shot, and I pulled out a book about Gnosticism within the Catholic faith – or at least, what was meant to be a book about such errant Esoteria – but was in fact a biography of Walter Sickert the London based artist – and the whole bookshelf swung around and myself and my men were on the other side, sliding down a shaft and into a ditch across the road. The Brits were all still outside. I deemed it necessary to approach Tiptoft and ask him a question or two. I donned my tramp’s disguise, comprising a fake beard, a dirty overcoat and a pair of training skis, and I climbed over the wall with some difficulty and to the Colonel and his men.
“Hello, Colonel,” I said to him, while he watched with a gleam in his eye as the house went up in a conflagration. He stood looking at me with his two sidekicks, a huge fellow called Burper, and a smaller young man called Eaglekins.
“What the fack do you want, you Popish Paddy-Mick?” he asked, and you could tell from his tone that he meant every word.
“What are you doing – a burning down of that house there, Colonel? Is that it?” I asked.
“Irish Republican facking Paddy bastards were in hiding there a short while ago, so it’s being burned down to prevent the scamps from returning.”
“Which Irish patriots were in the house, Colonel?” I asked.
“A Republican fack name of Patrick Flanagan, and no photo’s been taken of ’im so we only know what he looks like when he’s disguised as a toddler, but it seems to me that I’m his perfect nemesis.”
“Is that so, Colonel? And tell me this and tell me no more, oh begorrah – why are you his perfect nemesis?”
“Well, you see,” and Colonel Sir Edward Tiptoft raised his voice so that the Auxiliaries and Brackentans could overhear. “You see, this Flanagan bastard believes principles are worth dying for, and he’s going to die. I, on the other hand, believe that principles are worth killing for, and I’m going to kill ’im.” His men all chortled – his sidekicks Burper and Eaglekins being particularly generous with their laughter – and I shuffled off on my way down the road, my men following me in parallel along the ditch at the side of the road. I went into the cornershop and got Charlo Mallooolly out with the groceries and we made our way back to the ditch and spent the night there feasting on steak sandwiches and kidney pies and chicken tikka wraps and coffee slices and a plastic container with curry and chips in.
Continued in Ch 11 Part 3.
Continued in Ch 11 Part 3.