Those of us who remember that great man of American politics, that doyen of honour and honesty, that supreme example of all that is fine in humanity - Richard Milhous Nixon - will remember his television appearance in which he stated, quite categorically, "I Am Not A Crook." Well, it seems that he may have just have been a tiny bit mistaken. Just as my opening statement may have been a trifle incorrect.
Tricky Dicky was, indeed, a crook. He was condemned out of his own mouth, really. Just as you know that Honest John, the used car dealer, is going to have the odd ace hidden up his sleeve, you know that anyone who says that he's not a crook is going to be as bent as a paperclip.
I am reminded of the bumper / rear window stickers I dribbled on about a few months ago:the christian laddies who proclaim to the world that "I love My Wife". Every time I see that notice, I am tempted to add a few words..."I love My Wife To Be A Subservient Slave To My Every Biblically Inspired Whim." Or even "I Love (to beat) My Wife".
So it is with some mean suspicion that I viewed our dearly beloved minor political leader, Rodney Hide, when he stated quite baldly (well, he does everything baldly: his shaven head gleams with menace) "I Am Not A Bully". I mean, please. Of course he's a bully. Can't he at least be honest about that? He's not as good at it as Rob Muldoon was, but the fact is he's a bully, and he shouldn't try to hide it. Oh, crap. Hide it. Sorry about that....
It occurs to me that his name needs a little punctuation: Rodney? Hide!
Listening to: Dire Straits, "Brothers In Arms". Enough, already. The first two tracks hold up. the rest, as they say, is tosh.
Reading: "Fever Dream" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Just as Hollywood pumpsout the odd excellent Big Dumb Action Flick,or BDAF, so American publishers toss out the occasional BDAB - Big Dumb Action, yes, Book. These two have collaborated on a number of excellent BDABs in the past: this one looks like one of their best. Yay! Brain turned off!
Listening to: Had to change it. "Benefit", Jethro Tull. Older, better, and will carry me to my grave.
More "Paper Heroes":
Justin Grey had been paired up with a thigh-high Puma. Blunt and Whistler had been given matching ginger tabby cats, Hanno’s cat was a Norwegian Forest cat, Crayne’s companion was pure black with flashing green eyes, and John Prestor, the loneliest of them all, had been gifted a delicate female Calico.
Once a cat had been named by a human, it would never leave them: this was another fact amongst the storm of knowledge that had come to the Sleepers overnight. They also knew, when they had wakened, that they were inside an extinct volcano called Mount Eden, in Auckland, New Zealand. The hill – it rose no more than 120 metres above sea level – was almost entirely hollow: a maze of tunnels and scientific facilities lay inside.
Blunt was taken with his new companion. His had been a hard life: one which had precluded any relationship with animals, apart from a rangy old wolf-hound he had kept as much for personal protection as companionship. The cat came as a pleasant surprise. It spoke with a broad cockney accent, and nuzzled him with a loud purr when waking him.
“ ‘Allo, Boss. Pleased ter meetcha, wakey wakey rise an’ shine, time to get up.”
Andrew Blunt threw aside the blanket and stood, not at all surprised by the fact that he wasn’t surprised at a talking cat.
He stretched, feeling good. “And what’s your name, then?”
“ ‘S’up to you, I s’pose. Ain’t got a name, yet. Not a ‘uman name, anyways. I knows what me mum called me, bless ‘er, but that’s a noise as would set your ears to ringing, it would. I’ll answer to whatever you call me, I will.”
Blunt sniffed his armpits, and went into the bathroom, automatically turning the shower on, then looking at his hand in surprise. Blunt had never seen a shower before that moment, but he knew what they were and could operate one without thinking about it. “I’ll have to stop being surprised at doing things I have no way of knowing how to do.”
“ ‘S’all right for you ‘umans,” said the cat. “Imagine what it’s like being a bleeding cat what can talk. You gunna be all day? I’m bleeding hungry, I am.”
Bluent showered, and put his uniform on again. For the first time in centuries, he was conscious of the fact that his clothes didn’t harbour lice. That was at least one blessing of this new life.
“Well,” he said. “What’ll we call you? There was a fellow in my regiment, had eyes like a cat: could see in the dark much better than I could. Bill Tapper. I’ll call you Bill.”
“Good bloke, this Bill?”
“He was a good man, yes. A thief, a rogue, and a bleeding nuisance. But he could fight, and he was a crack shot. Come on, Bill. Let’s find some breakfast.”
“Bill. I likes that, I do. Bill. Yes. A crack shot you say. S’pose this Bill was a killer, then?” Bills voice had a quiet snarl in it: a deep, purring savageness that Blunt liked.
“A killer?” Blunt smiled, broadly. “Oh yes, I think that you could say that.”
The cat’s purr deepened. “Right. Just so as we’ve got that right. A killer, eh? Me, named after a killer. I likes that, I does. Now, breakfast. I knows the way. You follow me. And when you get some tucker for yourself, get a little extra for me. I fancies cream, I does. And you tell that little bleeder la-de-bloody-dah Charles that I wants proper tucker. All us cats do. None of this made-up stuff.”
“Made- up stuff?”
“Aye. That feed they give you yesterday? Not a skerrick o’ meat in it.’
Blunt stopped, and replied, “But I ate ham, and some cold beef –“
“All bleeding made-up,” the cat said. “This lot ‘ave got so namby-pamby about everyfing they stopped eating proper meat. They makes it all up from soya beans and seaweed and other crap, all right?”
“S’pose the cows are happy.” Bill sounded momentarily morose. Then he cheered up. “Fight, you say, boss? This Bill Tapper? A good fighter?”
“He was a rare killer. Taking the long shot, or hand to hand, bayonet and club, dagger or hands, he was a rare killer of men.” Blunt’s voice was savage, harsh. The cat purred, loudly.
“They reckon they’ve bred that sort o’ fing out of us, boss. Reckon they might learn otherwise, wotcha say?”
Blunt’s smile was brilliant, and the cat gave a quiet snarl of pleasure.