13. The haggis on Burns Night.
Our latest episode of Nicky Tams the King of Nosepipe,
as told by Gordon Thorburn and illustrated by myself
The haggis on Burns Night.
He’s a quick thinker, Macdonald, but is Tracy quicker?
When King Canoe had stopped running about and panicking after hearing the news of the invasion, Macdonald put a call through to the General Officer Commanding, Ang Gonnaseckian Army. The young private soldier on the switchboard was able to relay the call to the General’s personal wireless operator, who was crouching behind a bush by the 13th tee of the Scarborough South Bay golf course.
“Put the General on, soldier. General, sir? I have His Majesty the King for you,” said the scheming manservant Macdonald.
“General,” said the King. “The Nosepipians have invaded. They are, as we speak, eating saucers of whelks on the seafront and refusing to pay. See to it.”
And so it was, after a very fast back-street ride in a jeep by the General, that the remnants of the once proud Army of Ang Gonnasec boarded a clapped out old bus on the parade ground at Burniston Road barracks and drove off northwards, away from the town and the invaders.
As they headed across the moors they threw their bobble hats out of the windows and sang dirty songs about King Canoe who, at that moment, was crumpled up on the floor at Castle Howard, crying his eyes out, having been kicked hard in the dangly bits by Macdonald.
The untrusty manservant then put a sack over the King’s head, tied his hands together, and forced him at finger point into the MG TC. With the top fastened down, Macdonald drove as fast as he could from Castle Howard to Scarborough.
Coming in on Seamer Road, past four huge metal sheds selling fitted kitchens, six huge metal sheds called garden centres and eight huge metal sheds selling DIY stuff, Macdonald saw the Nosepipe flag flying over the DIY metal shed nearest the town. Clearly, this had been taken over by the invaders and set up as their HQ.
“How clever of them,” thought Macdonald. “So easy to do. Those places are always completely empty of people.”
The Nosepipe flag, by the way, was a Dormouse Argent Rampant in Gules, with the motto Balenae In Fossis Ululant.
This – a silver dormouse on its hind legs against a red background, with the Latin for The Whales are Howling in the Ditches, had been thought up years before by King Nicky Tams The Genius, who was so clever that nobody could understand him at all.
Macdonald parked the car, flashed his Dennis the Menace Fan Club membership card at the sentry and marched in, demanding to see whoever was in charge.
In front of him he could see a boy, sitting on a canvas chair and wearing a crown. Standing beside the boy was a girl. Macdonald looked at both of them and realised instantly that although the King was the King, the girl – whoever she was – was in charge. This, he could see, would require tact, sensitivity, charm, diplomacy, and a lot of slimy, greasy, belly wriggling creepishness.
Macdonald dropped onto one knee and bowed his head, as he’d seen the knights in armour do in the old black and white films.
“My liege,” he said.
“Your what?” inquired King Nicky Tams, who had not seen the same films.
“His liege,” whispered Tracy. “You are his liege.”
“Oh, right,” said Nicky Tams. “Right.”
There was silence for a minute or two.
“What’s a liege?” said King Nicky Tams.
“He is submitting to you as his King and liege lord,” whispered Tracy into the Royal lughole. “Say, ‘Arise Good Sir Knight’, and then I’ll try and find out what the creep is after.”
King Nicky Tams cleared his throat and looked as haughty and regal as possible.
“Arise, good Sir Creep,” he said. “And what are you after tonight?”