Biggles reported to the debriefing tent after his skirmishing,and met his C.O. the Air Commodore Raymond who wore a lugubrious expression worthy of Eeyore.
“Biggles,” sighed with the Air Commodore, “I have a report you bombed Iran again, is this true?”
“Possibly,” Biggles grinned ecstatically, “where is it?”
“In the same place as you bombed last time, you know the borders of countries don’t tend to move too often, you know old man.”
“Yes, sir,” Biggles looked thoughtful, “is it filled with those funny looking chaps with the towels on their heads and camel jockeys hidden in their dresses?”
“No, those are our allies,” Raymond sighed, “The Saudis and the Kuwaitis, remember half our squadron is made up of them. No, Iranians wear immaculate black suits, don’t shave and never wear ties. And in general, they live somewhere North of where we are standing. You know, the ones that captured you, put you up in a hotel for nine days, and played backgammon with you, after you bombed and landed on the wrong airfield …yet again.”
“Oh those Blighters!” Biggles looked annoyed. “Well, jolly well I should say so, give them a taste of their own medicine.”
“But they haven’t bombed us, they haven’t done anything to warrant our bombing them. And it says here, you attacked a field of sunflowers and a donkey. Is that true?”
Biggles looked puzzled.
“I thought it was a radar installation. Could have been, those tricky blighters are rather well, tricky aren’t they?”
The Air Commodore looked at Biggles with the same expression of weariness of roman general might have had when he realized his insane, drunken barbarian auxiliaries, were all he had to hold back all the insane, drunken barbarians who were about to invade Rome itself.
“Yes Sir!” Biggles yelled enthusiastically.
“I have another report that says you shot a flock of geese.”
“Ah, yes sir, sun was in my eyes and what. Won’t happen again.”
“They were in a barn in Turkey.”
“G.P.S. was playing up sir. I got confused with the difference between geese and turkeys.”
“So you…” the pause would have been worthy of Kenneth Branagh delivering the soliloquy of Hamlet, “…destroyed a barn in an neutral country with an Amraam missile. Biggles you’re not even supposed to have Amraams on your plane.”
“I put it on for ballast, sir!”
“Why,” Commodore Raymond sighed once more, “or perhaps I shouldn’t ask, no, I feel like an adventure, why, oh why did you need ballast on a jet plane?”
“I’ve been experimenting with submarines, I’m trying to see if I can take off from under the sea. Jolly clever what? Saw it on the Thunderbirds. I say, sir when can I have one of those rockets things?”
“They’re not real Biggles, and I suspect you’re not real either.”
“Thank you sir!” Biggles saluted.
The tent was filled with aircrew, subalterns, communications officers, and ground crew who always came to watch one of Biggles amazing debriefings. He never ceased to astound one and all with his endless ability to take a perfectly rational argument and turn it into a hopelessly insane monologue about how amazing he was. For days afterwards the aircrews would gather around open fires and bars and regale each with the latest stories, all of the secretly hoping to emulate this titan of chaos, this man of mayhem.
“I have another report you shot down a German medical transport, is this true?”
“Yes sir! They went down faster than a choirboy at King’s College.”
“The German’s are our allies, you know, the whole NATO thingy. We’re not supposed to shoot them, it annoys them.”
“They are?” Biggles looked as puzzled a ferret that just been run over by a truck and ended up in the carburetor. “What happened to that Hitler chappy?”
“Biggles, tell me why I shouldn’t have you shot for insubordination?”
“It wouldn’t be British to shoot me, I’m British. Sir!”
“Biggles, you know I’d send you to Afghanistan just to get rid of you, but I know full well you’d end up starting World War Three with the Chinese,” the Air Commodore wrote something down, “so I want you to have another psychological check up.”
“Another? But sir, that’s the fourteenth this month and it’s only the second of May,” Biggles protested.
“Yes, and the more check ups you have, the less time you spend in the air.”
“But sir!” Biggles pleaded.
“Biggles,” Raymond grinned, “it’s for Blighty.”
“Yes sir!” Biggles saluted, “for old Blighty.”
Whereupon he spun on the spot and marched out of the tent to the loud applause of his fellow pilots and ground crew, he was worth more in entertainment value then the entire Folies Bergère, the Muppets on Ice, and Eddie Izzard in drag combined.
Copyright reserved by Jim O’Brien ©