We hunkered down for a team huddle on the hillside perhaps 200 metres from Hanny’s position and considered our own. So far, we had no reason to consider Hanny an enemy, although she had left a trail of death in her wake.
Chewing the situation over we raised the moral of Franky’s escort with a song:
“Magic Kingdom, great nation
Magic Kingdom, great nation
Magic Kingdom, great nation
Magic Kingdom, greeeeat naaaaatioooon”
Passion burned in their eyes and pride swelled their chests.
Full of vigour they hoisted King Franky on their shoulders and we approached Hanny’s position. Half way there she hailed us and cried, “No further”
Quite reasonably Franky and Patty hailed her back and expressed concern for her wellbeing, and that of Noodleman who was nowhere to be seen. Dead in a ditch hopefully, the twat.
Before we had the chance to even position ourselves to dance away the tension, Hanny appeared overcome with some kind of compulsion…
…she opened fire…
One of Franky’s minions Prince Phillip fell with a cry, a bullet in his chest.
Appalled by this flagrant act of aggression, I drew the submachine gun I’d been carrying around for the last few days. It felt heavy and reassuring in my paws, but I knew my chances of success were limited. I’d had the chance to figure it out at least a little, but I’d elected to brush up on my Morris Dancing. It made me feel non-conformist and expressive and… alive!
Like a human computer I ran the calculations. My chances to hit the prone warrior woman were around 218 to 1. I quickly considered the alternative, a headlong rush to engage her with my mighty fists (long since christened Gog and Magog after a breakdown in discipline on the field against Whitehaven reserves 40 years prior).
“Not with these knees!” I agreed with myself.
I opened fire, the weapon spewed flames and cordite.
This went on for a while. It felt like a good half hour but logic told me it could only have been a few seconds.
I hit nothing but saw members of Franky’s retinue felled by accurate fire from the hillock.
My gun fell quiet.
The brass cases still tumbling and clinking on the shale around me, I made for cover. My thighs chafedlike two massive, muscular and hairless guinea pigs in a burlap sack.
Glancing over I saw Patty making like a bush.
Dante was running, head low. He’d been running for about 40 minutes it appeared from his slow motion gait but he’d made up a good 20 metres on Hanny’sposition.
King Franky was rolling around, either up or down the hillside. It was hard to tell.
The submachinegun spent, I pulled out my similarly unfamiliar but weirdly arousing pistol. Once again, by the juice of saphoo, I calculated trajectories, muzzle climb, wind speed and distance and… by some weird coincidence… the odds of hitting were… 218 to 1.
Well, I thought to myself, at this rate it could take 218 goes until Dante closed the distance so in for a penny…
I snapped off some shots.
A whisper behind my left ear… Disco Kid…
“Aim up and to the right Roy… where did you learn to shoot… the air rifle stalls at Hull Fair?”
Fucking Disco Kid.
The only guns he was familiar with were the ones on Ted Tarbottom when he found out Kid was knobbing his wife Sheila. They nearly crushed his windpipe outside Johnny Africa’s in Scunthorpe after a variety megashow. Disco opened for a couple of cover bands… Mate Loaf and Status Gwar. Tarbottomdrove all the way over from Wigan to put him in a headlock.
“Fuck off Disco…” I muttered under my breath. He obliged, for a while.
I emptied the clip. Sighing I checked on the progress of my companions.
Dante was 10 metres further on.
Patty was almost indistinguishable from the bush by now.
King Franky was still rolling, although now he was working his bolt.
He must have discharged whilst I was emptying my own load.
Yet still no hits. And no satisfying climax.
Combat is a strange thing. The past few seconds felt like they’d taken up half an evening. A long, dry evening.
Seemingly feeling the same way, the two of Franky’s retinue not yet injured but armed only with pepper spray and a particularly threatening spoon charged, still buoyed by patriotic fervour…
“Magic Kingdom…” one panted…
“Great nation…” the other answered.
This repeated a couple of times until inevitably they fell to hot lead.
By now the sense of satisfaction imparted by the comforting weight of the cold steel pistol in my hand had given way to the inevitable disappointment of poor odds and a sweaty grip. I was sure by this point I should have at least learned something from my abject failure with firearms but there are some things in life that are incontrovertible:1. Roy Saveloy is a lover, not a gunfighter2. Erotic morris dancing is my future and I will not be swayed from my destiny
Finally dry of bullets I spat dust and studied Hanny’sposition for an update. Weirdly, Patty’s wild bush had thrust forward and was now comfortably ahead of the characteristically baffled Dante.
Considering how the last couple of minutes of gunplay had seemingly played out in some kind of tedious two hour long ‘bullet time’, the dénouementwas swift and brutal.
Dante threw his spear with gusto… too much as it happened as his projectile flew wide as an inevitableresult of pent up anticipation and performance anxiety.
King Franky called out instructions, garbled and incoherent thanks to the endless rolling.
Confronted by the wild visage of Patty’s unruly bush, Hanny finally realised her sticky predicament and took to her feet as Dante opened fire… a pained exhalation erupted from the bush as a spear thrown anew by Dante tore into Patty’s hand…
Oblivious to the SNAFU Hanny took to her heels in panic, abandoning her rifle and the gold, but to no avail.
The remaining upright members of King Franky’s retinue, wounded all, favoured a lynching.
King Franky, no longer rolling rocked up to the mount and held forth a fist… a thumb extended… and was raised…
Hanny would live.