Chapter 33: In which our hero gains a promotion, takes on the Dutch and continues to look utterly dashing.
The call came one Tuesday afternoon whilst Wing Commander Scottisworth Parker was enjoying a brief moment of R&R at his gentleman’s club, deep in the heart of Marylebone. He had spent the morning fulfilling his role as Housewife’s Officer of Choice by posing for a promotional advertisement in which he side-parted his short back and sides with a leading hairstyling wax. By three o’clock he was firmly ensconced in a leather armchair, sucking on a pipe whilst mulling over the latest issue of The Chap, paying great attention to an article within concerning the correct procedure in which one must button up one’s waistcoat.
He was interrupted from his leisurely pursuits by his man-servant Curruthers, carrying forth a telephone on a silver platter. “Parker. Air Chief Marshal Pearce here,” came the clipped nasal tones from the other end of the speaker. It was the Top Brass. Lesser men would have buckled upon hearing that voice but Parker merely replied with a measured, “Good afternoon, Sir. How can I be of service?”
“Well here’s the thing old bean,” his superior responded. “Bit of a delicate issue here, you see. We were hoping to deploy a squadron overseas to have a bit of a crack over in the Ukraine in June. Thing is though, security’s been compromised. Turns out, we had a Flight Captain who was working under cover for the Other Lot. Looks like his real name was Jonas Von Terry and we caught him slandering some of his comrades and philandering with some of their wives.”
“What a cad. Sounds like a bit of a bounder,” Parker responded with barely a hint of emotion. “But, forgive me for asking, sir. What the devil has that got to do with me?”
“Well, young Parker. We’ve been watching you closely over the last couple of years. We’re impressed by your considerable work in the provincial squadrons of Newcastle and East London. Turned a bad job into a tip-top success there and no mistake.”
“Thank you, Sir,” our hero replied humbly to the high praise handed out by his commanding officer.
“Not only that, but it seems as though you’ve taken that rag-tag bunch of wastrels over at RAF Tottenham and turned them into one of the most lethal combatants in the whole air force. We like your style, you see. And because of that we’re promoting you to Flight Captain with immediate effect. There’s a mission coming up tomorrow against those troublesome Tulip Botherers from Holland. Simple exercise really. Turn up, exchange a few pleasantries and nip back home for a bit of toast and marmalade before bedtime.”
“How can I refuse?” said the nation’s favourite new Flight Captain.
“Good chap. Report to me at 09.00 hours in the morning. Oh, and be sure to send my regards to Air Commodore Redknapp, over at the Lodge. Tell him we’ll be in contact shortly. He’ll know what I mean.” And on that cryptic note the line went dead and Parker returned to his sherry and The Importance of Male Facial Grooming.
That night, Parker sought advice as to how best to approach his introduction to his new squadron from his house-lodger and companion, Flight Lieutenant Bale. However, he was left befuddled by the impenetrable Welsh dialect emanating from his friend’s lips. “What an earth is happening to the uniformity of received pronunciation?” he secretly thought to himself.
The mission was going swimmingly until the squadron was caught off-guard by the Flying Dutchman Robben. Within the space of a few minutes, the English found themselves severely handicapped and suffering losses. Pilot Officer Smalling was a significant casualty and it suddenly became apparent to Parker that the mission was not as routine as his superiors would have had him believe it to be. Regardless, he pressed on, summoning all his hard-won experience to dig in and maintain a tight fighting formation. This had not been the first time that Parker’s powers had been tested.
Only the week before, he had had to repel an uprising from a squadron of rebels from The Highbury base. It had not turned out as he had planned and the North London area was currently swarming with enemy combatants. However, he was fully aware that battles do not necessarily win wars and he would be back to finish off those scoundrels at some later date. All he needed was about twenty more hits and they would be vanquished by May.
For the moment though, his attentions were focused upon the Dutchmen. With time running out, he rallied his boys for a counter-offensive that paid immediate dividends with two quick strikes in a matter of minutes. The English however, relaxed to their peril and were swiftly punished; their defences being breached once again before a ceasefire was called.
As he sat in the Officer’s Club, bloodied and bruised from his rare encounter with international methods of air warfare, Parker realised that there was much work to be done before the Big Push in the Ukraine.
“Not to worry, old fruit,” consoled Air Chief Marshal Pearce. “Bigger battles yet to come. Look here though, I think there’s a mole in the ranks. Keep an eye out would you? What possible reason could there be for the enemy knowing our preference for the four-four-two formation if not for the fact that somebody was playing dirty? I suspect foul play from Johnny Foreigner.”
As he walked home in the London fog, filling his pipe with tobacco, Parker mulled over Pearce’s words. And then it dawned on him. Jonas Von Terry was still amongst them, sabotaging everything they did. Flight Captain Scott Parker had discovered his nemesis. He would have to set to work forthwith. But only after refreshing himself with a nice cup of tea.
Will Flight Captain Scott Parker finally defeat the evil Von Terry? Will he decide which side his hair prefers to be parted? And will he ever be able to understand a single word Gareth Bale is saying? Find out next week in yet another exciting instalment of The Amazing Adventures Of Captain Scott Parker.
From the back of the Sofa: The Trial Of John T
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