The secret meeting in the village hall gave the angry population of Aver Wallop a chance to compare notes and air their suspicions over the strange events since the smallholding just outside the village was occupied by the strange group of soldiers.
Beyond co-incidence and suspicion there was no real evidence to link the baby boom, randy dogs and choking fits leading to amorous behaviour with the strange band of squaddies, led by the little Sergeant, but the fact that somehow they were always in the vicinity when all these incidents happened made it far more than mere coincidence.
It was decided that the smallholding and its occupants should be watched a little more closely, with a later meeting scheduled to discuss their findings.
The opportunity to act came sooner than expected, as privates Davison and Adams boisterously entered the pub where the meeting was breaking up, having been given leave for the evening.
The young farmers, still smarting from their humiliation a couple of months earlier knew exactly what to do, and made a point of befriending the interlopers. They assured their new friends that the real men of the village proved themselves in a sort of rights of passage by drinking the local speciality, Abbott’s Reserve. A particularly potent local ale which only had its high alcohol content as a selling point, being revolting in flavour and odour as well!
A few pints later and the two squaddies were, to say the least inebriated and comfortable enough with the company and surroundings to be brazen enough to ask where a young soldier might venture to find girls… or to be more precise, prostitutes?
This was music to the ears of the young farmers who all agreed that the lady the soldiers needed to meet was called Dolly. She was very special in these parts, and according to the farmers, very much part of the rights of passage the squaddies would need to undergo to truly be welcomed into the community.
It was agreed that the new boys needed a few more pints of Abbot’s Reserve to be ready for Dolly, which only excited the randy boys even more!
The extra dosage of Abbot’s did bring a confession from the soldiers about the secret training they were undergoing, and their regret for the mayhem caused at the tug of war, although their laughter at the memories of the way Sergeant Grimm fixed the result were met with smiles through gritted teeth by the farmers saddled with an extra mouth to feed as a result of the baby boom the prank had led to.
At last the villagers’ suspicions were confirmed, and now it was time to take the barely conscious squaddies to meet Dolly.
The farmers bundled the young members of Her Majesty’s finest into the back of a Land Rover, tying their wrists and ankles to ensure they didn’t sober up and find a way to escape.
Upon reaching a dark wet farmyard, with driving rain hampering the operation, the young farmers dragged the soldiers into an out building where Dolly stood tethered and chewing on some hay, unaware of the role she was about to play in the fate of two young lads.
The squaddies were stripped to their underwear and in the confusion no-one bothered asking Dolly’s owner how come his sheep came with stockings and suspenders. They were too busy moving Private Davison and Private Adams into various incriminating poses.
Unfortunately the farmers hadn’t counted on Private Adams’ rather robust constitution, and while their captors were busy manhandling his colleague Adams managed to untie himself and escape into the driving rain.
He managed to evade the pursuing mob, and ran out the back of the farm into the fields beyond. Unfortunately his navigation skills didn’t match his ability to escape, and slowed by the driving rain, poor visibility and shivering from the lack of clothing, he wandered aimlessly in circles.
This completely messed up the plans of the farmers, who had planned to dump their captives outside the smallholding where they’d been billeted, but by the time they’d tied Private Davison up and found the crying Adams staggering in the lower field just before dawn, all they could do was tie the squaddies together with old sacks over their heads.
A heated discussion laced with talk of throat cutting for the benefit of the scared captives then ensued before they were once again roughly manhandled into the back of a Land Rover and driven away.
Sympathy for the fate of his charges was not forthcoming from Sergeant Grimm, who was fuming at the two soldiers being AOL at roll call. The others were sent out in teams of two to search for the pair, while he set out into the village to re-trace their steps.
The locals were unusually and suspiciously guarded in their response to questions, but Grimm was able to get confirmation that the two boys had been drinking heavily and were last seen staggering out of the pub. According to the landlord, he didn’t see them go, but was sure they’d left on their own.
With the search parties around the village drawing a blank, the sergeant was absolutely livid, and planning the punishments for the two little shits when he got his hands on them.
It turned out the opportunity would come sooner than he thought, as a police car drew up alongside him as he marched back through the high street. After confirming descriptions of the missing men he was invited to get in as the amused constables set off to investigate a report of two near naked men found in the car park of a transport café some miles from Aver Wallop.
As the giggling truckers surrounding the hapless pair parted with the approach of two policemen and a purple faced army sergeant the pathetic pair were revealed, sat up and tied together wearing nothing but their boxer shorts. Worse still and much to the amusement of everyone but Grimm and his charges they were surrounded by pictures of them in various compromising poses with a sheep dressed up in suspenders and stockings.
Even Grimm realised that the two were victims of a serious prank, and his fury moved from the idiots who’d let themselves get into such a mess to the villagers who were clearly complicit in the act…
…The battle of Aver Wallop had truly begun.
Please do check out the other titles I have published including my comedy novel, Religious Pursuits by Neil Winnington which can all be found on Amazon.
By Neil Winnington
Sergeant Goode is close to his retirement, a situation irritating him enough before a young pen pusher without any respect for village life had been sent to get to know the local patch.
When his girlfriend falls fatally during a row, blind panic sets in and Goode makes a hasty exit, triggering a sequence of events which would see a simple accident become the centre of a major police investigation quickly spiralling out of control.
Starting with a detective sergeant with a desire to prove his theory that all serious crime can be closely linked to the occult, the villagers, all hiding secrets of varying degrees set up a fake occult meeting complete with a frozen chicken as the animal sacrifice.
With a discredited former tabloid journalist, hungry to find the big story that would bring him back into the Fleet Street fold, a village gossip with a murky war-time secret desperate to hide her true identity, and a group of investigators, sent to discredit the local Reverend and protect the church’s reputation, all combined to escalate the situation further, this sleepy Devon village soon becomes the centre of a national media scandal.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, a hostage situation draws in even more police, and even a squad of soldiers led by a battle hungry sergeant with a massive chip on his shoulder, and the story takes on a final twist, before culminating in a car chase like no other and a cliff hanger end
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