Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 27

‘Much Dithering in Little Botheringham’ is an everyday tale of village life and vampires, from Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.

Saturday morning, and Em was in the box seat in the window of Lillian’s house on the edge of the Brownfield Estate watching, and awaiting her moment to bring DumpCorp’s farrago of lies and half truths crashing down about the ears of its founder.
It wasn’t often she took actual pleasure in the possible discomfiture of a fellow human being, but this looked as if it might be one of those times. She rubbed her hands together and smiled what Agnes called her alligator smile.
Everything was in place and all they had to do now was wait. Tristram and his camera crew were drinking coffee and scoffing chocolate digestives in the kitchen of one of the trim little houses, while she and Ishmael sat in Lillian’s front window. The rest of her seven, having been fortified with blood tea against the sunlight – and with the exception of Ginny who was part of the ‘official’ reception committee – waited in the village hall with what Agnes referred to as ‘rent a mob’ complete with banners, flour bombs and air horns.
Ishmael smiled his smooth practiced smile. “I’m rather looking forward to this,” he said in a voice whose very mildness was a threat to whoever might be foolish enough to get in his way.
Em supposed she should have been lecturing him about civilised behaviour, but this was a special occasion so she just shrugged.
For a while, the cul de sac dreamed quietly in the morning sun but the quiet was broken by the sound of marching feet.
“What the hell?” Em craned her neck to see a bagpipe band, in full kilt regalia, marching down the road towards the simple farm gate at the end of the road, with their skirts swinging in the wind. She sniggered. “Can’t they tell Dorset from Dumbartonshire?” “It would seem not.” It was less amusing when the pipers started to tune up, as the noise stung the ears and made Em, at least, feel quite queasy. It seemed she wasn’t the only one unamused by the racket. The front door of the nearest house to the squealing, skirling pipes flew open and a large young man wearing only a pair of baggy tracksuit trousers ran into the tidy driveway. “Shut that effing noise,” he bellowed.
Needless to say nobody took any notice, but he was a determined fellow and he dashed over to where a man in a strange furry hat was waving a baton. Ishmael opened the window with the evident intention of missing none of the fun.
“Oy, you. What the bloody hell is all the noise about?”
The conductor didn’t deign to answer. He looked down his nose at the barely dressed young man in his carpet slippers and smiled a supercilious smile.
Before Em had leisure to think what a bad idea that was, the conductor felt the full weight of his own stupidity in the form of the large fist that landed somewhere in the region of his midriff. He folded in the middle like a half deflated balloon and the noise of the pipes began to draw to an untidy close.
One of the pipers said something to his mates in a dialect Em found incomprehensible and they dropped their instruments and made a concerted dash for the lad who had dropped their conductor.
It should have been simple murder, but the faultless instincts of Saturday night fighters everywhere brought hefty young men out of every front door.
As the two groups met head on, Em glanced up the road to where Tristram and his cameraman were just about capering with delight. She frowned, then shrugged her shoulders. A couple of dozen young men attacking each other with fists, feet and teeth, would probably make very good television.
One of the locals had a smallish man by the neck and was holding him about six inches off the ground.
“What d’you think you’re bloody doing waking me up on a Sat’day morning making that bloody awful noise?”
His captive seemed just about apoplectic with rage.
“Awfu’ noise is it. Ye jest put me doon and I s’ll give ye awfu’ noise.”
The fight was going quite nicely when Ishmael prodded Em.
“Oops,” he said.
Two men were coming purposefully down the road, and each led a pair of slavering German Shepherds.
“Do we think that swings the odds in favour of the Caledonian contingent?”
Of course that is what should have happened. But this was Little Botheringham and unpredictable at the best of times. The previously quiet houses up and down the cul de sac erupted into action as the women took a hand. Or rather a paw. The two men and four German Shepherds were faced by upwards of a dozen women valiantly holding the collars of a number of dogs, anything from ferocious Jack Russels upwards in size to several of a variety that made the shepherds look like chihuahuas. The GSDs didn’t fancy the odds one bit and slammed on the brakes – dragging their handlers to a halt then making a sharp about face. They fled the scene, still dragging the uniformed ‘security’ men, protesting loudly at ‘Killer’ and ‘Fang’ for unwarranted cowardice, behind them.
One of the pipers stopped stamping on the gonads of the man he was matched with long enough to whistle.
“Them,” he said reverently, “is whit ye call dogs.”
He ducked a blow aimed at his unprotected stomach and dived headfirst back into the fray.
“What happens now?” Em hissed.
Ishmael grinned. “This.” The sound of a police siren acted like magic and the fighting horde rapidly sorted itself into two groups, with the odd crossparty backslap and nod of respect and appreciation. The local men then disappeared as if they had never been outside their front doors, and the pipe band swiftly wiped each other down and collected their instruments. They marched smartly out of the cul de sac just as the police car came in….

Part 28 of Much Dithering in Little Botheringham by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook, will be here next week.

2 thoughts on “Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 27

Add yours

  1. I just got here. 🙂
    Will “Much Dithering” be available as an ebook or a free download? I’d rather read it that way, that’s all.


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