Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Far Flung Adventures 7

The train clattered and jolted as it hurtled along through the grey late afternoon light. Mason threaded his way through knots of people in the narrow corridor, some staring out at the endless forest, some snatching a cigarette or a swig from a bottle of vodka or schnapps.

Kleptykin was on this train. He was sure of that. He had to find him. To warn him that Vronsky had exposed him. That even now Massimov’s goons were on his track.

He tried to negotiate his way round a large man in an arctic fox coat, talking to a companion in glasses and astrakhan. The big man turned and gasped in surprised.

“Good God,” he cried in a plummy English voice, “it’s Measles Mason! Devil are you doing this in this neck of the woods, Measles?”

It was Breadbin Frobisher, a rugby oaf from his school days. A buffoon then, and seemingly now. Mason replied quickly in Russian, and seeing no light of comprehension, said in a thick Urals’ accent, “You make mistake. Please let me through.”

“It’s you, Measles, alright!” chortled Breadbin. He explained to the man with him, “Brought measles with him first term at Wellington. We all got it. Been ‘Measles’ ever since.”

Mason made to slip by, but Breadbin held him fast in a manly grip, and twinkled amiably at him, “Another one of your jokes, eh, Measles? Now, don’t be a rotter. Tell an old school chum what brings an enterprising cove like you out to this benighted wasteland. I’m travelling in pig-iron, myself.”

Mason sensed a presence behind him and felt the knife slide in above his kidney, slick, expert, agonising. So, Massimov’s goons were on the train. His vision blurred.

“Sure you’re OK, old chap?” Breadbin’s sounded urgent and concerned, “You’ve gone awfully pale.”


No One In Particular said...

Very tight, Chips. All the elements economically revealed. Damn rugby oafs! And Oscar, perfectly illustrated as usual.

Oscar Grillo said...

Thanks, No One..I am not terribly happy with this illustration. I originally drew a "Hooray Henry" type of guy then I revised it and changed into the described rugby oaf. I would have preferred the story to be set in the nineteen tens to be more a "Hannay" type of adventure. Something out of The Twenty Nine Steps or The Lady Vanishes. Well. Beggars can't be choosers!

C..........OHMSS said...

The intention was late Ambler, Geoffrey Household, early Cold War. One of those legion of "Spy Thrillers". I enjoyed the Hoorah Henry but I think the rugby oaf is magnificently unaware agent of destruction. And more suited to our purpose here.

Having spent a great deal of my working life alongside such people in Airport Business Lounges it's a priviledge to be able to display one in his true light.

Please read and destroy.

Oscar Grillo said...

Described like this, this bloke reminds me of an art director who used to work at JWT. He invited himself into the "local" of his quiet copywriter, who was a very private man. After his first pint the bully started to tell everyone that they worked in advertising. The quiet writer had never mentioned what he did for a living, nobody in the pub knew. The art director pointed at the slogan for a famous beer printed in an ashtray: "We did this!" he belted. The confused barmaid told the writer: "I never knew you made ashtrays!"