THE HARD WAY.
THREE EPISODES TELLING THE STORY OF THE ENLISTMENT & SERVICE OF
GUY BURRELL R.O.A.C
The series is written as a monologue combined with a narrative.
The first episode
INAPPROPRIATE HUMOUR details a double kidnap and bomb incident in Northern Ireland in the 1980s.
The second episode
YOURE A BETTER MAN THAN I AM, GUNGA DIN addresses Burrell͛s character and takes the story back to his teenage years, explaining how he was forced to enlist as a Magistrate͛s Soldier.
The story covers his battle with authority and his gradual growth toward being a soldier. During the monologue, an unknown voice asks questions.
The final episode
LESSONS ON HOW TO ACT IN PUBLIC reveals the voice is that of a psychologist, as Burrell undergoes therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Further dramatic episodes in Burrell͛s Army service are brought to the surface. As the tale takes a huge, unexpected turn, can Burrell stay in the Army or must he face the terrifying prospect of being invalided out?
About the author.
Although all of the incidents are based on actual events as I can recall them or as they were narrated to me, only a few actually happened to me. I served with the Royal Anglians as a driver and Close Quarters Combat (CQC) instructor in the early eighties. Later, I was part of aid missions to Eastern Europe and saw things that will always stay with me. Writing this work has been my therapy.
Chapter PART THREE: Chapter One.
LESSONS ON HOW TO ACT IN PUBLIC
A shadow moved and became a figure. It slid, crouched and wary, across the
waste ground toward a brick block house three floors high with balconies
overlooking the scrub and road to the south. The figure stumbled and weaved
through the scrub and ditches of construction, now dropping to horizontal as beams from a hostile light danced and accused all that trespassed or would
seek to trespass. Being found here was clearly not desirable.
Cursing the sight of his breath that threatened to reveal him as it reflected
vividly in the cold February air and played hide and seek with the lights, the figure scanned the building and the balconies that would provide access.
Some of the windows were lit, and shadows moved behind blinds. Using a
small red filtered torch, he slowly unfolded a roughly sketched map that decided his route and destination. The window of the room that the map seemed to point to – and therefore the room that he sought – was unlit.
The hostile lights moved to the east of the grounds surrounding the building, so the figure made to his right and covered the last hundred yards swiftly, stopping to catch his breath and bearings at a small concrete enclosure containing refuse and parts of discarded machinery. Then it was all about the ten-foot barrier to the first balcony and the subsequent climb to the third floor. The figure crawled, elbow over elbow, and then stood under the balcony, hugging the wall as tightly as possible. He leant out as far as he dared, and scanned for the searchers who were evidently chasing their own shadows in woods far enough away to facilitate the next phase of the operation. Having located them, he crawled back and selected a large gas
cylinder from the refuse. This would suffice…
Propping the cylinder at an angle against the wall, he took a short run and used it to propel him up and back so as to grab the railings of the balcony, after which it was a relatively straightforward exercise to swing his legs up, grip the base to gain a foothold ready to stand on the railings and repeat the exercise. Within minutes, and still undetected, he was at the window and
door of the top balcony. From his webbing, he selected a flat spatula, slid back a latch and silently, with a fair amount of satisfaction, he entered the room.
Once in, he slid back the floor-length drapes and in the half-light found himself looking down on a bed with a single sleeping occupant who, due to the escape of one long ghostly leg from the quilt, was quite obviously female.
The figure crept forward, shedding webbing and battledress as he did so. The
occupant of the bed stirred but didn͛t waken and now the escaping leg was
accompanied by a very shapely posterior, positively beckoning the trespasser, who crouched to his knees and, forgetting any tactical concerns…
“So, what happened next?”
“All fucking hell let loose. I was in the wrong room…
What happened was, I knelt down, bit this arse and the owner kind of moaned so I thought she was into it, and so I bit it a tad harder. Then, all of a sudden, there was screaming and lots of female grooming stuff was being enthusiastically thrown at my face.
I was quite taken aback to be honest, and said something like what the fuck
Donna? and then clocked that it wasnt Donna! As the realisation hit, I tried
to apologise, but this imposter wasnt having a fucking bar of it.
The bed was between me and what appeared to be the room’s exit, and I
might have made the situation a little worse by falling on the poor woman
as I tried desperately to gather my webbing and smock whilst simultaneously pulling my strides up. Thank fuck I didn’t take my boots off, but then I seldom do… Anyway, she went ape, and it was definitely time to withdraw, so I stumbled out into the corridor, which was now fairly well populated with concerned folk eager to use their weight of numbers to thwart any would-be assailant.
The noise of confusion, screaming and collective threats was worse than a
tree full of burning monkeys. It invaded every nook of the blockhouse and I had a fleeting vision of thousands of scantily-clad nurses clambering to join the fray.
Behind me, a very irate woman with a crimson hickey on her posterior was aiming all manner of shit at the back of my retreating head, so I had to push forward. It was like Northern Ireland all over again but far more dangerous and my survival rate was diminishing by the second. I had to think fast…
At the end of the corridor, there was a push bar exit with a sign over the top
saying Fire Escape. That’ll do for you, Burrell lad I thought, and made toward it pointing at the exit and shouting, There he goes – after him.
Confused, the wannabe lynch mob to my front turned momentarily, making
a Burrell-sized gap and allowing me to fuck off past in sparrow’s fart time. I hit the push bar exit shoulder first and at full pelt – frankly I overdid it!
This became evident as gravity and inertia combined and I found myself bouncing off the safety rail of the fire escape and subsequently down the stairs on the exterior of the block house.
Landing on the flat of the second floor fire gantry, I attempted to rise, but my bastard combats were back at knee level and panic sent me down the next level on my back.
The mob were closing fast, hairy pink-slippered and hair-rollered, furiously
pursuing yours truly, some of them struggling to contain their mammoth bouncing chests beneath loose towelling dressing gowns, faces contorted
with hate, excitement and violent expectation.
In primeval desperation, I gained whatever balance I could, threw my webbing and smock over the railings and then pitched headlong after them into the refuse sacks in the concrete enclosure below. This bought me just enough time to dress appropriately for hasty flight. It also took the bandages off my ankle, so carefully and precisely dressed by the lovely Donna that very morning in the RAF hospital in Ely.
More shouting… this time coming from the direction of the bobbing lights to my left as I fled. The lynch mob had halted, confused, at the second floor gantry, although those that had joined the pursuit late massed at the third floor, urging further adventure. I felt a hundred pointing fingers betraying me to the distant bobbing lights and, despite the growing burning sensation in my ankle, went into escape and evade mode and vectored sharp left into the darkness of the scrub.
From the relative safety of a construction ditch, I watched the pursuers track my retreat, hesitate momentarily and then make their decisions about my probable exit strategy. As these were obviously not military personnel, thank fuck, I opted to rotate back and skirt the west side of the blockhouse, and gradually work my way back to my transport which was well placed in a side street, out of view, adjacent to the hospital area. I would go to ground for a while and then make a wide exit to come in from the rear of the side
street… all well and good, except that the adrenalin and thoughts of consequences had made me well horny. Just for a minute, I even considered hacking it back to the blockhouse and finding the elusive Donna. I mean, no fucker would be searching the block from which I had clearly fled!!
Yeah, OK, I realise that all this ͚might͛ make me appear a tad errant by social standards, in a way that most decent folk may not quite understand, but in my defence I was a young soldier convalescing and the lovely nurse Donna
had wonderful breasts and she was eager to share those breasts with me. This had played havoc with any thoughts of consequence attached to covert liaisons in forbidden places.
Furthermore, Donna had drawn the fucking map and had counted the ground
floor as a level – her room was actually on the second floor, directly below the room that I had climbed into.
It is a defence, of sorts, but was not likely to hold any sway with the powers that be. Therefore, I elected to clear the area and live to fight another day.