Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

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Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:06 pm

Thought I'd bring this one over.

Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water
Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 12 Jul 2013, 04:57

Some of you might remember a brief discussion a couple of months ago where I commented on the yarn about Algy that Biggles had been telling me. Well, this is how Biggles told it to me....

Algy in Hot Water

Chapter One:

"I call this a poor excuse for tree decorations," observed Captain James Bigglesworth, as he surveyed the tree standing prominently in the corner of the Officers' Mess of 266 Squadron, RFC. "After all the effort Algy and I went to to get you fellows a decent tree, I do think you could pull together a better show than that," he finished somewhat coldly.

"You put a sock in it, Biggles," rejoined Mahoney hotly. "You and Algy might have got us the tree, but you've done perishing little with the decorations!"

"Do I have to do all the work around here?" enquired the young Captain disparagingly.

"Well, laddie," retorted Mahoney, "Perhaps you'd like to do something about it? We've spent all our free time doing what we can while you and young Lacey have done precious little except cast aspersions on our efforts."

"Right. I will! Someone has to show some blinking initiative around here."

"What are you going to do? Where are you going?" A chorus broke out as Biggles strode purposefully from the room.

"Never you mind! You'll find out soon enough."

Ten minutes later, Biggles returned and, ignoring the comments from his fellow pilots, drew Algy Lacey aside and retired into a corner where they engaged in earnest conversation.

"I've found a box of decorations in a little shop in Amiens. It's the last one for miles around."

"How'd you find that out?"

"I've rung up every likely place I could get Toddy to find for me - and just run up my mess bill! Hope these blighters appreciate it. But he'll only keep it till 1600 then he'll sell it to whoever asks."

"Well what are we waiting for? Let's get cracking and grab them before some rotten hound snaffles them on us!" But Algy's enthusiasm was met with a slight frown from his cousin.

"I'm going to ask the Old Man for permission. Hopefully he'll let us take a tender."

"Do you want me to come with you?" grinned Algy irrepressibly.

"I can speak to Major Mullen without you holding my hand, thank you!" was the cold response. Algy grinned and went out to talk to Toddy about the possibility of arranging a tender whilst he awaited his cousin's return.

Biggles knocked on his CO's door and, having been bade to enter, launched into his tale fully expecting he would gain the Major's approval.

"Wait a minute, Bigglesworth," frowned Mullen, interrupting Biggles' somewhat animated request. "You want to take the station tender into Amiens this afternoon to collect a box of Christmas Tree decorations?"

"Yes, sir. The tree's looking a bit light on and we need some extra decorations to make it look really like Christmas and...."

"When I was in the Mess earlier, I thought the tree was coming along quite nicely. We don't need any more decorations. Unfortunately I've just had a call from HQ. There's going to be a show on early tomorrow morning and I need all you fellows to have a reasonably early night."

"Tomorrow? But that's Christmas Eve!" protested Biggles indignantly. "I call that a bit rich!"

"You've been out here long enough to know the ropes. This war is no respecter of seasons. Christmas Day, perhaps. But Christmas Eve...we keep fighting," ended the major sadly.

But Biggles was not about to surrender quite so easily.

"But sir, Lacey and I would be back before supper. If we left now."

"I said 'no', Bigglesworth. You and young Lacey have developed an uncanny knack of finding trouble when I let the pair of you loose, so I won't risk it. I haven't forgotten that last little escapade." Mullen frowned at Biggles who blushed slightly. "I need every man accounted for for tomorrow morning's show. I was just about to call you and the other flight commanders in for a briefing anyway. So be a good chap and go round them up for me. Oh, and no word of this to anyone else. It's top secret. HQ believe tomorrow's show will have a direct impact on how this war is going."

Thoughts of the Christmas Tree reluctantly left Biggles mind as he saluted and soberly went in search of Mahoney and McLaren. When he passed Algy, waiting expectantly outside the Adjutant's office, he smiled absently and shook his head.

"No go, I'm afraid old chap. We'll just have to make do with what we have. Mullen's not about to let us go anywhere this afternoon."

"But...why ever not?" queried Algy indignantly. "We'd be back before dinner."

"Algy, old man, let it drop," Biggles said kindly, patting his shoulder somewhat absently as he moved past, intent on his errand.

Algy stood staring after his cousin.

"Well! Of all the...." he fumed as he turned, kicking at a non-existent bump in the floor.

How things would have turned out had Toddy not popped out of his door and greeted the bewildered young Lieutenant, will never be known. For just as Algy was about to turn away, the Adjutant spoke.

"I've got the tender booked for you and Biggles. Make sure you're back before dinner, there's a good chap." And tossing the paper work at Algy, he turned back into his office and closed the door. As Algy stared helplessly at the documents in his hand and was about to enter the Adjutant's office when the outside entry door was pushed rudely open and Wilkinson of 287 bustled in.

"Oh, it's young Lacey," he said carelessly over his shoulder to his two companions. "Where's Biggles?"

"What's it to you?" asked Algy coldly.

"Just wanted to let him know we've heard there's a box of Christmas decorations in Amiens. Thought he'd like to know we're on our way to pick it up for 287."

"What do you want with decorations? You haven't a tree to decorate."

"But we're going to decorate the Mess..." began Wilkinson just as Biggles and his fellow flight commanders entered the room on their way to Major Mullen's office. "Ah, there you are Biggles. I was just telling young Lacey here that we're off to Amiens to collect the last lot of decorations."

"That's kind of you, Wilks. Just drop them off on your way back and Algy here will look after them," grinned Biggles, barely pausing on his way past.

"Who does he think he is?" demanded Wilkinson, somewhat stung by Biggles refusal to rise to his bait. "We're not dropping them off anywhere except our mess! But before we go, let's go and see what sort of an excuse for Christmas this sorry lot have produced. Come on chaps!". And so saying, he turned on his heel and marched into 266's Mess, leaving Algy seething in his wake.

"Of all the....! I've a jolly good mind to go in myself and get them. I could be back before supper," he muttered, unaware that Biggles had paused at the CO's door.

"Don't even think about it, laddie," Biggles warned. "Much as I hate to let Wilks' lot get the upper hand, we can't do anything about it this time. Besides, we have the tree....yes sir, coming now!" he responded smartly to the voice from within the office, and turning on his heel he entered and closed the door behind him.

"Better give those papers back to me, Algy," said the adjutant, who had emerged from his own office in time to overhear the conversation. Algy reluctantly handed them over and traipsed reluctantly towards the ante room. As he did so, he glanced out the window and saw Wilks' tender standing outside. As he gazed, a plan formed and without further thought he donned his heavy jacket and went outside.

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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:07 pm

Chapter Two

Quietly, Algy walked around the vehicle and ascertained that no other member of Wilks' squadron was there. Seeing that the petrol tank was on the far side of the vehicle, he smiled to himself and quickly set to work. It was the work of only a few minutes to remove the cap and insert a small hose he found lying nearby. Sucking briefly, he commenced the flow of petrol from the tender's tank into an empty drum he had rolled into position. With a satisfied smirk, he pushed the drum of petrol out of sight and was about to return to the mess when his eyes lighted on a nearby motorcycle. A motorcycle he knew to be the pride and joy of a Lieutenant Delaney in Mahoney's flight and which Algy had ridden on occasion. A moment of madness took control and, without another thought, he threw his leg over the machine and was soon roaring down the road to Amiens.

All went well as he rode into the town and quickly found the shop Biggles had mentioned. Five minutes later, whistling softly, he walked back out onto the street with the box tucked under his arm. At this point, Algy was feeling quite pleased with his endeavours and, gazing around, his eyes fell on a slightly built young woman on the far side of the street who was arguing with a large and rather aggressive man. As he watched, the man grabbed the young woman's arm and started pulling her along the street, ignoring her protests. This was more than Algy's naturally chivalrous nature could tolerate and he propelled himself across the street and pulled on the other man's arm.

"Hi! Leave the lady alone, you! Can't you see she wants none of you?"

Somewhat to his initial surprise the man, although older and more heavily built than Algy, backed away and then ran off. Thinking no more of the aggressor, Algy turned to the girl who had shrunk back against a lamppost.

" Are you all right, mademoiselle?" he asked in his best French.

"Oui, m'suier," she responded somewhat shyly. For the first time Algy took in the girl trembling before him. Her beauty literally transfixed him.

"Are you sure? That brute didn't hurt you?" he asked anxiously.

"No, no," she drew a breath and laughed prettily. "Perhaps m'suier would care to come into the cafe and have a small drink with me so I can thank you?"

Smiling in return, Algy gallantly held out his arm to the girl and entered the nearby cafe.

An hour later, a smiling young second lieutenant exited the building somewhat unsteadily and blinked owlishly around, looking for his discarded motorbike. To his confusion and dismay, it was no longer where he had parked it.

"Where'd I park it?" he groaned as he realized that the motorbike was not where he had left it, indeed it was not anywhere to be seen. Just then a clock struck the hour and Algy's eyes widened in alarm. For the first time he became aware of the lateness of the hour and impending darkness. "Late for dinner. Biggleshhh...be unhappy." A worse thought occurred. "An' Maj...Maj...Mull...ummm....CO'sh gonna kill me," he groaned, feeling very sorry for himself as he gazed around. Parked down the street, a few doors away was a motor car. Unattended. "Jush' the thing," he murmured.

Walking slowly, for he was finding he had to concentrate on this simple activity, he reached the car and glanced around. No one seemed to be paying him any attention. He blinked at the gleaming vehicle and noted the small Union Jack flying from the vehicle's bonnet.

"One of oursshh," he thought happily as he climbed behind the steering wheel. With very little difficulty, the young airman started the motor and, steering slightly erratically, headed out of town for his aerodrome. Algy was concentrating on his driving and congratulating himself on his cleverness in having found the car. In this happy state of mind, he began singing and was soon laughing contentedly as the vehicle cruised erratically along the rutted roadway. To his surprise, the purring of the powerful engine suddenly gave way to an annoying coughing and spluttering and then died altogether. Algy stared at the dash board in surprise.

"Wha'sh wrong? Why'd you stop?" Then his eyes lighted on the petrol gauge, the needle of which was stubbornly resting against the large E at the bottom of the instrument.

"Oh," he muttered. "Dash it. Why'd you run out of petrol? How'm I goin' get home?"

He climbed out of the driver's seat and stared at the car in dismay. Even in his currently inebriated state, he knew he was in trouble and could not see any easy way out. As he stared, he heard the familiar roar of an aero engine from nearby.

"Tha'sha Essh E." Gazing around with the concentration of the inebriated, Algy recognized his surroundings and immediately cheered up.

"It'sh 287," he muttered in delight. "Can borrow a kite." Feeling very pleased with this immediate solution to his problem, Algy abandoned the motor car and wove an unsteady path towards the entry gate where an understanding guard, no doubt not entirely unused to seeing rather happy airmen returning to their base in similar states to Algy's, admitted him. Algy wove his unsteady path towards an SE5 he could see outside the sheds in the gathering gloom. Waving the protesting mechanics away, he climbed happily into the cockpit and set about readying himself for an immediate takeoff, oblivious to the consternation he was causing and to the flight sergeant who was now hurrying towards his own CO's office.

Concentrating fiercely, Algy taxied out and began his take-off run. "Doeshn't handle like Camel," he murmured to no one in particular as he bumped his way along the airstrip and staggered into the air. Even Algy recognized this as not having been one of his better efforts at becoming airborne, but he attributed this to the machine's peculiarities.

Singing softly, he straightened out and leaned out of the cockpit to survey the terrain beneath him through the rapidly decreasing light.

"Mmmmm...think.... thish way." And having determined his course, he headed for home, completely oblivious of the havoc in his path. Perhaps the cool evening air on his face helped to sober Algy somewhat, but whatever the reason, by the time he was approaching Maranique, he was a little less inebriated than earlier, and beginning to feel uncomfortably queasy. He could just determine the outline of the sheds and the grass strip as he lined up for his approach unaware of the audience and reception awaiting him at 266.

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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:07 pm

On the ground, Biggles watched his cousin's rather erratic approach in grim silence as Algy's wings dipped first to one side then the other. His naturally pale features paled even further and he held his breath as the younger pilot overshot, turned on a wingtip and came around again, finally touching down, bouncing, and touching again, this time keeping the undercarriage on the ground and weaving a wobbly course over to the sheds where he eventually stopped not far from where his flight commander awaited him.

"What the dickens do you think you've been playing at?" snarled Biggles as Algy climbed unsteadily down, still clutching the precious box of decorations.

"I...I..." Algy's attempt at indignation failed miserably as he leaned against the side of the SE5 and emptied the contents of his stomach unceremoniously at Biggles' feet.

"Watch where you're aiming!" snapped Biggles, but his anger was somewhat tempered as he took in his cousin's obvious distress.

"Don' feel good. Sshh-s-sorry," muttered the distressed young man as his stomach heaved again. Biggles frowned. He had seen his cousin in various stages of inebriation, but never as bad as this.

"Come on. The CO's after your hide. Let's get you cleaned up before he murders you," said Biggles grimly, taking Algy's arm and steering him towards their quarters. Ten minutes later, Algy sat on the edge of his bed, head in hands, groaning in despair.

"Can't believe I've been such a fool," he muttered bitterly. The discovery that his wallet had vanished, together with Biggles' assertion that the CO was demanding his presence, plus a final purging of his stomach's remaining contents, had sobered him rapidly.

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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:08 pm

Chapter 3

“Pretty little thing, was she?” asked Biggles with not ungentle sarcasm. “Trouble is, Algy, old lad, she and her friend saw you coming a mile away!”

Algy groaned and buried his face further in his hands.

“I didn’t have that many drinks, Biggles. I really don’t understand why I was so under the weather.”

Biggles considered the younger man carefully. He knew Algy’s drinking habits well enough, including his remarkable ability to hold his liquor, to concede that it was unlikely that Algy’s normal drinking pattern would have rendered him as physically ill as he had been during the past few minutes.

“I rather suspect your drinks may not have been as innocent as they appeared.”

“What d’you mean?”

“ ‘Spiking’, I believe is the term our American friends use to describe it. Someone doctored your drinks. The little mademoiselle made sure you were entertained while her friend absconded with Delaney’s motorcycle. And while you were distracted by her pretty ways, she also went through your pockets and added your wallet to her day’s haul!”

Algy blushed and looked at his feet. “What a fool I’ve been,” he muttered.

Biggles didn’t disagree, but he was feeling more than a little sorry for his cousin.

“Listen, Mullen’s really after your hide. He’s non-too-pleased about your going off into Amiens after he said everyone was to stay put. And there’s something about you making off with some general’s motorcar, too. That’s quite an impressive tally for one afternoon – Delaney’s motorcycle, some brass-face’s car, and Wilk’s very own precious SE5 to cap it all off!! You don’t do things by halves do you? I just hope the CO lets us keep the blinking decorations after all you’ve done!!”

Algy rose to his feet where he stood, pale-faced and slightly unsteady, facing his flight commander.

“I know what I’ve done,” he stated wearily. “I’ll just have to face the music. Look after the decorations, will you?” As Algy moved towards the door, Biggles threw out a restraining hand.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he frowned. “You’re not facing this alone. I’m coming with you.”

“Biggles, as you’ve just so kindly pointed out, I disobeyed orders when I should have remained here, I’ve borrowed Delaney’s bike without asking – and now it’s been stolen. I was silly enough to be taken in by one of the oldest tricks in the book, and now I have to face the music. It has nothing to do with you, so look after the decorations and let me go get it over with.”

“Don’t be more of an ass than you’ve already been,” snapped Biggles. “The way I see it is that I’m at least partly responsible and I intend telling the CO just that. We’ll face this together, old lad.”

Algy gaped at him.

“How do you figure that you’re in any way responsible? You told me not to go.”

“The whole extra decoration idea was mine from the start. I put the idea into your head and I didn’t explicitly pass on the CO’s orders about no pass-outs being granted. And you were sorely provoked by Wilks. I’m your flight commander and, as the Americans also say, ‘this is where the buck stops’. At the very least, I intend explaining to Mullen why you initially behaved in such a manner. But I don’t think I can do too much for you about all the transport you’ve acquired this afternoon. A general’s car? Didn’t you at least notice his little flag?”

“Biggles, don’t think I don’t appreciate your offer. But I managed to dig this hole all by myself. I think….”

“Lieutenant Lacey!” Biggles’ voice cracked like whipcord. “Unless you want to add arguing with your superior officer to your quite impressive list of misdemeanours, I suggest you pipe down. Now if you’re quite ready, let’s go! We’ve kept the Old Man waiting long enough.”

Glancing sideways at Biggles’ set face, Algy fell into step beside him and marched towards the CO’s office.

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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:08 pm

“Phew!!” Algy leant weakly against the wall outside Major Mullen’s office and wiped imaginary perspiration from his brow.

“Come on,” ordered Biggles somewhat shakily, taking his friend’s arm. “We’d best go on in to dinner. And try to look invisible, will you?”

A rather unpleasant session with their CO had just ended and even Biggles was slightly shaken. Mullen had not been at all impressed with Algy’s antics and proceeded to tell him exactly what he thought of him. Having been on the receiving end of a barrage of telephone calls from both the irate general and the Commanding Officer of 287 Squadron, both of whom seemed determined to berate the obvious and lamentable lack of discipline in 266 evidenced by the afternoon’s deplorable behaviour by one of its officers, a smarting Mullen had been uncompromising in his discipline. In vain did Biggles attempt to argue that at least some of the responsibility should be placed at his feet. The only bright moment had come towards the end of interview.

“I take it you fellows still have this wretched box of decorations in your possession?” Mullen had asked in the same severe tone he had adopted throughout. Upon being advised in the affirmative, he had instructed Biggles to send his orderly to bring the box to his office.

“Sir, you’re not going to make us give them back to 287, are you?” ventured Biggles’ with a frown. “We did buy them.”

“Of course I’m not giving them back to 287!” exclaimed Mullen, who had already decided that he had had quite enough of his counterpart at 287 for one day. “No, I don’t see why we shouldn’t enjoy them. As for you Lacey, if it weren’t for this show we have on tomorrow I’d have placed you under close arrest till after Christmas. As it is, I need every man in the air in the morning, so count yourself very lucky! You will, however, repay Delaney for the loss of his motorcycle, and I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist that you personally go over to 287 tomorrow afternoon and apologise to both the Commanding Officer and Captain Wilkinson personally for absconding with his SE5.”

“Of course, sir,” agreed Algy smartly, although he was already squirming inside at the thought of having to eat humble pie to Wilkinson. “Will that be all, sir?”

“No! That is not all! There is still the small matter of General Arbuthnot’s motor vehicle which you so unwisely ‘borrowed’!”

“General Arbuthnot?” echoed Algy somewhat weakly. “Not…er…not General Sir Avery Arbuthnot…sir?”

“The very same,” confirmed Mullen grimly.

“Does he…er, does he know that I’m the one who borrowed his car?”

Biggles was watching Algy curiously.

“Of course he knows,” retorted the young CO testily. The afternoon’s events had tired him out and the general’s reaction upon learning the identity of the miscreant responsible for his being temporarily stranded in Amiens had puzzled him further. The already furious senior officer had seemed inclined to have a bout of apoplexy upon hearing Algy’s name.

“Lacey, is there something more I should know?” asked Mullen wearily, as he watched the evident contrition on Algy’s face reach an even deeper level of dismay. “Does General Arbuthnot by any chance already know you?”

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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:09 pm

“Ahh, you could say that, sir,” answered Algy reluctantly. As the following silence in the room became ever more expectant, Algy continued. “He’s…ah…by way of being a family connection. My godfather, actually, sir…well, one of them, that is. I…ahh…don’t think he has a very high opinion of me anyway.”

“Why ever not?” interjected Biggles indignantly.

“Wanted me to join the artillery. He kicked up no end of fuss with my Guv’nor when I joined the RFC,” finished Algy miserably.

Mullen surveyed the young man in front of him and sighed. These family connections could be the very devil, as he had good reason to know. But Lacey, one of his best pilots along with Bigglesworth, had certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest that afternoon and the necessary discipline could not be ignored. Lacey would simply have to face the consequences.

Before Biggles and Algy could move towards the Ante Room, the outer door of 266 Station HQ was thrust open and a stern, obviously angry senior officer of the general staff strode in, swagger stick firmly tucked under his arm. His eyes fell upon the two junior RFC officers and narrowed perceptibly. Biggles found himself stiffening to attention without any conscious thought, but the General’s eyes passed dismissively over him and settled on the unfortunate Algy who was doing his best to remain at attention, eyes firmly fixed on the opposite wall.

“Lieutenant Lacey!” he barked, and Biggles afterwards swore that his normally imperturbable cousin seemed to shrink closer to his flight commander. Algy swallowed nervously, his eyes darting desperately sideways towards Biggles, before answering.

“Sir!”

At this point, Mullen’s office door opened and the Major took in the scene wearily.

“General Arbuthnot? May I be of assistance, sir?”

“You’re Mullen, I presume?”

“Yes, sir,” replied the CO of 266 simply. Despite his extreme annoyance with Algy, and to a smaller degree with Biggles, he was less than pleased to see the angry general on his doorstep without any prior warning.

“I want to know what you’re planning on doing about this wearisome godson of mine and I want a full explanation of why he absconded with my motor vehicle.”

Mullen stood to one side and invited the general into his office, whilst Algy continued staring at the opposite wall in abject misery.

“You two had better come in,” advised Mullen with marked lack of sympathy. Dinner seemed to be vanishing into the far distance this day.

“Well, Lacey?” demanded Algy’s godfather peremptorily. “What the dickens were you up to?”

“I…er…I…” At Algy’s uncharacteristic loss of speech, Biggles’ inherent dislike of those he termed frosty-faced brass hats rose to the fore.

“Perhaps I could explain, sir?” he interjected smoothly.

“Ah, yes. You’re Bigglesworth, the cousin from India. I knew your father.” There was a moment’s silence as the general glared at the young captain. “Well, go on, man. If you’re going to say something, do so. I haven’t come here for a social call.”

As succinctly as he could, Biggles painted a picture of the afternoon’s events remaining prudently vague on Algy’s indiscretions. “And so, you see sir, the whole idea was really mine. I’m sure Lacey meant no harm to your motor car, nor did he deliberately intend to inconvenience you,” he finished vaguely.

Mullen, standing slightly behind the general, shook his head disbelievingly. Despite Biggles’ best attempts to shoulder some level of responsibility for Algy’s escapade both now and in their previous interview with him, Mullen knew them both well enough to guess at the truth. But he had allowed Biggles to support his cousin and to share the subsequent dressing down because he fully understood the strict code of honour and comradeship by which both men lived and fought. That Biggles could possibly think he would be able to protect Algy from his irate godfather made Mullen wonder if his quite brilliant, but highly strung, flight commander had finally taken leave of his senses.

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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by RAAF Spitfire Girl » Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:10 pm

The general stood watching the two younger men in silence before turning to their commanding officer.

“I take it these two officers have been suitably reprimanded.”

“Of course, sir,” Mullen bristled visibly. “Lacey will also be making reparations for the use of your motor vehicle and the SE5 he so unwisely borrowed. As well as apologising to both yourself and the Commanding Officer of 287 Squadron.”

“I see.” The man’s intimidating demeanour did not alter as he contemplated his godson. “Well, Lieutenant, I am waiting.”

Algy swallowed and, turning to meet Arbuthot’s eyes, spoke out an apology.

Before the Major could dismiss them, the general turned to Mullen.

“Since I’ve been obliged to come so far out of my way, Major, would it be an inconvenience if I invited myself to dine with you and your officers this evening?”

********

Algy stood staring disapprovingly out the window at the relentlessly falling snow while behind him his fellow officers were variously occupied with reading, writing letters, or card games. Christmas had passed, the New Year’s arrival had been celebrated in the traditional manner and the oppressive dinner with General Sir Avery Arbuthnot was rapidly becoming an unpleasant memory. The air offensive planned for Christmas Eve had finally been cancelled because of the appalling weather conditions, with heavy snowfalls reducing visibility to zero.

Algy’s earnest apology to Delaney and promise to repay the cost of his motor-bike had smoothed his fellow 266 pilot’s ruffled feathers and the rest of 266 tended to treat the entire episode as a huge joke. The hapless Algy had also made his required apology the next afternoon to the assembled officers of 287 with the grim-faced support of Biggles and the two had returned to their own base in the station tender. In a rather diffident manner, altogether unlike the bright and irrepressible cousin he knew so well, Algy had explained to Biggles that all his childhood encounters with this particular godfather had filled him with trepidation. He had no logical explanation for it. Sir Avery was a very close friend of Algy’s family but had always seemed a severe, disapproving and authoritarian figure of such strict discipline that he, Algy, had always believed he could never please him.

“Frankly, Biggles, the old coot annoys the socks off me. I believe he’d disapprove of anything I do!” Biggles listened sympathetically. His brief observation of old frosty-face, as he privately called the general, had done nothing to ease Biggles’ hostility on his cousins’ behalf. But, knowing he could do little or nothing about the situation, had shrugged philosophically and encouraged Algy to forget about the old windbag and try to keep away from his motor cars in future. At which suggestion, Algy had punched Biggles on the shoulder and finally produced his old grin, much to Biggles’ relief. The all-too-serious Algy of the past few days had begun to alarm him.

The entry of the station adjutant with the post bag was heralded by all and sundry as a welcome distraction as the men gathered around, ever hopeful of receiving news from home.

“One for Bigglesworth…and one for you, Lacey. One for….” But neither Biggles nor Algy paid any further attention as each one looked curiously at the crested, heavy envelope each held in his hand.

“From the gov’nor,” muttered Algy. His father was not known for his correspondence abilities and the arrival of a rather fat missive from the lord of Merioneth Towers caused him some surprise. He glanced up at Biggles who was also turning his letter over in his hand.

“I think this is from your mother,” murmured Biggles as he gazed at the envelope speculatively. That the cousins should both receive letters from Algy’s parents on the same day was unusual to say the least. The two young men exchanged glances and raised their eyebrows at one another.

“You don’t think…?”

“Better open them and get it over with.”

Algy groaned as he scanned the first few lines.

“My dear Algernon,

I have received a somewhat disappointing communication from your godfather…..”
He glanced across at Biggles who was now gazing at his own letter.

“My dear James,

To say that I am greatly disappointed in your failure to look after Algernon….”


The two pilots looked at each other, then at the blazing fire currently warming the Ante Room. They smiled at each other, scrunched up the letters and took aim….

finis

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Fairblue
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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by Fairblue » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:46 pm

I really enjoyed this seasonal tale, RSG. I especially liked the ending. Best thing to do with those sort of letters.
The Decision to Survive - A good pilot is both born and made. The best would look upon his work as a combination of adventure and a serious mission. – Major General Sir Frederick Sykes

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Re: Re-Posting Algy in Hot Water

Post by Foolscap » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:01 am

Oh, poor Algy:-(
This is great, by the way...thoroughly enjoyed reading it:-)
"If you're going to leave the beaten track the first thing is to make sure you've got your sense of humour with you."
--Biggles on Mystery Island.

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