SAS ironing

Survivalist Ironing

A Posthumous Briefing From Sergeant Bill Tell

(Second Covert Battalion, The Royal Deniables)

Killing for a living’s no life; the pay’s flexible, the

hours are generous and there’s no point planning

for a pension. Take my advice and tread a less

treacherous career path, there’s a crevasse around

every corner. Still, life’s too short to listen to an

assassin’s whinge. Mine certainly was. These words

are my own, but if you’re reading them, this writer’s

already a ghost.

First of all, congratulations: you found the lock-up.

It can’t have been easy. Battersea’s riddled with

slaughters and this was one of the rustiest.

I hope the instructions triggered by my death

weren’t too heavily coded, but this was my life

insurance policy, may I rest in peace.

You’re now the proud owner of my journal (sorry

about the praying mantis stains), the retarded

Intelligence Officer’s transcripts (amazing what you

can swap for a pair of Carling Cup tickets) and the

notes he stole from the Chief Inspector (just because

the Met’s only socialist folk musician is on

permanent work-to-rule and prefers paperwork

to policing, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go with

his gut: it’s got feeling).

I’ve also included hand-drawn maps of Outer Ggaga

and Wandsworth, a glossary of regimental and

floricultural terms and a few links to relevant

Walloon arms dealing websites.

The whole bundle should be enough to take the

bastards down: unless, of course, you’re one of the



Cat-Taming the SAS way

I was trained to stick to the facts. You see, a soldier’s

marooned in the moment, grappling with the present,

dealing with the deadly now. Dream of the future and

you won’t have one, linger on the past and you’re


But if everything’s How? and never Why? then

life’s a bit So What?

SAS laundry

I never used to be burdened by an imagination,

but a light came on and I can’t switch it off.

Marie-Thérèse, sub-Saharan Africa’s best-read

nocturnal businesswoman, conjured my brain back

from the dead, the Ambassador’s deception forced

me to question authority and Jezebel O’Hell

(née Geraldine), Wandsworth’s most bashful

dominatrix, taught me compassion. I’m grateful

to the three of them, but they’ve crowded

this killing machine with benevolent ghosts.

Once, my mind was fully occupied with matters

of operational detail; now, fuzzy feelings clog up

my nervous system, doubt blurs my vision and pity

slows my hand. I’m a better man, but my own worst

enemy. That’s self-improvement for you.

I’m a professional squaddie, well past my shoot-by

date. I was blooded inBelfast, kidnapped in Kosovo

and abandoned in Angola. I’ve worked undercover

in the SAS, pulling the plug on a demonically

devious mercenary recruitment scam, but

overcover, I’m a Military Policeman, Close

Protection Unit. We might be a bunch of

ruthless bastards, but at least we’re nicely

turned out: royal blue blazers, lily-white shirts,

ties knotted in perfect Windsors, trousers pressed

beyond the wildest imaginings of Corby, shoes

shinier than an Osmond’s dentistry and dinky

shoulder-satchels packed with pieces of self-

assembly gun.

I might be nerveless, but I’m built like a jockey:

scraping five-foot two in my reinforced yomping

boots. By tradition, shortarsed CPO’s are nicknamed

‘Legs’, but everyone just calls me ‘Big Man’. Irony, eh?

I’m more heavily decorated than a Norwegian spruce

in late December, but medals are cheap when you’re

indifferent to Death and Bravery’s fine if you’ve

got nothing to lose. I wanted something to lose or,

to be more exact, someone.

I may have nightmarched naked across glaciers,

convinced the IRA and UDA to kneecap each other’s

quartermasters and swum the Euphrates under hostile

fire, but off-duty I still live at home with my mum.

Now don’t get me wrong, Rose is a gem and I’m

happy to post her all my danger money, but a nice

cup of tea, a slice of Battenberg and a single bed

do not a life make. All I’m saying is it’s easy to put

your life on the line if you haven’t got one.

The events described take place principally in the

Walloon Republic of Outer Ggaga, the London

Borough of Wandsworth and the Chelsea Flower

Show. You won’t have heard of the Walloon

Republic of Outer Ggaga: if you have, there’s been

an almighty cock-up in operational security.

Safe to say, it’s dangerous. The skies are riddled

with ghost planes, black helicopters and

unexplained Zeppelins. The roads are plagued

with Walloon petal trucks, windowless SUVs and

retired Routemasters in silent convoys. It’s an

open invitation to the scruple-free; control the

rose routes and you can run diamonds, drugs

or guns. The country is East Africa’s very own

Chinatown; a nexus for dark occurrences,

double-dealing and deniable transactions.

This is no place for conspiracy theory; it’s the

capital of conspiracy practice.

The Outer Ggagaan Trifijd (the ‘j’ is silent) is

perhaps the world’s most secret currency; you cash

it in and out on the border like casino chips.

Named after Norbert Trifijd, the Belgian botanist

who cultivated the country’s first field of Paul’s

Lemon Pillar and started the Rose Rush, it’s

ideal for rinsing any ill-gotten swag as white as

Devil’s Dandruff.

Barbie logistics

Sergeant Bill Tell masters a new vehicle - the Barbie bike

I make no apologies for the graveyard gags, nerdy

moments and overall blokishness. I need to maintain

my morale in adversity and I aim to entertain – call

me a circus troop. So, welcome to my war memorial.

It’s either a bleeding slab of hairyarsed Git Lit or

“hardboiled magical realism”, if you believe Marie-

Thérèse. She suggested I call it “Get Angela Carter”,

but I’m no Michael Caine (we may have the same

accent, but he’s about a foot taller than me and

when I act, no one survives to applaud).

Marie-Thérèse was generous with her advice:

Show don’t tell, Tell (my actions have always

shouted for themselves), Don’t try too hard

(unfortunately, I always give a four-figure

percentage) and Keep it plausible (as far as my

life’s concerned, Fate’s surname might as well be

Munchausen – weird shit occurs hourly).

I suppose it’s my fault for not giving peace a

chance. Pacifism’s disarming, but I’ve never

been one to lie down and be discounted. I don’t

choose the wars; they choose me.

By example I led, by mistake I fell, after a

kickboxing Walloon, a stampeding warthog

and a fornicating priest left me floating

rudderless on Lake Excrement and triggered a run

on the Outer Ggagaan Trifijd. That’s how I ended

up working as target man for one of Wandsworth’s

most ruthless florists, a firm linked to a series of

gangland deliveries. They needed me to give the

good news to a woman they thought had

kipperstitched them like a bunch of

bornyesterdays (why use two words when one

will do – even if it is longer and non-existent?).

The florists wanted me to take her out; I did and

we had a great time. Now I’m next on the hit list

and she’s absolutely furious.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that my first attempt

at romance went arse-upwards. If you need

someone to tame a Tamil Tiger, improvise a bivouac

in the enemy rear or infiltrate a Colombian

Narcoterrorist cartel, I’m your man, but when

it comes to matters of the heart, you’d be better off

consulting a breezeblock.

I know Death’s a fact of life, but another decade or

three would have rounded things off nicely. I thought

all this was a mid-life crisis; now, it’s looking like an

end-life crisis.

I’ve had a good innings, but my Ashes can wait.

I’m torturing a metaphor, but there’s no Geneva

Convention for grammar.

So, this is how I infiltrated an international

gang of homicidal florists, recovered the world’s

most valuable conflict diamond (The Great Star of

Mount Heha) and found love on the Wandsworth

Gyratory System. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m

about to enter a nine-sided shoot-out with FARC,

ETA, Hamas, Mossad, Agnostic Jihad, an uneasy

coalition of Chechen Warlords, the Real UDA and

Belladonna’s Floral Deliveries.

TO BE CONTINUED… (Another free upload soon)


The End House Church Crescent

London N3 1BG England

+44 20 8349 1179 +44 (0)777 448 0889

Incorporated at Cardiff (England & Wales) No 4676766

Registered Office 14 Accommodation Rd London NW11 8EP

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