Friday, March 13, 2015

Peace on Earth

By Paddy Bostock
Adventure/Humour, 381 pages
cover art by: Richard Stroud

Mankind profits from nothing more than war. Hence, rumours about the existence of a disk said to contain the formula to "peace on earth," obtained by a failed actor with a penchant for visions, pose a major threat to the planet. This unleashes a frantic hunt for the disk across continents, involving government agencies, master criminals, petty criminals, and would-be criminals, plus the local population of Pont-y-Pant: the tiny Welsh village on which disparate characters converge as the putative location of the errant disk.

However, nobody has taken into account the role that will be played by the three-year-old Newfoundland acting as the disk's self-appointed custodian.


Life for residents of Sitges's Carrer Espanya, where Miguel Ramírez's hideaway-from-family apartment was located, might easily have continued in its normal drowsy, boozy, sexy, August fashion on the balmy night in question had it not been for the peculiar conflux in their midst of three factors:
Factor A: (per se not all that remarkable), the re-arrival in the street of Miguel's Range Rover Evoque. Residents looking down from behind their summertime lace curtains and Venetian blinds knew all about the Evoque and admired Miguel's cojones for owning it. Also, given his underground parking facility, the car had never caused trouble for either pedestrians or other vehicles. hay problema.

Factor B: the appearance, only moments later, of an all-black-with-silver-tinted-windows Hummer the size of a bus, which parked slap in the middle of the road, and out of which climbed four bullfighters-two banderillos, one picador, and one torero-all of whom took to mooching about, looking up at windows and speaking to each other in a variety of languages, none of them Catalan or Spanish so far as residents could tell. The lace curtains and Venetian blind slats parted considerably at this arrival. Ears cocked, eyes peeled, anger building in case anybody wanted to get out of his underground parking facility and the jodering Hummer was in the jodering way. Plus, who were these guys...?
Factor C: the parking, behind the all-black-with-silver-tinted-windows, of the little red Seat Ibiza, out of which jumped two young women who might, or might not, have been whores.

Unbeknownst to any of the Carrer Espanya residents-obviously-was the deal Magistrate Lady Dunwithy had brokered with Sergeant Gwyn Williams such that Esperanza and Chiquita would avoid prosecution in Welsh courts for kicking the crap out of three locals and be freed to return to Spain as long as they promised to leave Pont-y-Pant immediately and never return.

Why? Because Lady Dunwithy-a staunch admirer of Emmeline Pankhurst-championed the girls' brutal athleticism and only wished she had been taught similar tricks when young. And, if Gwyn Williams wanted to keep his job, never mind his pension, he would stop whingeing about prosecutions, jail, and suchlike.

So it was that Esperanza and Chiquita, still very keen to learn more about the…albeit possibly apocryphal…paz mundial story despite their recent setback, had caught the next plane back to Barcelona where it didn't take them long to learn-by smacking Xabi Hernández around the head a bit-where (thwack, thwack) they might (thwack, thwack) find Miguel Ramírez whom they reckoned to be the mastermind behind the operation, seeing as Xabi was too dim to find his own arse with an arse map.

"At Carrer Espanya, número 65, Sitges," a beaten Xabi had cravenly told them. Whither the girls headed as fast as their little red Seat Ibiza would take them, and, finding no available parking place, left the car bumper-to-bumper with the all-black-with-silver-tinted-windows Hummer in the middle of the street.

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