Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Major Operational Problem

The story so far:

Dour Scot, General Gordon Brownadder, a professional soldier in the British Army, has recently taken over command of the Western Front from General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Blair. Aided by his batman, the babbling Private Ballsrick, and his pencil-pushing staff officer, Captain Darling, his plans to win the Great War have run into some difficulty.

Staff HQ (phone rings)

Brownadder: Hello? Ah, Alistair, darling, what is it?

Darling: I think we’ve got a major operational problem.

Brownadder: Major Operational Problem? Never heard of him! What does he want?

Brownadder: (hand covering phone) Ballsrick, you’d better bring some tea in for this fellow.

Ballsrick: Rightio, sir

Darling: No sir, I mean that I’ve got some bad news for you.

Brownadder: Oh no, what is it now? Haven’t we had our share of crises: carrier-pigeon flu; trench-foot; trench-mouth; Passchendaele; and the endless poetry?

Darling: Unfortunately this is a bit of a cock-up. We’ve misplaced files with the details of 2 million soldiers.

Brownadder: Misplaced?

Darling: Yes, we think that a junior officer loaded up a shoe-box with all the information on those little index cards and sent it off to the National Audit Office by regular army bicycle, but it never got there.

Brownadder: How secure was it?

Darling: Oh, the usual security: it had a ribbon tied around it.

Brownadder: You realise that if those details get into the hands of the enemy they could hopelessly compromise our security!

Darling: Indeed, there’s enough information there for a German soldier to impersonate anyone in the army. They could infiltrate anywhere, from the loftiest generals to the lowliest privates.

Brownadder: Well, I don’t want any Germans infiltrating my privates! Right, we need to find these missing files and get this all cleared up before anyone finds out.

Darling: I’m afraid that it’s already been found out, sir. General Cameron is on his way to see you right now.

Brownadder: (slams the phone down) Ballsrick! Where are you?

Ballsrick: Sorry, sir, I was just getting the tea for Major Problem and Miss Placed.

Brownadder: Never mind about that now! That toffee-nosed, old Etonian General Cameron is on his way here. He’s always wanted my job and this’ll play right into his hands.

(phone rings)

Brownadder: Hello!

Darling: General Cameron is here to see you, sir.

Brownadder: Hmm.. (thinks for a moment)

Darling: General Brownadder? Are you there?

Brownadder: Darling, how do you know that it’s General Cameron?

Darling: (muffled talking) He says that he’s General David William Donald Cameron and he’s come direct from General Headquarters.

Brownadder: Well that’s what he would say isn’t it - if he was a German spy! Have him arrested and sent back to GHQ immediately for questioning about those missing files.

(muffled sounds of shouting)

Brownadder: Right Ballsrick, what we need to do is find those files and show that they never left here in the first place.

Ballsrick: How will we do that, sir?

Brownadder: (reaches under his desk) Oh look, Ballsrick, here’s an old shoe box. All you need to do is requisition 2 million index cards …and start writing.

The End

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