The Javan Mystery : Part II (a novella)

“Iz hawnted innit?”

“Wot iz?”

“That skeleton they picked up innit”

“Woy do you say that?”

“Last night innit. I erd it, it whispered in me ears”

“Wot those wax filled one’s?”

The seamen all sniggered. The sniggering stopped

“Awite, wot did it say to you then?”

“It said we was doomed”

More sniggering

“Doomed?! We woz doomed when we left Southampton. Tell me somfink I don’t know!”

“It said, we should’ve left im restin’ in peace!”

“Does e av a name then?”

“Who?”

“The voice dopey! Doz e av a name or wot?”

“Yeah, iz name’s George”

A blast of laughter. Quietining down. More sniggering

“George? Iz an Englishman then!!”

“Wot language did e speak to you in then?”

‘English”

More sniggering.

“Wot waz iz acccent? Glaswegian?!”

“Listen, this here lad reckons he erd the Captain and Him speaking, and they’z reckoning it a hundred thousand years old”

Whistling

“Hundred thousand! Woh – That’s a lot ain’t it?”

Silence. Then a lone voice at the back:

“How much is that then?”

“Ye, that’s like you take a thousand, and then add another ninety nine thousands to the thousand and you get…”

“A hundred thousands??”

“Ye that’s rite!”

Whistling…

“That’s a lot a years”

“Yeah, and maybe even older”

“wot? Like a million?”

‘Ye maybe”

Whistling..

“Wotz a million?” someone asked

“Right, a million is you take a thousand and take another nine hundred and nine nine of the thousands, and you got a million”

Whistling

“Woooo, how oldz the earth then?’

“About six thousand years old innit, according to Bishop Wilberforce the earth was made in 4004 BC on a Saturday afternoon, at tea time”

“Tea time?”

‘Ye tea time. But then the skeleton can’t be older then that can he?”

Silence. The turning of gears in the assembled brains.

“That Bishop Wilberforce must be wrong then!”

“Nah, the Pope believes him”

“The Pope!! – then he must be rite if the Pope say’s its true!”

“Ye, the Pope, he knows iz stuff. God tells im stuff”

“So it can’t be a hundred thousand years old then?”

“Not if the Pope say’s so”

“Wait a minute…” He looks around at the sailors…

“isn’t the Pope a Catholic?”

Silence. Then

“Ye he iz”

“But we hate Catholics rite? We’re loike Protestants rite lads?”

Silence. Then all together

“Yeahhh!”

“Actually that’s a good point. We’re Protestants not Catholics. God save the Queen”

“And the Archbishop of Canterbury!”

“Ye im too”

“So…wot doz that mean?”

“it means the Pope don’t know wot iz talking about, coz iz talkin’ out his ass and t it means hat things a hundred thousand years old innit”

Whistling

Silence…

Then a lone little voice at the back, almost a squeak:

“Are we still doomed then?”

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