Livepudllian Thespian of some renown Heston Royce, and LFC Goalkeeper and former West Ham stalwart Arthur Smith meet at the Canning Docks and are briefed by ‘C’ regarding Operation Flea, the mission to rescue the child GORDON.
Boarding the SS Angry Onedin coastal tramp steamer under the command of Master Baines they set sail for Somerset. On route the unlikely pairing refine their ‘act’ to infiltrate the Clevedon Court Childrens home. They practice a routine featuring custards pies and pratfalls which singularly fails to amuse the crew of the vessel.
Entering the Bristol Channel they find an enormous double gas-bagged Zeppelin dreadnought looming over them. Two Swordfish torpedo bombers fly off the airborne carrier and after failed attempts with a voice tube eventual signal for the Onedin to stop.
(An excellent picture of the kind of thing is here http://clearwater-art.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d1wqqgq there is some great art there. Apologies for not posting the image but I have not recieved have permission.)
Rope ladders descend from the air Leviathan, sky Behemoth nay Ziz and erratically dressed sky sailors descend and take the crew under guard. After inspection the two ALFIES agents are identified as not sailors and instructed to grab hold of ropeladders.
The ladders are rapidly wound – Arthur keeping a grip but Heston losing his grip, trapping his ankle and be lanked aloft foot first. His pistol escapes its holster and falls into the brimy deep. He still has a derringer hidden in his boot. Arthur is searched on the ship by more scurvy sky dogs who find his weapon but the startled Heston manages to keep the pocket pistol hidden. The hapless agents are marched to an impressive bridge when numerous controls are operated by attentive pirates.
However the Captain of this aerial ships commands the situation from an eight poster hemispherical bed, attended by two scantily clad raven haired lovelies feeding him dates and keeping his brandy glass filled. The agents note the equipment around the bridge has a stylized Greek helmet icon on it. Clad in velvet jacket and cap with pajamas and cravat Lord Damien Drake, Captain of the sky carrier Aquila interrogates the Free State spies. Dissatisfied with their evasive answers about being honest sailors– THE ICE MAIDENS!
These are iron maiden cages they were locked into and hung out the bottom of the Zeppelin in the freezing cold. They manage to keep their composure despite the ordeal and when hauled back into front of the Captain, now eating cheese and drinking port proffered by blondes (it would not be done to eat them from brunettes) they claim to be economic migrants seeking stardom in London which the Privateer accepts as face value. Given they claim to be entertainers he decides they can entertain the ‘submariners’ at ‘the base.’
The Aquila touches down in the Isle of Lundy which as well as having mooring tower and fueling station for the zeppelin also has submarine pens and a POW camp. It is this POW ‘Camp Paradiso’ that the hapless agents are thrown into. The surroundings with vegetable plots, calisthenics around a wooden vaulting horse and bird watching club remind Royce of Skegness Butlins he did a turn at. They are approached by two senior figures at the camp a Royal Navy mutineer from Portsmouth Sub-lieutenant Brace an d Archie Pheasant, a Somerset Freedom Fighter prisoner. The apparent idiocy of the ALFIES agents mean the reception committee beats a hasty retreat.
A Naval officer – but not as they know it, speeds through the camp gates in a sport car with Tommy gun brandishing sailors on the running boards. Announcing himself to the ’entertainers’ as Lord Rampage and insists on them giving him an audition and gives some time to get ready. The sharp eyed Royce recognises their uniforms show them as some form of private Navy not being RN dress.
The agents use the time to contact the reception committee and confess all. The agents confess all the reception committee take some details and promise to radio Liverpool and try and get some guidance for the hapless couple.
The agents are collected by Lord Rampage staff car and dropped off at Lord Rampage’s ostentatious headquarters. Accompanied by the Lord’s batman, Cant on the piano they spies put on their show which revolves around Shakespeare, ukulele playing, prat falls and custard pies. Surprisingly the noble lord and Commander of the submarine force is overwhelmed and praises their genius. They are fit to entertain his men and in order to reward them sends them back to the camp with a hamper for their troubles.
Tucking in the agents are contacted by Brace and Pheasant – they’ve spoken to Liverpool. The agents have a new mission Operation GRASSHOPPER. To escape the POW camp, steal aboard the Aquila release it from its moorings and then signal Liverpool which will send assistance. Taking this at face value the agents join the POW camp escapes using a tunnel dug from the vaulting horse to the outside edge of wire. Timing their dash to avoid floodlights they make it to the military portion of the base.
They find the mooring tower guarded by six red haired beauties in leather costumes armed with shotguns – no doubt more of Drake’s harem on guard duty. While Heston stands in cover the younger, fitter Smith scales the guide chains for the mooring tower and from their scales the mooring chain and boards the ship.
Making his way to the rope ladders he is confronted by a burly guard, the bug eyed Marty who confined them to the ice maidens. Marty was oiling the ladders and goes at Arthur with a spanner. Arthur quick thinking grab the discard oil can and throwing it at Marty’s feet so it spills and the guard goes a cropper. While the pirate careers on the floor Arthur treating it like a goal kick at Goodison knocks his opponent out.
Arthur then lowers the rope ladders – the one into the POW camp with Marty attached leading to disruption in the camp. Heston scales one of the ladders and the two agents make their way to one of the gun towers of the Aquila. Using the automatic cannon within they shoot out the top of the mooring tower and the mighty vessel beings to float free.
All the commotion however has alerted the remaining crew of the ship and an alert sounds followed by the tramping of many boots.
Is this the end of the rue some twosome ?
Will Operation FLEA ever get back on track?
What assistance can come to our unexpecting aviators?
Find out next month… .