Spontoon Island
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Update 7 March 2005

The 1,001 Mornings of Reggie Buckhorn
Character by EO Costello in collaboration with Simon Barber,
and stories by a herd of fellow contibutors.

"Hallo There!"

"A sort of Introduction, You Know."

"Hallo There!"
"A sort of Introduction, You Know."
by EOCostello

     It was a perfectly splendid afternoon, with all of Nature done up in hospital corners, and life in ship-shape and Bristol fashion, when inspiration struck the bean.  I laid the banjo aside, and immediately got the attention of my valet.

     "Lodge, I've been thinking."

     Lodge expressed gratification at being made a part of the novelty of this situation, and respectfully begged particulars.

    "It has occurred to me, Lodge, that there is a great deal of sturm-und-drang about these Islands, and I'm not referring to the daily artillery practice over on Moon Island.  These Islands are simply seething with all manner of intrigue and drama.  One would require a scorecard to keep up with events and the dramatis personae."

     "Indeed, sir?"

     "Well, certainly.  I mean, imagine the awkwardness of spying on a chap who turns out to have the secret formula for an advanced kind of aviation spirit that will enable a seaplane to bring in a vital medicine that will save the life of your one true love who is, in fact, plotting to slip you the stuffed eelskin behind the ear one bright moonlit evening, a rather unromantic action that is necessary because you have unknowingly angered the local gods by making eyes at what you thought was a native maiden, but who turned out to be, in secret, a very powerful high priestess of a native cult.  All very complicated, Lodge.  Very complicated, indeed.  No, life demands sweetness and light."

      "And how do you propose to fill this demand, if I may ask?"

      "You may indeed ask, Lodge."

      An awkward silence ensued, broken only by the fact that my wiggled eyebrows indicated to Lodge he had missed his cue.  Lodge fought down the disloyal impulse, and repeated the question.

      "That is a very intelligent question, Lodge.  I propose to spread sweetness and light through the medium of my memoirs, recounting my experiences in the Spontoon Islands."

     Lodge blinked in astonishment.

     "I would venture to observe, sir, that the experiences you refer to largely consist of assorted acts of drunken and/or impertinent misbehaviour on your part, which often as not result in small-scale riots.  How does that fit within the definition of sweetness and light?"

     "You play the devil's advocate well, Lodge.  There's a future for you at the Vatican.  It is the spirit in which my misbehaviour is offered.  I know myself well, and my misbehaviour is offered to the world with a full heart and a generous spirit.  Not for me is the dark experiment on some remote island, with effects only to be whispered at.  Mine is open and honest tomfoolery."

     I picked up the banjo and strummed a few bars of "Magnolia" in contemplation.  "There's only one thing to be settled on.  My memoirs need a title.  I need something that expresses the true nature of what I will be relating."

     Lodge raised an eyebrow in response.  "Well, how about 'Ten Nights in a Barroom?'"

     I fixed Lodge with a gaze steely and serene.  "Don't let's be silly, Lodge.  There's all manner of flaws in that suggestion.  First, I have spent, and will spend, far more than the requisite ten nights in the barrooms of these islands.  Secondly, my tipple of choice is a firm, manly gin and tonic, not demon rum.  Thirdly, I suggest the absence of a thin, shivering fawn to pluck my tail and lisp pathetically 'Father, dear Father, come home with me now, the clock in the steeple strikes one.'  Lastly, the title's been nicked already, and I don't relish the idea of a snippy letter from some grubby solicitor."

     I strummed a few more bars in a contemplative fashion.  "No, what is needed is something to convey the serial nature of these stories, something of the dreamy joie de vivre and romance of the Spontoons."

     "You are proposing, sir, to turn a series of half-witted lunatic acts into something out of the Arabian Nights?"

     I stopped, thunderstruck.  Out of the mouths of valets!

     "Bravo, Lodge!  Exactly what I had in mind!  Well, unlike that fair storyteller of old, I relate my tales in the bright, if somewhat harsh, light of morning."

     "Yes, but you aren't subject to the supreme punishment, sir, if you fail to come up with one.  There is that flaw."

     "You don't know my father, Lodge.  If there was ever a buck that needed no reason to see his son and heir decorate the wall of a hunting cabin, it's the pater."

     I stood up, and played a fanfare on the banjo.

     "I hereby christen these memoirs


and I dedicate them to my gentle readers.  And the bartender at Shepherd's Hotel."

     "In that order, sir?"

     I respected, and continue to respect, my readers far too much to dignify that question with an answer.