Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ali's challenge story hour 2

Today's fun fact: Russian Soccer Fans going to Wales to support team urged by the country's fan organization to drink Welsh whiskey to ward off swine flu virus.

"Garbled Russian, warmed by the smokey afterglow of whiskey, is nearly impossible to understand, sir" the little translator said to the police chief.

"Why Archie, that was quite poetic," the chief responded magnanimously. "But you've honestly no idea what the man was saying?"

"We'll just have to wait til he sobers up, I suppose," Archie responded, shaking his head to indicate that no, he had gleaned nothing from the hour of questioning largely composed of the Russian tumbling repeatedly out of his chair. "Something about the pigs, and clearly something about whiskey. Welsh whiskey."

A muffled thud sounded from inside the cell followed by a brief silence, a groan, and then some remarkably tuneless singing. "What's that he's singing?" the chief asked. "It's, ah, Tubthumping, sir," Archie said, and cleared his throat. "Eh?" the chief responded, fuzzy eyebrows arched. "It's ah, erhm, they play it sometimes at sports matches...'I get knocked down, but I get up again...never gonna keep me down..." Archie's meak rendition did nothing to assuage the chief's confusion.

They both peered into the cell and saw the lanky man performing a drunken hula dance, complete with head bobbing, in time to his self-provided music. Noting his audience, he offered a large grin and a thumbs-up.

Archie and the chief turned away again. "Well," the chief said, "What I don't understand is why, if he had previously been at a football match, he then careened through the city, managed to locate a farm, and stole a herd of pigs." "Perhaps it's some kind of tradition, like a celebratory thing?" Archie offered. They turned and faced another cell, in which there stood ten rather large and disinterested swine, one of whom was at that moment chewing a bit of carrot and squinting at them dully from beady black eyes.

"They really doesn't look at all like Babe," the receptionist lamented from her desk, and the two men shook their heads in agreement. "Not a bit gallant," the chief noted disappointedly.

After arresting the man, along with the pigs, for causing chaos in a liquor store, no one at the station had been able to determine what should be done. The suspect was not in any condition to provide useful information, not to mention the fact that the man was an international visitor to Wales. And how would they return the pigs to their rightful sty? As discerned upon their arrival, pigs apparently wear no identifying items or markings - anyone could drop by and claim them as their own. Plus, their odor was not contributing positively to the aesthetic environment of the police station.

After drinking a cup of tea on the stoop of the station - the pigs made the inside rather uncomfortable - Archie and the chief questioned the Russian again. More lucid this time, he tried to explain what had happened. If the fan organization head thought the whiskey would protect people from swine flu, why not go right to the source? He was simply trying to inoculate the pigs against the virus.

"He's blaming the pigs," Archie explained to the chief. "You know, for the row in the liquor shop." They both glanced at the pigs, now dozing like so many dirty pink pillows on the floor of their cell. "He says British pigs can't hold their liquor."

Just then, a ruddy-faced old man in a rather stereotypical tweed cap poked his head in the station door. "Hullo," he warbled. "I seem to have lost rather a lot of pigs - oh, hello there!" He interrupted himself as he noted the pigs, now squealing with apparently delighted recognition in their cell. The Russian, sensing what was going on, began speaking loudly and utilizing dramatic hand gestures in effort to communicate with the farmer. "He would like you to know that your pigs are now safe from harm. From the swine flu. Also they may be a bit drunk. And he asks that you not punish them for getting arrested as he's sure they didn't intend to cause trouble."

"I see," said the farmer, looking puzzeled. "Well then. I suppose I'll let them off this time." He gave a whistle, and the pigs, freed from their prison, pranced out the door in a line, snorting happily. The Russian waved, and then promptly fell asleep, presumeably satisfied with his good deed.

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