An Unpleasant Encounter With The Law


Another episode from Denis Kodaly’s The 1001 Nights of Iarcus Oralto, in which Iarcus is mistaken for a well-known criminal, Silvery Moon, and locked up in the constabulary. Now read on…

Many a sigh did I heave that long and weary night, my anxieties exacerbated by violent pangs of hunger. Pacing the narrow confines of my cage, I attempted to buoy my spirits by the preparation of a comprehensively logical discourse I had no doubt would penetrate even the feeble intelligence of the Commissioner and his minion. As day broke I awaited with impatience the appearance of some official, but the sun was high in the sky before the Commissioner entered the cell, removing a chequered napkin from around his neck and wiping his mouth with every appearance of satisfaction.

“Now then, Moon,” he said, “you might as well emit it all. First of all, where’s our filing cabinets and our cash box? And what about that barking business in the bakery? And them secondhand socks? ”

“Barking business?” said I, my prepared peroration temporarily waylaid, “secondhand socks?”

“You’re a cunnin critter,” he said with a kind of grudging admiration, “I’ll give you that. Anyone’d think you were a right porpoise, just to look at you, but you’re as cunnin as a turtle.”

“Commissioner,” I said in a tone that combined command, reason and a not unmanly degree of pleading, “Commissioner, I fear a most unfortunate mistake has been made. I am, as I told you last evening, nothing more than a humble traveller from a foreign land, making his way through your most interesting country…”

He shook his head.

“Nuthink for it,” he said, “we’re going to have to introview you if you keep going on so stubborn-like. We’ll have to get bus in.”

These words were uttered in a menacing tone and accompanied by a piercing glare. As I had no idea at all what his words betokened, I remained silent, considering how I might revise my approach.

“Well?” he said, “are we going to have to get bus in?”

“I am sorry,” I said civilly, “but I do not understand your reference to an omnibus.”

“Ho!” he burst out furiously, “we’ll see if you understand, fatty!” and turning on his heel he marched out into the office bellowing to the constable,

“Get bus! Get bus!”

 Some time later, the door opened again, and a heavy shadow fell across the stone flags of the cell as the doorway was blocked by a large square figure. So wide were this person’s shoulders that he appeared to have some difficulty passing through the doorway, yet he was not a tall man, being constructed rather on the model of a spinning top, with a wide solid torso connected to a flat head, no neck being visible, the whole tapering to a pair of very small feet clad in black rubber pumps. He moved with a curious dancing gait on these small feet, smacking in front of him a pair of large meaty hands. As he passed through the doorway and the light from the outer room fell upon him, I saw that he was clad in a pair of small, bright blue boxing trunks. His shoulders and arms bulged alarmingly from a white singlet across whose tight-stretched material the word “Trugg” was inscribed in a large flowing hand. Surely, this was none other than the celebrated pugilist Bustling Trugg.

“Here he is, bus,” said the Commissioner, “you’re going to have to introview him for us.”

“Commissioner!” said I fearlessly, though I confess that inwardly I trembled at the menacing figure that confronted me with the evident purpose of doing harm to my person, “this is most irregular! I must insist on my rights to legal representation if I am to be interviewed, and I must insist that I be interviewed by a properly-qualified person.”

“I’ll give you legal representation!” said the Commissioner, “I’ll give you properly-quallyfied person!” And he proceeded to unlock the large padlock that secured the door of my cage. Behind him Bustling Trugg shifted nimbly from foot to foot, fitting first one hand then the other into a pair of large red boxing gloves.

Can Iarcus talk his way out of this? Stay tuned….

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