An­ar­chy in the UK

Get­ting car­ried away at a char­ity ball, three Guns founds them­selves pay­ing over the odds for a driven shoot and way out of their depth

Sporting Gun - - PARTING SHOTS - Words Ste­wart Cooper Car­toon Keith reynoldS

They had bought the day at a char­ity auc­tion. It hap­pens some­times, when you have had a lit­tle too much to drink. The morn­ing af­ter, they couldn’t re­mem­ber which of them had ac­tu­ally thrown up their arm at the last sec­ond and spent way over the odds on three Guns at a driven shoot that sounded im­pos­si­bly posh. But they had en­joyed the sub­se­quent (ironic) ap­plause and agreed to split the eye wa­ter­ing sum be­tween the three of them. For rea­sons of mat­ri­mo­nial har­mony, no one men­tioned it at home. What hap­pens at the Sports­man’s Ball, stays at the Sports­man’s Ball.

The day duly dawned, as did the re­al­i­sa­tion that they might be way out of their depth when the sat nav of the old pickup di­rected them through mas­sive wrought iron gates and along a lime tree lined, sweep­ing drive­way. In truth, they were more used to the tradesman’s en­trance. Their hosts, it tran­spired, were Lord and Lady Re­ally Quite De­light­ful, who tried to make them feel at home and thanked them gra­ciously for their con­tri­bu­tion to the cause, be­fore in­tro­duc­ing them to their fel­low guns, all of whom had dou­ble bar­relled names, pre­ceded by Earl, Sir or Duke.

The safety chat was brief but firm and ended with a re­minder of the strict “no phones” pol­icy, but by then the three were so ner­vous they were in­ca­pable of tak­ing it all in. Their mood was not helped when each drew an odd num­ber, so, with adren­a­line surg­ing dan­ger­ously, they stum­bled to the first drive and took up po­si­tion be­tween their ti­tled com­pan­ions. They had done well so far but this is where, al­most in­evitably, it all un­rav­elled.

The first, John, his gun gripped like a vice and de­ter­mined to get in the zone by block­ing out all but the clear sky in front of him, was fac­ing en­tirely the wrong way. The sec­ond, Ali, com­pletely over­come by cold and fear, just couldn’t hold it to­gether so that, when the first bird ap­peared di­rectly over him and every­one turned to see him shoot it, he had his flies down and was re­liev­ing him­self openly. It would re­main his most em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment ever. The third, Dougie, watch­ing the truly ap­palling sit­u­a­tion un­fold with ut­ter dread, turned away just in time to catch Lady Re­ally Quite De­light­ful shak­ing her head in dis­be­lief and then cring­ing as his phone rang loudly in his top pocket. “An­ar­chy in the UK” was an un­for­tu­nate choice of ring­tone.

The day blown any­way, he an­swered it to hear his wife painfully squawk­ing that she had just opened the bank state­ment…

Go­ing, go­ing, gone…

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