More RATTLER’S TALE Stories
by Anthony North
Poets & Storytellers United
The Sunday Muse
in association with
PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart
‘You never got involved in Nam, did you?’ said the US veteran.
The Brit veteran said: ‘No. We were too busy.’
‘Giving back our empire – and fighting the Commies who tried to take over.’
‘Where was that, then?’
‘Malaya, Borneo, as well as parts of Africa and the Middle East.’
‘How come we never heard much of them?’
‘Because in the main we were successful.’
‘How? Did you have some secret weapon like bombs or Agent Orange?’
‘Of a sort.’
‘What was that?’
And here we are at Ad Hoc County Launch Site.
We’re all excited by the turn of events.
Following many false starts and redesigns we’re ready for blast off.
Indeed, Eton Must is piloting the prototype himself.
We asked him if the new fuel would be powerful enough.
‘Of course! I went back to the beginning for the idea.’
He elaborated: ‘But we don’t need as much hot air as Poe’s balloonist.
‘The only danger is it may be too explosive.’
We asked him what he meant.
‘Well, it was collected from the President’s breath during his speeches.’
83 comments on “Rattler’s Tale #9”
Many were pressed into service in those dirty little wars
By pressed I assume you mean national service, which most western countries indulged in at the time. Yes, they got very dirty indeed, I agree. But bit by bit the British strategy of Hearts & Minds, befriending and helping villages, denying the communists of the ‘sea of humanity’ to assist them, won the day.
The benefit of hindsight. Of course the trouble now is that we Brits still think and act like we have an Empire when the rest of the world has moved on.
We’re an insignificant island with a medium population, but just a few of British achievements and ideas, or Brits, that have become globally iconic. King Arthur, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Doctor Who; Shakespeare, Dickens, the Brontes, Agatha Christie; liberal democracy, inalienable rights, separation of powers, empiricism, penal reform, the English language, modern capitalism, industrialisation, the two Elizabeths; universal gravitation, natural selection, DNA, proof of relativity, the world wide web; the Beatles, David Bowie, Led Zep; the NHS is the world’s 5th largest employer and the Commonwealth covers a 3rd of the world’s population. And yes, we have much to be ashamed of (the world’s largest slave trader and drug trafficker), but with such an inheritannce, I think we can be allowed a touch of conceit and arrogance.
A side of history I ignorantly didn’t know about. Great convo.
Thank you for that.
We took similar directions, didn’t we? Very pointed conversation. Well done.
Thank you, Rochelle.
Having lived and travelled in ex-Empire countries, you are quite right, Anthony. Whatever history may say about the ‘rightness’ of the British Empire – or any of the many other countries which ruled over others – at least the British did their best to help ‘their’ countries return to independence. You only have to look at the Commonwealth to see how many countries wanted to maintain strong links with Britain which says it all really.
Susan A Eames at
Travel, Fiction and Photos
Thank you, Susan, much appreciated.
A lots happens and people aren’t even aware.
Doctors have been “used”.
Indeed, but all volunteers. Rather than bomb villages, we treated their sick, provided food – starved the communists of the ‘sea of humanity’ they thrived on.
Very interesting, Anthony. My dad was called up for Viewnam out of the lottery we had here in Australia. However, he was injured in a car accident and was medically unfit to go. I often wonder how different things would have been if he’d gone.
Thanks for that. He was very lucky.
Two nations with little to be proud of in their overseas ‘adventures’
Colonialism, I definitely agree with you, but personally I think it was right to stand up to the likes of Napoleon and Hitler, and do what we could to help the old colonies.
An interesting take on 20th century history, expressed neatly.
Thanks for that, Penny.
England and America do indeed have a great deal in common–including the slavery thing. I have a son who lives in England, and enjoyed visiting him and has wife last summer. England has always called to me. We’re related, after all 🙂
You’re quite right, Linda – and for reminding us of the disgrace of our slaving past.
There’s more than one way to fight a war as your tale reminds us. It’s not always necessary to leave a trail of destruction in our wake.
So very true, Keith.
As long as there are men there will be wars.
True, but what would there be without us?
Indeed… maybe if the French had done the same Vietnam would have been different
Strangely enough, the first administration in the region after WWII was British. As the region was known as French Indo China, when the French got their act together, we handed it over. Whereas the British resolved to work for independence of the colonies, the French decided to keep theirs, resulting in the tragedy of Vietnam, and later their other major colonies, Algeria and Syria.
I think the American never heard of them because they were not involved… They only know about the countries they fought (I am generalising, I know).
Well done, Anthony
Thanks for that, Dale. Much appreciated.
Interesting. I learned a lot in your short story and comments. I did not know Led Zepplin was English.
Thank you. Yes, Led Zep is a fully English band.
I enjoyed your tongue-in-cheek irony in both pieces, Anthony. That’s the joy of British humour, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. But seriously, for a tiny island, we’ve had a lot of debts and guilt, but we’ve attempted to support the countries that were part of the Empire to get back to independence. It’s just as shame that the current government can’t see that, now this little island is on its own, it does need allies. Sadly, there remains a vein of Empire mentality and arrogance, which makes some people behave like we still have one. But you are right, Anthony, about British achievements and our global icons. I chuckled when I read the name ‘Eton Must’, ‘we don’t need as much hot air as Poe’s balloonist’ and ‘it was collected from the President’s breath during his speeches’. And I’d like to reiterate that Led Zeppelin is an English band, as are Black Sabbath, Free, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Cream, and so many other great bands that set the tone of the sixties and seventies.
Thanks for that, Kim, and as I was a 70s rock guitarist (just a local band), I’ll add to the list – The Who, The Kinks, The Hollies, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Queen, Pink Floyd …
How on earth did I forget Deep Purple? Oh, and I also forgot the Hollywood Brits – Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, 3 of the 4 main stars of Gone With the Wind, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott.
I like this. Nice dialogue, Anthony, and great strategy on the part of the British!
Thank you Brenda, very kind.
Not knowing as much as I should about history, I gained some knowledge through the comments. Nice dialogue too!
Thank you for that.
And still in many many countries rulers fight to maintain control, maybe it is human nature. Even many doctors build empires these days. But I did enjoy the dialogue
Thanks for that, and so true.
Americans tend to know little about what did not take place within the US borders … It is a kind of blindness.
Yes, this tends to happen when a country is Top Dog. Britain had a very similar attitude in the 19th century when we were the only super power.
Love Blast Off Anthony! It’s a big hit and that hot air holds much truth yet still made me laugh! Steller stuff! Glad to see you this week!!
Thanks for that Carrie, much appreciated.
Mr. Eton Must got it right …. way too much hot air! Cheers.
Indeed he has.
I like your “Blast Off” write, Anthony. I am not a trump admirer and his hot air is made up of lies and exaggerations. Those might sink your flight craft.
Many thanks Jim.
Well the Brits did see the wisdom of allowing their colonies freedom unless they wanted to hang on.
Yes, one of the best things we did regarding empire.
I liked both your surprise endings. The second one gave me a good laugh.
Aussies, of course, were involved in both Vietnam and Malaysia!
Thanks for that, Rosemary. And yes, you’ve always been a friend by our side – except cricket, of course.
I enjoyed reading Blast off 😀 “collected from the President’s breath during his speeches.” Hahaha brilliant!
Many thanks, Sanaa, glad you liked it.
This was a ride…thanks for the laugh at the end–although it seems less and less funny that his rhetoric should continue to blow up others rather than himself.
Many thanks, Chrissa. I often find satire is the best way to out the unfunny.
I had to smile at the “hot air” lines. Awesome, I needed a smile this morning.
Glad to be of service, Sherry 🙂
I really enjoyed the second–hilarious and terrifying.
Thanks for that. Much appreciated.
Thanks for that. Glad you liked it 🙂
I loved the final satirical reference to the sorry excuse we have for a leader at a time when we need a man of honor and integrity the most! Great write.
Thanks for that, Bev.
Ha ha! And we need doctors to treat all that hot air we’ve been burnt by.
We do indeed, Colleen.
I smiled at the president’s breath. I was seriously reading before that part
Happy Sunday, thanks for dropping by my sumie Sunday today
Many thanks, Gillena.
Interesting take on current and past events… though watching the Dragon docking was the best thing during the entire lockdown.
Yes, I watched it, too.
Anything taken from our president’s breath would be poisonous, and too flat and sterile to explode. I would think. Love this witty exchange full of history and snark.
Thanks for that. Much appreciated.
haha i liked the exchange between the US and the British soldier. i have often been involved in such conversations but this time not related to military feats but with personal activities. I always would lose, haha. great write, great work!
Thank you, glad you liked it.
Everything is a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Well done.
It is indeed. Thank you.
Two awesome pieces of writing … eloquently rendered with authenticity and insight. A pleasure to read.
Many thanks for that, Wendy, much appreciated.
I learned some history, and had a laugh. What could be better?
Many thanks for that, Sara.
I’m laughing heartily at the presidential-breath fuel!
Glad to be of service 🙂
We are quite myopic when we look through a prism of our own making. Thanks, Anthony for sparking that thought and a brief history lesson. My ancestors left the empire more than two centuries ago. They may have been driven out, I’m not sure.
I’m a bit partial to Manfred Mann Earth’s Band. In particular the song “Stranded (In Iowa).” I’m sure there’s a reason why…
Indeed, but we’ve done pretty well together since. On the second point, could the reason be snow, lol.
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