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We Three Blokes of Orient Aren't

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Chronicler of Crux
Staff member
We Three Blokes of Orient Aren't

There’s not a lot to do in the desert at night, at least, not in the absence of any women. Bobinder and I were in our tent drinking some concoction of Bob’s which, I must say, was extremely pleasant, the camels were outside doing whatever it is that camels do at night when they are bored, and Jollyrei was out stargazing.

Stargazing, drinking, or sleeping. Once the tent is up and the camels fed, those are the options. Occasionally we played chess but Bob was so bloody good at it that Jollyrei and I had lost interest somewhat.

“Good ale, Bob! Shame it’s not cold, but you can’t have everything.”

Bob yawned. “There’s not much ice in the desert, Wragg. What the hell is Jollyrei up to? He’s been out there for ages! We need to get some sleep soon if we’re to be up early enough to reach Eulalia’s Oasis tomorrow!”

I sighed. Eulalia’s Oasis. The mere thought of it brought a smile to my face. “There won’t be much chance of an early night tomorrow!”

Eulalia wasn’t the only woman that lived by her oasis, which was just as well, because if she had been, Jollyrei and I wouldn’t have got a look-in. You needed brains and an encyclopaedic knowledge to get along with Eulalia, and while Bob had those in spades, Jollyrei and I had been somewhat nearer the back of the queue. I couldn’t conjugate my Latin verbs to save my life, nor could Jollyrei, and so Eulalia looked to Bob for her conjugation.

Bob grunted, and moved over to the tent flap. Opening it brought a sharp rebuke from Jollyrei. “Put that light out, Bob! I’m trying to study the stars!”

“Well, be quiet when you come back in, for God’s sake. I’ll be asleep!”

And so, lulled into the arms of Morpheus by Bob’s Brew, within a quarter of an hour I was sound asleep, and very happy to be so.

Ten seconds later, or so it seemed, Jollyrei was shaking me. “Wragg!” he hissed, ”Wake up! I think I’ve seen a sign!”


“Wake up, you lazy git! It’s a sign, I tell you!”

“I’ll show you a bleeding sign,” I grumbled, extending my middle finger in time-honoured fashion, before rolling over with my back to him.

But the swine kept on shaking me, until I concluded that the quickest way to get back to sleep was to go with him and find out what he was on about. Luckily for Jollyrei, Bob still slept soundly.

“This had better be good!” Rubbing my eyes, I followed him out of the tent. At first, the whole sky was a blur, but eventually, as I woke up, I began to see the details. It all looked pretty much as I’d last seen it. Mars and Saturn were up, but there was no moon.

“Gemini,” said Jollyrei.

I peered at Gemini. It had not long since risen, so it was fairly low in the east, but high enough to be well clear of the horizon.

“Wasat,” said Jollyrei.

“What’s what?” My brain was still somewhat sleep-fuddled. Or Bob’s brew fuddled, have it as you will.

“Not ‘what’s that’, cloth-ears, Wasat!”

I finally caught up with him. Wasat is the star that marks the ‘pelvis’ of the twin headed by Pollux. So I studied Pollux’s pelvis, and there, just below his pelvis and between his legs, was a smudge.

“So what’s that near Wasat?” I ventured. “It looks like Pollux has got bollocks!”

“Well done, that man. You are absolutely right. I’m sure he didn’t have any yesterday! What do you think it means?”

“I should think it means that Pollux is very happy,” I yawned. “Can I go back to bed now?”

“Do you think we should wake Bob?”

“Ooh, now that is a risk. You know what Bob’s like if he doesn’t get his beauty sleep!”

“So you wake him.”

“Buggered if I will. You’re the one that’s so excited about Pollux’s bollocks! You wake him.”

Jollyrei weighed up his chances of survival, took a deep breath, and headed for the tent. One of the camels grunted, as if to say, “watch out, lads, there may be troubles ahead!”

I put my fingers in my ears. But it was no good, because moments later the desert rang with the sound of Bob discussing Jollyrei’s parentage in highly uncomplimentary terms and at a very loud volume indeed.

As soon as he was outside the tent, he started on me. “Did you put him up to this, Wragg? If you did, I’m warning you, you’ll regret it! What is all this nonsense about a sign?”

I reasoned that leading Bob on a guessing game around the heavens was not likely to improve his mood, so I came straight to the point. “There’s a smudge near Wasat, you know, delta Geminorum. We thought a clever bloke like you might know what it meant.”

Flatter them when they’re grumpy. It never fails. Bob fell silent immediately, and studied Gemini intently. I held my breath, awaiting the Wisdom from the Oracle, prepared, if necessary, to write down his next insightful words so that they might be set in the annals of astronomical and astrological knowledge.

“It looks like Pollux has got bollocks!”

I exhaled violently. “Even Jollyrei and I got that far! What we want to know is…”

“What does it mean?” asked Jollyrei. I wish he wouldn’t finish my sentences. It’s so irritating.

Once again Jollyrei and I held our breath. Bob knows everything.

“I haven’t got the first fucking clue…. “

Jollyrei and I groaned in disappointment.

“…but,” continued Bob, “I know a woman who will have a clue!”

To be continued


Depictor of Dreams
Staff member
Sounds how a interesting alternate christmas tale. Caution!

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