Read The Call of the Thunder Dragon Online

Authors: Michael J Wormald

Tags: #spy adventure wwii, #pilot adventures, #asia fiction, #humor action adventure, #history 20th century, #china 1940s, #japan occupation, #ww2 action adventure, #aviation adventures stories battles

The Call of the Thunder Dragon (4 page)

While Zam went back to
the Manor house, Falstaff had the porter call a car and then left
immediately to attend to the Caproni. ccclxxi

Falstaff was impatient
to start the on the Caproni. There was no sign of Gibbs or his
mechanics so he stripped the Caproni down, removing the cowlings
and covers. ccclxxiii

Bushido, the way of
the warrior. 559

Moon light on the
ruined castle, an old Japanese folk poem; Kojo no Tsuki one of the
most famous Japanese songs ever made. Music composed in 1901 by
Rentaro Taki. It is very possible Falstaff heard an ‘Enka’,
Japanese Jazz version and learned the lyrics. 559

Gaijin, foreigner, or
literally any non-Japanese person. 559

Zam had not had a
minute’s peace all afternoon. It had taken nearly an hour to get
rid of Mrs. Anderson. Whom she found to be a frightful bore intent
on getting as much fresh gossip as she could. Having pumped Zam for
details about Falstaff and their remarkable journey from China.
Mrs. Anderson talked of nothing more than her own puerile
activities pursued simply to avoid her own husband, whom she openly
detested. ccclxxxiv

The pressure on his
neck was suddenly was gone. Falstaff opened his eyes and pushed
Ono’s apparently unconscious body off his back. ccclxxxvii

They watched the
police take the Assassin away. He had remained mute, refusing to
give his name. He’d said nothing, nor stirred since he’d been woken
by a bucket of cold water. ccclxxxix

Back at the Manor
house, Falstaff found the small dose of morphine Doctor John gave
him helped him through the most painful step of his recovery; that
of scrubbing the oil and dirt off. The scratches and scuffs were
minor, but there were many of them, these stung until the drug
started to ease the pain. cccxci

Eleven – The Gymkhana Burns cccxcviii

The tea rooms were
already buzzing, many of the guests and long-term residents or
visiting tourists were there preparing for the Burns’ Night at the
Gymkhana club. cccxcviii

The doctor picked them
up early, especially employing a local driver for the evening.
Doctor John was wearing a hideous orange and green tartan kilt,
with a shiny black velvet dinner jacket, with a white silk ruffled
shirt. He made a point of showing Zam his handkerchief and shoved
it like a dandy in his top pocket. cccxcix

The time passed
quickly over Gin and Tonic or Whiskey and water. Zam was taught how
to play trumps by Doctor John. She smartly beat Falstaff, Gibbons
and their new friends at the club twice in a row. cdi

It was commonly
reported that the Japanese would be unable to fly well, due at an
unbalance resulting from being carried on their mother’s backs.

Quiff 1920’s Slang A
promiscuous woman a prostitute. 559

Thalmann Battalion
International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the
nationalists. Named after the German communist leader Ernst
Thalmann, included approximately 1,500 people, mainly working class
Germans, Austrians, Swiss & Scandinavians. More than the better
known ‘volunteer’ Condor legion of German Luftwaffe pilots fighting
for the fascists. 559

The Irrawaddy Flotilla
Co. ran a virtual monopoly that put many Burmese out of business.
However, the development of waterways and land played a vital role
in the development of Burma. The Flotilla was put out of business
by the Japanese invasion. The British destroyed all boats and
barges to prevent them falling into Japanese hands. Japan is now a
major investor in the Burma economy and land development; benefits
of are seen as both positive and negative. 560

Deputy Inspector
General Wititterly shook his head and shut the door off his office;
he hoped for the last time. He blew out his breath, held in
exasperation. Having spent most of the day and the previous morning
with the gentlemen he had just seen out. He turned to his desk and
dropped into the chair behind it. cdxvii

Commander Donald
Quittenton-Godfrey, RN looked at the telegraph message handed to
him by the inspector. He was a tall, athletic looking type with a
square jaw and handsome, clean-shaven virtuous looking face. He
walked with a slight limp and carried a cane. Otherwise, he looked
fit, alert and full of saintly narcissism. cdxix

Falstaff woke much
later than planned at around ten o’clock the next morning.

The repairs had taken
less than a day. Gibbons had been keen to start early. Having made
up his mind to leave, wanted to get his own work out of the way and
make preparations himself. cdxxii

They were all set to
leave having eaten their fill at the clubhouse they decided to
press on that evening to a lake a few hours flight to the east.
They hoped to camp and fly on uninterrupted to Guwahati Junction at
first light. Arriving early to refuel for the next day. cdxxiv

The Devoted Pilgrim.
Categorized as a ‘drukdra’ song a relatively lively, rhythmic
Bhutanese songs. The song describes the devotional and passionate
nature of several figures such as a lama, teacher, parent and soul
mate. 560

Show me the way to go
home’ popular song written 1925 under pseudonymous ‘Irving King’,
the English song-writing team James Campbell and Reginald Connelly.
The song is said to have been written on a train journey from
London. 560

Donald alighted from
the train, somewhat battered and shaken. Not a good state to be in,
every ounce of his reserve was required to stand the culture shock
of yet another district of India, in this case, Assam where he now
found himself. cdxxvii

Bodos are ethnic and
linguistic group in Brahmaputra valley, northeast India. Bodo
(pronounced BORO) in Mech, the language . the Sino-Tibetan language
of the Bodo people. 560

The next morning they
awoke to the sounds of many water birds passing overhead, heading
out into the lake. After a quick breakfast of coffee and fried
eggs, they set off again flying up from the lake sneaking back into
the sky. cdxxxi

Donald waved to
Morgans as the train pulled out of Guwahati station. It was over
ten hours on the train to Jorhat. He had with him two bottles of
soda and a parcel of sandwiches, carrot with coriander chutney.

Leaving the airstrip
office, Falstaff blew out his breath. cdxxxvi

Colonel Haga-Jin had a
hangover. He wasn’t normally a serious drinker. The long cold
flight from Guwahati had tested his nerves. The defaming scar on
his face stung and he seethed with humiliation deep inside. Not
only that, before setting off from Guwahati the news from Jorhat
was bad. Not only failure but Ono Itchi had been arrested. Haga-Jin
had lost his temper, after which he’d fallen out with Captain Akira
over their next course of action. cdxxxviii

Chitose Ame literally
‘thousand year candy’, is given to children on rite of passage for
3 or 7 yr girls; or 5 yr boys. 560

Nue, a Japanese
chimera with the face of a monkey, torso of a tanuki (Japanese
Raccoon dog, often sculptured with unfeasibly large testicles), the
limbs of a tiger and the tail of a snake. 560

The bus driver had
warmly greeted Falstaff and Zam, who took their seats along with
the farmers with chickens on their laps; or bundles of carrots;
cabbages; bunches of red Malabar spinach and sacks of bright green
bottle gourd. cdxlii

Twelve – Escape to the West cdxlv

The British municipal
police were used to dealing with the tough drunken coolies and the
odd mountain bandit. The weird and wonderful, the best and worst of
the Orient and India but all relatively harmless. They could handle
whatever was thrown at them, most of the time. However, their
latest prisoner was an entirely new type. A deadly armed assassin
and a dangerous prisoner even when unarmed. They knew nothing about
him; other than the suspected accusation that he was a Japanese
assassin. cdxlv

The bicycle rickshaw,
laden with rice, dried meat, fruit, tea, coffee and a few souvenirs
that Zam had acquired along the way, pulled up by the riverside.
Falstaff jumped from the rickshaw and the driver waited patiently
as he had all day acting as their impromptu city guide.

They took the last
boat bound for Guwahati across the river. It was one another of the
big flat motor boats. The wait was made longer and more unpleasant
by the arrival of darkness, bringing insects and flies that seemed
intent on buzzing around their faces. The Crossing was done in near
darkness, the white foam of the raging river glowing in the dark.
Ahead the ferry port was lit only by dim lights until they were
close, then the lights were switched on and the city and riverside
markets seemed to light up and come alive. They dismounted as their
guide pushed the bicycle rickshaw ashore. They headed into the
darkness, seeking out the lights flickering at the end of the path
leading to the street. cdlv

They arrived at their
last destination in Guwahati after darkness fell. They paid off
their guide generously. He left them with a cheery wave then
disappeared the rickshaw creaking into the dark. cdlv

“You’re cute, cunning
I think, a scheming lady-dog? I know, do you? You can’t fool him
all the time?” Deepti smiled. cdlviii

Seccotine Billy Bunter
was glued to his chair by Seccotine (1910), the glue was quoted to
be used by RAF and Admiralty [probably for envelopes] FIRMAS was an
alternative for use with hot components. 560

Falstaff watched the
approaching black peak through thickening wisps of cloud, summit
pointed up like an innocuous little island out of the choking grey
cloud. They cleared the first peak with only two hundred feet to
spare. cdlxxi

Colonel Haga-Jin
grimaced, his patience wearing thin, he could do nothing but grin
and bear the delay and consternation caused by their guide. It was
made worse, Haga-Jin thought by his continual excuses and fawning
smiles. cdlxxii

Battle of
Toba-Fushimi, pro-Imperial & shogunate forces fought each other
during the Boshin War. Armies of the Tokugawa shogun &
pro-imperials clashed near Fushimi, Kyoto. It ended with a decisive
defeat for the Tokugawa shogunate; thus shifting political power
& influence to the largely ignored old ‘imperial court’ in
Kyoto. 560

Kazoku, Japanese
hereditary Lord or title, meaning literally magnificent/Exalted
lineage 560

Thirteen – The House of the Ox in the Land of Thunder cdlxxvii

To describe Lord Lang
Druk as a big man was an understatement, he was a mountain. Broader
than the doors and taller than the beds were long. He wore an
enormous handmade coat, which could have served as a bedspread for
an entire family. The thick woollen coat was a traditional red and
black check; with the white cuffs folding back. Across his chest
and over his shoulders he wore a criss-cross mat of made from bolts
of silk ribbons. White, green, red and orange; simply interwoven on
his chest, then tied behind at this waist. The colors matched the
woven ribbons around his huge black conical iron helmet. His felt
boots were big enough to hold a child. He wore no mask, his
eyebrows were thick and hairy like scrubbing brushes. His face was
covered with a black beard that spread out over his chest like a
bear skin. When he scowled, his teeth showed yellow between his
curling lips. The only thing missing from the demonic image was a
battleaxe or blood-stained hammer. cdlxxvii

Arbuda, one of the
Buddhist hells. A dark, frozen plain surrounded by icy mountains
and continually swept by blizzards 560

Three O’clock in the
Morning Waltz Words by John McCormack and Dorothy Terriss. A Hit in
1940 560

“Bugger!” Falstaff
shouted. There was nothing he could do but fly. He kept glancing at
the flames. Small yellow flashes flicking around the engine casing
while thick black smoke trailed behind. cdlxxxviii

Falstaff awoke to the
sound of the Starboard engine purring gently. It was still running,
the propeller just clear of the mud and trees. cdxciv

Naraka Sanskrit word
for the underworld 560

Falstaff knew he was
dreaming. Why he couldn’t wake up or why he kept having dreams he
couldn’t make out. He dreamt of walking naked through the waist
deep snow into his father’s dining room to announce, in the style
of a Theravada chant, his intention to grow wings and fly on a
cloud, on a journey to the west, to deliver the scriptures of
Cranwell up the Dragon’s bottom. cdxcix

Gānchái lièhuǒ
literally “raging fire and dry wood,” a young couple on fire!

Colonel Haga-Jin and
his men had been given the use of an old hall for the night, it was
early morning and the men were just finishing breakfast. The
colonel paced up and down looking around it's now bare worn walls.
The decorations of Buddhist mandala and wheels, seated teachers -
Buddha’s faded into the plaster. di

The last of the horses
were packed. The cargo of carefully wrapped tea, rice wine and
other souvenirs of Zam’s journey spread between the sturdy horses.
Riding in front, they started on the five-mile trek up the valley
to Zam’s home. diii

After an hour waiting,
Falstaff was invited in for a feast. dx

Renzo Kagawa, the
dentist, stepped from the train behind Donald. He tipped his hat
and said goodbye. dxi

Falstaff awoke aburtly
to the boom of Lang’s brisk orders. dxiv

It was a bright
afternoon, the wind was calm, barely stirring the grass by the side
the path. The lake, the Ox sand lake twinkled in the sun. Falstaff
looked along its shore, looking down to where it met the river. In
amongst the trees, he saw a tail. The tail of an aeroplane; a
Douglas Dolphin. dxviii

Fourteen – Look back in Anger and Forward in Fear dxxii

Captain Soujiro had
been shot in the chest. Beside him lay the one of his troopers. He
looked him in the eye and the soldier looked back at the blood
pouring from his wound. The soldier tried to reach the wound to
stop the flow of blood from his captain’s chest, then fell back.

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