Funny Stories
One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing
One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing
One of our submarines is missing!
A salty tale of high jinx on the high seas by our matelots between decks,
How Tenji
and Miranda S Givings
One of our submarines is missing!
(* Authors’ note to our American readers: You are going to make such arses out of yourselves trying to pronounce these words, you really are)
One of our submarines is missing!
Would you rather read this offline? Click here to download a PDF
One of our submarines is missing!
Chapter One: Angus finds a submarine
One of our submarines is missing!
In a cavernous warehouse somewhere on the island of Islay, Angus McLeod* listened to the radio with mounting impatience and incredulity as the announcer babbled on. 'It’s the stuff of farce; we have had whales, ships, mines and even female officers' regulation navy blue knickers washed up on our shores—and now this: Angus McLeod, fishing three miles off the Mull of Oa, discovered a bright yellow object floating beneath the surface this morning. Initially mistaken for a drum lost from an oil rig, he was shocked to discover it was a Ministry of Defence mini submarine—bristling with hi-tech surveillance equipment. Having towed the mysterious ROV to port behind his trawler, Mary Jane, McLeod hoisted the submarine out of the water for safe keeping and dutifully reported its recovery to the proper authorities. An MOD spokesman told BBC Radio Scotland that—'
"—The fuckin' thing doesna exist!" shouted Angus McLeod as he kicked the radio off with a well-timed swing of his yellow sea boot. "Did ye hear that bampot, Fergus?" he said, swivelling around to hold open the door, as a lean, stick of a fisherman staggered in bearing an enormous sea crate in his arms.
“Aye, I heard it reet enough. The whole village is talkin' aboot it. Will ye no take these mines from us, Angus—the damn things weigh a bloody ton!"
Angus grabbed one edge of the crate and together they carried it to the far side of the warehouse, already stacked to the ceiling with enough naval hardware to provision a small, South American republic.
"I see ye havna shifted the battleship then?" asked Fergus. "Did the Koreans no want it?"
"Och Aye, they wanted it reet enough," said Angus, stuffing the bowl of a filthy pipe from a pouch marked 'For Tax Free Royal Navy use only.' "But they dinna have the cash tae pay for it."
Dropping wearily into a battered captain's chair, he struck a match that illuminated the grizzled hair and weather-beaten face of a dour Scottish fisherman and clamped the pipe determinedly between his yellowed teeth. Parting the disorderly piles of manifests, receipts and take-away pizza boxes which littered an antique escritoire, he reached for a black telephone and began to dial.

He hurriedly replaced the receiver as child’s voice made him start up in surprise.
‘Uncle Angus! Uncle Angus!’ A young girl, perhaps twelve or thirteen years old, rushed up to him, her face alight with suppressed excitement.
"Ye ha’ nay forgotten Uncle?" gasped the girl as she caught his hand and planted an affectionate kiss on his grizzled cheek. "Uncle Angus, ye promised I could go tae the fair!"
Angus McLeod sucked on his pipe and took the girl on his knee.
"Ye'll be the death o' me if ye mother finds out ye've been hangin' around with those Pikeys again, Laoghaire*. All right, here's ten pound, but don't ye come a-greeting tae me when they knock ye up like ye sister Shona."

Two minutes later, Angus McLeod was on the telephone to the Islay Coastguard, who informed him for the umpteenth time that the bright yellow mini submarine resting on wooden blocks not ten feet away from his desk, didn't exist. "What do ye mean, dinna fash yerself? Ye think I dinna know the difference between an oil drum and a bloody submarine bristling wi' hi-tech Ministry of bloody Defence surveillance equipment?"
"Mebbe ye do, Angus, but the MOD say they've not lost one. They don't have any submarines in these waters."
"Och aye?" spat Angus. "And ye believed the bloody Sassenachs, did ye? I suppose the battleships, aircraft carriers and odd socks (blue, sailor's, for the use of), me and my bairns have been pulling out of the North Atlantic these ten years don't exist either?"
"Look—man, I keep telling ye, the MOD say it's impossible tae have found what ye say you've found."
"Och Aye? So now I'm a liar as well, am I Hamish? Ye blethering bampot! Hello? Hello? Bugger, the eejot has hung up on me!"

One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing!
A red telephone rang in a wood panelled office somewhere in Whitehall. A balding man with a boxer's nose reached to answer it.
"Wait for the scrambler light to come on, sir," said a Special Branch minder. "You never know who may be listening.." The light flickered on. The man answered it.
"Hello? John Reid here. Yes—very urgent…yes fully loaded…base? Yes of course we'll need a base. Well covered…yes completely covered, we shouldn't be able to see the base from any angle…What sort? I don't know, like last time…I can't remember what it was called…well what bases do you have? No…no, that can't be right. Oh hang on, yes that was it, deep pan…yes of course I want anchovies and olives; what do you think fully loaded means?" He hung up with an exclamation of impatience.
"Sorry Joe, did you want anything?" he asked the policeman. "I could call back…garlic bread? Salad?.. no? Well, if you're sure."

Reid picked up a model battleshipReid picked up a model battleship from his desk and began to make whooshing sea noises as he swivelled the gun turrets to bombard the fax machine in the corner with little plastic balls. The policeman picked up a model sea-harrier and began to strafe the water-cooler. The two of them were about to mount a full-scale assault on a beige filing cabinet when the door opened and an official entered hurriedly, holding a slip of paper. "Urgent message from the admiralty sir, top priority, code read."

Reid dropped the battleship and leaped to his feet. "Code red? Isn't that WMD in 45 minutes? I'd better ring the BBC and see if Paxman is free."
"No sir," said the official "That's code red, this is code read; we read the code, it was code blue—not red. We are going to have to change these codes—it's becoming farcical. We don't want another slip-up like Iraq do we, Sergeant?"
The policeman flushed and sidled toward the door.
"Code blue you say?" repeated Reid. "Well, if you're sure. Let's have a look." Reid sat down at his desk and read the read code.
"What is all this bloody nonsense about a fisherman finding one of our submarines adrift near Islay? Have we lost a submarine? Surely I would have been told?" He grabbed the red telephone. "Get me the admiralty," he snapped into the mouthpiece.
The policeman was halfway out of the room when Reid waved a peremptory finger at him. "Hang on a minute, Sergeant. You'd better fetch Beauchamp*."
"Your secretary?" asked the policeman with a puzzled frown. "Why would—"
"—Because she's a bloody woman, man! She's bound to know where it is."
Right you are, Sir... Anything else?"
"Um—make sure that pizza is fully loaded."
The policeman saluted and dashed out.
Well? What are standing there for, Marjoribanks*? Get on with it man!"
"Me, Sir?" asked the official.
"Yes, you Sir. Start over there behind the filing cabinet."
"The submarine! You'll look a proper Charley if Tamara Beauchamp finds it first, won't you?"

Reid drummed his fingers impatiently on the desk as he waited to be connected. By the time the call finally went though, Marjoribanks had opened the door to admit a stunning brunette wearing a charcoal grey business suit, who pulled up a chair next to Reid and flicked back a strand of hair from her aristocratic forehead.
"Hello, hello? Yes, what's all this damned nonsense about a submarine...what do you mean my call is valuable to you? I'm Secretary of State for Defence I should bloody well hope it is. Press button 1 if..." He looked up at the woman: "It's a bloody computer, Tamara; listen!" His finger stabbed the speaker-phone button. A disembodied voice continued. 'Press button 2 if you would like to report a drunken sailor. Press button 3 if you have found a small yellow submarine near Islay. Press button 4 if you would like to book token Royal Navy support for the next American excursion in the Middle East. For all other enquiries please wait, an operator will be with you shortly.'
"Hear that?" snapped Reid, giving the telephone a vicious slap which sent it skidding across the table into the waste-paper basket. "No wonder we couldn't find those bloody weapons in Iraq! Now—Tamara, we appear to have lost a—do put that down, Marjoribanks, does it look like a mini-submarine?"
"" began the flustered official, "it is yellow..."
"So is Beauchamp's blouse, but it no more resembles a submarine than that plastic duck you're holding."
"Sorry, Sir."

"Now—Tamara, it seems the admiralty are having a bit of Wendy about some blasted submarine they say we lost."
"Have you looked properly?" she asked brusquely.
"We don't want another repeat of the Tank incident, do we Minister?"
"Well—look here," objected Marjoribanks. "That was a simple clerical error—"
"—Shut up Marjoribanks," snapped Tamara. "And do put that silly duck down."
She leaned closer to Reid and whispered conspiratorially.
"You've not been tidying up the office again, have you, you naughty boy?"
"You know, moved things."
"I think it's a bit too big to lose in the filing cabinet," said Reid, becoming suddenly very aware of her scent and mopping his brow with a florid, red handkerchief. "Is it hot in here, or is it me?"
"Well—yes, it is a bit," agreed Tamara, slipping off her jacket.
Reid swallowed noisily as she leaned forward, the thin blouse stretched tightly across her firm, jutting breasts. "Where did you see it last?" she asked, giving Reid the look that always reminded him of his nanny.
"The—um—admiralty message said some Scottish crofter found it bobbing about off the island of Islay."
"Well, there you are then. Go and pick it up."
"Er…we can't. It doesn't officially exist you see...Look, um—Tamara...could you see your way to perhaps..."
"Really!" snorted Tamara. "You expect me to spend my life picking up submarines after you?"

One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing!
Would you rather read this offline? Click here to download a PDF
One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing!
Comment on this story? Click the button to have your say Get it off your chest!
One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing!
Story © 2005 How Tenji & Miranda Givings.
Pictures and construction © 2005 / 251005
One of our submarines is missing!
One of our submarines is missing!
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