One of my colleagues used the word “slapstick” to describe the first part of this one. I think that’s right. Kind of carries on in the same vein, too. As I think I said last month, it was inspired by the humour that is born out of the dispiriting task of closing your own organisation.
I’m conscious that the current situation is pulling me towards some quite dark places in this saga. But there’s lots of humour about the place. Can’t help but be inspired by a general atmosphere of silliness around the office.
I like the idea in this story of the ones that “got away”, maybe being a bit like those wonderful Russian agents who were expelled from the US a little while back. Carrying the Soviet Union in their hearts.
Which reminds me of another story... On the banks of what now is Lake Nasser (it was, before the valley was flooded, on a crag, overlooking the Nile) is the ruin of the fortress Kasr Ibrim. It was one of the furthest outposts of the Ottoman empire. Several hundred years ago a garrison of Bosnians was stationed there to guard the empire against whatever threat sub-Saharan Africa might pose. They were sent, and duly forgotten about. As is the way with empires. As the years passed, they must’ve realised something was up, because they took up with local Nubian girls and started families. To this day, there are red-headed Nubians in southern Egypt who think they’re a cut above the others…