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Posted on Nov 30, 2007 in Front Page Features, TIAOW

The Incorrect Art of War [Episode 36] – A Slip (Or Two) In Time

By A J Summersgill and Jim H Moreno

(Doctor Sinister and General Menace awake to find themselves lying on cold stony ground. It is night, the moon beams down on them from behind wispy clouds. Around them, low level wooden buildings are silhouetted against the moonlight)

Where are we?

(Doctor Sinister removes a small box from his tunic pocket and examines the display) I’m not sure, this thing says 1773.

What is it?

This? It’s our remote recall, when we’re ready to go home we just hit the turquoise button here.

Turquoise?

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Yes, red seemed too obvious and we couldn’t have used mauve.

(Shudders) Oh no, of course not…we might have confused it with the other mauve button.

Precisely. So I went with turquoise. (Looks around) Unfortunately we are off target by some years, we won’t find George Washington here. The war of independence hasn’t even started yet, although the machine won’t tell me where we are.

But Sagacity, this is incredible all the same, we’ve actually gone back in time – I never believed you could really do it!

Oh?

I mean…I never doubted you…but…oh, to heck with it, can we do a little exploring?

I don’t see why not. Does any of this look familiar?

I’m not sure, but I’m fairly sure we’re near the sea.

Really?

Yeah, get a whiff of that salty air, and if you look down that street there, that looks like the rigging of a ship.

Interesting, let’s go and take a look then.

(The two men wander down the road, a road which seems alien to them, with no motor cars, no electric lighting, just the distant noise of whooping men…)

General, can you hear that?

Yes my Lord, it sounds like a large crowd of men heading toward the harbour.

(As if on queue, a throng of men dressed in native American headgear approach, shouting and cheering)

Why are they whooping like that?

Isn’t it obvious General? They appear to be Native Americans.

(Sarcastically) Oh yeah, of course. My Lord, there’s no way those men are Native Americans, it’s clearly some kind of disguise, albeit one so thin I doubt anyone would fail to see through it.

Really? How peculiar. Then they are clearly up to no good. Let’s follow them – discreetly.

(The crowd of men reach a dockside and begin to clamber on board one of several ships docked there. As if performing a well-rehearsed drill, some of the men head down into the hold and shortly, large crates are passed up on deck. Doctor Sinister and General Menace, seemingly unnoticed, join the men on deck. General Menace cranes his neck to take a look at one of the crates which are being stacked neatly in a pile)

It’s tea!

Tea? (Looks at his watch) Do we have time for that?

No my Lord, it’s tea! These are crates of tea! Very valuable stuff in this day and age.

Really? Let’s take a look.

You do that my Lord, I’m going to find out what these men are up to…

(Doctor Sinister heads over to the stack of crates and peers at an identification certificate pinned to one of them. After a few moments, General Menace comes back)

Well?

Most peculiar my Lord, they say they are protesting against British taxation and they are here to, erm, “borrow” the tea.

“Borrow”?

Yes, they are just going to stack it up on the dockside to symbolise their dissatisfaction with the current regime.

But that’s stupid. (Doctor Sinister stands abruptly and as he does so, his sleeve catches one crate which is perched precariously near the deck railing. There is a sudden crash, and the crate topples over the side of the ship and splashes into the sea. There is a stunned silence as all the men on deck turn to look)

Uh-oh.

(The men all look at each other and then, as one, a massive cheer goes up. Simultaneously, the men all grab crates of tea and begin throwing them overboard)

Erm, my Lord, I think we ought to get out of here.

You do? Oh, very well then.

(Doctor Sinister hits the turquoise button as a riot erupts on board the ship and they vanish…)

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