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The Archer Tale (standard:Satire, 1025 words)
Author: Ashok GurumurthyAdded: Mar 18 2005Views/Reads: 2128/1243Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A stupid imitation of Jeffrey Archer.

He sat by the tree looking at the little of the sky that was visible
between the leaves and branches. His cigarette, a filter tip, contained 
finely ground tobacco, which he now proceeded to smoke. As was usual, 
he sent uniform curls of smoke through the air, inhaling none of it. 
The only part that fascinated him about the act was the curls; the 
smell to him was nauseating. He steadfastly maintained that the 
uniformity of the curls was the mark of a gentleman. 

Presently a young lad of nineteen came to him carrying a pot of water,
and quietly sat beside him, having kept the pot down. 'Pop, why don't 
you tell me about the competition of '56?' 

The old man put his cigarette out and sighed. Then he picked up his bow
and swung his quiver full of arrows about his left shoulder, bringing 
it in front. He then selected one arrow and took careful aim. 


That year, Bull's Eye, our club's annual event, had more than six times
the number of participants it had had the previous year—and the 
previous year had seen the largest participation upto then. The reason 
for the throng was that the prize money was one hundred pounds, which 
at that time was the highest you could win in any competition that 
short. There were people from all over England (our club did not 
restrict participation to club members) and not surprisingly the event 
had the attention of the whole of Hampshire. The local newspapers 
carried articles on it all the ten days leading to it, and that brought 
a huge audience. The day before the event a banner read "Archers Go For 
the Kill"—and that precisely is what they did. 

The winner among five hundred and fifty-eight contestants was to be
chosen in nine rounds in the same way tennis tournaments choose winners 
today. Only five hundred and twelve had first-round games, the 
remaining forty-six, the best in the previous year's competition, 
automatically getting a second-round entry. Of course, the major change 
in the rules was that at a time only two would play, and the first one 
to lead the other in the number of bull's eyes hit (provided he had a 
score of at least three) after an equal number of attempts by the two 
won. As you can doubtless appreciate, Bull's Eye was a unique 

On the first day, one hundred and thirteen men turned up dead—an arrow
having pierced each one's heart. Although there was little doubt as to 
the identities of the murderers, no-one had proof. The town was aghast 
and I was enraged. 

I had all along resented the invasion of our club event by outsiders, a
feeling which was proved justified then. 

Can England, which gave the rest of the world the ideals of democracy
and free living, ushered the industrial revolution, and gave the world 
its universal language, turn so barbaric? The war had shaken the very 
spirit of the Englishman. 

Starting with the second round, lots were drawn minutes before the
actual contest to decide who would play whom, and participants were 
given ample security. That ensured no more killings took place, a fact 
which consoled me (though some feared that one of the semi-finalists 
could still wipe out the three others). 

The rounds went on quickly and by the semis all club members were out of
the tournament, except me. I was no mean bowman, and it was no streak 
of luck that won me the previous year's trophy, as I was about to 

For the semi-finals I trained hard, really hard; I sent one hundred
arrows to that cherished spot the day before; was I prepared! 

Billy Dorkes I defeated hands down (3–0). It was later rumoured that he
had threatened his earlier opponents with murder if they didn't lose to 
him, something which he dared not try with me; he was well known for 
his affiliations with hardened criminals. It was to no-one's surprise 
that I won as I did. Guns, not bows, were his speciality. 

The win set up the clash in the finals with Jonas Cork. Was he a man of

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