|The Archer Tale (standard:Satire, 1025 words)|
|Author: Ashok Gurumurthy||Added: Mar 18 2005||Views/Reads: 2128/1243||Story 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 competition. 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 prove. 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 Click here to read the rest of this story (41 more lines)
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