your word on that," said the clerk, gentleman to gentleman. "But this
is now a matter for the police."
pardon?" asked Dowle.
"You see, in
his stupor, he mislaid the cartridges for the Greener gun. We have to account
for every one. Terrorists, you know."
That was true
enough. While the Mau Mau had been defeated, its successor—the Land Freedom
Army—was quite active, yet to be winkled out by security forces. There were
recurrent reports of oathing ceremonies by movement witch doctors deep in the
forest. Weapons had been stolen from police stations and later turned up in
terrorist caches. Thus, losing arms or ammunition was an offense that carried a
I removed the two
cartridges from my jacket. "I didn't think it was safe to have a loaded gun
in the boat," I said. "And you're dead right. He'd been drinking."
No honor among us thieves, the dirty snitch.
The clerk took
the cartridges. "That was thoughtful," he said. "How's fishing,
"Cracking," said Dowle.
suggested we join the other guests, who were celebrating Christmas Eve in the
bar. Then he left us, going to wherever inn clerks go at such a time.
cheek," said Dowle when he was safely out of earshot. "I'm quite fond
of that flagon."