It wasn't surprising, therefore, that Eddy wasn't at church in Banana next morning to hear the Rev. Been Timon, in formal Gilbertese wear of white shirt, tie and black wraparound skirt, admonish his congregation to worship God, not Mammon. The call to service had been made by the striking of an iron bar against an old nitrous oxide cylinder left by, of course, the military.
Neither, naturally, was Eddy one of the white-robed choir that after service sang in sweet harmonic Gilbertese first Hark the Herald Angels Sing then Joy to the World, practicing for one of the special events that in little more than a month would mark Christmas on Christmas Island—a grand competition among the choirs of London, Poland and Banana that would follow the morning service and the midday Christmas feast of pig roasted in an earth pit. A basket of food would be the prize, said the Rev. Timon, and all three villages would assemble for the occasion at the maneaba (the open-air meeting place) in London.
They can expect Eddy, presumably, in about a quarter of a century, around Christmas 2008 A.D. Maybe not even then.