"I'd swear that was him," the Major says as they board the charabanc for the final leg of their journey, the home run.
"Who?" Mrs Percy asks, although she doesn't really want an answer. She's out on her feet. Dead beat. Exhausted. Cream crackered. She just wants to go home to bed.
"That chappie behind the bar there," the Major says. "I'd swear that it's the same ruddy chap who was running the burger van at the waterfall. And at the Lovers Leap. It's the same chap, I say."
"Does it really matter, Major?" Mrs Percy sighs as they take their seats aboard the charabanc.
"Of course it matters woman!" the Major trumps. "The buggers are up to something I tell you."
"I don't know. Can't quite put my finger on it. Oh bloody hell..."
The Major tails off as some of the younger passengers approach the charabanc across the pub car park. They appear to be getting a tad raucous. One of the females is drinking from what appears to be a vodka bottle, some of the men are drinking cans of beer. They all appear to be a little unsteady on their feet.
"Look at them!" the Major hisses to Mrs Percy. "They're all three sheets to the bloody wind!"
"Oh, they're young, Major. I bet you got sozzled once or twice in your youth. Leave them alone, they're just having a good time. Enjoying themselves."
Presently, all the passengers return to the charabanc, which becomes filled with the sound of excited chatter, and the odd squeal from the ladies.
The charabanc driver starts the motor and manouevres the charabanc out of the car park. Inevitably, a hat appears, a collection for the driver.
"I'm not giving him anything," the Major grumbles. "He can ruddy well bugger off."
"Don't be so mean Major," Mrs Percy chides. "It's traditional."
"Is it buggery, the wife!" the Major says. "You don't send the cap round for thr driver when you get the bus to town. You don't pass the cap round for a train driver or a ruddy pilot. Judging by the price of this trip, the charabanc company must be paying him an absolute fortune anyway. No. Certainly not. He's getting bugger all from me."
"Then I shall put in, for both of us."
"Please yourself. And next time we go shopping you can tip the ruddy checkout girl."
Eventually somebody hands the cap to the driver, and thanks him for a lovely day. Of course he has to make a speech over the tannoy about it.
"Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen," he announces. "Your generosity is much appreciated. I hope you've all enjoyed today half as much as I have. If that's the case, then I've enjoyed it twice as much as you, and that can't be bad can it. Once again, thank you very much."
Then, much to the Major's consternation, the singing starts up again. The rowdy mob at the back start singing 'Football's Coming Home.'
"I wish they'd cut that bloody racket out," the Major complains. "It's starting to give me a migraine."
"Don't be such a misery guts," Mrs Percy chides.
But the singing increases in volume, and one of the young women from the back of the charabanc gets up and stands in the aisle, conducting the choir. Then things get a bit raucous as the men start singing 'Get Yer Tits Out For The Lads!'
The Major swivels around in his seat to check up on proceedings. He is horrified to see the woman at the back launch into what looks very much like a strip tease routine. And sure enough, the men start up with 'The Stripper' theme.
"She isn't..." the Major gasps. "She's taking her bloody top off!"
"Don't look Major," says Mrs Percy. "Pretend you're above that sort of thing."
"I am above that sort of thing!" the Major snorts, still looking. "Bloody hell, the wife. She's a big girl...oh bugger, she's heading our way..."
"Don't you dare look Major! I'm warning you!"
But the Major has little say in the matter, as the well endowed young woman stands right by him and treats him to a 'jiggle.' Much to the amusement of the yobs at the back.
"Get those bloody things away from me!" the Major growls. "If you touch me with those monstrosities I shall have you arrested for assault! Have you no bloody shame!"
The woman just laughs and walks to the back of the charabanc, where she is hailed by a chorus of cheers and wolf whistles.
"Thank God we'll be home soon..." the Major groans.
"Oh, I don't know Major," Mrs Percy says. "Methinks thou doth protesteth too much. I think you got some sort of vicarious thrill out of that."
"Stuff and nonsense!" the Major protests. "This is the last blithering charabanc trip I shall embark upon. These people behave like wild animals once they've got a drink inside them. They shouldn't be allowed out. They're a bloody disgrace!"
Mercifully, the outing draws to a close, and the Major and Mrs Percy disembark for the last time. They stand on the pavement outside the newsagent's as the sun slowly sinks in the western sky. It is eight-thirty pm precisely.
They watch as the charabanc pulls sedately away. The stripper woman at the back can't seem to resist giving the Major a final topless flash from the rear window.
"Bloody nerve," he mutters. "Have you got everything, the wife?"
"I think so," Mrs Percy gasps. "I've got the picnic basket, the all purpose bag and the emergency supplies case. Was there anything else?"
"I don't think so," the Major says. "We didn't bring the metal detector this time. Anyway, take your time old girl. Wouldn't want you having a coronary from pushing it too hard."
"No dear..." Mrs Percy shuffles along, obviously struggling under the duel weights of fatigue, and her burden.
"If it all gets too much, good lady the wife, don't hesitate to let me know, so that we can stop for a breather."
"Thank you Major," Mrs Percy gasps. "That's good to know..."
It is some five minutes later, as they are approaching home, as they pass their local pub, The Grapes Of Wrath, that the Major tells Mrs Percy to stop.
"Look at that..." he gasps.
Mrs Percy lowers her bags and case to the pavement, and looks across the road. She sees a group of laughing men, slapping one another on the back, and joshing in a manly way, as they enter the saloon bar.
It is none other than the charabanc driver, Ali Bullo, the Monty Python style chappie from Lovers Leap, Alan the hippy historian from the Naughty Step, and three burly blokes wearing black suits and sunglasses.
They are laughing fit to burst, and taunting each other in a joking fashion, with fistfuls of bank notes.
"I bloody knew it!" the Major snarls. "I knew there was something untoward going on! The dirty, robbing, thieving, conniving BASTARDS!"
"I think we've been taken to the cleaners Major," Mrs Percy sighs resignedly. "Should we go in there and remonstrate with them, or just put it down to experience?"
"They haven't heard the last of this," the Major snarls through gritted teeth. "I'd like nothing better than to go in there and sort the buggers out, but we don't have the time at the moment."
"What do you mean Major?"
"Pick up the bags woman, and let's go home. We have things to do."
"Whilst I put my feet up with a nice bottle of Chianti Classico, you shall be busy preparing supper - I rather fancy some of your home made meatballs, in Bolognese sauce, with spaghetti, and liberally sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan. You up for that, the wife?"
"I suppose so Major..."
And that's about it really. It's the end. Not really much more to say than that. The Major and Mrs Percy went out for the day, and got outrageously ripped off by a bunch of out and out crooks. It's a flimsy premise for a story, but then we live in a flimsy world.
*For readers with a particularly sadistic bent, there is an additional chapter. It will be posted as Chapter 8 in the series, but it will differ from previous chapters in as much as the Major will set out hell-bent on violent retribution. After supper. It will probably contain graphic scenes of extreme violence, terribly obscene language, and altogether offensive adults only content. If I can be arsed to write it. Blame Lynton for that. It was all his idea. And thanks too, to Pinxit for making the Major's portrait freely available in the Spoof galleria. Bye for now.