Monday, 17 January 2011

My favourite news story of the week

Sometimes I think about things other than politics and books. One of the things I like about the English - a quality which is rapidly fading under the assault of blaring incivility - is their gift for understatement.

Two pigs escaped from a farm over the weekend. It's rather sweet that this is considered newsworthy. However, what caught my eye was the police force's rather delicate explanation of how they achieved freedom:

"It appears there has been a breakdown in the relationship between the couple at the farm and somehow the pigs got loose."

Fantastic. A whole story told in fewer words than any of the most skilful short story writers. Imagine the scene. A resentful husband or wife discovers incriminating text messages, or perhaps a threatening letter from an underworld bookmaker. Rejecting the option of pouring her perfume down the drain or cutting the arms from all his suits, s/he slumps in a battered armchair, sobbing, wringing hands, and wondering how such a betrayal could possibly be repaid. Gradually, as the evening light fades, a gleam comes into the victim's eyes. Stopping only to grab a bottle of spirits from which to swig during his/her parade around the grounds, s/he fumblingly undoes every gate and door on the farm. The chickens, to be honest, don't have the desired effect. Rather than taking to the wing, they follow the stumbling, drunk wo/man's progression round the buildings, one riding on the back of a bleating lamb. The cows moo in gentle confusion. The dogs set themselves on a passing walker. But the pigs are different. Pigs are clever. Once released, they grab the malefactor's wallet, keys and iPhone and vanish into the night, defying the authorities with considerable glee.

As I say, it caught my eye.

1 comment:

Zoot Horn said...

Police were called to a small house fire but their entry was obstructed by a sobbing academic. Marking seems to have been involved.