“Is there a problem?” the Captain asked, surprised.
“Not at all, Captain,” Kirk Bill intervened smoothly, “my friend here just lost rather a lot of money on a racehorse of the same name.”
“Coincidences, eh?” grinned the Captain, and went off to see about some ropes or something, down at the pointy end of the ship.
“Gadzooks, Bill,” said Sergeant Major General under his breath. “How many more?!”
“I fear this not the last Eye nor the last Tiger we shall encounter in this strange case,” said Kirk Bill, in that manner he had that suggested he could see into the future. “By the way, have I told you I’m calling this case ‘The Case of the Tiger’s Eye’?”
“Capital name, Bill, Capital.”
“It was either that or ‘The Case of the Man Who’s Heart was Ripped Bloodily from his Body’, which is a bit long, I think.”
“As ever, I think your instincts serve you well. I say, so far I haven’t been knocked out on this adventure!” Sergeant Major General chortled with pleasure.
Many weeks of the journey passed without incident, except that the cook was Swedish and only served food made with cod or cabbage, sometimes both, and sung strange Swedish ditties that, if they were indeed ribald, could not be perceived as such, as they were in Swedish. The unvaried diet had an unfortunate effect on Sergeant Major General’s constitution and he was forced to spend many hours pacing the deck alone.
One particularly warm evening, somewhere off the coast of Sierra Leone, he came across Kirk Bill leaning on the railing, staring out to sea.
“Hot evening, wot?” he said.
“Quite,” said Kirk Bill, absently.
“Makes me want to take off my – cravat,” said Sergeant Major General.
“Hmm,” said Kirk Bill.
“Look, old chap, I can see something’s bothering you; why not take off your cravat too? You’ll feel much better.”
“Hmm? Oh, I suppose so.” Sergeant Major General watched as Kirk Bill removed his exquisitely folded cravat. Kirk Bill sighed. “You know, that IS better, my dear friend.”
“Let’s remove our coats, too,” suggested Sergeant Major General.
But before they could do so, they were startled by a low and blood-curdling growl. From the gloom of the non-pointy end of the ship gleamed an unholy, unblinking and rather large pair of EYES.
TO BE CONTINUED