Posted by Ted (22.214.171.124) on September 27, 2000 at 22:43:39:
THE MEANING OF LIFE
FIGHTING EACH OTHER
Biggs: [now a soldiers-in-arms] O.K. Blackitt, Sturridge and
Walters you take the buggers on the left flank. Hordern,
Spadger and I will go for the gunpost.
Blackitt: [a Deptford Cockney] Hang on, you'll never make it,
sir... Let us come with you...
Biggs: Do as you're told man.
Blackitt: Righto, skipper. [He starts to go, then stops.] Oh, sir,
sir... if we... if we don't meet again... sir, I'd just like
to say it's been a real privilege fighting alongside you,
[They are continually ducking as bullets fly past them
and shells burst overhead.]
Biggs: Yes, well I think this is hardly the time or place for a
goodbye speech... eh...
[Biggs is clearly anxious to go.]
Blackitt: No, me, and the lads realise that but... well... we may
never meet again, sir, so...
Biggs: All right, Blackitt, thanks a lot.
Blackitt: No just a mo, sir! You see me and the lads had a little
whip-round, sir, and we bought you something, sir... we bought
you this, sir...
[He produces a handsome ormolu clock from his pack. Biggs
is at a loss for words. He is continually ducking.]
Biggs: Well, I don't know what to say... It's a lovely thought...
thank you... thank you *all*... but I think we'd better... get
to cover now...
[He starts to go.]
Blackitt: Hang on a tick, sir, we got something else for you as
[Two of the others emerge from some bushes with a
Sorry it's another clock, sir... only there was a bit of a
mix-up... Walters thought *he* was buying the present, and
Spadger and I had already got the other one.
Biggs: Well it's beautiful... they're both beau -
[A bullet suddenly shatters the face of the grandfather
... But I think we'd better get to cover now, and I'll thank
you properly later...
[Biggs starts to go again but Blackitt hasn't finished.]
Blackitt: And Corporal Sturridge got this for you as well, sir. He
didn't know about the others, sir - it's Swiss.
[He hands over a wristwatch.]
Biggs: Well now that is thoughtful, Sturridge. Good man.
[A shell bursts right overhead. Biggs flings himself down
into the mud.]
Blackitt: And there's a card, sir... from all of us... [He produces
a blood-splattered envelope.]... Sorry about the blood, sir.
Biggs: Thank you all.
[He pockets it and tries to go on.]
Blackitt: Squad, three cheers for Captain Biggs. Hip Hip -
Blackitt: Hip Hip -
[An almighty burst of machine-gun fire silences most of
them... Blackitt is hit.]
Biggs: Blackitt! Blackitt!
Blackitt: [hurt] Ah! I'll be all right, sir... Oh there's just one
other thing, sir. Spadge, give him the cheque...
Spadger: Oh yeah...
Biggs: Oh now this is really going to far...
Spadger: I don't seem to be able to find it, sir... [Explosion.]
Er, it'll be in Number Four trench... I'll go and get it. [He
starts to crawl off.]
Biggs: [losing his cool] Oh! For Christ's sake forget it, man.
[The others all look at Biggs after this outburst, as if
they can't believe this ingratitude.]
Blackitt: Oh! Ah!
Spadger: You shouldn't have said that, sir. You've hurt his
Blackitt: Don't mind me, Spadge... Toffs is all the same... One
minute it's all 'please' and 'thank you', the next they'll
kick you in the teeth...
Walters: Let's not give him the cake...
Biggs: I don't want *any* cake...
Spadger: Look, Blackitt cooked it specially for you, you bastard.
[They all look at Blackitt rolling in the mud.]
Sturridge: Yeah, he saved his rations for six weeks.
Biggs: I'm sorry, I don't mean to be ungrateful...
Blackitt: I'll be all right.
[Shell crashes. Blackitt dies.]
Spadger: Blackie! Blackie! [He turns to Biggs with tears in his
eyes.] Look at him... [He pulls up the supine form of
Blackitt.] He worked on that cake like no-one else I've ever
known. [He props him in the mud again.] Some nights it was so
cold we could hardly move, but Blackie'd de out there -
slicing lemons, mixing the sugar and the almonds... I mean you
try getting butter melted at fifteen below zero! There's love
in that cake... [He picks up Blackitt again.] This man's love
and this man's care and this man's - Aarggh!
[He gets shot.]
[Biggs runs over to them in horror.]
Biggs: Oh my Christ!
Sturridge: You bastard.
Biggs: All right! All right! We will eat the cake. They're right...
it's too good a cake not to eat. get the plates and knives,
Walters: Yes, sir... how many plates?
[A shot rings out. Walters drops dead.]
Biggs: Er... no... better make it five.
Sturridge: Tablecloth, sir...?
Biggs: Yes, get the tablecloth...!
[Explosion. Sturridge gets shot.]
Biggs: No no no, I'll get the tablecloth and you'd better get the
gate-leg table, Hordern.
[Hordern is shot in the leg.]
Hordern: I'll bring two sir, in case one gets scrumpled...
[Suddenly we find this has all been a film, which a
General now stops.]
General: Well, of course, warfare isn't all fun. Right, stop that.
It's all very well to laugh at the Military, but when one
considers the meaning of life it is a struggle between
alternative viewpoints of life itself. And without the
ability to defend one's own viewpoint against other perhaps
more aggressive ideologies then reasonableness and moderation
could quite simply disappear. That is why we'll always need an
army and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise.
[The Hand of god descends and vaporizes him.]
[The audience of two old ladies and two kids applauds
[Outside the hut RSM Whateverhisnameis is drilling a
small squad of recruits.]
RSM: Don't stand there gawping like you've never seen the Hand of
God before. Now! Today we're going to do marching up and down
the square. That is unless any of you got anything better to
do? Well, anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than
marching up and down the square?
[Atkinson puts his hand up.]
Yes? Atkinson? What would you rather be doing, Atkinson?
Atkinson: Well to be quite honest, Sarge, I'd rather be at home
with the wife and kids.
RSM: Would you now?
Atkinson: Yes, sarge.
RSM: Right off you go. [Atkinson goes.] Now, everybody else happy
with my little plan of marching up and down the square a bit?
Coles: I've got a book I'd quite like to read...
RSM: Right! You go read your book then! [Coles runs off.] Now
everybody else quite content to join in with my little scheme
of marching hup and down the square?
RSM: Yes, Wycliff, what is it?
Wycliff: [tentatively] Well... I'm... er... learning the piano...
RSM: [with contempt] 'Learning the piano'?
Wycliff: Yes, sarge...
RSM: And I suppose you want to go and practise eh? Marching up and
down the square not good enough for you, eh?
RSM: Right! Off you go! [Turns to the rest.] Now what about the
rest of you? Rather be at the pictures I suppose.
Squad: Ooh, yes, ooh rather.
RSM: All right off you go. [They go.] Bloody army! I don't know
what it's coming to... Right, Sgt Major, marching up and down
the square... Left-right-left... left... left...
[The RSM marches himself off into the distance of the
Democracy and humanitarianism have always been tarde marks of the
British Army and have stamped its triumph throughout history, in
the furthest-flung corners of the Empire. But no matter where or
when there was fighting to be done, it has always been the calm
leadership of the officer class that has made the British Army what
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