1982 NEWS FLASH
'Dozens of men are feared dead in the seas around the Falkland Islands after the container ship, Atlantic Conveyor, and the destroyer HMS Coventry were hit by Argentine missiles1'
The Run Ashore
The 'press officer' turned up precisely on time in a chauffeur driven sleek black staff car. The jolly-faced, smartly dressed, middle-aged man poked his head out of the window.
'Come on, hop in.'
The mystery tour began. We started in the centre of the city at quite a posh bar where I was supplied with a pint of beer. There was not much chat as my host spent most of the time looking round, studying faces of other drinkers. I had managed to sup about half when he turned and divulged a practiced smile.
'Time to move on, old chap, if we are going to have a proper pub crawl eh?'
The scene repeated itself at a second pub and then a third. A mad hatters tea party, if ever there was one. Just after closing time, I quite unexpectedly found myself in the Ace of Clubs, a notorious if rather shabby Plymouth nightclub.
'A good place for a nightcap, don’t you think?' And he was off to the bar again.
There was a noisy crowd of sailors at the centre of the smoked filled dance floor. The tars were whooping and yelping at a lovely young stripper who was down to her last garment and gyrating sensually. I wandered over for a closer look. I had never seen a stripper before and was actually somewhat embarrassed. Unlike the roaring matelots, I avoided staring at the gentle curves of her perfectly shaped breasts and concentrated on the pretty face and mischievous smile. But before long her eyes found mine and she turned to give me a better view.
My host was at my shoulder and handed me another pint. Then he was up to his old tricks looking round the room shiftily. He had been generous, but the drink was loosening my tongue and I felt things needed to be said.
'Look, I am grateful for the beer and the transport, but well we have been rushing around like mad things. I really had better get back, its my last night at home.'
He leaned towards me, voice a whisper.
'Truth is, I would like you to meet someone. Bit of a snag though. Can't find the beggar.'
I glanced round furtively, before joining in the secret game.
'You know, I thought you had been acting a bit strangely.'
'This no joke, young fellow. Now drink up, there's one place left we haven't tried. Quick snifter there and tha's it. Let's hope he is there, for all our sakes. I'll just get my coat and we will be off.'
I turned back. The stripper had finished but the lads were still lazing around, pints in hands slopping their beer, gesticulating, joking, as they re-enacted the performance. I was aware of someone beside me. I sighed, then looked. It was the stripper. Although she now had an overcoat on, I blushed and averted my eyes. Not so brave now. She was a few years younger than me and completely at ease, smiling pleasantly.
'Would you like some business?' she said smoothly, voice like silk.
'Business? what the heck is she going on about?' I thought.
Just then, my guide returned and ushered me away.
'I am afraid he has other duties tonight, dear,' he said, winking salaciously at the young girl...