It was my parents custom on Saturday mornings to have a late breakfast on the patio, while leisurely perusing a copy of the London Gazette or the London Daily Telegraph, whichever newspaper was less than two weeks old.
They were usually joined by Dad's Brit Buddy, Tom, and whoever had survived the previous evening.
The following conversation has been pieced together from various witnesses to the incident. I make no guarantees as to the accuracy.
Tom: "Your children just ran past me carrying a burlap sack and a chicken."
Dad (from behind the paper): "They dug a tiger pit in the backyard yesterday. Probably got another snake or something."
Tom: "Oh, well, then. Ta, luv."
Mom (pouring tea): "How deep did they dig?"
Dad (feeling around for his coffee cup): "Mmm. Probably borrowed a Chinese coolie or two for the last hundred feet."
Tom: "Oh, what rotten luck."
Mom (shading her eyes): "If that's Azikiwe, you owe me five pounds."
Tom: "Just because Sticky-fingers is here, it doesn't necessarily follow that the raft didn't sink. And when did he start having an escort?"
Mom (moving Dad's coffee cup under his hand): "The boys dropped a bowling ball on his car."
Tom: "I missed that? Where was I for that? Oh. I say, one of Sneezy's guards just tossed the poor blighter into the hole."
Mom: "They obviously know him."
Dad's newspaper: "Mmm."
Tom: "Thank you. Did your children sign a truce with Sneezy? Looks like they're trying to get him out. Jolly good show, that."
Mom: "Did that soldier just swat the other soldier on the back of the head?"
Appreciative sips from cups.
Tom: "Nice cursing match. Do either of you understand a word they're saying?"
Dad: (turning page) "Mothers. Goats. Unusual sexual practices ..."
Tom: "Oh, nice shove, that."
Dad: "... Stupidity. Improbable ancestry. The usual."
Tom: "And a nice kick to the shins, there. Classic. Any milk, luv?"
Mom: "I am NOT breaking up a fight between two soldiers. What is my child doing?"
Tom: "One of your children is bludgeoning Brigadier-Captain Azikiwe with a chicken."
Mom: "Truce must be off. That soldier shoves the other one any harder and there's going to be two of them in the hole."
Dad (absent-mindedly) "Which chicken?"
Tom: "Does it matter? You've got two soldiers rolling around in your backyard biting and smacking each other, and one of your offspring is assaulting an African army officer with that big-arsed red rooster!"
Dad (meditatively): "That's the one I'd use."
Mom: "I suppose we could get the garden hose and spray them down."
Tom: "Jim, you have a problem in your backyard."
Dad (turning the page): "The soldiers will get tired of wrassling around, they'll shake hands and make up."
Tom: "Well, okay ..."
Dad: "Azikiwe will stop doing whatever is pissing off the boys, and they'll go find something else to get into. Are the kids missing any limbs?"
Dad: "See any major bleeding?"
Tom: "Well, no."
Mom: "The milk is on your side of the paper, dear."
Dad: "Are they screaming?"
Tom (to the vacant seats formerly occupied by my parents): "As a matter-of-fact..."