Operation Stuart - Sons of Ebenezer prepare to welcome the Queen to Guernsey

Darkness descended as the last street lamp winked out on Route Militaire. Two shadowy figures emerged from beneath the Eleagnus hedge and crept out into the road.

"After the revolution, mon vieux, all those bloney things will be grubbed out. First against the wall will be all those noxious, foreign weeds: cow parsnip, ragwort, Eleagnus, and Webber. None of them were here in 1301 AD, eh?"

Drunken drivers were not around in 1301, either, and the two Ebenistas found themselves skittering back to the dubious protection of the alien hedging. With a screech of tyres, the driver swerved through the delicate manoeuvre involved with putting down either the bottle or the mobile phone, and still put on the seatbelt without stopping. Guernsey's last law abiding citizen weaved his way back home to bed and silence returned.

The Sons of Ebenezer commandos crept back into the road, and lifted a drain with a concealed crowbar. Both lay flat on the road and peered intently into the hole. "No," said the first. "Aye, no," replied his comrade in arms. They replaced the cover and crept along the silent road to the next drain cover and repeated the whole ceremony.

On the far side of the road, Guernsey's crack anti-terrorist team - the alcoholic, overlooked - for -promotion, confined - to - light duties, DI Wessex and his nearly-trained 15 year old school-leaver, PC Blondel - lurked beneath the shelter of an Escallonia hedge, yet another alien soon to be removed from the island. The Royal Protection Squad should have been liasing with this operation, but was laid up in bed with a severe head cold, or at least that what his mother's note says every time he is due for night shift.

PC Blondel spoke up. "So is that the Real Sons of Ebenezer, the Continuity Sons of Ebenezer, or the Provisional Sons of Ebenezer, Sir?"

"How the heck should I know, lad? Them Guerns all look the same to me. Just make a note to check all them drains in the morning."

Guernsey's crack anti-terrorist team had known for some time that a major operation was underway, ever since the flag had been stolen from outside the States Dairy one night. Most people thought it was just high jinks, but Wessex knew better. He could sniff out an SoE operation before the terrorists even knew what they were doing themselves. Fortunately for Wessex, they rarely did know what they were doing themselves, and this time, he thought, I'll catch them red handed.

Little did he know that the Public Thoroughfares Committee had already put paid to one Ebenista plot. A year-long campaign of digging potholes in Route Militaire had come to nothing, simply because PTC actually got around to resurfacing the road on the date they had said they would, catching the SoE - and the rest of the island - totally unawares. So much for the grand plan to divert the Queen's route to the Millennium Stone through rebel territory to an easy ambush.

That's why the special Ebenista team was out at night inspecting drains. The unexpected intervention of the PTC had precipitated a late-night emergency meeting of the full SoE Army Council, at their secret headquarters in the back room of the St Andrew's Moorings Committee office in the old Police Social Club, where a brand new plot was hatched, though not before two rounds of euchre had been played. The PTC would pay for foiling their plans, and be an unwitting ally into the bargain.

The next day, in broad daylight, Guernsey's crack anti-terrorist team and the Royal Protection Squad checked out each and every drain on the route. Wessex was convinced that some explosive device had been concealed, but try as he might, no such device was retrieved, even when the Royal Protection Squad, being the smallest of the three crack officers, was unceremoniously shoved the whole length of the storm sewer on the end of a very, very long stick. Of course, the next day he was off with a note from his mum, something about cholera or dysentry.

As the day of the Queen's visit approached, the police were taking the terrorist threat very seriously indeed. DI Wessex maintained a constant, personal watch on the route, mostly through the window of La Fontaine Inn, except when it was closed. Usually by then he was lying face down in the gutter, so had a really close eye on the matter at hand. It was the Corgi's snout in his ear, and the warm trickle of dampness down the back of his neck that alerted him to the fact that the Royal Cavalcade was almost upon him.

Crowds thronged the route to the Millennium Stone. Red, white and blue bunting hung from every house, carefully darned and repaired after the Silver Jubilee street parties. Old Mrs Gallichan had her 1945 Liberation flags out, everyone was cheering and singing Sarnia Cherie, but the crack SoE command team was unimpressed. "Liberation, my eye, not while that pretender to the Duchy of Normandy rules over us, eh?"

"Too bloney true, mon vieux," said the second in command. "But not long now, eh? Well, do you reckon we got the right drain?"

Subcommandante Mauger chuckled, "I reckon so. The Sons of Ebenezer can strike a real blow for freedom and restore the rightful Duke of Normandy."

The PTC President stood proudly beside the road, its new, freshly laid, rolled, brushed and polished surface glinting in the sun, all the way up to the Millennium Stone. A look of serene contentment settled over his features as he surveyed the perfection of the handiwork. At last, all his labours had achieved something positive, maybe even an OBE, or something. Or a knighthood, maybe.

But suddenly his nose wrinkled, a look of utter horror crossed his face, and he screamed out. "But I sent them all on holiday to Jersey today!"

"Who?" asked DI Wessex.

"The drivers, the bloney sewage cart drivers! You didn't think I WANTED this smell around, did you?"

And then it hit him. The sharp aroma drifting all along Route Militaire wasn't down to what the corgi had done on his shirt, after all. It was sewage, it was definitely sewage. Bubbling up through the drains, spilling out on to the shiny black asphalt, bringing the cavalcade to a complete halt. Only two people seemed not to notice the smell. Dressed casually in camouflage jackets, balaclavas and wellington boots, two SoE operatives slipped away into the cover of the crowds.

Up on the grassy knoll, a few yards down from La Fontaine, Lee Harvey Ozouet pulled out his trusty crossbow and took aim at the stalled cavalcade, but too late. The Royal Protection Squad leapt into action, but realised he could never reach the assassin before he could fire his bolt. In desperation, the under-age officer grabbed for the nearest heftable item, and hefted it. The corgi yelped as it flew through the air. Ozouet yelped as the diminutive dog landed on his head and floored him. Wessex and Blondel leapt in to arrest the Ebenista, but a well-aimed Guernsey biscuit flew out of the crowd, cracking open his skull before he could speak to his captors, and identify his co-conspirators.

The only fact that Guernsey's Crack Anti-Terrorist Team could ever discover about the whole Ebenista operation, was that somehow, an old Guernsey flag had been flushed down into the sewers at just the right point to cause the catastrophic flooding. Wessex felt vindicated in his earlier assessment, and ordered a 24 hour guard at the Dairy, then retired to La Fontaine to celebrate his OBE or something that they'd given him for saving the Queen.


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