Give It Another Pop

“I howled unto the Lord,” the orator bawled angrily. “That’s what I done. I howled unto the Lord…. and the Lord said unto me: ‘What’s biting you, Perce?’ And I answered and said: ‘Me sins lie bitter in me belly,’ I says, ‘I’ve backslid,’ I says, ‘and the grade’s too hot for me.’ And the Lord said: ‘Give it another pop, Perce.’ And I give it another pop and the Lord backed me up and I’m saved.”

Orator at Speakers Corner, London, with crowd, 1974
Here the cook paused and, with extreme difficulty, executed a peculiar gesture, as if writing on the air. “The judgement’s writ clear on the wall,” he shouted, “for them as aren’t too shickered to read it. It’s writ clear as it might be on that bloody bunk’ouse be’ind yer. And what does it say? It says in letters of flame: ‘Give it another pop.’ Hallelujah.”

from Died In The Wool by Ngaio Marsh

2 Replies to “Give It Another Pop”

  1. I remember the gruesomeness of this fictional murder. I remember the NZ high country sheep station setting, but I don’t recall this orator at all. Is he the murderer?

    1. Spoiler alert!
      He’s the station cook, and, while possibly a suspect at one point, he isn’t the one what dunnit. Mostly he’s what you might call a Complicating Factor, or at least, his intemperate fondness for liquor is.

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