Friday, 21 December 2007

Zorg the Destroyer

By eleven o’clock, Madeley was one of those happily contented figure you typically read about at Christmas. A small glass of port had spread warmth through these tired old bones of mine and A.A. Gill’s gently paced sojourn through the English psychology had weakened my resolve to linger a moment longer in my armchair. Already drifting across that boundary between wakefulness and sleep, I had turned off the Christmas tree lights before I slowly climbed the stairs to bed, only stopping off at the bathroom to change into my pyjamas and dressing gown and to fill myself a glass of water in which I would soon leave my million pound smile to soak.

I was about to pull the master switch that turns off the outdoor floodlights and arms the infra red turrets on the battlements, when there was a fretful hammering on the front door. Such was the indecency of the hour and the panicked nature of the knocking, I was immediately awake and my old army training kicked in. I was down the stairs in three leaps and had the front door opened and the intruder wrestled to the ground in the time it has taken you to read about it in a line of my immaculately written prose.

It was only when the red mist began to clear that I recognised the small figure trapped beneath my knee. It was Mrs. Ronnie Corbett, dressed in her night gown and wearing a look of absolute terror on her face.

‘My poor woman,’ I said, moving the sharp edge of my tube of denture cleaner from her jugular. ‘What must you think of me, throwing you over my shoulder like that?’

‘Richard, you have to come,’ she said as I helped her to her feet. She was clearly shivering, obviously with the cold, so I moved her into the living room and sat her in a chair before draped my dressing gown around her shoulders. ‘Ronnie’s had a terrible accident,’ she explained, ‘and they said an ambulance can’t come for a good two hours.’

‘Don’t you worry yourself, Mrs. C.,’ I said. ‘You were right to come here. There are few people in this street that are more used to dealing with emergencies than Judy and me.’

As if to prove the point, I promptly nipped upstairs, grabbed my car keys, and told Judy about our visitor. Then I came running back downstairs and rushed out to the car. I was at the front door of Corbett Manor in less than three minutes. That’s when I realised I was still in my pyjamas and that I’d left Mrs. Ronnie Corbett sitting on the chair in our front room.

I was about to get back in the car when headlights flooded the drive. It was Judy in her little Suzuki Swift bringing Mrs. Corbett and keys to the house.

‘We thought we’d better come along,’ said Judy, who had somehow managed to waste three minutes dressing herself, applying full make-up, and picking out a suit for Mrs. Ronnie Corbett. I told her that I had more important matters on my mind.

We found Ronnie in an armchair, a huge log fire burning beside him, and the poor man writhing in agony. Blood speckled his tartan trousers. His lime green intarsia golfing sweater offended the eye.

‘It was the walnut,’ explained Ronnie as I kneeled at his side. ‘It shattered in my lap.’

‘That is only too clear,’ I said. A pair of nutcrackers lay on the floor, alongside a spilled bowl of Tesco’s finest selection of Yuletide nuts. The poor man had obviously become one of only three people who, on average each year, are injured when an abnormally pressurised walnut explodes with the force of a hand grenade. Razor sharp shards of walnut shell had penetrated his trousers and caused extensive damage to his lower regions.

‘We can’t move him like this,’ I said, examining the site of the injury. ‘Some of these pieces of walnut could be lodged in vital regions.’ I stood up and looked for the nearest phone. ‘We need help immediately or he might never play golf again.’

‘Is it that bad?’ asked Ronnie.

‘Sit tight, little fellow,’ I said, laying a reassuring hand on his head. ‘Stay still and don’t, for god’s sake, tell any anecdotes involving the letter P.’

‘Ah, no… Indeed…’ he said. ‘Which reminds me… Ha! Did I tell you the one about the Polish postman?’ His face winced with pain as he mouthed those lethal syllables.

‘I told you not to,’ I said as I began to dial the number I’ve learned to memorise for moments such as this.

As you know, Judy’s a woman unable to restrain her curiosity. And we know what that did the cat, though forensic evidence was lacking.

‘What about the Polish postman?’ she asked, to my utter dismay.

Ronnie, ever the hero, let out a trademark ‘ah ha!’ and then delivered his punch line with his usual immaculate timing.

‘He delivered the mail on time,’ he said before he pushed his glasses up his nose and passed out.

I shook my head. I could hear a phone ringing. A moment later, there was a click.

‘’Tis I, Fry, on my iPhone, currently engaged in an online game of Halo3 under my XBox gamer tag of Zorg the Destroyer.’

‘Hello, Zorg,’ I said, ‘’tis I, Madeley, on Ronnie Corbett’s telephone. We need your help.’

‘Oh, hush!’ said Stephen. ‘Were it that I could lay aside my railgun and come to your aid, but I fear that my gaming reputation would suffer enormously were I do abandon this festive firefight while Zorg the Destroyer currently tops the frag leaderboard and pwns the arse of the Lapwing of Death’

‘Pwns the arse of the Lapwing of Death?’ I asked before I could help myself.

‘Alas, our friend Oddie is new to the fragfest which is Halo3. He has yet to acquaint himself with the tactics of finding himself a high vantage point and a sniper rifle. Some players frown on it, but I, Zorg the Destroyer, says it’s a true Englishman’s calling and the only reliable means of dispatching these alien scum.’

‘Stephen, we need your help immediately,’ I said, hearing a groan from the armchair as Ronnie regained consciousness. ‘A walnut has shattered in Ronnie’s lap. I think he’s suffering from severe shell lacerations, with what I can only describe as potential trauma to his hazelnuts.’ I looked at Mrs. Corbett and Judy, neither of whom seemed to understand my euphemism. Ronnie obviously did. He groaned and again passed out.

‘Ah,’ said Fry. ‘Walnuts are pwning little Ronnie’s hazelnuts? Then Zorg the Destroyer will be there immediately. I advise you to move neither the patient nor his nuts.’

Sound advice. Instead, I got Ronnie a glass of whiskey and poured it down him as soon as he came around. Judy had found a large rug to keep him warm, and we all sat around, taking turns to stroke Ronnie’s brow as he grew increasingly feverish. After fifteen minutes, I was beginning to fear for him. The poor man had begun to recite old scripts to ‘Sorry’, which I thought had been unhealthy enough the first time.

Eventually, I saw lights flicker beyond the window and the sound of a diesel engine pull up outside.

‘That’s Stephen,’ I said.

Judy jumped up and was at the door before the Great Man could knock.

‘Ah! The lacerations of the festive walnut,’ said Stephen, appearing in the doorway. He cast his cape to one side and came to loom over Ronnie. ‘So, might I see the sight of the explosion?’

I pulled back the rug and Stephen winced. ‘Tartan and lime green. A combination that the BBC has happily outlawed.’ He gazed at the spread of the wound. ‘I’m afraid we shall have to remove the trousers. Ladies, could you please leave the room? This will not be pretty.’ He opened his medical bag and removed a pair of scissors with which he proceeded to cut away Ronnie’s tartan britches.

The operation was slow and extremely gory. Ronnie was fitful throughout, though brave and screaming only once as Stephen dug a large chunk of walnut from his groin.

‘Ah, the walnut is indeed a terrible weapon,’ said Stephen, swabbing the wound. ‘Were it only a landmine.’

Around three o’clock in the morning, the last stitch had been sewn and a good colour had returned to Ronnie’s face.

‘There,’ said Stephen standing up. ‘All done. And a pretty little job I’ve done of it. You were damn lucky, young Corbett, that I spend a few months last Autumn training to be a surgeon.’

‘I’m so grateful,’ whispered Ronnie. ‘I’m grateful to the two of you.’

‘Nonsense,’ said Stephen. ‘What are friends for if it’s not for coming to dig fragments of walnut from your unmentionables.’ He turned to look at me. ‘And now, if you don’t mind, I have spent the last hour trying my best not to mention that large gap in Richard’s pyjama bottoms exposing his lack of underwear and the coldness of the evening.’

Ronnie smiled. ‘Nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times,’ he said as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

I closed the gap in my pyjamas but Stephen just patted my shoulder. ‘My advice to you sir, is fear not the walnut! Were one to explode in your lap, it could only correct the deficit that nature so cruelly intended.’

16 comments: said...

If Stephen Fry honestly uttered any variation of the term "pwn" I would be a happy and highly amused chap.

T'was merely hours ago I was on my own Xbox360, pwning some johnny foreigners and colonials on Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, under the slightly less creative and majestic gamertag of Geebsie.

Not long after we arose victorious I was explaining the stories behind the terms "pwn", "teh", "n00b" and suchlike to an uneducated gamer friend of mine.

I must confess, Halo3 didn't really draw me in as much as the hype proclaimed it would. Graphically it was an impressive game but I traded my Master Chief for "Soap" McTavish of the our own SAS and a smorgasbord of modern weaponry. My M16 and .50 cal sniper rifle have pwned many n00bs on teh XBOX Live.

Rule, Britannia! said...

That should have read ""Soap" McTavish of our own SAS".

And incidentally, I've given Copywrite a go, the white on black is much better - though I decided on a slightly off-white. However, I can't seem to get the background and text to stay white on black when I switch to full screen view.

Any ideas?


bertas said...

I'm sorry Richard but this whole Zorg the destroyed story just made my unseemly crush on lovely Mr. Fry even worse... tsss not on dear old chap, really not on :)

Dave said...

"...He has yet to acquaint himself with the tactics of finding himself a high vantage point and a sniper rifle. Some players frown on it, but I, Zorg the Destroyer, says it’s a true Englishman’s calling and the only reliable means of dispatching these alien scum."

I always imagined Fry would be a camper camper.

"pwnd, duckie."

Richard Madeley said...

LMRT (which, as Stephen noted. makes you sound like a old steam railway), of course he uses such terms. The man might wear tweed, but he's on the cutting edge of technology. He informs me that he didn't enjoy Halo3's single player mode. To quote: 'Ah Richard, tell Mr. LMRT, that Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, and Blue Dragon have been my games of the year, or GOTY, as we gamers like to term them.'

As to your problem with Copywrite, it's a year or so since I used it. I think I had the same problem but solved it in the end. I can't remember how. So sorry. If I get chance, I'll turn on my old Mac and see if I can remember.

Bertas, I think it's the picture that you love. He's a true hero. You would have admired the way he worked the walnuts from Ronnie's groin. Such delicate hands for a big man.

Dave, you have indeed pwnd me this afternoon. It was a pun I missed, or, I would like to say, preferred to miss. Kudos to you. said...

Haha, this is very true. Still, I'd prefer an old steam railway over one of the modern diesel electrics; far more distinguished. I shall take it as a compliment!

I completely understand Stephen's role as a tweed-wearing gamer, for I am one myself. In fact, the other members of my 'clan' persist in telling me I'm posh and shouldn't be on an Xbox. The cheek!

I had a couple of brief matches on the multi-player of Halo3 and it was better than the single player - co-op story was rather good too actually - but I think COD4 pips it 'FTW' as it were.

Oh and tell Stephen that Assassin's Creed is, indeed, a fantastic game. I rented it out for a taster and will be buying it to complete the last assassination (as well as collecting all the flags and dispatching the Templars). Mass Effect I've heard much about so on his recommendation I shall give it a go...and keep my eyes peeled for Blue Dragon too. Is he looking forward to any games in 2008?

Re. Copywrite; don't go to too much trouble, I wasn't sure if it's perhaps limited to the free version and to have the colours in full-screen edit, you may need to purchase the full version.

Thank you though!

Richard Madeley said...

LMRT, I'll just post what Stephen has just PM'd to me:

"Tis I, Stephen, to give you my recommendations for the year’s games. As it were an odd year, promising much and delivering little, one is forced to look beyond the big titles for the games that have given Stephen the greatest amount of fun. Blue Dragon, an old school Japanese RPG was a delight from beginning to end, or as close to the end as these fingers have got. 35 hours in and I’m still fighting the good fight against all manner of bizarre creatures.

Assassin’s Creed is a fine game, though one must say a tad repetitive. Your Uncle Stephen gave it go and enjoyed much about it, especially the counter moves. I say look out for the new Splinter Cell which uses the same engine. It has magnificent prospects. Indeed!

Mass Effect is, possibly, my Game of the Year. Old school RPG with next-gen graphics. A welcome improvement, too, on the Star Wars games which this old hack found rather tiring. The facial animation is really quite superb. It the world in which you’ll find me most nights after eleven o’clock.

As for the forthcoming year, one should be on the look out of the video game version of my very own tour around America. If you’re not into slow paced games, then the arrival of Fallout might give us much violent cheer. The lovely people at Criterion are producing a new Burnout game, though, frankly, I suffer terrible motion sickness with the recently released demonstration model. I will miss, also, the crash junctions that always gave me much to cheer about. Also, have a thought to the new Resident Evil, which is sure to give me the creeps and, indeed, the willies. Oh, please behave!

And, if I may, bear in mind that the finest games of the past year have been on a little know console called The Wii. Deary me. What a name. Tush! Mario Galaxy was really quite splendid, though Paper Mario something of a disappointment. One of my favourite game, bless my soul, was a silly little bit of fluff called Carnival. The penny pushing game is addictive as any game I’ve touched this year. Which reminds me that I’ve not played it in at least three hours. Do I hear a tut? I should. Tut." said...

Thanks, Richard.

I had never been a fan of RPGs but I suppose that's down to my limited exposure to them - and lack of friends to play with - there was a time when I only knew RPGs from Duke Nukem! I think I'm going to have to take the plunge and see what all this RPG brouhaha is about.

I too found Assassin's Creed a little repetitive - and bordering on easy? - the counter moves are fabulous though, especially short blade and throwing knife combinations. It's funny you should mention Splinter Cell, when I first played Assassin's Creed I found it to be very much like playing Splinter Cell but back in time. The new one does raise one's hopes!

I'm somewhat torn between purchasing Mass Effect or Assassin's Creed now. After my Mac purchase and pending repairs to my Land Rover, I can only afford one game. Should it be a case of buying Mass Effect and renting Assassin's Creed to finish it?

Post 2300hrs is my main gaming time too. Is this the time when Mass Effect really comes alive?

I'll keep my beady eyes peeled for Fallout. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 I'm intrigued about, to see how similar it is to the current Vegas and to see how the graphics compare to the likes of COD4.

I've been playing the Burnout demo on and off but, like you, I miss the crash junctions. Much cheer and amusement was had with those.

I fear the Wii may be bad for my health and limbs. Being 6'3" in a 'cosy' room with a physically involving and exciting games console may lead to many limb-furniture interfaces.

Tweedy Gamers FTW!

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

As you know, Judy’s a woman unable to restrain her curiosity.

And her lust for you, Richard?

Richard Madeley said...

Oh dear. Stephen is quite excited to have found somebody willing to talk computers. I'll hand you over.

"Alas, Mr. LMRT, I see I shall have to devote one of my 'Dork Talk' pieces to the nature of the Role Playing Game. Though I have never been sad enough to play one of those pad and pencil based games with any of my equally sad friends, I do enjoy the computer equivalent. It keeps the brain more active than a shoot-em-up, is much less crass, and have so many hours gameplay that I rarely regret the purchase. 'Mass Effect', I feel, is one of the finest examples of this much maligned genre. Far be it for me to embarrass the poor thing by mentioning its delicious graphics for those who appreciate such things (albeit with the occasional ‘texture popup’) and a story line simply resplendent with side missions. Unlike the older generations of RPG, the locus classicus of the genre, ‘Baldour’s Gate’, for example, this is essentially a shooter. It might not be 'Call of Duty 4', but it’s more than adequate and in 'single player', is over 10 times longer.

If he were to choose, and I’m sure that he’s glad that he doesn’t, your Uncle Stephen would plump for 'Mass Effect'. With 40+ hours of gameplay, it will have much more longevity than Assassin’s Creed and there is some cross-species romantic involvement that had this game banned in Singapore. Blush."

Richard Madeley said...

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham, a gentleman would never comment, but, of course... said...

Haha, it's a novel thing these days, especially on the same console and games.

As it happens, I was going to suggest to Madeley that he pass on the suggestion for you to perhaps write a 'Dork Talk' section on gaming and RPGs. Are you big on WoW or is it just Blue Dragon and Mass Effect?

I do like games where some thinking and tactics are involved. For instance, I prefer "Search & Destroy" matches to the mindless slaughter found in "Team Deathmatch" games on COD4. Much to the dismay of my 'clanmates' - who are screaming obscenities at me while I type this - Mass Effect is sounding more and more tempting.

I think, as a gaming investment, Mass Effect is likely to give a better return - considering I only really have one assassination to complete on 'The Creed' - so methinks a trip to is in order.

The fact it's been banned in ANY country makes it all the more intriguing! Oh how our minds are drawn in. We should be castigated.

AxmxZ said...

I second the first commenter. If Fry ever starts sprinkling his posts with LOLcattisms, he'll make a lot of people squee. =X-D

lee said...

I feel a bit sick after reading of ronnie's nuts. I don't even want to thnk about the fact that he has them.

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