Channel Island Outtakes

December 2, 2011


Another Channel Islander, who was as weird if not stranger than Monami, was a boy called Jinks. Jinks was almost simian in appearance but not powerfully so; he was more the personification of the rubber chimps that one could win at the fairground. His lower jaw protruded and unfortunately his intelligence matched his appearance – or so it seemed. Jinks was desperately unhappy in the Army.

One day when I was checking the living accommodation for cleanliness, as part of the duties of the Orderly Sergeant, I heard a muffled shuffle followed by a double thump, pause, then, a few moments later, the same sequence all over again. It was coming from the ablutions. I went into the toilets where the noise was louder and now appeared to be accompanied by heavy breathing. I located the compartment from which the sound was coming, went into the adjoining cubicle, climbed on the toilet pedestal, and looked over the dividing wall, straight into Jinks’ large blue eyes. He was standing forlornly on his toilet seat lid with a red and blue lanyard looped round his neck the other end of which was knotted round the mantel of the door.
“What are you doing Jinks?” I asked.
“I’m trying to hang myself,” he replied, “but I keep bouncing when I jump down.”
“Your lanyard’s too long when you jump off,” I told him.
“I know,” he said, “but I don’t want to get into trouble for cutting it.”

Jinks gave up on his suicide attempts but remained unhappy. At that stage in his service he could buy himself out for twenty pounds. One day I heard that Jinks was leaving us as his mother had purchased his discharge. Within two days Jinks had handed in his equipment, collected his travel warrant for his return trip to Guernsey and was gone. Two weeks later, at the end of that month, when the Regimental Paymaster presented the cheque to the bank, it bounced higher than Jinks ever did on that cubicle floor.

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