Lisbon, neutral Portugal. 05 January, 1915

Another day, another delay.

The Omrah had put into Libson, apparently German submarines were wreaking havoc on ships travelling into the channel and, in light of this, the captain had decided that a resupply and a few days in port were in order. Staring at the Portuguese city from the deck of the Omrah was even more torturous for Drummond than staring at the sea, Drummond had no identity papers or passport and, while the crew had been allowed ashore by the Portuguese authorities the contingent of troops, and Drummond, were required to stay aboard. Things weren't all bad though, each evening the crew came back with fresh food for the galley as the tins of mystery meat were getting low, due to the many delays that had hampered the voyage and Drummond had by now made friends with some of the troops, including a 2nd Lieutenant Drummond from Perth whom he had met on the voyage.

It turned out that they had more in common than a surname, the Lieutenant had also worked in a bank, owned by his father in Perth, and had joined the Australian Imperial Force in order to get away from the monotony of life as a clerk. Being from a well-to-do family 2nd Lt Drummond was able to secure a commission for himself in the army through his father's contacts and considered himself lucky to have been sent among the first Australian troops to France. His first name was Peter, he was a typically tall and tanned, blonde haired Westerner with an easy going smile and a dapper moustache that he took a lot of pride in maintaining. Peter had also taken to smoking a pipe in the hopes that, being only 22, this might make him seem more mature to the other men who weren't much younger than himself.

That night the crew had brought back a few bottles of Madeira and Drummond, Peter and the troops enjoyed some fresh oranges, spitted lamb and a healthy amount of the Portuguese wine, which none of them were accustomed to the strength of. Pretty soon their spirits were ebullient and they decided to start a Two up school.

Two up is a very simple game of chance. Two pennies are thrown from a wooden paddle called a 'kip'. The players place bets on whether the coins will land with either two heads, two tails or one tail and one head. Drummond still had a few of pounds from the sale of the horse he had stolen so he joined in the fun.

"Two tails." He called

Two tails came up. Drummond was mildly surprised. He'd never gambled before and the idea that he'd just doubled his money in a heartbeat was exhilarating.

"Let it ride, two tails." He said evenly, trying to contain his excitement. The men laughed, Drummond was mad to make the same bet twice but, as surely as the contrary nature of fortune is prone to behave in such circumstances, double tails came up again.

"Again, two tails"

"Drummond you crazy drongo, you'll never get two tails three times in a row." Peter cried, his cheeks flushed with grog, wreathed in pipe smoke. The men laughed, they were betting heavily against Drummond and, by the time they were ready for the next throw, he stood to win a small fortune.

"Go on then, we'll see. Come in spinner! Two Tails!"

The coins soared and spun through the air in an arc, landing with a tinny clatter on the deck. The men surged forward and huddled around them, showing each other to peer at the result. A wild cheer erupted. Drummond had converted his 5 pounds into just over fifty in only three throws! Fifty pounds was a lordly sum for most of them and Drummond, astounded at his good fortune, decided that he'd pushed his luck far enough. He slipped a couple of bob to one of the crew who'd remained behind for more refreshments, in order to be seen as being a good sport and because he felt slightly guilty at taking the other men's money. Drummond had won himself more than money though. More money than he'd ever had in fact. He'd also earned some new friends and a nickname.

Drongo

(Note: 'Drongo' is old fashioned Australian slang for 'fool' or 'idiot')

Last edited by Ace_Pilto; 01/04/19 10:09 PM.

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