Messy Joe’s bacon box lottery
When Eric Braithwaite died, he left a space on Thomas Bogle’s bacon box.
Boxes are a much-sought thing in the trenches, the only thing coming between your arse and an eternal squelch in mud.
A few of us have managed to scrounge a box from somewhere or other, but none of them compared to Thomas Bogle’s bacon box, easily the finest box in the trenches. It was the sort of box a butcher would take delivery of a pig in, and was consequently huge and sturdy, though what the hell such a box was doing in the trenches I don’t know, the closest any of us came to bacon was a tin of pork-like-meat, which needless to say resembled pork in no way whatsoever.
Tom received numerous offers for Eric’s half of the seat, cigarettes, chocolate, hard cash, even the offer of a chicken acquired somehow. But Tom decided that the most lucrative way of selling Eric’s seat was to run a lotter, organised by his friend Joe Messer.
Now Joe, always a man for a scam, promised everyone who bought a ticket that he would fix the outcome of the lottery in return for an additional sum, selling the winning ticket, number 17. Needless to say, such was the appeal of a seat on the bacon box, that everyone agreed to the fix.
Clearly the plan had been for Messy Joe to draw his own number, claim the prize for himself and split the considerable takings with Thomas. But, this being the British army, he cocked up the scam and drew 17 as the winning number.
There were twenty-three winnners.
Messy Joe was almost lynched. Eventually he agreed to return the money to everyone he’d ripped off, and the 23 winners took in turns to sit in Eric’s place.