The tribe who slew beastie boy Roy


LOCKERROMM/Tom Humphries: "Nobody knows where we are," said Mick the big boy from Barnsley. He was holding the conch and had the right to speak. "We may be here a long time." The breezes swept in from the vast Pacific and through the palm fronds, chilling everybody.

They watched Mick intently. He was a big brave boy and he would lead them. It was getting dark and many of them wanted to cry. They wished they were English and staying in that nice hotel in Dubai which was only an eight hour flight and had Posh Spice.

"But," continued Mick, "there's food here and there's bathing water but the island is wide, as wide as the black diamond wide screen from Mitsubishi and until somebody comes to rescue us we'll have fun." There was silence. Fun? Finally another boy took the conch. He was fat and he wore glasses and they called him Piggy.

"There's no bleedin' ISDN lines for filing copy with," he said. And as his tears began to well he threw the conch down in the sand. The assembly watched him cry. They all felt like crying now. The boys were a long, long way from home and if what the boy from Barnsley said was true there was nobody coming soon to rescue them.

Another boy shyly lifted the conch. They looked at him expectantly. "You'll have to do a couple of press conferences every day Mick," he said, "one for the TV and one for the newspapers. It's not fair on anyone otherwise." There was general mumbling. The boy had made a very good point. And what about another press conference for the internet people and another one once a week for the Sunday papers. That's how things operated in the grown up world.

Mick, the big boy from Barnsley, said yes, maybe, but there'd have to be rules on the island, or it would all break down and they would be nothing more than wild savages. They'd be shouting Enger-land Enger-land Enger-land and they'd be eating each other.

There were other questions. Would there be immunity challenges? No Mark Kennedy had used all the immunity up. Would there be a tribal merger? No journalists could be voted off the island but they could never merge with players. Would Tom Hanks ever stop talking to that volleyball down on the beach? Perhaps.

The sun was declining and the shadows were growing long. In the little village up the road the native women who specialised in massage "only fohtee dollar" would be coming out for their night's work. Mick Byrne the masseur from the players tribe had upped his prices but was still offering no frills. He would be voted off soon.

Now another boy had the conch. He spoke of something all the boys had thought about but were afraid to speak of. He had seen a beastie, as he called it, a beastie in the woods. He was frightened. What were they going to do about the beastie?

"There is no beastie" said Mick, taking the conch. He spoke firmly now. " If there was a beastie we would hunt it down and kill it. There is no beastie. I'm not afraid of any beastie. There is no beastie. There is just a communications breakdown with the FAI over Niall's testimonial. No beastie. Just Cuisine de France."

The next night the tribe who believed in beasties ate Roy, the boy from Cork. He was grizzly and hard to get down and they decided not to eat the vein from his temple but to eat the rest of him. It had to be done. There was disappointment in both tribes when Roy and Theresa failed to come through with a gucci agus sushi party like Posh and Becks and Roy's fate was sealed. The boys hoped the world wouldn't judge them. Don't judge us, they said, to each other as they wiped their mouths. "We could have eaten a centre half," said one boy with wisdom "there are plenty of them grazing in these parts, but even when we get weaker we'll still be able to catch centre halves. We should save them for when that time comes."

After many days a ship appeared on the horizon. The boys from both tribes put aside their differences and gathered on the beach where they lit a fire and heaped it with fresh leaves and FAI statements so there would be plenty of smoke. They spoke among themselves for the first time. They always knew grown ups would save them. They'd say that Roy had eaten himself because he'd only wanted the best.

When the great ship was half a mile offshore they watched a landing party being put to sea. All grown ups. As the party drew closer the boys allowed themselves to think of home. Finally the grown ups jumped into the knee-deep blue water and waded towards the sandy beach. The leader of the grown ups, a tall man with a garland of flowers in his hair strode towards Mick, the biggest of the boys, and threw his arms around him.

"Mick! Me oul segotia." "Taoiseach!" "Just for the evening news, Mick." And all the other grown ups took photos of Mick being hugged by this big strange man who then went around all the boys and said "ya boy ya" to each one in turn. "I'll have a lovely stadium for yiz when ye get back boys," said the big man and he strode back into the water as all the other grown ups with their cameras packed up and left too.

The boys watched the great ship grow smaller and smaller on the horizon until finally it was just a dot. They didn't believe the big man would come for them and when they finally lost sight of the ship they began telling themselves that they were glad he was gone.

It was dusk and a boy bent over and found the conch which was just about buried in the sand since the night the journo tribe had eaten Roy. The boy lifted the conch and said he thought it was good the man was gone. He thought the man probably lived on a cold wet island where people had nothing but thought they had everything.

There was silence. And another boy spoke in response. " Is this on the record?" he asked. "Will you be doing one on ones later in the week? Do you think the humidity makes the ball move differently?" And as one the players tribe produced volleyballs and said they would speak only to the volleyballs in the future. The volleyballs made more sense. And the press tribe wondered if volleyballs wouldn't be tasty and would they do ghosted columns cheaper. This would be good colour stuff, the volleyballs And so life on the island went on. And on.