Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Awr y Blaidd
Nefyn TV provided Wales with 24-hour sports, and sometimes the best of it - coracle races, slateboarding, the grudge-bearing sprint.
Despite its adherence to the state's offical policy of ruthless egalitarianism, Nefyn TV had spawned a star. Rhowter Hers presented the Sabbath afternoon Sport Ffantâstig programme, filled with top billing Hillman Imp rallies, cliff-face soccer and women's custard slicing.
The lads liked his lively bratiaith splicing of North and South dialects, the ladies keened for his slack shawl. The station managers booked their caravans in Mwnt months in advance on his account alone.
Everyone loved him, except the staff. "I's had enough of them," Hers told his boss Aelwyd Hongian one sweet and windy afternoon. "You can see them on the big screen behind me when I'm ap-dressing the nation. Are they hard at work filing reports on Caersws Giant-Killers? Are they ffyc! They's slobbing in Big Leaves t-shirts, eating half pies, skulling Brains, smoking Embassies and reading the papers. Tell them to shape up or I's off to Al-Jazeera, mun."
So the word went out to the newsroom: "Look tidy, boys. No messing about. He may be a Kinnock, but he's our Kinnock, like Eisenhower used to say."
The crew smartened up and lagered down. They pretended to type on their computers and answer phones while Hers flashed his anthracite crowns at the housewives of Carmarthen. The studio floor was a tent of understanding. Then along came Iago.
Iago Anffawd, fab Sieffre Siomedig, fab Gwil Goll. That's what his staff card said. No one remembers hiring him, he just turned up one afternoon in a wolf mask and mitts.
"Bit of a Bergman boy, are you?" laughed Lol Fach, the literary editor.
"Hrhaïng!" replied Iago, which no one understood but simply took as a Solva accent.
Iago spent a few hours dragging planks around the Management Suite, hammering nails into fire alarms and generally being handy. Then he decided to take a short cut through the newsroom.
The nation held chip to lip in bewilderment then mirth as Rhowter Hers read out the Bethesda League Friendly Fight results while a bloke in a wolf mask and "Bollocks to the Poll Tax" t-shirt stood in the newsroom right behind him, waving hairy mitts at the camera before settling down with a can and The Daily Post.
The newsroom high-fived, the people as one pressed "record" on their dvd players, and Rhowter's career blanched in the flash of two million mobile phone cameras.
He was very upset.
"I wants Scooby-ffycinn-Doo out, and out today!" he yelled at the editor.
"Right, Rowter, I'll give him his cards this evening," soothed the foam-flecked hack.
Iago was tannoyed to come to the editor's office at six, when his shift ended. Aelwyd Hongian stood by his window, watching the sun set over the moors. A shadow blocked the glass door, followed by a soft but heavy knock.
Inspector Pumsaint of the Tangnefeddwyr Murder Squad looked around the office in horror. "Pardon my English, but what the cock happened here?"
The forensics officer pointed to the slick of blood that coated the wrecked room. "That's all that's left of the victim. Journalist he was."
"Still, it's not right," muttered Pumsaint. "OK, motive? Theft - anything missing?"
"It's been badly turned over, but there's nothing missing apart from the solid parts of the late Mr Hongian," said the forensics man, pushing his glasses back up his nose. "Oh, and this." He picked up a sodden card index.
"It's where the station kept all the staff details - national insurance, home addresses, that sort of thing. There's one card missing. It belongs to Rhowter Hers."