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William Boyd: The Coup

William Boyd (b. 1952) is a novelist and screenplay writer of Scottish descent. Born in Ghana and brought up in Nigeria, he has first-hand knowledge and experience of life in Africa, which is the setting of The Coup.

South African Landscape

In this dramatised short story from On The Yankee Station: Stories (1981), we meet Morgan, who is a minor British official about to return home after a posting in an African country. He compensates for his lack of success, both in a private and official capacity, by resorting to the simplest kind of daydreaming. However, his daydream world collapses on meeting a British air stewardess when both of them are stalled for a few days in the African country because of a military coup.

Lighthearted in tone and funny in its descriptions of the characters and their human weaknesses and shortcomings, the story neatly sums up the patronising attitudes of many white people to life in their former colonies. At the same time, it aptly comments on the changing morals of our time.

The Coup (32:04)

The Coup (32:04)
Plain text

By William Boyd. Dramatised by Tony Coult

(Early morning - pre-dawn - in a Mid-African state)

Isaac: Mr Leafy! Mr Leafy! Half-past three!
Morgan: Mmm. What?
Isaac: Half-past three in the morning, sir. Your car be here soon.
Morgan: Oh God ... Yes, yes, Isaac, thank you ... thank you!

Morgan (inner): Home ... going home. Oh yes. After three rotting years in this stinking sweaty country. Goodbye Africa!

Morgan: Ya-hoo!
Isaac: Your car is here, Mr Leafy.
Morgan: Start getting the cases loaded, Isaac. I'll come and ... oh no! It's that bloody old Ford Consul. That's just typical of them to send me that!
Isaac: Sir?
Morgan: I asked for the embassy Mercedes. It's got air-conditioning.
Isaac: This one will get you there sir.

Morgan (inner): Three and a half hours of perspiring, itching hell.

Morgan: Yes, Isaac. I suppose it will.
Peter: Morning, sir!
Morgan (inner): Oh no, not him. My last day and they send me a nasty little car and an idiot to drive it.

Morgan: Morning, Peter.
Peter: Time to go, sir.
Morgan: I can't wait. Everything loaded, Isaac?
Isaac: Everything ready, Mr Leafy. Moses and Abigail wish me to say farewell, and God bless you, sir.
Morgan: Oh, yes ... tell them ... tell Moses I shall always remember his cooking ... and tell Abigail ...

Morgan (inner): I shall always remember her plump sleek body, hmm? No, perhaps not ...

Morgan: ... thank Abigail for all her help about the house. OK, Peter, let's go!
Isaac: Good luck, Mr Leafy!
Morgan: And you, Isaac. (inner) I hope my successor is as generous a bastard as me!
(Peter guns the engine. Scrapes and gears. And they're off)
Morgan: Peter?
Peter: Sah?
Morgan: Why do they call this the Transnational Highway?
Peter: Because it go across the nation, sah.
Morgan: It's a death-trap, not a highway.
Peter: It is the best road in the whole country, Mr Leafy.
Morgan: It'd be safer to walk through the rainforest. We've already passed one crashed petrol tanker.
Peter: Accidents will happen, sah.
Morgan: Accidents nothing. Half those bloody drivers are high on kola nuts. I bet that's how we ended up in the jungle.
Peter: Soon you be on your plane.
Morgan: Ah, true. Very true. We're past the half-way mark. My poor old arse can't take much more of these plastic seats.

(Sudden squeal of brakes)

Morgan: Jesus, Peter, now what?
Peter: Er ... soldiers. Something funny here, sah.
Morgan (inner): Oh, my God, a road-block. Tanks.
Peter: They point their guns at us, sah!
Morgan: All right, all right, Peter, don't panic. They'll know this for an embassy car.

Morgan (inner): Please, God.

Peter: He come, soldier come!
Morgan: Sit still. I'll deal with this.
(A rap on the window. It is wound down)
Morgan: Good morning.
Captain: Will you please step out of your car?
Morgan: May I ask - ?
Captain: Step out, please.

(Doors opened)

Captain: Your identity papers, please.
Morgan: Very well. Got them here somewhere ... ah, here we are. You will see from my identity that I am a member of the British diplomatic corps. So. What's going on? Some kind of exercise, is it? Terrorists? Look, I have a plane to catch and I'm already very late.
Captain: The airport is now under the command of the military government -
Morgan: Just a minute, what military government? Oh, no. Oh, my God, no. A coup. It's a coup. Don't tell me. That's all I need, a bloody

(A car drives up. Door slams)

Stevens: Oh, er, good morning, Captain. I'm Stevens. BOAC. The airline. This must be our missing passenger, Mr Leafy. I can vouch for him.
Captain: You will both wait here, please.
Stevens: What on earth are you doing here, Leafy? This place has been like an armed camp since 6 o'clock this morning.
Morgan: I left at four. To allow plenty of time, so I thought. Listen, have I missed my plane?
Stevens: Last one left at midnight, old chap. The airport's been closed ever since.
Morgan: But I've got diplomatic immunity. I'm official!
Stevens: Maybe. But Britain hasn't recognized the new government yet. I'd hang on a few days before you start claiming privileges.
Morgan: Hang on? Good God, man, where do you suggest I hang on?
Stevens: If I were you, I'd go to the airport hotel. Show them your ticket and they'll probably charge it all to BOAC. They'll be glad of
the custom ... Everyone else's stayed away.
Morgan: Oh Christ ...
Stevens: Don't worry. Few days, they'll lift the radio blackout, the phones'll be back and we'll recognize the new government. You
were unlucky to get caught, that's all.

Morgan (inner): Unlucky. Unlucky. Story of my bloody life in this hole.

Morgan: Ah! Captain ...
Captain: You must go back, Mr Leafy.
Morgan: Ah, yes. I shall be going to the airport hotel. OK with you?
Captain: Yes, go, go quickly.
Morgan: Fine. Thank you. Come on, Peter, get us out of here. And be quick!
Peter: Yes, sah! Quick, sah! Sure as hell!
(Car revs up and tears off)

Morgan (inner): I cannot believe this is happening to me. Oh, but why shouldn't it? Why shouldn't it?
Peter: We're at the hotel now, sir.
Morgan: Oh? Oh, yes. God, I've been here before.
Peter: Sah?
Morgan: Maybe it won't be so bad. For a day or so.

Morgan (inner): Was it here? Yes, yes it was ... that fantastic woman with the shoulders - the helicopter pilot. That was a damn
close-run thing with her. Mmm ...

Peter: Nice here, sah. You go for swim.
(Distant gunfire)
Morgan: What? Yes, yes. Every cloud has a silver lining, Peter.

Morgan (inner): Place'll be full of those tanned women - what are they? Politicians' mistresses? Nightclub singers? Whores? Who

Peter: Nice women sah, too. Rich women.
Morgan: If you say so, Peter. Now, let's get unloaded.

(Inside the hotel- empty)

Morgan: Bring the bags in, then you can go.
Peter: Soldier, sah, soldiers!
Morgan: I know. Stop panicking. There's only two. And they' re half asleep.
Clerk: Yes? Can I help you?
Morgan: Yes. I need to stay until things get back to normal. Missed my damned plane. Here ... this is my ticket. The airline will be
Clerk: Very good, sir. Please sign here.
Morgan: It's very ... quiet.
Clerk: It is, sir, yes.
Morgan: Where're all the street-sellers that usually clutter up your front steps?
Clerk: They are ... they will no doubt return, sir.
Morgan: So you're not busy?
Clerk: Oh no, sir. Everybody's gone. Last night only eight people. Some gentlemen from Lebanon and Mr and Mrs Schwarzkopf
from America. There's your key, sir. You will have to take your own bags to the room, I'm afraid.
Morgan: No problem, Peter can help me.

(Hotel piped music)

Morgan: Another whisky, please.
Clerk: Whisky, sir.
Mr Schwarzkopf: Hi! I'm Dan Schwarzkopf.

Morgan (inner): Oh God ...

Mr Schwarzkopf: You speak English?
Morgan: Aah ...
Mr Schwarzkopf: Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
Morgan: No ... er, non ... pardon ...
Mrs Schwarzkopf: He French, Dan?
Mr Schwarzkopf: I guess so. Sure as hell didn't want to speak to us, anyhow.
Mrs Schwarzkopf: Well, we don't speak French, Dan. Oh, but he looks real sad, sitting all by himself over there.

Morgan (inner): Keeping my distance, that's what I'm doing. Start behaving like victims of a siege, all that sharing and suffering,
and this really will turn into a nightmare.

(Burst of laughter from the four Lebanese)

Morgan (inner): And I certainly don't want to start buddying up to those four. What are they? Lebanese. Who cares? Finish this drink
and ... hey! Who is this?

Jayne: Good evening.
Barman: Good evening, madam.
Jayne: Can I have a ... a Pernod, please. And blackcurrant. And a bottle of mineral water, please. I'll take them back to my room, if
that's OK?
Barman: Sure. I'll put these on your bill.
Jayne: Thanks. So, you're behind the bar as well?
Barman: The bar staff ... it's difficult. They can't get through. Soon it will be better. When the new government ... you know.

Morgan (inner): Be still, my beating heart .. oh lovely vision, in your BOAC blue skirt and white blouse ...

Jayne: The sooner it's all over the better.

Morgan (inner): You must be the other guest! Not a nun, not a fat salesman, not some oil company trouble-shooter, but a lovely
BOAC stewardess ... My luck must be changing! Blonde ... dyed, but who's quibbling? Not quite my gorgeous helicopter pilot, but -

Mr Schwarzkopf: Er. . . pardon me.

Morgan (inner): No! Go away!

Mr Schwarzkopf: Say, do you have any idea where we can change some dollars? US dollars? Change?
Morgan: Ah desole ... haw ... euh je vous ne comprendre non? Oui? Disdonc, eur, bof, vous savez ha-ha parler pas Anglais. Mmm? Mmm?
Mrs Schwarzkopf: Dan, I told you, the guy is French.
Mr Schwarzkopf: Everyone knows the word "dollar", don't they?

Morgan (inner): Go away, go away, where is she, you're blocking my view, damn you!

Mrs Schwarzkopf: He's looking for someone.
Mr Schwarzkopf: You looking for someone, monsieur?
Mrs Schwarzkopf: Oh, come on, Dan, I'm tired. Let's go to our room.

Morgan (inner): Yes, Dan, go to your room. That's where she's obviously gone. And now my room is where I'm going, I suppose. I
wonder if her room's near mine ... ?

Morgan: Night!
Barman: Goodnight, sir!
Mr Schwartzkopf: Say, did that guy say "Goodnight"?
Mrs Schwarzkopf: How could he, Dan? He's French.

Radio: Good morning. This is the third communique from the Provisional Revolutionary government read to you by Colonel G. Ademola. Our forces are winning their battles against the last remnants of the so-called People's Government. It is hoped that the state of emergency can be relaxed in two or three days' time-

Morgan (inner): Wake up, Morgan ... face the day.
(Burst of machine-gunfire)
Morgan: Oh no ... Morning!
Clerk: Good morning, Mr Leafy.
Morgan: Any chance of using a phone?
Clerk: They are still, unfortunately -
Morgan: Out of order. Yes. Well, any chance of a drink?
Clerk: Certainly. I will bring you one.
Morgan: A lager, then.
Clerk: Where will you be, sir?
Morgan: Er ... Anyone else out by the pool?
Clerk: Oh yes, the Lebanese gentlemen, Miss Darnley from BOAC -
Morgan: Oh. Ummm, I think I'll have it out by the pool, then.
Clerk: Certainly, sir. Er, Mr Leafy?
Morgan: Yes?
Clerk: Will you please ask your friend -
Morgan: Friend?
Clerk: In the car.
Morgan: That's not my friend. That's Peter, my driver.
Clerk: Please, will you ask him not to use the hotel gardens for his urination.
Morgan: I ... yes, all right.

Morgan (inner): Jesus, I'm not responsible for his filthy habits. Come on, Morgan, let's get this magnificent hulk out into the sunshine and into Miss Darnley's admiring gaze.
Whew ... this is heat. Not staying here longer than's necessary. Now ... towel out.Overweight? No! Beefy.

(Splash. Swimming)

Morgan (inner): Aaah ... Look at that ... her body slipping through the water. Perfection.Near enough. Enough for this marooned
diplomat, anyway. . . guns, and sun, and her .. very nice ...

(She surfaces and climbs out near him)

Morgan: Morning!
Jayne: Morning!
Morgan (inner): Now, as you walk around .. do what they always do ... that's it! Finger in the bikini bottom, pull the wet fabric out of the crack, oh yes, I do love that .. where's my drink? My mouth's as dry as a desert.

(Burst of laughter from the Lebanese)

Morgan (inner): Be quiet! How can you play cards by a swimming pool in the middle of a coup? Well, I shan't have much competition
from them. At least, not the fat one. Some of us can hold our bellies in when it's called for. If only my tits didn't move when I did. Jesus, it's hot.

Clerk: Your lager, sir.
Morgan: What? Oh thanks. Here.
Clerk: Thank you sir.
Morgan: I do hope none of that stuff is aimed at us.
Clerk: They are shooting down aeroplanes, sir. Is there anything else?
Morgan: No, no thanks.

Morgan (inner): Unless you can persuade that Lebanese with the chest hair and the moustache to stop eyeing up my girl. If only he weren't so ... slim. And muscly about the chest. Not that I'm fat. "A big lad", my mother called me. And the beergut is down to the university bar.

(Laughter from the Lebanese. Followed by burst of applause)

Morgan (inner): Now what are they doing?
Jayne: Bravo!
Morgan (inner): What is going on over there?

(The clapping becomes rhythmic)

Jayne: You look like a clown.

Morgan (inner): I don't believe this. Mr Smoothy Chest-Hair is walking on his hands! Like a performing bloody monkey!

Jayne: Hurray! More, more!

Morgan (inner): Don't encourage them! Oh damn, damn!

Abdul (Lebanese): Hup!


Jayne: Yeah!

Morgan (inner): How can she? How can she fall for such a cheap trick? Fine, fine, if that's the way she wants it. Two can play at that silly game. (He swigs his drink) Ah, that is better. (His feet slapping on wet poolside )

Mrs Schwarzkopf: Dan? Dan, who's that going up the diving board?
Mr Schwarzkopf: Diving? Where, where?
Mrs Schwarzkopf: There! Up there. Is that the French guy?

Morgan (inner): One cold beer - good. Two cold beers would have been better. Never mind ... I'll show them ... her ... it's hot and it's high ... They're looking at me ... God, they look small . . . it's a long time since I did this .... top board ... whew ...

Mrs Schwarzkopf: It's so high. He must be a real diver!
Mr Schwarzkopf: I'm going inside. It's too damned hot.
Mrs Schwarzkopf: Let's just watch him go,Dan.

Morgan (inner): This is silly really. A man shouldn't have to ... to stoop .. . that is, to climb to this level just to get a woman's attention
... But, my God, it works ... look at that, she's watching. She is watching.
Christ, how the hell do you do it - dive? I'll have to ... no, I'll jump. Safer. Jump. There's something on fire over there. Watch, what
the - ah!

(Morgan has slipped. His cry is extended as he tumbles rather gracelessly off the board, air rushing past)

Mrs Schwarzkopf: Hey, he tripped or something.

Morgan (inner): Oh, shit ... here comes the water ...

Mrs Schwarzkopf: Uh-oh.
Morgan (inner): .. . swallow dive ... arms and legs out ... Oh no ...
(A huge smack as he belly-flops onto the water. Underwater noises. Frantic gasping as he surfaces)

Morgan: Argh!
Abdul: OK, I got him, OK. You OK?
Morgan: Yeah ... yes ...
Abdul: You slip, huh? Big bad belly-flop. Ouch, huh?
Morgan: Yes ... yes.
Jayne: Are you all right? It made an awful sound.
Morgan: Mmm? Yes, sure ... I'm fine .. just ... tingles a bit.
Abdul: You lie down.
Morgan: Yes ... not here ... in ... ah ... my room.
I'm fine, thanks.

Morgan (inner): Oh God! She saw me ...

Jayne: Come on, I'll help you.
Morgan: Argh! ... Really, I'm fine.

Morgan (inner): She saw me ...

Mr Schwarzkopf: Say, is he all right?
Jayne: He'll be all right. I've got some training.

Morgan (inner): Oh, Jesus, what a bloody day. I wanna die. I think I'm going to die.

(Hotel bar)

Barman: You feeling better, sir?
Morgan: Yes, I'm absolutely fine. I'll have another of those, please.

Morgan (inner): To hell with everyone. This one and then to bed. To hell with them all!

Morgan: Oh ... thanks ... cheers.
(A woman's giggles heard from behind a door)
Morgan: What's going on in there?
Barman: That is the Games Room, sir. Table tennis.
Morgan: There's something funny going on ... games?
Jayne: (Behind door) Look, that'll do. Your serve ... Look, stop it. Really. Look, come on, it's your serve. Ow! Honestly, cut it out!
No, no, stop it, please!

(Door opens)
Morgan: Would you mind telling me - ah.
Abdul: Ah, it is the famous diver. How do you feel? The belly - is good?
Morgan: Are you all right?
Jayne: Yes, fine.
Abdul: We were playing a game.
Morgan: It looked more like an attempt to bite this woman's shoulder.
Abdul: "Biting"? No. A caress. Relax.
Morgan: My turn to serve, I think, Abdul. Why don't you push off.
Abdul: Well! Is this how I am thanked for pulling you out of the water? Jayne, tell him -
Jayne: Actually, I think it would be for the best.
Abdul: (A Lebanese curse!)
(Door slammed)
Jayne: Thanks. He was just getting a bit fresh. No problem. But thanks anyway. I think l owe you a drink.
Morgan: l owe you one for being such an excellent nurse this afternoon. Trust a stewardess to cope. Who are you, by the way?
Jayne: Jayne. Jayne Darnley. You?
Morgan: Morgan, That's my first name. Morgan Leafy. Shall we ... go and have that drink?
Jayne: ... So I had this tummy upset and they wouldn't let me fly. Silly really. So here I am.
Morgan: Here we both are. Strangers in a strange land.
Jayne: Well, not that strange. After all, I've flown this route enough times. And you've obviously been someone special here for a
long time.
Morgan: One does tend to get stuck into the place where one's expertise lies.

Morgan (inner): Morgan, Morgan, don't overdo it ...

Jayne: Would you like a cigarette? Menthol?
Morgan: No, no thanks.

Morgan (inner): What excellent breasts!

Jayne: You were terribly brave this morning. So high!
Morgan: Was I?
Jayne: Your dive.
Morgan: Dive. Yes, that. More a kind of uncontrolled rapid descent.
Jayne: I wouldn't have done it.
Morgan: No, well ... So Jayne, what about you? How long have you been a stewardess?
Jayne: Too long. But it makes a change from dull old promotions work in dull old London. What about you?
Morgan: Oh, I've always been a bit of a career diplomat. It's a ... a bit of a family tradition.

Morgan (inner): Don't let the whisky do too much talking, Morgan ...

Jayne: Really? And where were you off to when all this happened?
Morgan: Well ... I shouldn't really say this. It's technically a diplomatic secret ...

Morgan (inner): ... it's technically a total fabrication, but sieze the time, Morgan, sieze the time.

Jayne: Oh, go on, I won't tell anyone.
Morgan: I'm leaving here for a new posting.
Jayne: Really? Where?

Morgan (inner): Hey-ho. Now or never.

Morgan: Um ... Paris.
Jayne: Paris?
Morgan: Yes, I'm going to be Defence attache at the Paris Embassy.

Morgan: Morgan, be careful ...

Jayne: Ooh Paree. I love Paris.

Morgan (inner): Oh hell, why be careful? She's swallowing it.

Morgan: After that I'm rather hoping for a spot of work at the United Nations. New York. After that - who knows?

Jayne: Yeah! Who knows?
Morgan: My first loyalty of course has always been the diplomatic service. But between you and me ... I've always had a yearning for the cut and thrust of political life.
Jayne: In Parliament? Fantastic!
Morgan: In Government, I think. Foreign affairs most appeals, given my background, of course. Arts and education perhaps - my sister
writes plays for the theatre, and I have a cousin who works on a TV arts programme.
Jayne: Really?
Morgan: Yes, he's asked me to do something on it. African primitive art.

Morgan (inner): Morgan, you're almost convincing yourself now ...

Jayne: Pictures. I like pictures too.
Morgan: Artefacts. Yes, it's a bit of a hobby of mine. Why I got them to send me out to this place, of course.

Morgan (inner): As if the bastards would give it a second thought!

Jayne: Do you know something, Morgan? I'm having such a good time tonight. I'm glad the plane had to leave without me!
Morgan: Do you know something, Jayne? I'm glad too. I'm going to get you another of these. What was it? A Pernod and blackcurrant?

Jayne: Well! Last night was really something, Mr Diplomat.
Morgan: Really? Well, I did seem to be getting a message to that effect.
Jayne: Oh God, was I very noisy?
Morgan: Rather. If there were any other guests in these rooms, they'd certainly know by now what we were doing.
Jayne: Sorry! Do you want a cigarette?
Morgan: Er, no thanks.

Morgan (inner): Must you?
(Cigarette lit and she exhales)

Jayne: Do you know something, Morgan?
Morgan: Tell me.
Jayne: I can't believe my luck.
Morgan: Luck?
Jayne: Meeting someone like you. Here. Today. I'd just ... never have thought it ... possible. Someone like ... like you. You know

Morgan (inner): Careful, Morgan, careful.

Morgan: Someone like me? Whatever do you mean?
Jayne: You're special. Your work, your life, oh it's all so interesting. Like you. It's funny, it's almost as if we were fated to meet.
Morgan: Fated?
Jayne: Yes! My tummy bug, your hold-up and the fighting. I think we were meant for each other, don't you?
(She does something naughty to him under the sheet)
Jayne: Hmm?
Morgan: Oh. We do get on rather well, don't we?
Jayne: For people from such different backgrounds.
Morgan: Ooh. When all this is over, Jayne ...
Jayne: Mmm?
Morgan: We should see more of each other.
Jayne: Oh Morgan, yes! Listen, I've got two weeks leave coming up. We could see each other in London. Before you go to Paris. You
could introduce me to these famous people you know.
Morgan: What? Oh, yes ... darling.
Jayne: Now, it's time for me to go and get dressed. See you downstairs, eh? The pool? Bye darling?
Morgan: Oh ... er, bye.

Morgan (inner): Bugger now what? I don't know any famous people.

(Hotel lobby)

Stevens: Ah Mr Leafy! Mr Leafy!
Morgan: Yes?
Stevens: You're up at last. You'll be glad to know that the airport has re-opened, and the UK has established diplomatic relations with the new regime. You're flying out on the ... the third flight, 11.45 this morning.
Morgan: At last ...
Stevens: Now, we're getting you all there as quickly as possible. Things are a bit chaotic, to put it mildly. If you could report back to me here in 15 minutes?
Morgan: Fine, fine.
Jayne: Morgan! Hello darling!
Morgan: Good heavens. Jayne. Is that you behind those sunglasses?
Jayne: Little me. Listen, sweetheart, we're on the same plane! Isn't that a stroke of luck? Oh, don't worry. I'll see we get seats next to each other. I've got a friend at the check-in.
Morgan: Oh. Lovely, yes. I must pack. See you.
Jayne: Down here. Bye darling.

Morgan (inner): What is going on? Who is she? One night of ... well, whatever it was it was all right, but it was hardly the most fantastic night of love in a hotel ever. And here I am, like some sailor with a hangover watching his ship steam out of the harbour. Why is she making all these assumptions about me? Organising my life? Calling me "sweetheart"? Yesterday morning I'm an upcountry commissioner desperate to get home to a boring office job in London. Today I'm someone's ... boyfriend? Lover? Oh Morgan ... Why did I lie? Why not just take your pleasure and forget it? Forget her? I can see what's in it for her. She's running out of time. Thirties? A few too many lines, a bit too much make-up. So what am I doing going to meet her parents on Saturday? What am I doing? Fated?
She's right, I damn well am fated!


Jayne: It's a madhouse! Move up dear, make room for a little one. Here.
Morgan: Didn't they have any whis ...
Jayne: No alcohol, only orange juice.
Morgan: It's warm.
Jayne: Oh, stop fussing. We'll be fine once we're on board. Moira got us seats together. Oh, this place is hell, darling. No one seems
to know anything, and those bloody military police made me give up all my local currency.
Morgan: Yes, they do that.
Jayne: Are you all right? You look a bit down.
Morgan: Yes, yes. Tired. The heat. This place ... you know.
Jayne: Last night?
Morgan: Er ... probably.
Jayne: Just think, darling, tonight we'll be back in England, having a proper drink. And Saturday, my parents. Then you can show me your flat. And I can meet your friends. Morgan, sweetheart, you're sweating. You should lose a bit of weight.
Morgan: Should I? Should I? Perhaps. You've got yellow on your teeth. From the orange juice.
Jayne: Oh.

Airport: Attention, please. Passengers for BOAC Flight 73 to London Heathrow, departing at 11.45 local time, please assemble at the exit door. Please note that airport buses are unavailable and passengers will have to convey their own hand luggage to the aircraft. BOAC flight 73 to London is now loading. Thank you.

(Airport tarmac)

Jayne: You all right with those bags? Soon be there. Oh look! Sally and Cora!
Morgan: Who?
Jayne: My friends. Stewardesses. Hi! Oh, they must be on our flight. They're a laugh those two. Come on, we'll soon be in the cool. Up the steps and it'll all be over.
Morgan: As the hangman said to the condemned man.
Jayne: You what?
Morgan: Nothing. After you up the steps.

(Distant beep-beeping)

Jayne: Look at that. Some jumped-up little official. You watch, I bet he tries to jump the queue.

(Car stops. Beeps again. Door opens)

Nice looking young chap, though.
Barker: Mr Leafy? Is there a Mr Morgan Leafy here?

Morgan (inner): What? Me? Is he calling me?
Jayne: Here! Over here! Put your hand up, darling.
Morgan: Er, yes ... me. I'm Leafy.
Barker: Ah, Mr Leafy. I'm Barker from the Embassy. Telex for you. Frightfully sorry we didn't get to you earlier. Hope it wasn't too bad in the hotel.
Morgan: "Leafy. Return soonest Nkongsarnba. Urgent you liaise with new military government. Cartwright, High Commissioner."
Good God.
Jayne: Darling, what is it? Bad news?

Morgan (inner): No, no.

Morgan: Yes ... yes. Here.
Jayne: I don't understand. What's this supposed to mean?
Morgan: Duty er ... duty calls, darling.
Jayne: What?

Morgan: I've been recalled. Got to go back upcountry. There's absolutely nothing I can do about it.
Jayne: You can't just leave me, Morgan! What about London? What about us?
Morgan: Orders. No way out, I'm afraid. I'll write soon. I'll explain everything, I promise.
Mrs Schwarzkopf: Hey! I've been listening to you speak. You're British! You said you were French!
Morgan: Ah oui. C'est vrai. Au revoir! Come on Barker, quickly, let's go!
Jayne: Explain what? Morgan!
Barker: I'll come with you to the airport buildings, sir. Then the driver will take you on to Nkongsamba, if that's all right.
Morgan: That's absolutely terrific, Mr Barker. Tell me - this Mercedes - is it airconditioned?
Barker: Oh yes, sir.
Morgan: Oh, that's fine. That is fine. That is wonderful!

(He starts to chuckle)

Barker: Sorry it was such a last-minute rush, sir. We only just caught you.
Morgan: Oh no, no it can't be helped. No that's absolutely all right by me. Absolutely bloody all right by me. Drive on Mr Barker, drive on!

(He chuckles)

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