'I dinnae think yer have, Peter my laddie,' replies Entendre. 'I asked you to build an impressive stonework artillery fort according to these plans.'
Pois glances at the papers in Entendre's hands. 'But uncle - it is impossible for me to build such an edifice,' says Pois. 'Look at the size of it. See,' he says, waving a short stick of wood. 'My ruler simply isn't big enough. It goes up to twelve inches, and this artillery bastion must be at least ... at least ...sixteen or seventeen inches or something like that.'
Entendre frowns. 'Well, I think that my plans actually call fer something with twenty foot ramparts of stone, in a triangular lay out.'
Pois shrugs his shoulders incredulously, 'But where am I going to get a ruler that long? In any case, I submitted my own plans to you for your comment. And I have constructed the bastion according to your suggestions.'
'Alternative plans?' interjects major Sanitaire. 'I wasnae aware of those.'
'No you wernae,' replies Entendre. 'Because the Lieutenant's "alternative plans" comprised of a sheet of paper with a badly drawn picture of a cat.'
'Uncle, you have often enjoined that I should think outside of the box,' replies Pois.
'Aye, laddie,' says Entendre. 'But that, I dinnae think, was what I meant. Yer "plan" was the result of what might happen if you were thinking outside of the box, and the box itself, which turned out to be quite heavy, fell and then hit you on the head. I told you then, laddie, that what you had drawn was a big pile of manure: and to reinforce that point I wrote on yer "plan" the words "a big pile of manure".'
'Quite so, uncle,' replies Pois smugly. 'And behold!' he says, pointing.
The two majors turn to look.
'John the Baptist's oddly shaped testicles,' blasphemes Sanitaire.
Entendre's mouth works silently up and down, like a mime artist on a trampoline. He then closes his eyes. Always a believer, in the face of bad news, of counting to ten slowly before saying anything, the major just to be safe now starts at a thousand ...