Heinrich Shitzenfield told the disinterested drinkers in the pub of the growing hostility towards him in the village after the vote to leave the EU. Maggie Scrimshaw had cornered him between the rack of birthday cards and the tinned vegetables in the village post office and told him, “You lost the referendum, you foreign tosser. Clear off back to Germany where you come from”.
Compared to Maggie’s usual outbursts, the clutter of men in the bar did not consider her comment to be highly hostile. They thought Heinrich was being a tad oversensitive about his foreign Germanic roots.
Slaughter Mackinson explained that Maggie’s resentment of Heinrich had nothing to do with the referendum vote. He pointed out that Heinrich’s father had settled in the village after his release from the prisoner-of-war camp at Long Marston only in 1949. The family needed to live here longer before the villagers accepted them.
Didier Macaroon, the founder member of Slaughter’s family, had settled in the village, pretending to be a lancer from Liverpool who lost his way going home after the Napoleonic War. He had in fact deserted from the French army when he heard that Napoleon was heading off to attack Russia. Didier hated snow.
Didier’s descendants claimed he was the first foreigner to settle in the village since the Romans originally passed through on their way to the salt mines in Droitwich.
The Mackinson family was finally accepted as full members of the village after Slaughter’s father had played a lead role in a revenge raid on a fruit pickers camp in Evesham in 1957. Slaughter reassured Heinrich he would be accepted in time, unless Theresa May deported him first.
Mutton Cassidy said Maggie Scrimshaw was the least qualified to talk about incomers. She had arrived in the village on the crossbar of a travelling salesman’s bike in 1951. Her nickname of Maggie the Bike had grown out of her availability for personal activities with the farm labourers beyond Cooke Hill and had little to do with the method of her arrival.
Following a long and detailed discussion of Maggie’s sexual history someone suggested that Heinrich should consider taking a wife as a way of cementing his right to stay when Theresa May came looking to send him home.
The long-surviving members of the bachelor brotherhood in the bar thought this measure too extreme. The long-suffering members of the married fraternity went further and advised Heinrich to accept deportation as the lesser of two evils.
Piggy Malone’s arrival in the bar interrupted Heinrich’s advice session while the company stared at Piggy in silence as he made his way through to the lounge bar.
Long recognised as the unacceptable face of farming, partly because of the offensive smell he trails around from his massive pig farming factories, Piggy long ago accepted his lack of contact with fellow humans as a small price to pay for being the richest member of the village. His ruthless acquisition of ailing farms, his cold-blooded asset stripping and callous indifference to workers rights and their futures, along with his total disregard for the well-being of those he legally robs, drop him to a level of disgust unreachable even by estate agents and Westminster politicians.
The departure of No Nickers Malone, Piggy’s wife, to take up residence in Panama seven years ago was prompted partly by her need to get away from his smell but her departure overseas was a ruse to put his considerable assets beyond the reach of anyone trying to get their hands on Piggy’s spoils. It had not been easy to become the unacceptable face of farming. It was harder still to keep the title in the face of the greed, jealousy and attacks of evil people out to take it from him.
Crutch Scuttercup, woken by the unaccustomed silence left in the wake of Piggy passing through, wiped his nose with the back of his hand, ordered another pint and settled back in his chair in the corner, content that his world was still in place around him.
Heinrich didn’t want to be the face of anything. He hoped to get over being an incomer before Theresa May came looking for him.