It was my friend, Darcy-Einbahnstrasse, in a solar topee.
Why are you wearing that pith helmet and why did you grow a huge handlebar moustache? I demanded.
I say Bock. Don’t creep up on a chap, there’s a good fellow.
I didn’t creep up on you, and why are you talking like that?
Like some bloody colonel from the East India Company.
Oh I say, Bock. No need to be so hard on a chap. I’m just back from the colonies, doncha know. Ceylon, to be precise.
You mean Sri Lanka, surely?
Yes, I believe that’s what the local wallahs call it. Anyway, I shall soon be supplying all Europe with tea, thanks to my meeting with this prince chap. Hadhurmisalvidaradharmuslaiviatasuriya, his name was, if memory serves.
You bought ..?
That’s right. All the tea in Ceylon. The prince was damned pleased with the bargain. He even gave me a present.
Yes. A little lizard that changes colour and tells jokes. Would you like to see it? And with that, he whipped out a small reptile and placed it on the table where it stood on its hind legs.
I say, I say, I say, said the lizard. My dog has no nose.
No nose? said Darcy-Einbahnstrasse. How does he smell?
Terrible! said the lizard, bashing a tiny drum.
I’d heard of these creatures, though I’d never seen one.
Do you realise how rare these things are? I demanded of my friend.
Course I do, old boy, he chuckled.
But it’s a … it’s a …
Yes, grinned Darcy-Einbahnstrasse. It’s a stand-up chameleon.