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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison


Mr Prime Minister and members of the cabinet, welcome to this top-secret briefing about our work in Department SI5.

As you know, SI5, the covert operations wing of the Ministry of Sport, was formed in the early 1960s. It was becoming clear that Britain was failing to achieve international success in sport - even in the many sports that the British had invented. The brief of SI5 was to develop new competitive sports and to secretly train British individuals and teams in them. The new sports would then be internationally launched, and British success would be assured for the period until those damned foreigners had read the rules, trained their own participants and begun to defeat us again.

The Sports Research and Development Establishments at Porton Down and Aldermaston still remain closely guarded secrets. The cover story that they are weapons research facilities has succeeded in masking their real function. As you know, they were modelled on America’s Area 51 where the United Stated developed the sports of baseball and American football to be so complex and obscure that only American teams could dominate them. The propaganda that Area 51 was a military research facility developing technologies derived from recovered alien spacecraft was a masterstroke of public relations which has also kept secret, to this day, the true purpose of the site.

SI5, as you are aware, has had a number of notable successes. The invention of soccer and its launch in 1965 led to World Cup victory. Much more recently, the introduction of curling in the autumn of 2001 led directly to our gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. This success was, however, tinged with some disappointment. Sliding a kettle along ice whilst frantically sweeping ahead of it with brooms was undoubtedly one of the silliest ideas we have ever developed. It also turned out to be one of the most tedious. Fifteen million people throughout the British Isles felt obliged to remain tuned to the Olympic final. Fourteen and a half million, however, fell asleep before the end and very many others simply lost the will to live.

The need to constantly develop new winning sports for Britain led us to examine activities for which the British are naturally inclined. The advent of competitive queuing, however, did not fulfil its promise. Being an endurance sport, the Japanese quickly gained dominance and, indeed, last year’s world championship continues as the sole remaining competitor, Jamaswi Harakosho, extends his world record wait beyond twelve months. The remaining British Rail commuters reverted to their cars many months ago.

Competitive obesity had also appeared promising until the Americans became aware of this and generated contenders on a scale we could not hope to emulate.

We are currently developing the ‘New Modern Triathlon’ which consists of pigeon racing followed by train spotting followed by morris dancing. This is now well into its training phase, and we are confident that it will be a world beater by the time of the next Olympics.