GIMLET TAKES A JOB

First Published in June 1954 - 176 pages

 

At their annual reunion luncheon, Gimlet tells Cub, Copper and Trapper that the Government has appointed him Governor of the island of Santelucia in the West Indies. This island is British territory and the existing Governor, Colonel Baker, has disappeared. A month later, our heroes arrive at the island to find all the natives in a terrified state. Gimlet sacks 'General' Pedro who questions their arrival and throws Jabez Christian, the self appointed Special Commissioner out of Government House. That night a terrified white man comes to their residence. He is Frederick Gates, the missing Governor's batman. He tells our heroes that everybody is scared stiff of a local voodoo priest known as a 'houngan'. This man, says Gates, can bring the dead back to life as zombies. It is clear that Gates is terrified of this houngan, who goes by the name of Papa Shambo. Gimlet first starts to sort out the problems on the island by feeding the people and giving ice cream to the children. Gimlet befriends a local man called Joe and a boy called Rupert and employs them. Gimlet also sends for Papa Shambo, who doesn't come. After freeing prisoners in the jail, our heroes find three zombies working in the fields cutting sugar cane. One is an Arab who was believed to be dead. The men work like robots and respond to nothing. Copper and Cub have to use force to fetch Shambo and also Pedro and Christian. Shambo is wearing Colonel Baker's clothes so he is imprisoned for being in possession of stolen property. Cub and Copper go and burn down Shambo's temple and Cub finds a radio in Shambo's hut nearby. The next thing to happen is that their friend Joe is found dying. The mark of death has been put on his door and because he believes he is going to die, he is just sitting down and waiting to die. Gimlet has Shambo brought out and puts a noose around his neck. Gimlet says that Shambo is responsible for this and unless he lifts the death curse, Shambo will be hanged for murder the moment Joe dies. Shambo lifts the curse. That night a zombie tries to kill Joe. It is the Arab who was working in the fields. Copper shoots him but the Arab is only wounded when the bullet grazes his head. He comes around like a man returning from a coma and knows nothing of what has been going on. He has no recollection of cutting sugar cane. Shambo escapes from prison and Cub and Copper return to his hut looking for him. Here they are overcome by poisonous smoke and attacked by Pedro with an axe. Cub manages to shoot Pedro and they are saved by the timely arrival of Gimlet. Gimlet burns down the hut. Three days later, our heroes find the mill on the island where zombie workers are processing the sugar cane. One is the missing Governor, Colonel Baker. All of the zombies are bought back to the safety of Government House. Information is received that the houngan, Shambo, is hiding in an old fort and Gimlet, Cub and Copper go looking for him, with Gates acting as guide. Shambo manages to take control of Copper but Cub saves him and in a fight, Shambo is thrown to his death. A schooner arrives, called the Carlos Mendoza and this is bringing alcohol and opium to trade for the sugar cane. Gimlet impounds the ship but it escapes, taking Christian with it. With a little help from Copper the ship is wrecked on the reef. Gimlet's last words are "Now perhaps, we shall get a little peace. It's time we had something to eat". The final chapter merely narrates the progress of the island until it is handed over to a now recovered Colonel Baker.

 

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Gimlet Takes a Job

Subtitle - none

Publication Details - originally published by Brockhampton Press Ltd.

 

 

First Edition

 

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Frontispiece

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