The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
"Pay! Pay! Pay!"
"Pay! Pay! Pay!"
Nobbier was narked. We could tell it by his dial as soon as he came out of the Pay Office. We were waiting for him in the passage; not with any great expectations, of course, for we had all been in before him to interview the "Egyptian rate"-payer on the same lay. Nobbier always takes things hard, and when we hit the street, he became voluble.
"Hard as nails, he is", said Nobbier, bitterly. "He's been jilted, or his father was a Q.M.; or someting else has made him like it, for he looks a decent sort till you know him. I put it on him for a couple o' hundred extra—only two quid, mind you—and he knocked me back. They ought to have good-hearted blokes in those jobs, and not chaps that's got no proper human feelings. Knocked me back for two quid! It's enough to make me......"
"He's hard, all right", agreed Billson. "When I blew in and asked, in a casual sort of way, for only, two-fifty, he looks at me book, then gives me a screw. 'Go outside and wait till you've earned it', was all he said. Iron is putty compared to him. Why, if I had the job, I'd give a bloke anything he fancied up to fifty quid; I would, dinkum."
In mournful silence we walked on till a wal-lad butted up to Nobbier with, "Hey! clean boots, Sergeant?" Then Nobbier got narked again. "Imshi", he roared; and the kid hopped it while his luck was in. Usually Nobbler's as gentle as a lamb with street urchins. You could see easy he was narked.
Sam chipped in with his tale of woe: "I put it to him straight. 'Serge', I said, 'I'm going back to the Valley to-morrow. I've just met a chap that saved my life in the Beersheba stunt; and I want to have a trip to the Barrage with him. Want to do it handsome—car and a decent dinner. But I'm dead broke; about square on my book. What can you do for us?' 'You're overdrawn', he says, looking at my book, 'I can't do anything'... And it took me three days to think out. the yarn about the bloke saving me!''
"Pay sergeants are reared on powdered flint, I reckon", remarked Bill Bailee, '"stead of the milk of human kindness. It's unnatural. What's money for, anyway? To spend, isn't it? (a chorus of assent). Well, he advised me to save some for a rainy day! And it rains about once in a blue moon in Cairo. 'Look, Serge,' I says, 'It's my first trip down here and I want to buzz round a bit; and that costs money, what with gharries and all that. There's fifty odd quid on the slate; better give me twenty to kick off with'. He gave me seven o' the blue notes. Seven! when I asked for twenty—not enough for my board."
Swinging round the corner into Kasr el-Nil street, we bumped right against young Timson, who wore a grin you could have cut off with a knife.
"What's doing, Snowy?" asked Nobbier.
"Oh, nothin'", says Timson, "I've just drawn twelve quid from the Anglo-Egyptian, that's all".
"We've been looking for you", cried Nobbier, "come along".
And Snowy came........