If Scott Baldwin’s instantly-infamous and absolutely-hilarious-in-the-kind-of-way-I’m-slightly-ashamed-to-admit attempt at lion taming is anything to go by, it looks like on the Ospreys’ next away trip they may only allow the players to visit a charted accountancy firm. However, last week was just the tip of the iceberg. Not many people are aware of this, but when he isn’t getting pinged for throwing not straight, Scott Baldwin is a true man of adventure. A man who lives his entire life like it’s a lion cage, always willing to stick his hand in. It’s time for Blood & Mud to exclusively lift the lid on The Many Adventures of Scott Baldwin…
The Hooker Who Loved Me
Scott Baldwin barrelled down the drab corridor. Time was of the essence. He’d been on away trips to London before, but on those occasions his opposition was Saracens or Harlequins, not the corrupted head of MI5. Normally, Baldwin was patient. He was the kind of man willing to sit at the back of a maul, wait to cross the line, not break early and make a charge. But right now he did not have that option. He reached the end of the corridor and kicked the door in. The flew open, and Baldwin scanned the room. There, as he expected, was Director Tandy.
“Play time’s over, buddy,” spat Baldwin. This was a basic capture situation. He’d done this hundreds of times, and that was just in the academy.
“Well well well, Mr Baldwin, as we live and die,” said Tandy, who had abandoned the gruff Bridgend timbre of his natural voice in an effort to be taken seriously as a supervillain. The dialect coach had cost a season’s playing budget, but now he sounded posh enough to fit in at Twickenham, so it was well worth it.
“Well, to be more precise,” Tandy continued. Agent Baldwin put his hand to his belt. “As I live, and you die.”
Tandy and Baldwin pulled their guns at the same time. They cocked them, right in each other’s faces, but neither pulled the trigger. They had too much mutual respect to not grant the other their final words.
They stood around in awkward silence for quite a while because they both figured if they spoke first, it meant they’d said their final words, and therefore the other one could shoot them, and neither really wanted to be dead before the new series of The Apprentice started. But eventually Tandy had enough. He pulled the trigger.
The barrel was empty. He had wasted the last of his ammo on those Scarlets fans with the banner.
“Shit.” he said, his natural voice returning with the frustration. “Have you got any bullets in yours?”
“Oh yeah, loads” replied Baldwin. “Do you want to borrow any?”
“That’d be a big help, cheers” said Tandy, who opened the clip of his piece. Baldwin did the same and tossed his former boss a few shells. Tandy put them straight into his gun and shot Baldwin in the face.
2017: A Scott Odyssey
“Ground control? Ground control? This is Major Baldwin. Repeat, this is Major Baldwin. We have a situation.”
The message wasn’t getting through, but it looked like any minute now those creatures just might. How the hell no drone mission had ever picked up on these twelve-foot tentacle beasts, Major Baldwin would never know. But this was the first manned mission to Mars, and Baldwin should have known the risks when he signed up. Neil Armstrong only had to be afraid of Clangers. Martians were always going to be a different prospect altogether.
“They’re close! They’re getting through!”
The fear in Major Smith’s voice was palpable. He and Baldwin had become very close over the course of this mission, but even a stranger could tell how scared he was. To be fair, watching your tighthead get eaten alive would do that to a man. Smith continued to mutter to himself. More hope slipped from his voice with each syllable. Baldwin, on the other hand, was the first man from Bridgend in space. He was getting home, and no beast, pink and tentacled or otherwise, could stop him doing that.
Baldwin and Smith looked to each other. They didn’t need to check. They knew what that sound meant. The first breach in the ship.
The third, though this one was through a foam section of wall, hence the very different sound. Considering the money they saved by sending rugby players into space rather than trained astronauts, you’d have thought NASA might have been able to afford to build that section of ship slightly more securely.
“They’re going to kill us, Scott. They’re going to kill us.” Tears streamed down Smith’s face. He hadn’t spoken to Nicky Thomas since he signed for the Scarlets. He let rivalry get in the way of what was once a close friendship. He had so many regrets, all of which being left behind on the Planet Earth. “Look at them! They’re so close we could touch them!”
Except that gave Baldwin an idea. He headed over to the wall the Martians were so close to breaking. Only the thinnest of dividers now separated Baldwin from the creatures. He looked over to the hole in the wall, and reached through his hand…
It was surprisingly squishy at first. The creature almost seemed tame. Baldwin fondled his way up to it’s head. It was not what he was expecting at all. Rough, slimy. The creature seemed to respond as Baldwin rubbed it’s head. It was disgusting, but unexpectedly calm, a bit like Dylan Hartley since he got the England captaincy.
Then it happened. Scott looked down to his hand. Or rather, he looked down to where his hand had been. Without him noticing, it had been absorbed into the massive, lumpant pink fleshy body before him. He tried to pull himself away. He squirmed. He wriggled. But it was no use. Inch by inch, Baldwin felt himself slide inside the grotesque pink creature, which reminded him of the time he met your mum. Soon enough, there was no Scott Baldwin. There was only the Martians and fear for the future of the human race.
Murder on Arriva Trains Wales
It was five o’clock on a winter’s morning in Swansea. Alongside Platform 3 stood the train grandly designed in Railway guides as the 5:03 to Carmarthen. It consisted of four coaches with no dining services, all of which looked like they were made out of hard-set plasticine.
By the step leading up to into the carriage which, frankly, felt like it could have been designed more economically considering how many people were standing at peak times stood a young French scrum-half, resplendent in full kit conversing with a small man muffled up to the ears, of whom nothing was visible but for a pink-tipped nose and a headband over his forehead.
It was as cold as you’d expect from South Wales at 5AM, and this job of seeing off a distinguished stranger was not one to be envied, but Baptist Serin performed his part manfully. Graceful phrases fell from his lips like Gloucester backs off tackles. Not that he knew what it was all about. There had been rumours, of course, but we’ve all got rumours. Sources? We’ve all got sources. The Coach –His Coach-‘s temper had grown worse and worse. And then there had come this Bridgendian stranger – all the way from Ospreys, it seemed. There had been a week- a week of curious selection decisions. And then certain things had happened. A very distinguished back rower had signed for Northampton, another had suddenly retired, anxious fly-halves had suddenly lost their goalkicking responsibilities, certain French habits were relaxed. And the Coach, Baptiste Serin’s own particular Coach, had suddenly looked ten years younger, meaning Guy Noves now only looked one-hundred and twenty-three.
Serin had overheard part of a conversation between him and the stranger. “You have saved us, butt” said Noves emotionally, the moustache I always picture him having but he apparently doesn’t have trembling as he spoke. “You have saved the honour of the French Rugby Union- You have averted much bloodshed! How can I thank you for preventing us playing the All Blacks? To have come so far-”
To which the stranger (by the name M. Scott Baldwin) had made a fitting reply including the phrase “But indeed, I presume you’re going to offer me a contract in the Top 14 so I can get out of the sinking ship that is the Ospreys too?”, and then he threw himself under the train or something before I accidentally rewrote an entire Agatha Christie book as being about Scott Baldwin.
Scott Baldwin Takes Manhattan
Scott walked into his new corner office for the first time. He’d dreamt of this moment for so long, but now it felt flat. It was just a room, a room with a desk. An empty room with a desk and a photocopier. How he had longed for his own photocopier so he didn’t have to wait for Janet from Accounts to finish first. This was all I ever wanted, thought Scott. But now I don’t want it so badly, he also thought, a few moments later. Because I want something else, he continued to think. He didn’t have to think his next thought. He just had to act on it.
“Scott! Congratulations on the-” Scott hurried down the stairs. He didn’t have time to listen to his co-workers kindness. He had to get to the train station before she left forever.
He burst out of the firm. The rain lashed down on his face like Duncan McRae on a punchable fly-half. It had been hard for him to admit this, but he loved her. That thought percolated as he looked for a cab. He loved her. He loved her.
“I LOVE HER!” screamed Scott. People turned to look at him. He didn’t care. In fact, he was proud. He was going to say it again. “I LOVE HER. I LOVE HER I LOVE HER I LOVE HER!” There was no cab in sight. Time was ticking by. He was going to have to run.
The rain began to seep into his suit as he passed the Greggs’ where they’d had that fateful fight in the first place. Normally, he would stop to reflect, but her train was in six minutes. He found a turn of pace not displayed since his second try against Grenoble in last year’s Challenge Cup. He was going to make it.
He charged into the station. He didn’t have a ticket, but he had love in his heart, and that was more important. He looked over to the slightly bored security guard. A perfect stranger, but he understood. As Israel Folau once said, love is universal. Love conquers all. Love means people can do anything. Scott jumped the barrier.
He had ran some distance already, but the stairs to Platform 3 felt like the ones that go on forever from that bit in Inception where Leo teaches Ellen Page how to build dreams. Eventually, he reached the top. And there she stood. Sara. Scott’s perfect woman. She was waiting, suitcase in hand, cardigan soaked and hair sodden, make-up long since faded from her face, but to Scott, she was still the most beautiful woman in the world. She turned her head. The conductor blew his whistle. The 5:03 to Carmarthen was about to leave. Scott paid no heed. Sara had not yet boarded. He walked the final paces towards her.
“Scott?” It was good to hear her voice again. “What are you doing here?”
“I just came to say,” Scott swallowed. This wasn’t going to be easy. “You’re going to miss your train. That ticket won’t have been cheap.”
“You’re right, it wasn’t” she said “Even though I booked online using TheTrainline.co.uk for fantastic savings and priority seating.”
She got on the train, and Scott Baldwin never saw his true love again.
The Great Gatland
In my younger and more vulnerable years I gave Sean O’Brien some advice that he’s been turning over in his mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the competent attack coaching that you’ve had.”
There is no more to that one. It’s just a simple joke about reasonably topical rugby events and the opening line of a work of classic literature. I have a Master’s degree in writing and this is what I’m doing with it. I’ll just say you’re all lucky I never got to Scott Baldwin and the Raiders of the Lost Parc.