Yeah I know. Shut it before I give you what I tried to give him. I had him good and proper did I not? His men had to save his highness’ behind and I got a clout to the back of the head. All in a good day’s work. Not sure why I laugh but as they say, someone has to and it might as well be the idiot. It’s good to laugh at yourself once in a while, makes you feel free like a big yawn.
And now here I am in the stockade. A rogue soldier, at my age? Ach! Even my wife would laugh at this one. Still she haunts me here, behind bars and with a sore head. Now my head throbs again. Come on, let’s sit down. No point in standing on ceremony in here.
When did I first meet him? I first met the oaf at a fun fair. I was there with my sister and he was showing off at one of those strongman see how hard you could hit the hammer games. I dragged my sister over and he saw me and her watching, so he took his top off. Oof! He was so scrawny at that age. Pfff! Still, he made an effort so we watched and hooted when he slammed the hammer down and the bell dinged. He laughed; he had a sparkle in his eyes when he was happy and excited.
He’s in prison now? Now that I could have told you twenty years ago. I give up on him, I really do. What did he do? To who? Hah! Perfect. That is exactly the type of man he is; impetuous, violent and he knows some horrible curses. He also has a good heart in there too, under the brawn and temper.
You went to see her? Thank you my friend, I am in your debt. Will she come? Oh. Well I shouldn’t have got my hopes up yes? Ah well, here we are again. She knows some of the best recipes I have ever tasted. Oh what a cook. Anyway, no point in talking about food here. Did Gibil send me cigarettes? Please thank him my friend. He’s a good man, if not a little old and slow. Hey, that will be me one day. Too old and slow to go at things with my fists, then I’ll have to use my head more no? Hah! It is good to laugh at yourself. Don’t be so serious. It was worth the pleasure to be here I cannot lie.
So I didn’t think it through properly. That’s me alright, always starting things I cannot finish. Maybe, just for once I might be able to; finish something that is. I bet it feels good my friend. I’ll smoke through the bars; I know people don’t like it as such. Do I regret what I did? Yes. If only for the men I have left unguarded from that monster. I have done them a wrong and if they are punished, I am punished. They are my men after all; if I don’t look after them, who will?
Oh that oaf is useless around the house. He just lies on the sofa and watches television all night. We used to go out, dancing and to parties. He’d twirl me round and show me off to his friends. He was so proud of having me on his arm. I don’t know what happened. He just got sad and stopped dancing. He used to be quick, you know like a fox. He was so witty! But that stopped too; he wouldn’t want to say things he thought of. He told me that once. I told him to not be silly, that he was funny and charming but it didn’t change.
He just stopped- talking to me. Not just to me, to everyone. When my sister would come over for dinner and her husband would bring wine; he’d just Ach! at it and sit sullen throughout the night. It was a shame; they had so much in common my husband and hers. They both liked the same things, but anyway past is past and my brother-in-law died two years past. My husband was sad; I think he liked him really but was just too miserable to show it. Ah well as he says.
I couldn’t take anymore. I just couldn’t. And here I am living at my sister’s house. Two lonely spinsters and my dog. It’s predestined to be is it not?
Did I ever tell you about our honeymoon? When I married her, we were poor. I was only a Corporal at that time and pay was cheap. Pay is still cheap now but it was worse then. We couldn’t afford to go anywhere fancy so we booked a weekend at the seaside. Not far from here, just a little place to stay, with moonlight walks and dances and swimming. It sounded perfect. When we arrived, the place, well it was not so great. It was a dump my friend, a total disaster. But it didn’t matter; we had each other and the walks and dances so to hell with it we said.
The first night it started raining and I swear no lie is spoken; it did not stop the entire weekend. Well, no walks in the rain. We tried but then she got a cold and we stayed in. The house was leaky too, so I had to change a bucket constantly to stop from being flooded. It was miserable, absolutely miserable. But my wife, through all this misery, rain and leaks; she never stopped smiling at me my friend. She never did.
I told you I am an idiot, all brawn and no brain.
To Chapter Forty-Eight – Predestined