Daniel challenged me to write a text for him to scrutinise and correct. The theme was optional: one on ABBA and the Swedish and one about a person getting sent to Australia for murder. There will be more as I found these constraints inspiring. I opted for the second one and please excuse the lack of murder and Australia so far. For now....
“They 'ave large tufts of woolly fur 'angin from the sides.. And the horns.. The Horns grow round the ears, menacing pain and promising de'ath. The eyes, penetrating, like demons', the odd shape of the pupils hypnotises it's prey. And on each foot two laarge, heavy talons ta kick yer teetbh out me lasses. Aye, t'is the most unnerving sight t'is...” The old man's tale of the Skye Isle Beasts was having the intended effect on his audience. They were all ears, waiting to hear more. “An' tha' wa' when Hamish struck out.. Do ye know wha' 'appened?”
“No, do say!” they chorused, enchanted. It was all so peculiar and appropriate at the same time. The Glengarry Castle smoking room was full of the putrid smoke of the sailors pipe, the air was saturated with the stuff. Still, all present breathed heavily, intoxicated by the prospect of hunting this monster. Turning to the woman of the group, the sailor went on
“Hamish wa' caught, lass, caught in the devil's trap five of these creatures from 'ell. 'E would no' accept it an' wa' determined to go down fightin' and taking as many of the demons with'im as 'e could...” The pause for dramatic effect was a bit too long.
Eileen Donnan was sitting quite regally in a Mary Stewart way, perched on the high chair they had started referring to as the Pied de Stool but the joke was lost on Wallace and Robert, their French was poor and their sense of humour, if possible, worse still. None of those who got the pun thought it was much fun anyway but as far as wordplay went they tacitly agreed it was passable.
Marcus Harrogate, now known as the Court Biologist, was presently taking notes, feverishly, added words to drawings. He ended up drawing what looked to the others as sheep but not for lack of talent. He was very good. His friends lamented he had not tried to go to Paris but he was happy in his native Scotland. The old man's description of the White Beasts of Skye added up to partially harvested sheep. But was what they looked like, from what he told them of their behaviour they were as far as one could get from placid grazers. By the sound of things they would shame the most ferocious Hydra. Harrogate tried to add more necks and heads and whipping tails. It was still a sheep. Confounded, he tried to catch up with the storytelling.
“Aye... lass tha' wa' summin' eh...”
The engineer snickered. Although he had nothing against hunting as such—some preferred golf or knitting—it was the notion of killing time that was such a strange idea to him. Everyone died so for what reason would we want to kill our only ally against oblivion? Pastimes that included a minimum of utility, of which hunting was one, qualified for consideration and if conditions were right he might even accept it. But he motivation lay elsewhere. Talisker, founded in 1830, was a small distillery in Carbost on Skye. That was the reason he was here. The invite had been convenient as he could now for one of those rare occasions shamelessly indulge in pleasure while having the excuse of business to hide behind.
TO BE CONTINUED.
WILL INCLUDE: HUNTING, MORE STUFF, DEATH, COURT AND SENTENCE, PRISON and, somehow, AUSTRALIA