Monday, 7 May 2012

Won’t you come out and play?

  “Dear Prudence! It’s been ages. How are you?”
   “Well enough, Neil. Thank you for asking. Let’s see you, shall we? Come Neil; a mother worries when her son disappears for such a long time. Ah, you’ve done well. Were we otherwise, I’d say you’ve grown but since we are as we are I’ll say you’ve become more solid. I’m grateful for you, boy. ”
  “Not proud Prudence; just grateful?”
   “Pride’s a sin Neil, don’t thou forget. And Pride comes in many guises, such as this Pledge of yours. Can you say on oath there’s no pride at all in foreswearing the chase for gentler-found victuals?”  
   “They’re still people Prudence; still our countrymen. And didn’t you accept the Change and survive the wounds of Marston Moor to make England a better home for goodly folk? I don’t want to hurt them: I want to protect them which is why I always dreamed of being a soldier.”
   “Jarl Erik says you’ve done well and sends his regards, though he says you’re too soft with the vanquished. And Sir Richard greets you and asks ‘Do you ever sup amongst the Moors you’ve bested?’”
  “One or two; in the heat of battle or when I’m unobserved and angered by what they do to their own people. And we don’t call them Moors now. No; it’s the half litre bag for me and moonlit helicopter rides when duty calls. Let’s go into town. There’s a pub by the hospital and a nurse I need to meet and pay tonight. She doesn’t ask much and I like to keep friends all across the city, which beats making enemies…or making too many friends. Hey, Prudence, not that way; it’s too dark and secluded down there, and… Oh, marvellous.”  
   “Well, good evening’, sir and bitch. Nice watches. Expensive. And what’ve you got in the briefcase for us tonight, eh?”
   “Prudence, you’ve tricked me again.”
   “A lad needs to work for his supper sometimes. It’s good for the character and fine, healthy exercise – and will a dozen footpads be missed?”
  “I do work for my supper Pru, but now I’ve no choice but stick around so you don’t finish them off. And you, yes; you with the knife. You obviously don’t watch enough television.”
  “Wotcher mean, you little queer?”
  “When you watch films where one or two harmless-looking people in dark alleys are menaced by gangsters and they don’t act scared at all, or run …What happens to the gangbangers every single time? No idea? Too late: there she goes. Prudence, don’t empty them – leave the dregs. I mean it, mother.”

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