August 11, 2005
Tales of the Llamabutchers
Well hello there … Robert the Llamabutcher here. I must say, good fellow, I’ve had the most delightful morning, full of fresh air, odd reminiscence and giddy joy in the burrow of nature’s bosom. Would you like to hear about it? No? Not interested? Oh come now, have a seat. Sit.
I was in the garden you see, skipping amongst my prize marigolds and petunias with a hose, listening to the call of the birds and the faint swirls and eddies of a wondrous Rostladadadadov piece, Opus number 679, I believe. Quite light and teasing, yet building to a firm crescendo that never fails to leave me gasping at its surreal beauty. Yes, yes, anyhow, I was in the garden, clipping my beautous sage dandereelias, when across the fence in the neighbor’s yard I spied the Thursley’s young Mexican gardener trimming their rose bushes. Shirtless, his nut brown musculature glistened in the late morning sunshine, his rythmic clipping and flexing matching the determined aria of Rostladadadadov's masterwork. I was hypnotized. By the music. Yes, hypnotized by the music.
Anyhow, suddenly, I was struck by the most peculiar feeling. It was a dizzying bout of vouja dez. That’s right, vouja dez: the feeling that ... none of this had ever happened before! But then, right after that bizarre sensation passed, I experienced a visceral, distinct memory, triggered by the rhythmic movement of Jose's tawny muscles, the crisp smell of the fresh morning air and the soft strains of the lilting music, and, bewitched amongst the flowers, I began to travel backwards in time, to a younger, more innocent era …
"You've got to keep up Robert, the coxswain will thrash us but good if you don't!" yelled Stephen, his lanky, athletic arms straining to move a set of oars. Beyond his lopsided grin and foppish hair sat several other chaps that I could spy, also rowing, in a sleek crew shell. And at the bow of the craft stood a grimacing midget, a hairy, compact little smudge of man with coal-black eyes, a growling voice and an omnipresent scowl. A scowl that was directed at me.
"What in Sam Hain are ya doin', you dandy pooftah Llamabutcha?! Grab yer ooh-ahs an' r-r-r-r-r-rooooooooooooooooooooooooow!" screamed the angry, grizzled dwarf in an impossibly thick and guttural Scottish accent. "Don' make me come back tha' and put mah foot in yer arse ya poncey pusseh!"
"Row, Robbo, row!" implored Steve in a concerned falsetto, his chestnut brown locks falling in front of his dazzling blue eyes.
I took a brief look around, scanning the rippling water surrounding me, and realized that I was flashing back to Crew practice at the Academy, skimming the water in the glorious SS Churchill along Lake Lady Windermere! I clumsily grasped my oars with my spindly, bespeckled arms and began to row in tune with the other chaps, who hummed a spot of Beethoven's Fifth to keep rythm, while Cudgel the Deformed Scottish Dwarf screamed rank obscenities at us all.
"R-r-r-rooow, you right pusseh English bastahds!" he'd yell, then take a deep swig of grain alcohol from a small silver flask. The only thing that would interrupt Cudgel's incessant drinking and profane screaming were his frequent breaks to relieve himself off the side of the boat, during which he'd mutter and grunt in appreciative bursts of staccato doggerel that were intelligible only to himself. Occasionally, Nigel Tuefleur would be unlucky enough to catch a smattering of his bitter dwarfen spray, as the poor fellow held the unlucky distinction of being firstee in the boat.
Basically, everyone was miserable. Experiencing it again, I recalled just how much I hated crew practice, hated the water, hated the bright merciless sun, and most of all, hated the bastard Scottish deformity that abused us before, during, and even after our practices. I had only joined the team to be closer to my best mate Steve, who seemed to shrug off the abuse and relish the athletic outdoor challenge. He was quite strapping, I must admit.
So on the practice went, as our taskmaster took us for a last cursory spin around the lake and towards the welcoming dock.
"Thar yeh go, you litt-el whelps. Take 'er in nice and smooth or I'll kill yeh all in yer sleep, I will. All 'cept one of yeh, who I'll only let let live long enough to service ol' Cudgel, bury the other lads and then die on the wrong end of the shovel. And then I'll piss on all yer graves, I will!"
The boat slowly docked and everyone waited for Cudgel to drunkenly disembark. After he was solidly on the dock, he motioned for the crew to depart practice, all except me!
"Robert yeh prissy lil fussbudget, I need teh talk teh yoo in the storage cabin. Have yoo and yer lil poofteh buddy carry the ship over and I'll be there in a minute. If yer not there when I show up, I'll beat yeh to death with my own two hands I will!" growled the angry little man, lifting his gnarled, petrified little stubby clubs inches from my face for effect.
"Yes sir," I assented, waving Steve to grab the front of the boat, while I lifted the aft.
"What do you think he wants, Robbo?" asked Steve, in his melodic tone.
"I'm not sure Stephen, but I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't terribly frightened!" I pleaded, searching his brilliant eyes for a hint of solace, the will to persevere.
"Well, after we put this boat away, I'll come back and meet you in 10 minutes. Good luck," comforted Steve. We put the boat away and Steve departed, leaving me to wait nervously in the dimness of the storage shed.
"Ah, thar yeh are you litt-el maggot," grumbled Cudgel, as he sauntered into the shed and closed the door behind him. "I think I need to teach you a litt-el lesson, I do. You sass me in practice, yeh need teh payyyyeh."
"But I certainly did not intend to sass you, good sir ..." I responded respectfully, hoping to ...
I felt the stony back of one of the dwarf's gnarled hands strike me across the face, knocking me to the floor. Through my stars, I struggled to raise myself up on my knees, and began sobbing softly.
"Awwwwww. Litt-el babee. The litt-el pooftah got 'imself a byoo-byoo. Stay down thar yeh whelp," he sing-songed as he walked towards me, his 4'2" frame towering above my half-prone body. "Yeh know the lesson yehr goin' teh learn today? Today yer gointa orgle fer ol' Cudgel, yeh see. Yer gointa Orgle but gyooooood! Open that pretteh lil Llama mouth n' orgle! Orgle fer me boy, orgle, orgle, orgle! ORGLE!" he screamed, dropping his little-boy pants and shuffling towards me, his gnarled pink dwarfhood exposed to the warm night air. I began to cry in earnest now, ducking and scrambling on my hands and knees to avoid him ... to no avail: his wooden grip clamped down on my neck, spinning me to face his twisted little tally-ho. I sobbed and sobbed, closing my eyes as I heard his ragged breath and felt him draw near.
Suddenly, all was silent; his breath had stopped. Then I heard a sickening gurgle as I opened up my watery eyes and looked up at my tormenter, whose look of surprise must have mirrored my own. Cudgel's eyes were frozen, his body perfectly still, until he twisted away and downwards and I saw the large pick-ax jutting from his back, perfectly in line with what must have been his blackened little heart. His heavy little body struck the ground, and a pool of brackish blood spread a widening puddle on the dusty wooden floor.
Above him stood my savior: Stephen, a determined look on his face. My hero!
"Oh Stephen!" I sobbed in relief and shock. "He was going to make me ... he was ... it was ..."
"I know Robbo, I know. I had to do it."
"We must go tell Headmaster Thomas immediately!"
"NO! Are you insane? I murdered a man! Well, a little man, anyway. I don't want to go to jail!"
"But, 'twas self-defense!"
"Robbo, who do you think that they're going to believe? A respected crew coach or a couple of bloody llamas that never quite fit in at this crazy Academy! Think, man, think! Plus, there's all sorts of dwarf folk in these parts. We get arrested and tried, it's going to be a bunch of tiny inbred Scottish dwarfs in that jury box! We'll do the Charleston at the end of a rope for sure! We got no shot except to bury the little bastard and never speak of this again!" asserted Steve, struggling to control his volume through gritted teeth.
Then he slapped me. Hard. And the slap's sweet sting snapped me from my simpering stupor.
"No 'buts,' Robert. Help me put this little sunufabitch into the boat. We're carrying it to the dock and taking a little early evening ride on Lake Lady Windermere. Grab some of those tackle weights to keep the little monster sunk. NOW, MOVE!"
So I complied, shivering and sobbing softly the whole while. Cudgel was heavier than expected, so Steven resolved to cut him into smaller pieces with a hacksaw, which we then ferried out in ones and twos to a spot down by the dock, making sure to cover our efforts as well as possible in the twilight gloom. Then we rowed out to the middle of the Lake, weighted the bits with tackle, and spread them across a 50-yard path in the deepest depths of Lady Windermere's brackish loins.
Rowing in to shore that night and tramping off towards the dormitory, I knew that my life would never be the same. Stephen and I never spoke of it again, but for sharing the occasional knowing glance whenever we happened to run across miserable Scottish dwarf-folk in our latter days.
"Hola? Hola? Senor Roberto, tu manguera me esta inundando el patio!" barked an agitated Jose, waking me from my dream.
"Oh yes, yes, Jose. LO-SEE-EN-TO, good chap," and I turned off my running hose.
And sighed. Strains of Beethoven's Fifth had begun waft from the house.
Ah, memories.Posted by Kathy at August 11, 2005 10:52 AM | TrackBack