Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Staffordshire Men’s Auxiliary

A bang, then silence. One of the Algerian waifs broke free from the guard, weaving in and out of the people waiting for the parade to begin. ‘…stop that damn child…!’ yelled a guard with a crooked nose. The child, having made his way past the line of people and into the back alleyway turned and stuck out his tongue. ‘…the child is a menace…’ screamed a woman carrying a footstool. Bet Shemesh and Bet Yerushalayim, members of the auxiliary OAS, took a head count, 15 French-speaking children and two Algerian waifs, a girl and a boy. ‘…he’s a pickle that one…’ said a woman with a sore tooth. The second guard blew his a nose into a dirty hankie, trumpeting like a brass quintet. ‘…put that thing away…’ said the head guard to the trumpeting guard. ‘…you’re making an awful noise…’.

The Staffordshire Men’s Auxiliary hold their weekly meetings in the Tamworth Livery, the stable boy sweeping up before and afterwards. ‘--it has those, whatchamacallit, prickly things on it’. ‘--like a cat’s tongue’. ‘--yes, that’s it, a cat’s tongue’. The stable boy shooed a cowl of crows---coo-cooing from the rafters. ‘--strange, these things that prick’. ‘--like a cat’s tongue, you say’. ‘--yes, cat’s tongue’. ‘--prick?’ ‘--prickle’. ‘--prick?’ After shooing the crows---cooing-coo---from the rafters the stable boy cleaned the mucking rake tines.

The man in the hat felt a prickling in his foot. Removing his shoe he scoured his foot for tic bites. Once before he’d been bitten, forcefully, by a tic, the tic leaving a red scabby tic-mark on the bottom of his foot. Thinking, suggestively, that he might have again been bitten by a tic, perhaps the selfsame tic, he checked the bottom of his foot, and not finding a red tic-mark laced up his shoe and went about his business free from worry, though stymied that he had not sought attention, medically, the first, and what appeared to be the only time he'd been bitten by a tic as far as he could tell.

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