Tales From The Ward

This tale was told me once by the reincarnation of Errol Flynn in a ward in which I was not a patient.

Errol: Don’t slouch, Problem, Boadicea would never have slouched.

Me: Look, I don’t think I’m Boudica, OK?  And don’t use the language of the Oppressor.  She’s Boudica, got it?  Not that sissy Romanized appellate.  Besides, that whole warrior queen thing was only for a day, like – not even a whole day.  As soon as I had impaled Nurse Seezer on the drip stand with the blood-curdling yell of freedon for the Iceni, I came right to!  I was able to calmly assess the difference between right and wrong and, as the filthy Roman, Nurse Seezer melodically bubbled blood from her windpipe, I also had the capacity to realize that maybe this was one of these non-right times.  I calmed right down after that and thus it was with noble resignation and a defiant chin that I raised my vein for the swimmy swimmy shot I knew must come.  History is against me and my tribe, after all.  I know my part.

Errol:  Anyway, you couldn’t be Boudica, your breasts aren’t big enough.  Her’s were mighty and pointy*, almost like Madonna’s.

Me: Sputter!  That’s an inappropriately personal remark, Errol! Another of these and I’m telling the doc. and
that’ll set back your release another week at least.  Anyway, you call that scrappy little line of polarized iron filings a Flynnian moustache?  It looks like your top lip is perforated for easy detachment or something.  Like a teabag.  How come you’re back in here anyway, Errol?

Errol (eyes narrowing in recollection) : It was a snowy day just after Christmas and I had nowhere I had to be. Inside its sheath, my bendy fencing sword shivered, imploring me to use him in the cause of Justice.  I walked and walked and then I took to lurking.  Outside a large house on the hill, I lurked in the shadows, buckles clanking against my epee, swashes moist with anticipation.  I twirled my moustache as I lowered the brim of my black Spanish hat over my keen eyes and sneered as I surveyed the pleasant scene inside the room.  What I saw enraged me.  Men in new Pringle sweaters were standing pleasantly with their also pleasant wives, all dressed in the bright colours of the season. But I knew the cost of all that smart-casual.  High in the hills of Pakistan, thousands of cashmere goats were shivering their way through a brutal winter just so richos like this could stand around and laugh as they spilt sherry on their stolen fleeces, dyed and criminally knitted out of all recognition.

Me:  That’s terrible, Errol!  I know your fondness for the goat. I bet your blood was boiling!  What happened

Errol:  There was a blur, and that blur was me as I flew through the air at the patio windows expecting to crash through in a glorious hail of glass and wood trim.

Me:  Cool!

Errol:  Wait Problem, wait.  I’m not finished. Although, yes, I was very cool indeed, the upper-middle class bastards had only gone and gotten reinforced non-scratch perspex for their windows, hadn’t they?  Picking myself up off the patio bricks I heard the crunch of my elbow, and the bitter tinkle of silver plate and laughter continuing uninterrupted from inside, made me taste bitter gall and shattered mercury amalgam in my mouth.

Me:  Bloody window fixtures to fit your lifestyle!

Errol:  Then I saw all too clearly what I must do. Clutching my useless elbow and whimpering manfully, I mounted the slippery roof of the house, via their wheelie-bins.  Scaling the slippery roof to the chimney, the orchestra, my orchestra, started up, urging me on and on with Excitement Music.  In non-jarring backing-tracks I could hear the far off plaintive bleating of the cold and terrified goats. Jeeringly unconcerned about soot on my clothing because heroes don’t worry about things like that and besides i was all in black anyway, I didn’t hesitate as I leapt down the chimney in a single panther-like bound.

Me:  You sure are brave Errol.  People might criticize your hammy acting and your questionable personal life, but nobody could say you’re not one brave s.o.b.

Errol:  Well the cashmere-sweatered party were sure surprised to see me land in their fireplace, I can tell you.  Many of them said some of the more polite swear words like “Damn!” or “What the hell…?”  It was only the vicar who screamed “Holy fucking shite!” over and over, before sucking his thumb and pressing his head to the hostess’s bosom for maternal comfort and some light stroking.

Who are you?  What do you mean by leaping down our chimney like this?” said a man with a crap moustache, which rather pathetically affected that of Tom Selleck, I thought. Well, as you know, Problem, I am a hero of few words.  I prefer to let my actions speak.  Therefore I trusted my audience to know that when I slashed furiously and Zorro-like at their sweaters I did not mean to hurt them!  I was just making a timely political point about goat-cruelty.  In my passion I might have blurted out “How could you, you beasts?” a few times, it’s true; and yes, I expect a few tears did fall down my sooty cheeks.  All the work I’ve been doing with the doctor, has left me no longer afraid to express my emotions. I know now that crying doesn’t make me less of a man.

Me: Errol…I don’t know what to say…

Errol: Suddenly I noticed the orchestra music had stopped.  Why? I looked up from the floor where I was now lying curled-up; hugging my knees and a fragment of slashed jumper; softly yodelling the high, lonely Song Of The Goatherd.  I wondered who all these people were and why were they staring at me?  Confusion, cursed, poisoning confusion rushed my senses and it was at that point that the cowardly vicar hit me from behind with the candlestick.

Who knows how long I was out. As I came to, a small child dressed all in white was crouched beside me looking at me.  “I guess I messed up the party pretty bad, didn’t I, little girl?”  “Yes.” she said softly. “Yes you did“.  “I expect you think I’m a bad man, don’t you?” I said. “Well, you did eat the head off my teddy-bear,”  she said.  “That was a mistake, little girl,” I said shaking my head sadly.  “That was a terrible mistake.  but I am Errol Flynn, Hero, and I always admit my mistakes.  Remember this night always, child.  Remember the dark stranger with the fantastic moustache who taught you always to admit when you’ve done wrong.

And then the ambulance and police and the firemen arrived to put out the fire I’d set under the arrangement of snow-globes.

Me:  You know, Errol.  You’re not so bad.  I bet that little girl won’t forget the lessons of that night. Oh wouldn’t be great if every breed of sheep and goat bred not for their personalities, but only for their fleeces and cruel men’s gain, had a champion like you?  A true legend on their side?

Errol:  Well to be fair, Robin Hood over there by Calligula, has Angoras covered but you’re right. Wrongs need to be righted and we each need to pick our wrongs-that-need-to-be-righted carefully and according to our own passions. We can’t go at it all half-assed and 50p-in-the-collecting-tin about it.  The world’s a crazy place after all.

And with that, Errol lapsed back into his habitual silence, twirled his moustache and sucked his big toe thoughtfully.

*Contemporary accounts prove that Boudica’s breasts were only apocryphally pointy.  The popular but mistaken belief resulted from the mosaicist-of-record at the time only having triangular tiles left when he came to do her boobs, which, because he’d been away from his wife on campaign for the previous three years, he’d left ’til last to tesselate.

22 thoughts on “Tales From The Ward”

  1. Late-tesselated titties, as we know, are the most misleading and the least endearing. Madonna I should not advise.

    eanwhile, on a more relevant note, to be in like Flynn in this land is considered a great accolade, though I have never quite grasped why.

  2. I must confess my disappointment. How dare you question the fullness and firmness of Boudica’s boobs. The Iceni were famous for boobs. I read that in Tacitus — in the original bloody Latin on a scroll inscribed by Irish monks ca. 800ish. (The scroll, BTW, not the date of my reading.)

    Anyhoo, loved this post, although the critic in me wonders whether it could be improved, ever so slightly mind you, if you had painted yourself blue and set your hair on fire before stabbing the nurse.

    Just trying to help.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to run off and contemplate Boudica and Madonna in some sort of tryst. After all, I need some “me time.”


  3. Bodica, some bint that caused Pauilinus to cross the Menai and do the dirty to the Trees, well really. Keep in mind that Iona lasted hundreds of years after Mona. And the very idea of breasts pointy or not. Bullshit. The sports bra was developed for those women that helped give reason for Hadrians’ Wall. Ya surely do not think the girls were silent hand wringing stay at home bods. They are not now, were not 100 years ago when they stood filleting Herring in temp’ that should have froze them solid. And what really terrified redcoats was finding themselves facing the women.

  4. I had given up laughter for lent you know, and was doing well in my sackcloth and ashes until THIS. And now I’m left wondering did Errol follow the pringle diamond design in doing the Zorro zippy thing with his epee. Thanks Sam, excellent as ever and so dam enjoyable.

  5. Bock, he is? He had panache, of course, but he was meant to have been a right uppity bum-face in real life, I heard. Wait a minute! We’ve talked about Errol Flynn before! I think. Have we? Yes, I’m sure we have!

    Rand, Hysterical context, more like.
    “if you had painted yourself blue and set your hair on fire before stabbing the nurse.” How do you know I didn’t? I can’t reveal all my skeletons from the cupboard at once, you know. The clatter would be too tremendous and nobody would come back.

    Vincent, first of all the Trees were asking for it. You’re right though, there’s many a mighty well-formed bosom ‘neath the petticoats of the North.

    Conan, I like the cut of your yodel, my man. I bet you’re knee deep in clamouring, love-struck milk-maids every time you open the door in the morning. All of them after your fine yodel.

    Sniffle, oh honey, this is no time to be giving up laughter. In fact, as we all swirl round and round down the economic swannie into penury and want, the more maniacal we can make our laughter the better. It helps us gulp more oxygen as we’re sucked under. Thank you, sweet Sniffsy. You’re a lovely and generous man, you are.

    Medbh, In some cultures it’s a mark of respect, like shaking hands with somebody. Of course that culture is dying out in Orkney now after the latest severe foot and mouth outbreak.

  6. Propaganda, me dear, nothing but propaganda. Asking for it, I ask ya. Those lads and lassies were fun peace loving and generally wholesome. Who happened to be sitting smack dab in the middle of the sea-route between the huge copper mine within the Pen-y-Gogarth (Great Ormes) and the roads near Bath. Mind you it was that troublesome Essex chick that gave them the excuse. Typical really.

  7. So was it the vicar in the front room with the candlestick?

    Or the madwoman in the tv room with the carving knife ?

    I hate this game. I prefer Monopoly, and only then ’cause my gran taught us all to cheat at a very early age.

    Some mighty fine writing there, however, Problem.

  8. Vincent, but I love a little bit of propaganda in the morning! Or coffee. Coffee or propaganda, I never the remember the difference. I have t say “and toast” to see which one sounds wrong. Propaganda and toast – wrong. Must be coffee I like.

    Che, mon ami ecossais! The last time they got carving knives and drip-stands mixed up on the ward I wasn’t a patient in, it was red. That’s all I remember, It was all very red. Purplish and quivery in some spots, but mostly red.

    Mary, We Brits long ago in evolutionary history had a poker shoved up our ancestral arse leading to an upper lip that tends to stiffness especially in fun and relaxed atmospheres. In the easier, looser-lipped Southern parts of Europe no such poker was applied but Nature found its own way of discouraging yabbering: The perforating upper lip moustache. A yabber too far and some annoyed soul will tear off the upper lip off the yabberer’s face and not give it back til he shuts up.

    Ellis, you were far ahead of me in the field of sharpened nipples , my friend. I remember your picture well. Always remember though, he that is at the front of the field of sharpened nipples will always have to run faster than those at the back. God, I’m wise, aren’t I? Cheers for the link!

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