in the tummy by a well-meaning someone with only your best interests at heart?
‘The Spouse’ I hear you thinking. Nay, Sir or Madam, not my Spouse. Not this time. She may on occasion opportunistically poke me but it’s always in the very best of taste, as when I poke her.
I REFER TO SOMEONE
long dead who scuppers my rum or coffee with mad rapturous abandonment whenever he gets the ghost of a chance and leaves me to carry the can.
IF YOU’VE NEVER
been prodded in the midriff by someone who made his living fighting with cutlasses you can have no idea.
IT’S NOT AS IF
I didn’t see it coming. Mature I well may be (The Spouse once likened me to a ripened cheese—I’m still not sure if I’ve been insulted or not) but there’s nothing wrong with the ol’ reflexes. Instinct saw it coming (I didn’t) and instinct reflexively blocked it. Not.
My forearm passed right through his as if it weren’t there—which strictly speaking it wasn’t, ‘cos spooks don’t exist … whilst his of course buried itself to the armpit in my solar plexus.
To say that he had my attention is an understatement. At that moment he was the focus of my entire universe.
“Getting a wee bit tubby, are we, Lad?”
This, I wasn’t expecting. But it went a long way to explaining something—
“Aaarghh hack! Argle schnorp woofle dorf?”
I ONCE HELD MY BREATH
underwater for a measured two minutes and three seconds. Oxygen—who needs it?
It’s not as if I actually felt any kind of impact. Not a corpuscle was displaced nor any nerve rubbed. Spooks, The Sage told me once, have no physical powers—a lesson I was trying desperately to recall. But he was right, I didn’t feel any impact at all—just a deep penetrating all-pervading icy chill. Chilled to the bone is tropical heat wave by comparison; and this chill went down through absolute zero to about minus a hundred Kelvin. New records were being set, but is there ever a witness around when you need one? I doubted I’d live long enough to brag.
“Don’t speak, Son. We be beyond excuses here.”
Oh goody … air. Not enough to live on but it’s a start. And my vision is coming back, both blurs of him blend into one. Now all we need work on is focus.
“Pipe down Lad—I have the helm.”
I’m so glad someone does. In the meantime deep-frozen innardy things start unknotting and air oozes in. Air—one of the little luxuries in life, free, and quite beyond price when needed.
“Possibly one shot and three balls over, I’d say—” He’s giving me the calculating look that always bodes ill for my peace of mind. What? He’s counting balls now? Amazing how seventeenth century pirates fill in their spare time, I always thought scrimsha—
Hah! I wasn’t going anywhere just yet. Not for quite a while, in fact I actually like it down here, flat on my back with all four paws pointing skywards. I risk a tentative word—
“Trim, Son. Was a time once we could race anyone to the upper yards and back—now look at y’self!”
There was a time once when The Spouse and I were both a bit overweight, but with a few simple changes in our eating patterns we each lost about sixteen kilos and it stayed off. Okay, some it has crept back recently …
Chips (French fries to Americans) have sneaked back in, promoting themselves insidiously from occasional treat to staple. And likewise crisps (chips to Americans) (dammit, we shared a common language once)—
“So, Lad … what are we going to do about it?” The royal ‘we’, I note. He doesn’t need to be so accusing, it’s not as if it’s his blasted body. Okay, maybe it is—which means he’s just poked himself in the tum. Hah, take that, bastard~!
“It don’t work that way, Lad—”
“—but if y’ be fat then I do feel it.”
I’m getting that hemmed in sensation. No escape, if it’s not The Spouse tutting and poking me it’s now him.
MEMO TO SELF:
GET BACK ON THE REGIME ASAP
Dammit, I’m only eight pounds overweight. That’s the same as—oops—as one five pounder roundshot and three swivel balls … damn.
OK. I’LL DO IT!
I’ll go back on the ol’ regime and lose those eight pounds. Done it before, I can do it again. It didn’t hurt last time and took no will power at all … and by Christmas no-one will be poking my innocent gut.
And if any blasted dead guys try it again I’ll put epsom salts in the rum. And then we’ll see just who loses weight in a hurry …