Sunday, 21 September 2008

Tales From The Crypt

Nothing much of interest to add to the running commentary on Ljubljana, so instead I shall once more delve into the archives to bring you the sorrowful tale of "Simon and the Duck".

One day Simon arrives at work to discover he has been summoned to see the boss (known as "Scrooge" in December and simply as "The Bastard" at all other times of year, though your humble scribe knows him first as "Father"). Trembling slightly, he knocks on the overlord's office door, and is granted audience.
The Bastard is in a gregarious mood. "You have done well!" he booms at our hero. "Your last client have registered their gratitude!"
"That bloke who lives in a mansion in the country and could afford to have everyone here killed?" Simon asks.
"The very same!" he is told. "He wishes to express your gratitude to you personally."
Simon is not sure he likes the sound of this.
"Express how?" he asks carefully.
"You are to attend his duck-shoot at his manor this very weekend," The Bastard informs him. "I HAVE SPOKEN!"

Simon, of course, has never shot a gun in his life. Nor has he ever killed anything, beyond stepping on the occasional snail, about which he always made sure to feel appropriately guilty. He had eaten duck in restaurants, of course, but he is quite convinced that having to dispatch the delicious water-fowl himself would certainly have been a deal-breaker.

But HE HAD SPOKEN, so like the dutiful corporate lawyer he was, Simon pulled up outside the palace-sized country house of his ludicrously well-to do client on a warm Saturday morning.
"Fine day for it!" his client tells him as he emerges from the mansion. Simon has no idea what exact properties of the current climate makes it particularly suitable for the executing of birds, but he nods anyway, to be polite and because this man is armed and scares him a great deal.

Not long afterwards Simon finds himself stood beside a wooden post, his arms cradling a shotgun and his pockets filled with spare shells. On either side slight iterations of the stereotypical red-faced corpulent borderline-alcoholic country "gentleman" stand ready, their shotguns pointed toward the sky.
Then the slaughter begins. The sound is nearly deafening as several dozen blood-crazed tweed-clad psychopaths begin to blaze into the sky, bringing down bird after bird after bird. Simon tries to join in, half-heartedly at first, then with increasing fervour. At first, after all, the main concern in all of this is that he doesn't want to kill an innocent animal. After a few minutes, though, the principle concern becomes that he can't seem to hit any of the damn things. All thoughts of moral ambiguity leaves Simon's mind as he becomes more and more determined that at least one duck shall feel his wrath this day.
It's not going to happen. The birds are just too fast on the wing. Simon is down to his last shell, and he's furious. That's when he spots one duck, either injured by a previous blast or just too damn stupid to live, waddling across the damp ground a few metres in front of him.
Delighted to finally have at least some possibility of proving his worth, Simon takes aim.
"Good God, man!" his host shouts in outrage, "You can't shoot a duck whilst it's walking!"
"I'm well aware of that," Simon tells him coolly. "I'm waiting for the bastard to stop."

This true story courtesy of Squid Senior.

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