This one is for…
Sam and Salvador, at my favourite 'watering hole,' Darfon's. And for all their lovely 'beer-slingers,' Stephanie, Rachel, Charlsi, Dezerae, Boo, Courtney and 'Skank'-none of whom are waiting on a record deal on Music Row, if that's possible in Nashville!
Thanks for all the bottles of 'Loudmouth Lite,' and may none of you ever experience a personal life as tumultuous as that of that rogue Alan Lewrie.
'All pity chok'd with custom of fell deeds;
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from Hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war…'
Gleefully they steep themselves in their brothers' blood;
for exile they change their sweet homes and hearths
and seek a country that lies beneath an alien sun.
Publius Vergilius Maro
Etienne de Gougne could smirk, though, in his mousy little way, that the bulk of
'God's Noodle, what a pig-sty!' Lt. Hainaut said from the doorway, making the little clerk 'Eep' in sudden dread, drop his precious charts in a hollow, 'bonking' jumble, his grips thudding to the floor, and making him spin about.
'Oh! Lieutenant, don't do that, I beg you,' de Gougne said as he bent to gather his things; though secretly pleased to see the look of consternation on the handsome young sprig's face as he realised his error.
'Good Christ,' Lt. Jules Hainaut breathed, taking in just how shabby the interior was; when it had looked
'This won't do,' Hainaut stated, shaking his head, 'no, not at all. You'd better get our gang of
Ordering the timid clerk about always made Hainaut feel better. He stalked into the salon, elegant and expensive new boots drumming on the loose wood-parquet floor, savouring the creak-squeak of excellently made leather. His left hand grasped the hilt of his ornately chased smallsword, his right hand fisted to his hip, the arm akimbo, his mind scheming quickly on how to recover from this disaster.
This spacious salon on the east side of the house had lost its window panes, and the winds and rains had gotten in, along with a scattering of leaves, palm fronds, and red-brown, wooly furze off the tropical trees. The window shutters hung nearly paintless, scabbed, broken-slatted and crooked. A skift of bright glass shards littered the floor, along with a few dead birds and a skeletal rat, now collapsed upon itself, and swarming with ants. Even as Hainaut fanned himself in the closeness of the airless salon with his gilt-laced fore-and-aft bicorne hat, he saw a lizard of some kind scuttle from the shutters to seize a cockroach nigh as big as his thumb, and he could hear the 'crunch' all the way across the room. To make things even worse, an entire flotilla, a whole shoal of cockroaches, fled at that seizure from beneath a torn and tilt-legged sofa to flood along the baseboard, before swirling beneath it like a spill of dark ale!
Rewarding and pleasing for Jules Hainaut, too, was the aura of fear he could create by merely stating whom he worked for, trading on
But, his superior didn't suffer fools or slackers gladly, and more than one promising and well-connected young officer had had his head lopped off for less. Now,
Jules Hainaut no longer looked it, but he
Just a lowly