Thursday, May 31, 2007

(Several days old, obviously!)

The meeting of Mssrs. Somme and Drinkwater upon the field of honor was an event to which I had particularly been looking forward. Not only was it not a ball (as previously mentioned, I've not had especially good luck with those recently,) but it was a duel of the sort nearest to my heart- one of wits, of words, and specifically- of haiku.

I had what I now understand to be the very rare pleasure, a few years ago, to engage in this exact form of combat with a beloved friend of mine, a gentleman of marvelous imagination and linguistic skill, M. Hask. I admit that I had been expecting something at least as bloody as my friendly battles with him at the duel yesterday evening, but found myself disappointed in that sole respect. Politeness seemed the rule of the day (and indeed I begin to wonder if the unspoken motto of Caledon is 'Live civilly or... well, please do, anyway?')- and except for some light insults against the combatants' respective families, the two haikuelists were disturbingly well-behaved. I was slightly put out.

But, considering the size of the audience, it was not a great shock, and I must learn to remember that Caledonians, on the whole, are not a bloodthirsty breed, even and perhaps most especially when pride takes the place of actual flesh. I do not think I can wish them otherwise. Certainly, it is a quieter sort of life that I lead now, but so free of care that I am drawn to it nonetheless. I have had very few dreams of any sort since I arrived here, and for that, I am glad.

I do the two gentlemen a disservice, however, to express only what I found lacking, for it was such a small part of the evening's experience that I could easily have never mentioned it at all- except that a person may, I believe, do as they bloody well like in their own diary. Yes? Quite. Now, completely leaving out the physical impressiveness of M. Somme and M. Drinkwater (and their seconds, if one's inclined to be thorough,) because I bore even myself sometimes with admiration, I was in all other respects happily surprised. Both displayed a fine degree of ability, and the result was fluent and cohesive. From experience, I know only too well that delivering a perfect haiku under pressure is rather more difficult than it first sounds, but errors were few. Whom- that is, what-ever the original argument was that inspired this battle, it was transcended by the patriotic zeal of the competitors, and the genuine benefit which will come of it.

There was little occasion for chatting with the other observers, since we kept noise to a minimum apart from some good-natured heckling and encouragement, but I did exchange a few words with O'Toole once he discovered me seated directly behind him. I could hardly help the location- it was the only seat left available in the first row. And, with such a view as this presented of the perpetually amusing Colonel throughout the duel, I could likewise hardly help teasing the man a bit when it was over. He endured it well.

If he were another sort of fellow, I should have qualms, but he seems in no danger. The more... interesting... a man's reputation, the safer he is as a target for a woman's harmless attentions- provided there isn't another woman with an even worse reputation than his laying exclusive claim to him. He provides an excellent focus until one learns the way of things and can tell just how much flirting is tolerated, and with whom. It is simply necessary, especially in a land of pervasive politeness. My tongue lacks a whetstone and, I fear, grows excessively dull.

After the event, a few of us strayed to the Falling Anvil and he remembered kindly to invite me along, but once there, I'm afraid I disappointed even myself. The talk centered upon the recent werewolf encounters, and apart from a murmured condolence to the lovely Miss Maertens whom I understood to have actually been confronted by the creature, I sat there like a sodden lump while my mind contemplated the properties of silver. It has several fascinating, even incendiary forms... but, as I had no specifically useful advice to offer at the time, I stayed silent and meditated.

Not too much so that I did not take notice of the other two gentlemen there, both encouragingly appealing, the elder of the two, M. Susenko, in particular. He has a look about him which reminds me of my Grigori.

1 comment:

Dr. kold_kadavr_flatliner, MD said...

I finished my '{YeOlEye-Beam}', a true story about sex in Heaven after we croak - you’d like it: fulla AEisms, sardonic satire, and savoryness. C'mon, people. The Liar's a deceiver. Ain't no sekks in Hell, yet, puuuh-lenty of sexxx Upstairs for eternity. God bless you.