Tag Archives: Story

The Unbecoming Curiosity of James Jenkins

The unbecoming curiosity of James Jenkins
Well, to account for all his misgivings and sins
It could take quite some time to tell the tale
One that could rival the size of Ahab’s whale
Some may say it’s tall, others may cry farce
And some others say the events don’t parse
But I insist the story of James Jenkins is true
You can even put it up for a judicial review!

It started when James was just a young boy
Causing mischief and trouble, his main ploy
He ran from hill to dale, skipping to and fro
One day he severed his ear to mime van Gogh!
It’s true James Jenkins had much ambition
In his spare time he fashioned a crude zip gun
He played Cowboys and Indians with Fred
Little did Fred know, the Indian would be dead

You know that James was just shy of thirteen
And with his doleful innocence got off clean
James Jenkins was smarter than they could think
They threw it all at him except for the kitchen sink
So there he walked, happy, footloose and free
Out of court and down the avenue for the sea
The young man-cum-murderer had to move on
Before they could crucify him at the dawn

James Jenkins held up his parasol in the rain
The woman in front of him keeled over in pain
He smiled wrly as the blood ran into the street
The papers would all say her name was Marguerite
James had pierced her heart through the breast
And traipsed off in a direction, north by northwest
Just past twenty-two and filled with bad intent
His unbecoming curiosity leading to his own torment

For years James Jenkins had only one good ear
The other, scarred remains left his victims in fear
And his skin as white as a gleaming cuttlefish bone
He sat silent and evil upon his murderous throne
Aging as time slowly passed the devious doer by
His unbecoming curiosity constantly asking him why
Why did you hurt them James, why kill them all?
“Quite simply, my dear, I wished to be ten feet tall”

Finally one evening James Jenkins turned to dust
To be honest, I’ve only just reached the upper crust
For this is a story too sad and too gruesome to be heard
In just one sitting in this timeless theatre of the absurd
Ah, but now I’m sure you want the rest of this story
That, my friend, will be your own personal quarry
It’s just that this could be inherently meaningless
For you and I are just pawns in James’ game of chess

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Justice on Old King’s Highway

The road stretched out before them further than their eyes could see. From the southern coasts and into the northern snow-capped mountains. Past villages large and small, castles and keeps, fields planted with blooming crops and others populated by livestock. Along dirt grooves, long worn by wagons and horses alike, three men traveled. Weary and worn, they moved through a wooded grove that shaded the scalding summer sun.

A tall, slender man with golden hair, piercing blue eyes and a blade of a nose rode atop a destrier. Across his back a bastard sword glimmered when the sunlight flickered through the forest canopy. A young boy with bushy black hair and strong features rode beside him on a garron. Slightly behind them their companion walked slowly, his gate hampered significantly by a limp.

“Do we have to move so quickly?” The walking man asked.

He was met with no reply. The young boy looked back at him briefly with wide solemn eyes.

“It’s just that my leg–”

“I’ll hear nothing of your leg again, Dancer,” the man on the destrier cut him off. “You brought this wound upon yourself. You will deal with the burden.”

“We’ve been traveling for weeks,” Dancer protested. “My leg grows worse by the day. I need a horse if I’m to survive this journey.”

The destrier snorted almost derisively in Dancer’s direction. No reply came from its rider. Dancer dropped his head and continued limping behind in silence. Again the young boy stole a glance at their walking companion.

Gathering his courage, the young boy saddled up beside his mounted compatriot and spoke in a low voice.

“Sir, I think we should acquire a mount for Dancer. He is wounded quite badly and the king will want him alive to stand trial at court.”

He looked down upon the boy and sneered. “His guilt is well-known. He travels with me because others would kill him. He will walk. He will live and he will stand trial.”

“But…”

“The matter is settled. Do not raise it to me again.”

Dancer hobbled up beside them, desperately attempting to regain his wind. “My lord, the boy speaks kindly. If I may ask a question?”

“You may not,” the response was curt.

“Why can’t he, sir? Why not talk? There’s nothing to do but walk this road for leagues on end. What harm can one question do?”

The destrier whinnied as the reins were pulled back hard. The garron pulled up as well and a swift backhand from a mail-clad hailed struck the young boy’s face.

“Your insolence will not be tolerated, boy,” those piercing blue eyes were being put to work. “Consider that your only warning. As for your plea, I will allow him to ask one question. He may respond to me if given leave to do so.”

The boy rubbed at the plum sized welt on his cheek and tried to keep a strong jaw. “Yes, my lord.”

“You may ask one question, Dancer. Make it count.”

Dancer licked over his rotted brown teeth as he smiled.

“What makes my crimes so much worse than anything you’ve done, Sir Earnest of Longflower?

The knight did not hesitate to respond. “All I’ve done has been in service to King Peter. I have done all asked and required of you. Why do you ask this needless question?”

“You’ve murdered in cold blood, just as I have,” Dancer spat back, bile lacing his words. “You’ve no doubt killed many a more men than I. Women and children as well, I’d be willing to wager a gold piece on that. We’ve all the heard the stories of Sir Earnest the Malevolent. They whisper it in inns and bars up and down this highway. You may be a knight, but you are surely a worse man than I.”

The squire looked at Sir Earnest, his mouth agape. His eyes darted between his lord and Dancer waiting for the knight to respond.

“Is that some sort of poor jape,” Sir Earnest eyed Dancer coolly. “Consider yourself lucky. If not for the king’s order, I would have your filthy tongue out here and now.”

“No jape, sir.” Dancer replied. “You are no more than a dog. Your arrogance and black reputation arrive in any town leagues before you do. They fear your hand and that sword upon your back. You are not popular, nor loved by your own people.”

“I only need the king’s love and affection,” Sir Earnest hid his rising anger. “I live only to serve.”

“The atrocities committed by your hand are not cleared solely because you are the king’s man, sir,” Dancer riposted. “The king may not always rule and the next may not have such favorable views of your… service.”

“Sir Earnest is a just, honest and truthful knight,” the young squire piped in.

“Sing me sweeter lies, young boy.”

“Enough!”

The horses pulled to a halt once more and Sir Earnest dismounted, his squire scurrying behind. Dancer, with his hands bound was an easy target and was quickly pulled into the surrounding wood. Sir Earnest forced Dancer to his knees and unsheathed the great bastard sword from his back.

“The Justiciar,” Dancer murmured.

Birds flew from the canopy in a cacophony with branches rustling. The cut from the sword was swift and true. Dancer’s disembodied head came to a rest against a large tree stump. Sir Earnest looked to his squire and spat on the ground.

“Burn the body,” he snapped. “There will be no word of this. The king will hear that his wound killed him and the wolves carried him off into the woods at night while we slept. If word of this passes of your lips, your fate will be the same as Dancer’s. Understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

The young squire set about his required task as grim as it were. As he worked, Sir Earnest watched with a smile, all while cleaning the blade of his infamous sword.

Lament

The waxing moon rose high into the night sky, its jaundiced glow making things seem a little brighter. Constellations in the shapes of stars surrounded the moon, a fiery army of the night that watched over everything, even though they were so far away. When you and I look back at this, will we remember the good times? Or will the times of pain, hurt and heartbreak rule the memories of what we once were?

The eroding beaches of time will always tell. The tide comes in and goes, the ever-growing moon pulling at the ocean deeps with all it’s might. The waxing moon’s shine bounces off the calm rippling surface leaving a glimmer that fades in your eyes. You can see the frown of regret drawn crudely on my face and you run a soft finger across the edge of my lips.

Your water well eyes and cotton mouth would be perfect if only they could fit in each other. Your mouth is stuck trying to tell me that everything’s going to be all right. Everything works out in the end. But staring into those emerald eyes, I’m drowning for the past. You said we could never go back, the past was done. However, in my head I can replay the good and block out the bad. My own little movie studio where every ending is a happy ending.

Do you remember the first time we met here? The waning moon had a reddish glow as it sank beneath the mighty ocean. Everything seemed easier then. Both of us were trembling, nervous for what might happen next. We knew what we wanted and it was the same. I was the one who finally grew the courage and leaned in for that first awkward kiss. My body was stiffer than a toy soldier when I made the move, but you embraced it completely.

When we moved apart and looked at each other for the first time after that moment, wide-eyed and full of wonderment, did you ever think it could end this way? Did you ever think the last day of the summer could be so cold? Everything that came out of your mouth seemed forced as I listened. I let the words come out, I had nothing to say. Even if I had wanted to, I wouldn’t have been able to muster any words of coherence.

Finally after looking away from those beautiful eyes of yours, I was able to open my mouth. “How did we get so far apart?” I asked. You looked down at yours toes and dug them into the soft sand, speechless. “We used to be so close together.” I said. You put your chin into your chest and swallowed hard. Our journey as waves had just crashed into the breakwater. We’ve been left in pieces, shattered glass from a window pane.

As clear as the sky was that night, I felt like the rain was pouring down in my head. So sad to see us this way, I lament. I was hoping you’d let me down easy. Though I knew that would be impossible, the way I felt about you, and you to myself. I wanted to cry and I wanted to scream. I wanted to make you understand that you couldn’t do this to me… to us. The words were there in my head, but I was choking on them and I was never going to get them out.

After all we had gone through, I finally understood what it meant to feel the way it does when the rain comes down hard. Ere our substance as one was quickly unraveling and neither of us was being strong enough to pull through the emotion of what we were doing to one another. Everything fades in time, it’s true, but not like this.

For the last time I looked into your beautiful green eyes, the burning embers I had remembered from years past had began to smolder and the tears finally began to roll down the sides of your face. I raised a hand and put it to the side of your face and struggled one last smile. “I’ll always love you.” I said, filled with conviction. My eyes also began to water as you fought out a smile of your own. This was it and I stood up and began to walk from the beach we had spent so many nights on. I could feel your teary-eyed gaze watching me as I walked off into the night. And I couldn’t help but feel that I was slowly dying in those emerald eyes of yours.

It was then that I thought I heard your voice whisper, or maybe it was just the wind, “Maybe I can give this just one more try…”