It’s Saturday. Saturday! Which means I shouldn’t be writing. Writing at weekends is not something I generally do. So why am I here? Why indeed.
The 30 Writing Challenges, that’s why. For some obscure reason I agreed to complete challenges 17 to 30 on a daily basis. Lunacy. But, also a good way to get back in the habit.
That being said, old habits die hard, and so I will keep this one as brief as possible (and I really mean it this time).
Challenge 19 states – Write a fictional story about a real event from any period of history. Plenty of scope there for many different stories, but I’m going to stick with an idea which occurred to me during a conversation last night. And, as previously stated, I’ll keep it as short as possible. Promise.
1666 And All That…
“Oi! Mate, watch where you’re bleedin’ goin’, will ye?”
Thomas looked bleary eyed at the source of the angry voice. “So shorry, pahdon me, sir.”
“Oh, hey,” angry voice continued. “I knows you, dun I? Yer that baker fella. Me missus gets her bread from ye.”
Thomas tried his best to stand up straight, but too much ale, followed by too many brandies, made the feat nigh on impossible. He settled instead for leaning against a nearby wall.
A deep breath. “I ham indeed him, sir. Thomash Farriner hat your service. A good even to you hall!” A drunken grin, chin shiny with drool.
Angry voice looked at him in disgust. “You’re a disgrace, man. Look at ye! Shameful. Almost one in the morning, a Sunday morning, I might add, and yer three sheets to the wind. And, yer goin’ the wrong way if yer headin’ home.” Angry voice stepped forward, seized the drunken man by the shoulders, and turned him around. “Puddin’ Lane is that way, first on the right.”
“Thank you, sir, ye be too kind,” Thomas stumbled onward, trying unsuccessfully to doff his cap at the stranger.
Five minutes later, a thoroughly intoxicated Thomas arrived back at his bakery, and eased as quietly as possibly through the door. Which is to say, with all the grace of an elephant on an icy pond. He had meant to be home hours ago, but his friend Samuel had produced a rather superior bottle of brandy, and time had somehow slipped away from him. That and his sobriety.
A light flickered through the doorway to the back room, and Thomas weaved his way towards it. “Fire’s shtill lit. I’ll warm me cockles on it before tryin’ to climb the stairs. Hehe, shhh!” he said, in an exaggerated whisper. The finger he meant to hold up to his lips lay against his right cheek.
Once in the back room, Thomas noted with dismay that the hearth was dark and cold. “Wheresh the fire?” His bloodshot eyes scanned the room, and came to rest on bright flames hungrily devouring the woodpile next to his stove. “Ah, the firesh there. Whydya move, shilly fire? Well, besht put you out afore I head to bed.”
Thomas shambled over to the blazing woodpile, took a nearby vase full of flowers, and poured the contents onto the flames. Most were extinguished, but a small log remained defiant, burning steadily. Unable to see any other source of water, Thomas unfastened his trousers, and relieved himself in the corner, aiming happily at the burning log, until no trace of the fire was left.
“Alwaysh wanted to be a fireman, me. Job well done.”
With that, Thomas hiccupped, giggled, and staggered towards the staircase and bed.
And so it turned out that the Fire of London wasn’t so Great after all.
And, that shallot…