Saturday, 22 June 2013

'The Diverting Tale Of The Monkey-Man' by Andy J Walker


Outside the chapel a man with a monkey was looking harassed. It used to be so easy making money in villages with a monkey, the parents loved the entertainment as much as the children. Now, everyone had seen it all before and a monkey was just a monkey after all. He was happy to pick up pennies these days. 

A mile away Sofia was at home and looking so beautiful. She’d usually kill for that hair, pristine make-up, the dress. Accentuated beauty, not just a painted face. Her eyes though were full of sadness. Someone else looked back from the mirror. Jitters they called it, which didn’t do it justice. Knotted and choked stomach, adrenaline peaking and troughing. An unspecific fear loomed large as she went out to her wedding carriage.

In the church Edward de Beaufort made final adjustments to his lavish gold brocade doublet and ostentatious jewelry. It wouldn’t do to be understated on your wedding day. The son of the local Baron looked briefly in the mirror smirking. He would soon have his beautiful wife to add to his status symbols. 

His father looked at him, not a little ashamed, ‘If you’re supposed to look more effeminate than your betrothed then you have the look.’

‘It’s the continental fashion father. I look...’ Edward agreed with himself, ‘outstanding.’

The great, good and not so good were inside the church. If it wasn’t for his father, no-one would have been there for Edward, but his father’s money and power bought at lot of friendship. 

Outside the church the monkey man called, ‘Spare some change for the dancing monkey.’  The children laughed as on cue the monkey took off the man’s hat and flung it into the air.

Across the square Henry watched the melee progress as the kids ran after the hat then proceeded to run amok, screaming with delight as the monkey man theatrically chased them. Chaos ensued as predicted. As designed. Henry readied himself as the mare pulled under him, trotting on the spot.

Carts of fruit and vegetables were flying. Children and parents alike taking their opportunities while angry tradesmen walloped anyone within hitting distance. In the chapel Edward waited oblivious to the staged nonsense outside.

The monkey perched high in a niche happily munching an apple, while the monkey man edged away from the madness with Henry’s two crowns in his pocket. Job done.

With carts overturned and the playful riot Sofia’s coach arrived at the square with nowhere to go. Edward’s men took the only option and led her out of the carriage on to the street. 

She barely saw Henry whirr around the corner, but she instantly knew what was happening. She grabbed out at her beloved’s arm and was pulled back around on to the horse. They were off into the distance before you could shout “Get me that Monkey Man!”. It was a shame it was early afternoon, else the couple would surely have headed off into a sunset.

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