Virgulle’s Vestral 10

Wednesday 1st June 2011

The author is given an examination

CALL me crazy, if you will, but how was I supposed to know that the two characters who appeared on the previous page were from the press? Give me a break! I’d only been here a day.

(Arthur isn’t sure about that last paragraph, but I believe unexpected jolts are what readers like nowadays. Anyway, I do not intend to delete it.)

Talking of removing things, I was not entirely naked when the journalist and photographer were told by a spluttering Gary that they could take off their blindfolds.

Martin’s wardrobe contained no female apparel, but he had given me an old pair of loose leggings, nylon shorts for underwear and a few short-sleeved smocks. I was wearing only the shorts in those first photographs.

It did not take long for Kirsty, the reporter, to persuade the men that she and I needed time together in private.

Once in my room, she insisted that we sit side by side on the bed. I assumed she was a physician – probably sent by the rebel leader, Jack Pot, to assess my physical well-being – for she spent many minutes examining the ligaments, glenoids and coracoids of my upper back, as well as the calamus and rachis of individual feathers.

“Free key,” she exclaimed, several times.

She recorded her findings in a small, wire-bound book and muttered phrases implying curiosity and concern. On completing her inspection, however, she quickly departed, confounding the notion I had had about her interest in my welfare.

Kirsty it was, apparently, who arranged for me to be sent a hamper of clothes the next day. Martin said she thought them befitting a woman in what she called ‘the headlines’, but all the garments were uncomfortably tight and I chose not to wear them. One unfamiliar item, which was as complicated to put on as it was unnecessary, I thrust into my satchel, as a souvenir of the many oddities of this world.

I recall seeing it recently, in the shed, slung between two rafters, with a candle in one cup and a cricket ball in the other.

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