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Light of My Night
The World is our Widow #6: Chapter 4
He sat on the veranda of the great house on a soaking wet June day deep in the Western Hemisphere, where he toiled still among this barbarous nation for Her Majesty. He could scarcely stand the wretched “Empire of Brazil.” Thankfully he would not be long among these savages: white, brown, black, and red—a blasted conflagration of soiled humanity somehow supposed to blossom into a nation! The Emperor and his Empress are dear people, yes, but what a bestial realm!
He was cheered somewhat by the granting of leave by the Consulate’s doctor, who had recommended that he not head straight home to Unhealthy Albion, but instead journey south to the salubrious climate of Buenos Aires—“Yaas, some good air will do you well you damned gypsy.”
“Masser?” came the squeaky voice of Chico, who was seated below him dressing a giant ant in the vestments of a doll of the Virgin Mary he had pilfered from God only knew where.
“Oh nothing my beastly little friend—I was just musing over the hand I hath been dealt by some very American incarnation of Fate to be sure. How goes it with your little friend there?”
“Good Masser, a pyiss sool.”
“Astute critic of religion you are Chico. Perhaps you might fashion a black robe from my good wife’s mourning shawl, as I do not think she shall be requiring it anytime soon. You would then be in the position to attire a Jesuit to carry the message of the Virgin and her martyred son. Your insect congregation could then descent on some smaller species after mass and tear them limb from limb. Beats burning cats over the stove I should say!”
The large wooly black head resting on the tiny suited body then split in a wide grin, “Yaaaz Masser, Yaaaz.”
From behind sounded the disconcerted voice of his sweet loving wife, a woman of such boundless goodness he could still scarcely credit his good luck, “Richard! Please, do not encourage Chico in his mischief. Chico, run along now with your terrible little friend there and set him free. Wild things were meant to be wild, and as such have God’s grace unless he compels them to accompany us of their own free will.”
My compassionate wife: a crusader even for insects; creatures that would pick her darling bones if given the chance. She is the light of my dark life, my sweet rest from cares by day.
Richard Burton normally scoffed at the feigned caring words of religious men, who he found too often to be nothing but wolves in sheep’s clothing preying upon their own flocks. But dear Zoo, she was the true selfless article. As much as he would often prefer the whores of his youth when it came to amorous companionship, he would not trade all of the flesh in the Harem of the Grande Porte for his sweet wife, certainly not now, as age crept upon him like a jackal out of the night.
As Chico scurried off with his many-legged Virgin Mary Zoo’s soft hand came to rest on his weary but still hard shoulder. “Richard, I must begin to pay and pack. I’ll be off to London to find for you a more worthy post and to arrange for the publication of your manuscripts. Please proof them one final time. It would be best for everything to be just so when I take them to the publishers.”
Just as he began to respond lazily she bent and whispered in his ear, “And darling, love me tonight. Bring your dark Gypsy light to our bed!”
And with a kiss on his cheek she swept away leaving him, possibly the most arrogant and opinionated man on Earth, speechless.
Yes Zoo, you are God’s very gift, if he is indeed all that those earthly fiends say he is.
As much as he wished to continue basking in her light as she disappeared within the house, the ever latent melancholy that dwelt like a great black bird wrapped in folded wings in the back of his mind descended upon him, and the world darkened before his eyes.
Yes Kismet, you evil hag eternal, I feel your steely gaze.
Rather than reach for his manuscript he reached for the port and began to brood as was his habit before taking up a new post for Queen and Country…
Why, where would Britannia be without my nagging conscience to question her purpose?
And where would these rude nations of this primordial land be without Britannia?
Why having a bang up good time despoiling each other of course!
What shall these vile barbarians have of me before I go into the south for some good air?
What foul stench must I partake of in advance of my release from this wretched duty?
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