The Skunk’s Tale

  Bards. I tell ya, they get it easy. If me fingers were that nimble really I would not be strumming no plucker fer sure. But still, it got me into the place. You see, women like those sorts of things and this one had an interest in learnin’ how to make pretty noises. Or at least, that was what were put about.

  As I were hearin’ it, the husband were well on in his wintery years and unable to fulfil her particular needs. And pull that slack-jawed grin from yer face before I knock it off. I ain’t no spring chicken ‘tis true and me hair may be dotted with snow but I ain’t old.. Just matured; like a good brandy.

  So I fleece me some rag off a ponce’s dome, stick it on mine, pick up some cheap thing for a few spare coin and call it an investment. The walk up that drive though, on these weenie legs o’ mine? Not kind. And not made for folk with a proper idea of stature and no need to compensate, that was clear. Door looked fit to squash me it did, as I struck the knocker.

  “Mr. Cockshawe, ‘ere for my lady’s lessons.” I says, prim n’ proper.

  The boy that answered were all for baring me entry I could tell, but the bundle of wood n’ string I bought  high to his wee little stones and we were of a happy agreement. Did you know servants could sing, by the way? Maybe there’s a mite o’ music in these fingers to teach after all.

  The husband or master as the boy put it, weren’t at home – as if I didn’t know that. Not one to get caught out that easy now; matured, like I said. Aged with experience. After the walk up, I counted it an extra blessing from those wily fellers above that I hadn’t much further to go. Pretty as pair of twitterin’ turtledoves yet double as earnest, her voice calls me to her from the doorway across the hall after I left the entrance.

  There she was, perched on a stool by one of those contraptions to make that racket o’ plinking and plonking. I could read her eyes there. She were ready for some learning, ha! I can assure ya that.  

  A quick flick of those slender wrists n’ the boy as good as slams the door shut behind me. I like a woman with presence, knew it then if there were a doubt before. Then she starts the dance off, real slow like.

  She asks; “Why is it they call you The Skunk?”

  There’s a twitch about those rosy lips and I can tell she’s playing, so I says; “Somethin’ to do with a smell I’m told.”

  She takes a step off the stool at this point, with the slightest flash of shapely calves before her skirts swirl around n’ to the floor.

  “Are you sure it’s not something to do with how male skunks are notoriously polygamous..?”

  I swear, could no one looker sweeter and sound any less so? But I’ve see the game we’re at now, and knows what is to be said, “My dear, ‘tis nothin’ but the slander of jealous husbands.”

  Sometimes, all tha’s be needed is a word to say go. And hear me now, were me eyes not stuck to the treasures within and me fingers not so keen to toss it aside, I woulda pinched that bodice and all. Glitterin’ with all manner of fine lace it were.

Oh and underneath? Well.. I’ll spare ya the gory details. Don’t want to scare ya off blind now.

  But, then o’ course matters went from very interestin’ to alarmingly so. There comes a great huff and puff, like a walrus with toothache, from the hall outside. See, the master had come ‘ome early and I expect the door-runt had told him of my visit. Ah but this lass o’ mine, a mind near quick as her tongue. ‘Fore the door can swing open all accusing-like, her skirt’s on and her hands have bundled me underneath the folds.

  Now, I anticipate a lot in me figurings but this one was a pleasant surprise and I weren’t like to object. Didn’t have the time to as his high and haughty stormed in making all manner o’ noise.

  “Where is that vile rat?” He blubbers. I admire the girl’s iron, not backing down despite bein’  in clear disarray. But not near as much as I were admiring the view. Slap me silly, but the smell to boot.. I almost upended the minx there and then, woulda been worth it just to hear the old man spitting blood behind.

  “Don’t lie to me woman! Teach you music indeed. Started with the singing first I take it? I could damn well hear you from the foyer!”

  I almost bit me damn tongue off tryin’ not to laugh at the poor fool. I tell ya, stuck between arousal an’ hilarity ain’t a peaceful place to be. Unfortunately, he musta heard my strugglin’ as the light of the world suddenly flooded me little cave o’ wonders.

  Before he can so much as turn the colour o’ beetroot I dart out, knock the legs out from under his fat gut, fish a shiny little bauble from his breast pocket and dash off toward the door with a ta’ ta’ to my sweet.

  Yet that blasted brat is stood in the doorway, gormless as a horse given birth to a bear. He gathered his wits faster than I expected but not enough of them I might add. He steps back into the hall and shuts the door in me face with a click. Well I were at speed at this point already so no stoppin’ I figure. It’s ever a mistake to underestimate a halfling with a good shoulder and a practiced eye for weak points. I think he learnt that, flattened underneath the door, underneath me.


  “Pah! From what I ‘ear, you hadn’t even pulled yer trousers up; waddled away to fast fer yer feet, went careenin’ through the door arse over tit.”

  The man opposite sat back, laughter muffled in the depths of the earthenware mug thrown to his lips before it slammed down again, “Bet yer cock weren’t so sure then eh?”.

  Beneath bristling red brows, Garrow frowned. Apart from slightly spoiling a good story, he couldn’t fathom how a different telling always got round. He’d surely spun his tales enough to deaden competing versions by now. Took him half the strangers in the alehouse to find a fresh ear willing to lubricate his throat for the trouble tonight.

  “This cock’s always sure, ‘specially of when he’s outstayed a welcome.” He replied, winding a gnarled finger through the bushy tufts at his cheeks complacently, “Besides, tha’s just the slander of jealous wives.”


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