An Audience With The Hapless (narrative)

Up at the house, I was met by a rather plump woman of Mediterranean appearance who introduced herself as nurse Maria. Closing the door and announcing my arrival into a receiver, she beckoned me to follow her and we proceeded along a corridor, at the end of which was a white door.
As we walked, the nurse informed me that despite my hosts recent hospitalization, due apparently, to a deep rooted nervous condition, his physicians had thought it a good idea that he convalesce in familiar surroundings, on the understanding that he must on no account be subjected to any unnecessary excitement.
I assured the woman that I merely wished to record this momentous occasion for prosperity, and would be leaving every one in peace as soon as I had done so. “Wait here please” she said as we reached the end of the corridor “He’s expecting you”.
After standing for a short time, I began to notice the door opening, slowly at first. Through the gap first appeared a large wet nose attached to a long grey snout. It scanned left, right, down, then up where it paused for a while before retreating, only to be replaced by a gloved hand which darted out cobra like, establishing a firm grip on my upper left arm before yanking the rest of me into a darkened room.
Once inside, I was more than a little taken aback to suddenly find myself nose to nose with the moustachioed man whose trials I had witnessed week in, week out for so much of my childhood. “Are you sure you weren’t followed?” he demanded. “Yes sir I came alone” I replied as another shape stepped out of the shadows. I took it to be the owner of the inquisitive snout. “Good” said the man signaling for his canine companion to continue with security procedure. “Bastards!” he added, as the dog advanced towards me, gesturing with it’s paw for me to turn and face the wall. I complied and as I did so, felt the dog kick the inside of my ankles in an effort for me to ‘spread em’.
Mean while my agitated host continued “Some say they are no more than flying rats, vermin of the skies, carriers of up to twenty thousand deadly diseases..” he paused, by which time the dog had switched from rifling through my pockets and sniffing about my person, and moved onto the holdall of photographic equipment lying at my feet.
“And yet..” the man went on “..and yet what would others have us believe?” he asked pacing the room, arms behind his back as if performing a roll call inspection “Others would have us believe that those abominable creatures – descendants of dinosaurs no less- with their demonic eyes, and the disgusting curve of their beaks, are perfectly harmless beasts with which we should learn to get along! Well we know better eh boy?”
“Yeah yeah yeah” agreed the dog and then, with a disappointed sigh and an empty handed gesture to his master, he walked away muttering under his breath” Grr snazzle frazzle..”
Seeing that I was of little threat, my hosts face presently took on a much less vexed appearance. In fact it became almost pleasant. “Now then my good… man how do you want me?”
Despite the somewhat unusual ordeal I had undergone by way of introduction to my subject; I lost no time in setting up my equipment, and was able to spend the next thirty minutes and several reels of film, capturing my host in the highest of spirits. It was later, during a break from proceedings , when the man had made a beeline for his drinks cabinet in the next room, that I took what would prove to be a most ill advised decision. Ever the seeker of that elusive ‘perfect shot,’ I reasoned as I approached the shuttered windows, that a little day light could be just what was needed.
I unlatched and pulled open the shutters on each of the three windows flooding the room with light. In a corner stood the dog paw to mouth with chest heaving in fits of asthmatic laughter. Bemused but not yet realising the magnitude of what I had done I took in the view from the window.
In the court yard outside, stood a large stone effigy of my host in a typically grandiose pose. It looked weather ed and was splattered black and white I watched as a plump grey bird landed atop the statue and lifted its tail feathers and delivered a further black and which deposit.
Inside the room the dog continued to laugh hysterically as outside, the one bird was joined on its perch first by another, then another, then another until the sculpture was almost obliterated. I grew concerned when I noticed that they were all facing the window. In unison, they began puffing out their feathers, stretching their wings and tilting their heads from side to side, like an army of seasoned prize fighters.
I turned around to see that my host had returned to the room. He stood glass in hand apparently unable to move his teeth were clenched and he was sweating profusely. One of his eyes twitched intermittently as the other stared in horror and disbelief at what was unfolding outside.
Fixed to the spot I saw him begin to tremble as though he was about to burst. Again I too turned to look outside as one by one, crazed and hate fuelled the birds took flight and launched themselves at the windows.
All at once came the sound of shattering glass. Behind me a crystal tumbler crumbled in the hands of my host and he seemed to awaken from his state of shock enough to announce his displeasure “Drat drat and double drat!” he screamed.
In front mean while, the assault had begun- vwoom-vwoom-vwoom-the feather fiends rocketed at the windows. For each one that failed in its mission and slipped limp and bloody to the courtyard below; another would succeed in smashing through the glass and head straight for it’s primary target.
By now, still unable to contain his amusement the dog was rolling about the room as his master swatted and flapped with one hand whilst pulling bird after manic bird from his throat with the other. And then with a thud to the back of my head came blackness.
Waking to find myself face down on the floor, I could hear the grating wheeze of the dogs laughter and the tinkling of broken glass falling from my back as I rose to my knees. I rubbed a tender spot at the base of my skull, and then my eyes.
Through a haze of dust and feathers the scene before me gradually came into focus. The frenzied attack on my host continued, and it was clear that despite his bravery, his efforts to fend of the relentless beasts had become futile.
However, at the very same moment his eyes had suggested a man resigned to his fate, with a swipe of his glove he was able to buy himself enough time to reach into his overcoat and pull out a large shiny object which he tossed into the air.
The object – a medal of the grandest order- fell at the feet of the sniggering hound. The dog looked down at the prize and breathed out a deep sigh of smug satisfaction. “Well…” gurgled his battle worn master, by now at the limits of his patience:


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