Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Thief And The Circus Queen - Part The Last

Part The Last – Circus Lady

Egbert had known the pleasure of many a fine woman (and also, it must be said in all fairness, many a vile harlot) in his short but eventful life. He had dined with Maharajah’s daughters and supped high tea with many a golden princess. He had known blondes and brunettes, fiery redheads and raven dark-haired beauties. But he had never met another woman quite like Eva.

Her soulful eyes pierced his as their gaze met for the first time. He couldn’t help but admire the almost regal set of her nose, the hint of a smile that flowed across her lips and the long luxurious hair that covered her chin. Yes, dear friends, Eva was a woman unlike any other for she was employed in the circus as the bearded lady.

His cronies saw nothing but the freak in the show; Egbert, however, saw something different. He saw the woman behind the beard, the soul behind the hair and he was to return to the circus night after night. Once Eva began to realise why he was such a regular visitor, their courtship began.

It was a whirlwind romance of wine and roses, dinner and dancing, romance and hairy sex. Egbert spent many a night trying to convince her to stay with him and leave the circus. Eva, however, liked the travelling life, the camaraderie of life on the road and the job security. It was also causing something of a scandal amongst Egbert’s social circle, albeit the sort of scandal that was rather fashionable and did, in fact, garner him more dinner invitations than before.

Came the day that the circus was due to move on again and decision time arrived. Egbert could not bear for Eva to depart and so there, amidst the hay and the sideshows and beneath the gazes of William The Dog-Faced Boy and Hector The Head In A Jar, he got down upon bended knee and proposed. A tense silence ensued, broken only momentarily by the flatulence of a passing elephant. However, Eva realised that, as much she loved her travelling life, she loved Egbert far more. Assent was given and cheers and applause rained down upon them (well, from those who could give applause – Hector just banged his forehead against the inside of his jar).

And so, within six months, they were married at quite possibly the strangest looking wedding ever seen, filled to the brim with nobility, harlots, sailors and circus freaks. Barely eighteen months later, the world was inexorably altered for the better with the arrival of your humble narrator and the world has been a far more interesting and downright sexy place ever since.

And that, dear friends, is how it all began...

Here Endeth The Tale (But Here Begins The Squire)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Thief And The Circus Queen - Part The Second

Part The Second – The Good Life

Thin he was and filthy-haired when he disembarked from The Reginald in merry old England – the result of a diet of hardened biscuits and discarded pelgegs. With his last frilly shirt sold to pay for a meagre breakfast, Egbert was forced to return to his wretched life of devious pilfering to get by. He soon discovered that his light-fingered ways had not deserted him and, now possessed of a quick wit and a penchant for cross-dressing that only a life on the ocean wave can provide, he found himself living a life of higher and ever higher means. Egbert soon discovered that those with breeding had generally had any last vestige of intelligence bred right out of them and he perfectly pilfered his passage into a purloined life of pampering and privilege (even managing to pluck a peerage off a passing popinjay).

Life for Egbert became one long round of sleeping on diamond-encrusted pillows and dining on Faberge eggs until he was reliably informed that this was rather silly and somewhat dangerous and so moved on to more conventional bedding and comestibles (dodo stuffed pillows, quails nostrils on toast, the usual fare, really). As a man who was not of noble breeding, he was often to make many a social faux pas, such as improperly tipping the local strumpets for debauched nights of rumpy pumpy or using the wrong length and thickness of stick to beat the servants with. His boorish sea-faring ways soon earned him some notoriety amongst the bigwigs with whom he was wont to hobnob.

However, this rough manner made him somewhat favoured with the ladies (yes, in some respects, like father, like son) and he was never bereft of fine female frivolity. He soon, however, began to tire of the same old faces at the same old soirees and yearned to find someone different, someone exciting. You see, for someone used to the swell and sway, the ebb and flow of maritime life, a life on land was becoming increasingly monotonous.

And so it was that, one fine summer’s evening, Egbert and a troupe of his cronies (all nobility have cronies and general hangers-on – it’s the done thing) availed themselves of the travelling circus that was visiting. And thus was history made...

To be Furthered...

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Thief And The Circus Queen - Part The First

Editor's Note:- Whilst cataloguing the vast archives left behind by the redoubtable Squire Kirk, the following confessional tale was unearthed, shedding fresh light on the Squire's hitherto murky ancestry. Without further ado, we present The Thief And The Circus Queen.

Part The First – Times Past

The time has come, oh true and constant reader, to lay bare a secret shame which has been clutched to the Kirkian breast for many a long year. The time has come to tell you all of how the good Squire came to be. Naturally, I have brought dignity, refinement and, admittedly, some notoriety to the good Kirk name but the Kirk name was not always held in such high regard. For, while I may well be the darling of the social scene, my parents were another matter entirely…

My father, Egbert Cornwallis Kirk, was a man born into promise only to have it cruelly dashed away. His father, Osbert, had been one of the biggest steam exporters of the time but, as other countries began to set up their own steam mills, his moistened empire went into sharp decline and he was forced to sell his vast estate, piece by piece, until nothing remained. His premature death forced my father and his mother out onto the streets of Lewisham, where they were forced to dance for scraps and perform light operettas for lodgings.

Within a short amount of time, my father had turned his hand to petty pilfering in order to bolster their meagre provisions. Always a quick study, Egbert soon became a master of the art – he could steal the segments from your orange without breaking the peel, he could purloin your undergarments without you feeling a thing and he once pilfered a gentleman's glass eye straight from the socket on a crowded train platform without anyone being any the wiser. His light-fingered lifestyle, however, was not enough to stave off the inevitable starvation and disease and, tragically, it was not long before my grandmother passed beyond the veil due to a terminal case of ingrowing rickets.

Left to fend for himself, Egbert passed from workhouse to workhouse. It was there that he found himself in the monstrous clutches of the terrifying Mr Dorstek, a mountainous brute of a man with a reputation for using buggery both as punishment and reward. My father's time there was brief yet brutal - he did not have long to languish in this bottom-blasting bastille before a chance for escape presented itself and, with nary a backward glance, he escaped the grim confines of the workhouse for a life on the ocean wave.

It was here that he found himself a true home amongst the rough, ragged and occasionally cross-dressing crew of the good ship Reginald. They were a merchant vessel but preferred to pretend that they were pirates, mainly for the eyepatches, peglegs and frilly shirts. Egbert took to the sailing lifestyle with aplomb but they made him leave that behind as plombs were strictly forbidden on deck.

They travelled the globe, dealing and trading in trinkets, gewgaws, doodads, whatchamecallits and assorted other miscellany and paraphernalia. In the short amount of time that he sailed with the crew of Reginald, my father amassed a considerable personal fortune. Unfortunately, he lost the lot in an unsettling incident involving a spoon, three midgets, a woman of ill repute and the long prophesied return of an ancient Aztec love god

Disappointed by the downtown in his fortunes and finding life on board ship sadly repetitive (Eyepatch Wednesday had long begun to lose its appeal for him), my father decided to return to the homeland and see what await him there. Little did he know that it was a chance encounter that was to alter the very course of his destiny...

To Be Continued....

[1] Some may argue that this is proof positive that the apple does not fall very far from the tree...

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Whither the Squire?

Editor's Note:- Here at the Greater Kirkian Archive, work continues apace in sorting and cataloguing the many books and papers left behind by the good Squire following his mysterious disappearance. In many cases, those writings are hard to decipher, being at the extreme edge of legibility (the Squire's handwriting has often been likened to the effect produced by dipping an epileptic spider in ink and letting it fit across the page). In other cases, it is at the extreme edge of legality and rather specific and arcane lawyers must be consulted.

At present, our cataloguing work is taking precedent. As soon as we have unearthed a suitably deciphered and legally clear piece of work, we shall be presenting it to you, the dedicated readers. We thank you for your patience and hope your interest in the Squire continues.

(In Other Words:- All of which is to say that we've reached the end of my re-publishing and I don't as yet have any new ones to share. He's become increasingly difficult to write for as time has gone on and I'm waiting for his voice to pipe up fully in my head again. I have a couple of ideas which are kicking around - I'm just waiting for one of them to collide with The Idea that somehow magically turns it into The Story. As soon as that happens, you'll be the first to know. Promise.)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Delusions Of A Love Struck Fool - Part The Last

Part The Last

Ah, Evadne. How we wined, how we dined, how we danced, how we pranced, how we frolicked freely as a frisky Frenchman and gambolled gaily as a gregarious Guatamalan. The days passed in a blur and I was never happier. Naturally, I received the occasional moaning missive and dissenting dispatch from the still-lovelorn Wentbridge but all's fair, as the saying goes, even sticking a swift metaphorical boot to a chap's unmentionables when he's down.

I showered her with lavish trinkets and expensive fripperies and gewgaws, no treat being too small for this divine creature. True, in hindsight, she did suggest that I purchase many of these pocketbook-crippling items herself but, when a chap is in the hearty hold of pure passion, money is but a mere trifle.

But then, dear and faithful reader, came the fateful day. We had whisked ourselves from social soiree to social soiree the night before, before retiring to our own private party in my own private boudoir. Upon awakening the next morn, still somewhat in a state of contented exhaustion I must confess, there was no sign of Evadne. I searched my apartments but nowhere was she to be found. Puzzled, I readied myself for the day ahead and discovered my pocketbook to be somewhat on the empty side. I was of a reasonable certainty that it had not been so when we returned but I was willing to admit I could be mistaken. No matter, a small trip to the bank for a replenishment of funds and then I would hie myself to Evadne's to ascertain why she had departed so suddenly.

Upon the discovery that my account had been soundly cleaned out by a woman answering to Evadne's description with a promisory note signed in my own hand, I began to suspect that perhaps our whirlwind love affair was not quite the idyllic portrait of romantic love I had imagined it to be. Once I had returned home to discover that my hidden supply of currency located under the third floorboard to the left underneath the dresser was also absent, I grudgingly had to admit that I'd been played at my own game and had lost really rather soundly.

I could not in good conscience blame Evadne for I had done the same thing in her position many a time. There was only one thing for it - a swift note to Cousin Wentbridge and then a long session at the gentlemen's club for much mutual drowning of the sorrows (all paid for by my good cousin, naturally, what with my good self being somewhat bereft of currency at the present moment in time). As is the way with such things, said session then lead to an incident involving a wooden duck, blonde triplets, a false leg and the last secret of the missing continent of Atlantis but that is a tale for another time...

Here Endeth The Tale

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Delusions Of A Love Struck Fool - Part The Third

Part The Third

I had impressed upon the boy Wentbridge some basic training for garnering the attentions of the fairer sex - always be commanding, keep a firmly waxed under-nose carpet, avoid topics that will overheat their small girlish brains, all fairly standard stuff. To say that the lad took to it like a duck to water would be entirely the wrong metaphor to use but, through some supernatural effort on my part, I managed to somehow suppress his basic soggy nature. Having paved the way to the best of my abilities (an artist can, after all, only work with his materials), I instructed him to arrange a meeting with his would-be paramour at the local fine dining emporium. I was to be situated but a few tables away, ready to offer assistance should his naturally squelchy nature inconveniently reassert itself.

It was a fine plan and may well have worked but for one unfortunate drawback (unfortunate for Wenters, that is) - as soon as his intended walked into the restaurant, I was smitten. I had to have her - she would be mine and hang anyone who got in my way. All of which means that Wentbrige, cast adrift in the sea of love and pining for his pretty mermaid, was soon to discover that the rescue dinghy on the horizon was, in fact, the first signs of an oncoming shark.

Some of you may be thinking that this is a rather cruel and callous way to treat one's own flesh and blood. You're right, naturally. But all is fair in love and war. The strong survive and the weaker perish. And whatever justification is needed for treating a poor lovelorn fop like the sap he is in pursuit of a beauteous creature like Evadne (for such was this vision's name), so be it.

I didn't have long to wait for my opening. True to form, the lad's own damp squibbishness began to reassert itself and, as his drowning eyes cast around desperately for the life preserver of his cousin's presence, I affected to find the wallpaper intensely fascinating. This, of course, only exacerbated the damp chap's flustering and a visible flush began to rise on his cheeks as a visible boredom and scorn began to take hold on the object of his affection own visage.

Being a master of the art, I waited the optimum amount of time before choosing my moment and swooping in to rescue the poor dear from this blubbering simpleton. I am not a monster and did not revel in the wounded look of betrayal upon the unfortunate wretch's as I plucked his flower's attention away and escorted her from the premises. If he had known then what I know now, that look would have contained a fair amount of gratitude...

To Be Prolonged...

Monday, 2 March 2009

Delusions Of a Love Struck Fool - Part The Second

Part The Second

First things must, of course, be considered primarily and, having stopped for some lubrication of the alcoholic variety (very charitably provided by Wentbridge for his beloved cousin, naturally), we set about the onerous task that lay before us - transforming the dank creature into a delight for the ladies.

The general soggy atmosphere which congregated around him, giving him much the air of an upright puddle was not helping. Ensuring that his pocketbook was well furnished, we sallied forth to a reputed clothier of my acquaintance. All of my sartorial skills were stretched to the limit in order to transform Wentbridge from a bedraggled and dewy pool of a man into a dashing and waxed-mustachioed Squire-esque figure of desire. I failed, naturally*, but his overall demeanour was at least improved by my efforts. Of course, as Wenters was having himself fully outfitted, it seemed much simpler to add a few gewgaws and doodads for myself on the same ticket - to avoid unnecessary confusion, naturally.**

Now, as we all are aware, clothes do maketh the man but finely trimmed tresses and suitably coiffed whiskers must not be overlooked. A Swift visit to Bruno, the official maintainer of the Squirely follicles, soon had Wentbridge looking substantially less like he had been dragged through a rain-soaked hedge backwards. Again, Bruno could only work with the materials with which he was supplied and, as such, my own magnificent set of luxuriant and much-tousled lip-warmers were in no danger of being surpassed. Still and all, while not a patch on his considerate cousin, the chap was beginning to display a rudimentary amount of promise, much like a lump of coal which may contain...well, not a diamond but at the very least some iron pyrites.

And so, on to the next phase. Time to let the donkey sniff the carrot, as it were. There was only one way to be sure that all this primping and perfumery had paid off - a meeting between the boy himself and his unrequited object of affection, with yours truly firmly ensconced in the vicinity, ready to assist at the drop of a handkerchief.

However, the best laid plans, as they say (those anonymous killjoys who are tediously twee yet typically true), often come a right cropper. And this plan was to be no exception...

To Be Expanded

* Your humble narrator is very much inimitable in that respect.

** Although I still maintain that he took an unrequited amount of umbrage at my jewel-encrusted, monogrammed tiepin.