Conversations in a Horse

"Fuckin' dark, ain't it." says Jack

"What you expect? Fuckin' windows?" asks Tom

"No, but . . ."

"Keep it down, lads," says the Sergeant.

"It ain't fuckin' up," says Jack but quietly.

"I should fuckin' hope not," says Tom.

"Oh I don't know," says Jack. "I wouldn't mind a bit of . . ."

"You're fuckin' sex mad," says Tom.

"He could have left a few fuckin' cracks so that we can at least see who we're playing with," says Jack.

"It fuckin' stinks in here," says Tolly.

"Well, that's what you get with thirty guys stuck together in a confined place," says Dominic.

"'Confined place'. Listen to him! You big ponce," says Tolly

"Who you calling a fuckin' ponce?" asks Dominic. "You looking for a kick in the goolies?"

"Now, lads," says the Sergeant.

"It's made of wood for fuck's sake. They could set the whole thing alight and we'd all be burnt to crisps," says Ernest.

"That's right. Look on the fuckin' bright side," says Trist.

"I trust Piers," says Rip from further down the body. "He's a fuckin' good craftsman."

"No arguing about that. It's just that something made of wood tends to burn if you set light to it," says Ernest, "however well built it is."

"And don't forget there's no fuckin' way out," says Fatty.

"What do you mean? No way out?" asks Ernest.

"Piers is the only one who knows how to open the trap door catch," says Tom.

"I quite like the smell," says Jack. "It's sexy. All those men, sweating."

"We'll certainly be fuckin' sweating if they set it alight," says Tom.

"They won't set us alight. You know they always accept a gift from a defeated opponent," says Rip. "It's the custom."

"We ain't fuckin' defeated," says Tolly

"Course we aren't. It's just a cunning plan. They think we're defeated," says Rip. "We told them we're fuckin' defeated."

"You think they'll take us into the city? They must be fuckin' stupid," says Dominic.

"It's all to do with religion," says Rip.

"Religion must be fuckin' stupid then," says Tolly.

"Now then," says the Sergeant. "It's Chas who says it will work. And he knows everything about the future."

"He didn't know I'd get the fuckin' pox," says Tolly. "Last time I went with that fuckin' tart in Alexandria."

"Sergeant," says Fatty. "There's someone outside."

A voice shouts from outside, "Equo ne credite. Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis."

"Who's that?" asks Ernie.

"How the fuck do I know?" says Tolly.

"What's he saying?' asks Dominic.

"I don't fuckin' know. I can't speak Latin," says Tolly. "I'm a Greek."

"I think it means roughly 'Do not trust the horse! Whatever it is, I fear the foreigners even bringing gifts'," says Rip.

"Fuckin' hell. We've been betrayed. Let's get out," says Ernie, panicking. "Where's Piers? Get him to open the trap door."

"It's their priest," says the Sergeant. "It's all right, lads. No one ever believes him."

"They might this time," says Tolly doubtfully.

"Can't anyone fuckin' see what's happening?" asks Fatty.

"There's a knot hole here," says Rip. "This one guy is talking to a bunch of other guys. They're arguing."

"Let's see," says Trist.

"Move over," says Fatty. "Let's have a fuckin' butchers."

"Hey, guys, quit pushing," says Rip.

"Sergeant, keep those men quiet," says Captain Mainwaring.

"You heard what the Captain says. Keep the noise down – which means – Shut the fuck up," says the Sergeant.

"Too many chiefs, not enough Indians," grumbles Tolly but subsides when the Sergeant gives him a look.

"Tell us what's happening, Rip," says Trist.

"That priest is still waving his arms and shouting, but the Sergeant's right, no one's paying attention," says Rip.

"It's a bit like an epic poem," says Mack.

"No poetry," says Tolly. "It's unlucky. You always include some sort of curse. And the gods interfere."

"It's his poetry that's the fuckin' curse," says Fatty. "It's crap."

"Thank you," says Mack, clearly offended.

"Christ, what's that?" said Tom, amidst general shouts.

"It's a fuckin' earthquake," says Mack. "Punishment by the gods."

"Great God, help us," says Ernie, on his knees.

"Hold me," says Tom.

"I've got you," says Jack.

"Not there," says Tom.

"I like holding you there," says Jack.

"It's not an earthquake," says Rip. "They're pulling us along by the ropes."

"Which way?" asks Phil. "Towards the cliffs?"

"I think they're taking us into the city," says Rip. "It's hard to see."

"It's getting hard to hold," whispers Jack.

"Thank the gods," says Ernie.

"There you are," says Jack. "Public approval."

"Yes," said Rip. "They're taking us into the city."

"I love it when a plan comes together," says Rip.

"I love it when we come together," says Jack.

"Not yet," says Tom.

"We're inside, through the gate," says Rip.

"You're not," says Jack. "I want you to put it in me."

"What here?" asks Tom. "With all these people around?"

"It's too dark for anyone to see what we're doing," says Jack. "Anyway they're all looking out the other way. Or trying to."

"Shall I put it in now?" asks Tom.

"Yes but not like that," says Jack. "Let me wet it first."

"Sergeant, we're being taken into the city," says Rip.

"Sorry. More like this?" asks Tom.

"Nearly," says Jack. "A bit higher."

"Well, it will only be by luck if I get it right first time . . ." says Tom.

"Do it slowly. Christ! Slowly. . ." says Jack.

"I hope they take it slowly. We don't want to tip over," says Ernest.

"Like this? Ah yes, it slides in easily . . ." says Tom.

"Mmmmmmmmmmmm," says Jack softly

A period while various motions continue. Some heavy breathing.

"We've stopped," says Mack.

"You've stopped," says Jack.

"Finished," says Tom.

"Me too," says Jack.

"What do we do now, Sergeant?" asks Trist.

"What do we do now?" asks Tom.

"We wait until it's dark," says the Sergeant.

"I'll be ready for it again by then," says Jack.

"Tell the men to lie down and be quiet," says Captain Mainwaring.

"Right, lads, you heard what the Captain said. Find somewhere to stretch out and wait," says the Sergeant.

There is a grumble as soldiers try to find some space.

"Jesus, get your fuckin' boots out of my face," says Tolly.

"Watch it that's my fuckin' balls," says Phil.

"Shove up a bit," says Trist.

"I'm trying to," says Mack, "but there's someone in the way."

"Mind my fuckin' arse," says Ernest.

"This floor is fuckin' hard," says Tom.

"Rest your head on my stomach," says Jack.

There is silence for a while apart from grousing and farts.

"If the plan works and we win the war, what you going to do?" asks Tom quietly.

"Go back home, I guess," says Jack. "I've had enough of fuckin' soldiering."

"Where is your home?" asks Tom.

"Pilos," says Jack.

"That's in Sparta, isn't it," says Tom. "What's it like?"

"It's home," says Jack.

"But what's it look like?"

Jack considers. Eventually he says, "It's the prettiest little town in the world built up the side of a hill. It overlooks the bay and lots of fishing boats. The sea is blue and the houses are white with red roofs. My family live in one of them, my father and mother and three sisters. The houses have courtyards full of flowers. The main square is surrounded by pastry shops and shaded by huge plane trees. We always buy some baklava when we go there. The hills are covered in vines. At harvest time you can smell the grapes and the wine. The smell is almost enough to make you drunk."

"I'd like to see it," says Tom.

"I'll take you there."


"After it's all over." Jack sighs.

"Ten years is a long time."

"A lifetime for many of us."

* * * * * *

"It's night time," says Rip.

"How can you tell? It's always fuckin' night in this fuckin' hell hole," says Tolly.

"I can see the stars," says Rip. "There's Orion the hunter, and the Heavenly twins."

"Castrate and bollocks," says Fatty, laughing at his own joke.

"Don't tempt me," says Dominic.

Tom yawns. "I must have dropped off," he says.

"Shit. We could have had a bit of how's your father," says Jack, "if we hadn't slept."

"Brace up, lads," says the Sergeant. "We'll be getting out soon."

"I could do with a piss," says Tolly.

"Not over here you don't," says Phil.

"Rip," says the Sergeant, "can you see anything going on outside?"

"No one out there, Sarge," says Rip. I think everyone's celebrating and getting drunk. Listen"

There is quiet as sounds of revelry by night filter through the wooden boards.

"Shall we prepare to exit, Captain?" asks the Sergeant.

"Is everything all clear?" asks Captain Mainwaring sleepily.

"All clear, sir," says Rip. Then, "Wait a moment. There's some people coming towards us."

"Who is it?" asks Tolly.

"Can't make 'em out," says Rip. "One's carrying a torch and there're two others. Wait a minute, It's that priest of theirs – and he's got two youngsters with him."

"I heard he's got two sons," says the Sergeant.

"And it's not a torch," says Rip. "It's a spear but the sharp end's been set alight."

"What the fuck . . ." says Ernest.

"He's gone round the back end," says Rip.

There is a thud against the wood.

"He's thrown it at us," says Dominic. "That's fuckin' blasphemy, that is. A gift from a defeated enemy is a holy thing."

"A spear up the arse," says Tolly. "That's really nasty. Poor old horse."

"A burning spear," reminds Rip.

"I can smell the smoke," says Ernest. "Jesus, I can smell the smoke. Where's Piers? Open the fuckin' trap door."

"I'm here," says Piers. "It'll take a bit of time though."

"We're going to be burnt alive," shrieks Ernest.

A twist of flame appears at the far end and the smell of smoke is stronger. The men start to push around.

"Fuckin' hell," says Trist.

"Holy god, help us," prays Phil.

"Let me through to the trap door," says Piers.

"Don't panic," says the Sergeant. "All you guys that want a piss, now's the time. Aim at the flames."

"I thought I'd find this exciting," says Jack. "All of us with our cocks out and pissing together."

"Very communal," says Tom.

The flames haven't really caught hold and expire with a hiss.

"What's the priest doing?" asks Captain Mainwaring.

"I don't believe it," says Rip. "They've got entangled in the ropes. It looks like a sea serpent has wound itself round their bodies and necks."

"I'll never doubt the gods again," says Tolly.

"The trap's open," says Piers.

"Never thought fresh air could smell so fuckin' good," says Jack.

"Final orders," says Captain Mainwaring. "You two, get out first and open the city gates to let in the rest of the army."

"You heard the Captain, Jack and Tom," says the Sergeant. "Time for off. The rest of you prepare for battle. The city's ours for the taking."

"Come on, Jack," says Tom.

"I'm with you," says Jack. "As always."

* * * * * *

Date started: Thursday, November 30, 2006
Date Today: Friday, December 15, 2006 16:55
Words: 1,850

Characters from Virgil's 'Aeneid'

Thrasymedes - sexy guy = Jack
Thoas - his mate = Tom
Neoptolemus - complainer = Tolly
Idomeneus - short-tempered = Dominic
Eurypylus - reasonable guy - Rip
Calchas - fortune teller = Chas
Laocoon - Trojan priest
Odysseus - Sergeant
Epeius - craftsman/made the horse = Piers
Antimachus - failed poet Mack
Antiphates - cannibal = Fatty
Menelaus - Captain Mainwaring
Menestheus - coward/ tends to panic = Ernest/Ernie
Philoctetes - will kill Paris = Phil
Teucer - Optimist = Trist