Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tales of Hoop - Tonse

Tonse walked slowly down Pell Lane as the dirty gray dawn light began to demonstrate that today's clouds were, if anything, even more rain filled then yesterdays.  He had, as nearly always, finished work very late the previous night, and had slept for only a few hours in the room that was barely larger than his bulky frame.  He chewed on a cold pastry, bought cheaply from the baker's back door, cut price for those unlucky enough to be setting off for work before the first fresh batch of hot slices were placed enticingly near the open window.

A thin rain began to fall, a miserly rain, a mizzling shower.  Tonse brushed crumbs from his beard and paused a moment to flex his bad leg, the fleshwerk done by the backstreet surgeon was a poor job, it ached and throbbed in the cold and was a mass of alternating smooth, bulbous and hairy patches to look at. But at least he could walk, and work, again.

He looked ahead to the gaudy but faded door that led to the butterfly girl's bower, the doorway was empty, that was a bad sign.  Tonse pushed at the painted door and it swing open, the chamber beyond was dark, he swallowed a rising mixture of fear and resentment.  Tonse stepped inside and waited, allowing his eyes to become used to the dim light inside.   He breathed in, the place reeked of stale wine, tobacco and the damp musty smell of broken chrysalis, the paper thin cases lay crushed all around him along with other detritus of a nights bacchanal, empty bottles, drifts of ash.

Giura lay bent backwards over a divan, her slight chest moved almost imperceptibly, her wings ruffled and squashed beneath her, trails of glittering scales on the walls and furniture of the room showed where the girls had danced in drunken flight.  The other girls were tucked up on their bower beds, or sprawled as if dead on the floor.  The corpse of a male lay to the side of the door, he was shrivelled and drawn in, his chrysalis only partly spun.  Tonse shuddered, the male must have witnessed what happened to the pupa of his colleagues and held off pupating until it was too late.

"Oh Giura," he reached out and touched one finger to the girl's forehead. "Why must you always be this way."

She shifted slightly, the weak light catching in the hundred lenses of her eyes and for a moment Tonse was dizzied by the army of his own reflections.  Her proboscis was stained purple with chrysalis fluid, her narrow pipe cleaner tongue flicking snakelike from its end.  The butterfly girl spoke clumsily, they were hard to understand at any time, their mouth parts being largely unsuited to any human tongue.

"Not today Tonse, we cannot today," she clicked and wheezed the words.

The huge fleshwerked man glared down at her, his ham hock hands clenched and opened and clenched, and then with a guttural growl he turned and left. He grabbed the door to slam it, then caught himself and let it close with a soft click.  Now he would be forced to hire shifty jackboys from the market in order to complete the day's work, he hated the jackboys, they worked to the letter and clause.  In the evening he would pass this way again, and like every day he would hand over the most part of his day's earnings to the butterfly girls, he might stay a while and drink with them until their pheromones attracted the males, then he would make his excuses.

Love was a strange thing, Tonse loved the girls even though their flighty nature jarred deeply with his sense of duty, he loved them and he thought that was his decision, never once did he stop to think that the pheromones they used to beguile the dim witted males might also have some effect on a fleshwerked human.

(The painting is Der Schmetterlingsjäger by Carl Spitsweg 1808-85)


  1. Ys, may I add to this? I'll Email you....

  2. Your head works in such astonishing ways. And that's a good thing. :)