I had taken a holiday to de-stress after being accused of writing a fraudulent Charles Dickens novel entitled, ‘Jammy Times,’ which was full of subtle reference to very un-Victorian modernities, and jam. My solicitor got me off the hook and as we sat sharing jam sandwiches at a roadside café he told me that it would be advisable to, “skip town for a bit.”
I took a taxi and then a boat and then a train and then a bus to a coup town in a forest only to find that the cloud had descended all over the scenery I had come to see. I sat and ate more jam sandwiches by the roadside and observed the surprisingly large military presence around and about, some in red costumes and some in blue.
When I was all jammed up I hung my camera around my neck and went off in search of some photo opportunities in the forest. The cloud erased the top of the landscape like a rubbed-out picture, I was sure that what I had come to see was instead dirtying the corner of a giant eraser somewhere up in the sky. Still it made for interesting photographs as I walked down the trail, clearing my mind of Dickens and snapping away at the half hidden trees and the marching soldiers.
As the cloud lowered further I decided to turn back towards the town only to become hopelessly lost as I had not been looking where I was going. As I wandered in search of civilisation I seemed to see more and more of the military, whom I greeted with brief nods which were not returned.
I happened upon a clearing and what appeared to be a military base strewn with frightened clouds that hung seven feet from the floor. As I prepared to take a photograph the two armies appeared in the clearing, the red army on one side, the blue army on the other. They remained still as I focussed my camera and then as I clicked the red army lifted their guns and, with dentist accuracy, shot the finger tips from the thumbs of the left hand of each of the blue soldiers claiming a victory as the blue soldier’s costumes were accessorised with red.
As a civilian I decided that I should make for shelter and so, in the stillness that followed the shooting, I walked quickly on light feet towards the military base, scurrying between the two armies like a runner on a film set. This seemed to cause some confusion and as I entered the building, which turned out to be of a medical nature I heard soldier’s boots clunking after me and shouts of: “You’re that bastard who wrote the fake Dickens book.”
I ducked into a handy cubicle and pulled the curtain across. I had no idea what cubicles were used for in a military hospital but I was glad they existed. I needed jam.
It was only after I had pulled the curtain back on the cubicle that I realised I was not alone. As I turned I could see the scream forming on the nurse’s lips and as the soldier’s boots clunked ever nearer I made my decision to act quickly and grabbed the nurse, pulling her into a wild kiss. As I kissed her I admitted to myself: ‘I did write that fake Dickens novel.’ I felt a sinking feeling as she pulled away and screamed til the boots came home. ‘And it wasn’t even any good.’