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November 27, 2023

Top Heavy

By David Lignell

England, 1646

"Thirty pieces gold." He held the priest by his woolen collar, thrusting a leather pouch into his gut. The portly man clawed at the pouch with his yellow fingernails. "Speak about it, make haste."

"I call him 'Humpty Dumpty.' He is a Cannon Royal, 48 pound shot."

The bearded officer lowered his plume hat as he watched the priest, who meandered back and forth as he spoke.

"He sits atop St. Mary's," he managed to wrangle the pouch away from the officer. The officer's temper belied the civility conveyed by his frilled collar and crimson sash. He slapped the priest with the back of his riding glove and disheveled the greasy hairs that encircled the man's balding crown.

"How do we acquire him from the Royals?" The officer placed his hand on the hilt of his holstered sword. He stepped back with one leg, widening his stance.

"Not to be acquired, Sir. Too heavy." the smaller man stammered.

The officer looked at him, then nodded and turned toward his steed. He raised himself on the saddle and pressed his crotch against the padded front plate. He unsheathed his sword and rested the blade on the priest's shoulder.

"How do we destroy him?"

"Oh, Aye." The priest flashed a smile sans several teeth. "Shoot a mortar at his crown. Top heavy, he is." The priest smiled again.

"Penned a rhyme about him, Sir." The priest pulled a tattered scrap from inside his robe.

"You shall remain silent about our agreement?" The soldier tickled the man's ear with the polished blade." The priest nodded.

The soldier reached out his other hand and placed the note in his satchel. "Trust not an Episcopalian Priest."

He cleaved the man's neck, severing head from torso. Riding to the trenches on the outskirts of Colchester, he rested his horse and read the priest's note:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Could not put Humpty together again!

He thought the rhyme a fine mockery of King Charles and his Royals.

Article © David Lignell. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-06-30
Image(s) are public domain.
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