Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Virgins of Hollow Bay

"My girls, you must practice every day, swiveling the guns of Hollow Bay. When the lechers come, and you know they must, those battery guns are your only hope."

Twenty feet of rocky shoreline separates thick pine forest from the smooth waters of Hollow Bay. The cove itself is an almost perfect circle, less than half a mile in diameter. Sheer cliff walls rise up on either side of the narrow mouth where it joins the sea. A battery of heavy artillery sits atop each prominence. Together, the gun installations can cover every inch of water, a mile out and up the coastline in either direction.

"But pray tell Old One, how are we to know which are the lechers and which are the princes?"

Two rope and wood plank bridges run between the cliffs, spanning the inlet. One across the top, hundreds of feet in the air--the other at the bottom, practically dipping in the water at spots. A rope ladder ascends each cliff.

"You won't know my child. You can never tell--not until it's too late. You must sink them all, prince and lecher alike. Feed their ships to the reef and their flesh to the sharks."

Ancient tides have carved away the rock at the base of one of the cliffs. Halfway back, out of the spray but not the light, lies the old woman. Her breaths come now as ragged gasps and she stares through cloudy eyes at the fourteen maidens kneeling by her side. The old woman tries to smile through a grimace. The girls turn their faces away even as they touch the sheets.

"Please don't leave us Old One."

"I'm sorry girls, I must."

The old woman closes her eyes and slips away. The girls rise and leave without a sound. The first seven out step to the rope ladder that hangs just outside the entrance and start to climb. Their grass skirts stream sideways in the evening breeze. The other seven walk single file across the lower bridge, heading for the far cliff. Hungry sharks track their progress.

Across the sea in uncountable numbers come prince and lecher alike. A thick swath of timber and sail does stretch between horizon curves. The word is out, the old woman is dead; surely the cliff guns will rumble no more.

The moon rises over the tiny cove. Bow lights twinkle in the distance--the first of the ships, on pace to arrive by dawn. With a practiced fluidity, the virgins of Hollow Bay swivel their guns in complex patterns. The ammunition stacks are double-checked.

But as the night wears on, each girl finds herself troubled by a single nagging thought--with a fifty/fifty chance the very first ship carries princes, shouldn't they take a chance and allow it to enter the bay? Then they can blast all ships that follow and live happily ever after. Isn't that a chance worth taking?

This nagging thought grows throughout the long night, as nagging thoughts tend to do. By dawn there is little chance a single fuse will be lit in the direction of the first ship.

The ships sail on, Hollow Bay dead ahead. One has the lead by at least a mile, but what manner of men walk its heaving deck? Be they prince or lecher? "Fifty/fifty chance" the virgins whisper and allow it to pass unscathed into Hollow Bay.

***************************

Their guess turns out to be right, but also very wrong that day. For the princes are the lechers, and back again the same. Fifty/fifty, yes--but within a single frame.

13 Comments:

At 6:34 AM, Blogger Ithiel said...

Princely letchers, or letcherous princes, it matters not. Once again your sad tail illustrates another problem with the youth of today. If it wasn't cute starbucks baristas not appreciating the complex mystery of a man who has mutilated his own socks in front of them, it was those lonely virgins of Hollow Bay not taking their elder's advice.

When will they learn, Latigo?

 
At 7:07 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

Dang! What kind of guns are we talking about here? Like coastal artillery kind of stuff, or small howitzers?

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger Monkeypotpie said...

I have always assumed, using myself as an example, that all men are lecherous, be they princely or base. It is the unfortunate nature of woman to trust man.

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

A pluperfect paean of a poem of pampered princes. A piperoo.

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger slarrow said...

So for the girls, what exactly was the downside?

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

Not that there's anything wrong with lechery.

At least I hope their isn't or I've dug myself quite the hole!

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

The lechers are all about the watching. Oh sure, they talk a good game. The princes are too honorable to even try to talk a good game - but you know, deep down, they're watching. So, yes, blow them all up. I prefer my men to be of action - words and creepy looks are so 1982.

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

So did somebody sleep with somebody or what?

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

silly girls. all men are lechers.

unless, of course, they are squinty-eyed gunslingers

 
At 9:34 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

all men are bastards. i am told. daily.

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger greta said...

Meh... Bring on the lechers, I say. Beggars can't be choosers.

Latigo, you haven't gone and died again have you? Will I be forced to play Patsy Cline at top volume, and repeatedly scream "Why, dear God, WHY?" and jab darning needles into my quivering eyelids? Because my flatmates are getting a bit sick of it quite frankly.

 
At 2:02 AM, Blogger Wulfenjarl said...

Maybe LF was on that singular vessel that made it through to the virgins.

He might be... ah... busy, as they say.

(For the virgins' sake, let us think so.)

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

I don't know Ithiel. I don't know. Youth today. [knowing look, head shake, head shake.]

Modified field artillery Ghost Dog; approximately 4.75" bore.

They'll learn someday Monkeypotpie. And probably lock us all up and run the world. I hope they remember to keep our prison beer trough full.

That's what they tell me Old Hoss. (Okay, actually you're the only one.)

There wasn't one necessarily Slarrow. Oh, except for gonorrhea of course... they were sailors after all.

Naw Trev, you and the rest of us fellas are o-kay. Safety in numbers and whatnot.

But you haven't seen my creepy looks yet Amandarama. My words and creepy looks are top drawer. Top drawer I say!

Oh, I'd say it's more than likely LBB.

In which case they're vile lechers, right Tabitha Jane?

Yeah, we pretty much suck Ho. Sure are good at punching things though.

Well I can imagine Greta, and wholeheartedly empathize with your flatmates I must say... that sort of behavior would become downright intolerable. I had to journey. (That's "walkabout" to you.) I'm back now. I kicked a baby dolphin to death. I'm gonna burn.

Oh Wulf, if only that was the case. No, I had to travel. Then I had to kick a baby dolphin to death. Now I shudder all the time.

 

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