Unattributed Conversation Extract from TD+22, 4 | loci.theduereturn.com



Unattributed Conversation Extract from TD+22, 4

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Crimean Peninsula, 10 miles northeast of Svestapol

August 5, 1855

The brutal, brutal morning

a. . . .

b. . . .

a. Would it be appropriate, at this point, to say “Ow, my freaking head?”

b. . . .

a. Really, I don’t have a context for this kind of thing. Rot hits different on dry land.

b. . . .

a. C’mon, Venividivici. Talk to me. Not still mad about what I said last night, are you? And also, what did I say last night?

b. Ow. Kid, you cannot call me that. Like, ever.

a. Sorry.

b. . . . .

a. So you gonna answer me? Like my head basically a ball of pain and barbwire right now and I don’t want to get into the unspeakable things the sun is saying to me, but what I don’t know is whether or not it is appropriate to be complaining about it, or if I’m supposed to be all stoic and silent, like you seem to be.

b. Kid. You are killing me. You are being like the personification of hangovers here. Say whatever you want. I ain’t being stoic here - talking hurts.

a. Oh.

b. . . .

a. In that case: Ow, my freaking head.

b. . . .

a. That didn’t help.

b. Shock. Utter shock.

a. So now you’re talking.

b. If you gonna keep talking, might as well, right? Least hearing my own personal voice is slightly less like driving pointy sticks into my ears. Figure if I keep talking, I don’t have to hear you talk.

a. . . .

b. . . .

a. That’s sort of rude, Venicious. You are mad at me. Seriously, did I do something weird last night? Or say something? Did I take my pants off? Always get worried I’ll just like start taking my pants off and then not remember and then everyone will, you know, know.

b. Really hate to ask this, kid, but know what?

a. Anything really. Pants hide a lot that’s real and a lot that’s abstract. Things that need covering, is all I mean. Things that I don’t want people to know about.

b. Kid, you creeping me out now worse’n you ever did last night.

a. So I didn’t take my pants off?

b. No. Nor did you whip out your teenaged wang and wave it about. Nor did you make a pass at me or Sincerity or the captain or Anteas. Nor did you shit by the fire like one of those Sardinian guys did. Nor was there wild talk of unrequited love or mutiny or even vague doubt. You drank, drank more, smoked a cigarette, puked for an hour or so, then passed out. Standard stuff, kid.

a. I puked?

b. Oh yeah. J managed to get you into the bushes before you did too much damage, but you pretty much painted the DR with your dinner. It was actually kinda awesome to witness.

a. . . .

b. No need to get all embarrassed. I was entertained. I guffawed. I believe the captain may have smiled.

a. . . .

b. . . .

a. Really?

b. Swear on the archives. He smiled, said something to Marcus. And it was a nice smile, benevolent, even. He was entertained and his heart filled with joy at the sight of your stomach contents flying through the air.

a. Cool.

b. Yup.

a. That doesn’t help my head.

b. Nope.

a. I do anything else amusing?

b. Nope.

a. . . .

b. As parties go, it was sort of a bust. The recruits wanted vodka instead of Rot and were all surly. Anteas was doing the freaky gibberish thing. Everyone’s fucking tired as fuck. Nice idea and all I mean, thanks captain for thinking of us, but it was nothing special.

a. . . .

b. We’re tired. We want this to be done. Chaplain says we got what, 10 miles?

a. Yeah. I’ve been right up to the walls of the city, and 10 miles sounds about right.

b. So yeah, we just want those 10 miles done and us out of here. This is not a good place. Thomas? Does not need to be growing up here. I’ll take the endless static over this anyday. Anyday.

a. And?

b. And now is not the time for a party. Now is the time to finish this Haul on up. Pull this fucker through the trenches and the bullets and the dead horses and all and get to the damn sea and get in the sea and go somewhere new. An afternoon off and a shitload of booze does nothing for that, right?

a. . . .

b. . . .

a. Getting a little worked up there Venticular.

b. You have got to stop calling me shit like that.

a. . . .

b. Or I will stab you, I will.