A Colourful Tale
by Peter Lingard
I’d finished my ablutions but time was still short of six. I slid open the doors to the veranda, stepped out and gazed at the brown/orange stripe that ran the length of my horizon. The sunrise was going to be spectacular and I went inside to find pen and paper. When I returned, I noted the sea was grey turning pale blue. Gradually, the centre of my horizon started to glow like a hot coal. The colour changed imperceptibly but its intensity grew. Should I put down my pen and take a photograph? No. There are photographs aplenty of rising and setting suns; I should write about it. Suddenly the tip of the orb broke into my world and the sky brightened with joy. The sun rose and the concentration of its golden light confused the detail of its shape and siz
What a time to run out of ink! I know it’s probably a cliché, but is there ever a good time for such calamity? I was torn between watching the sunrise and finding ink for my fountain pen. Style is one thing; practicality another. I went to look for ink and the Mexican midget followed me. His nails scratched the wooden floor. The wife loves the six-inch-high pooch as much as I hate the thing. Horst, she calls it. Horst! You’d think it was a Bull Mastiff, rather than a Chihuahua. Unfortunately the blasted dog seems to like me. It must be into sadomasochism, given the way I treat it. I found the ink bottle but it didn’t contain enough liquid to write a sentence and, although I looked for other bottles, I knew there were no replenishments. I thought of kicking Horst to vent my disappointment but the wife might have suddenly appeared from our bedroom just as the blood started to flow. Nice dog. Dinky dog.
Then I became brilliant. I could finish my piece with red ink! Slaughter the miniature Mexican and use his blood. We have a wheelbarrow in the shed and I could slit his scrawny throat and drain his Hispanic blood into the barrow’s well. The stuff might be a little viscous but I could go down to the edge of the Coral Sea and collect a few drops of that colourfully named briny to add to the blood, rather than use water from a common tap. That should make it thin enough to write with and hopefully unlikely to cause harm to my pen. And, if there be damage, I can always ask the wife for a new fountain pen for my birthday, or Christmas (she always asks me to advise what I would like to be surprised by on those occasions). Of course, by the time I accomplished that complicated goal, the sun would have been marking noon, or thenabouts. I decided to spare the bitch and walk to the stationers to buy blue ink—once the sun was high enough for shops to open.
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When a youngster, Peter Lingard told his mother many fantastic tales of intrepid adventures enjoyed by him and his friends. She always said, ‘Go tell it to the Marines’. When he asked why, she said, ‘They’ve been everywhere and done everything, so they’ll want to hear about what you’ve been up to’. Of course, Peter joined the Royal Marines as soon as he was old enough and now has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of tales to tell.