Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here! Gather Round and I will Spin you a tale of the Land of La Longi!
Captain Rathmore, head watchman, stood over the body, cradling a full bottle of Screaming Peaches. He took a long pull from the bottle and belched.
“Hit with a hammer, right on the skull.”
The snow fell in wet clumps, soaking Wayne Nixon to the skin. He was grouchy and disgusted at the way folks just couldn’t get along. It was a murder, plain and simple and he was wet, something he hated.
The man lay sprawled headfirst into the cobblestone, the back of his head caved nearly in. Whoever had hit him did it with considerable force. That was one big hammer.
“Let’s get this creep to the graveyard so we can get him buried, Wayne. You get the feet and we will throw him in a cart.”
“What if he has a family? Shouldn’t we notify them?”
“A guy like this has no family. Throw him in the cart.”
The corpse was still limp and hard to manage, but working on the docks, Wayne was no stranger to death or carting bodies for that matter.
As they pushed the cart, his captain looked sickly pale. “You alright, Captain?”
“Yeah, I hit my head on a lamppost earlier, and it smarts something awful.”
The Captain rubbed his head. There was a nice sliver of skin missing.
That looks awful. Want me to help you stitch that up?”
“Nah, I’m good.”
“You gotta lay off on the Screaming Peaches, Captain, I lost a couple of partners to the stuff and it really breaks the bank. I know a lot of hungry kids whose fathers can’t help but waste their wages on it.”
Captain Rathmore reached into a pocket sewed on the side of his trousers and pulled out a cloth bag. He shook it and it made the certain sound of clinking coins.
“Watchman Wayne, I think you are forgetting your place in the food chain. Last time I checked, you weren’t a captain.” He paused.” Or making captain’s wages.”
Wayne was beside himself with anger but let it go. “Yes sir.” He replied.
Abruptly, the Captain turned and walked away, leaving Wayne to handle the cart. As he did so, he dropped his coin bag and coins went every which way. Cursing, Captain Rathmore shouted, “don’t just stand there, help me!”
Wayne rushed to help him find the coins, but it was dark and wet, and they couldn’t find them all. Without a thank you, Rathmore stormed off.
Under his breath, Wayne retorted, “I have a spare bag with a drawstring, but you aren’t getting it, jerk.”
The morning light was long in coming and his relief didn’t show. Violet, his wife was not going to be happy.
Making the best of it, Wayne was able to see where the coins landed, and he pocketed them for himself.
He knew what he had to do. He would be seeing the local smith.
The unmistakable sound of steel on steel was heard and what resounded louder was when it stopped. Before him stood the biggest, broadest man in the docks, Barfat Bluntbasher. “Wayne! What do you want?” He bellowed.
“I have a few questions for you Barfat.”
“I don’t feel like talking to garden gnomes, little watchman.”
Wayne’s ears turned red. He was not keen on the short jokes, but he ignored it.
“Are you missing a hammer, Barfat?”
That got his attention. “Let me check.”
The enormous man looked around meticulously, his eyes darting back and forth. “No, I don’t think so.”
Wayne reached into his bag.
Then what is this, Mr Bluntbasher? It has your initials forged right on it.
“Let me see that!” Thick arms snatched the tool from Wayne. He turned the hammer over in his hands. “Why yes, this is mine, I guess I miscounted. Thank you.” He placed the hammer on a rack.
“Barfat, I need that hammer. It is evidence.”
The smith’s eyes were cold. “No, it’s mine. I gave you a hammer already, long ago. You don’t get a second one.”
With that, he stepped back into the smithy and put a slab of wood on the door, securing it. “NOW GO AWAY BEFORE YOU GET HURT.”
Watchman Wayne was not one easily rattled, but Barfat Bluntbasher could bend an iron bar without an anvil or a forge for that matter.
His relief was down the way, looking for him.
“Barfat, it is the end of shift, but I will be back to settle this.”
Barfat wasn’t listening. He was beating out horse shoes, probably with his fists.