Youngest Son wanted me to collaborate with him on a story. Just for fun here's one character sketch:
The wild ferment inside has to come out as fire now and then. Nothing personal.
Well, sometimes it is. There are people who need a good thorough toasting—you know the sort I mean. And I hate wasps. It's so gratifying to watch their cinders fall. And when I was little my hatchmates and I would go out toad popping. You have to blast them fast enough to pop instead of charring. Don't look so shocked—you and your buddies used sharp sticks: what's the difference?
I'm no magpie. I go for quality, not quantity. My great-uncle, on the other claw—he collected coins, and it didn't matter what kind or condition. They're all over his floor in a brassy mess.
But I keep my helmets neatly racked. Some mediocre ones I kept as trophies—there's always somebody looking for trouble. If they insist, I oblige. I'm glad there have been changes in gear—mail gets stuck in your teeth.
I remember the days when I could fly, catching updrafts and soaring for hours and hours, diving for birds. When I was little I chased bats, but they dodge too fast to catch, and almost always too fast to singe. Now: too big, too long—not enough running space to get airborne. The last time I landed I felt like one of those clumsy geese racing to slow down, and swore I'd never do that again. Bruised up a leg pretty badly, too.
I may not fly, but I can out speed any horse or boar. I prefer goat, though after three or four I generally need to munch a little pyrite to keep the fire smooth. When I visited family in Wales they introduced me to coal. That was wild. I probably overindulged; I don’t remember much. Three of us making a whirling tower of fire; the smell of roast pork and burning leather; contests to see who could roar the longest… I won, but it took a couple of days.
I get the rock from a tunnel spur off my home, of course. I picked the site partly for the variety—sometimes I just have a taste for a little chalcocite to flavor the meat. As to where it is—that’s a delicate question to ask a collector, isn’t it?
By the way, did you know there’s a wasp by your head?