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The Brawl of Pipes
Act 6, Continued: Tyke of the Orphan Pipes
© 2023 James LaFond
Dusk, Caesarsday, Second Day of Sepulcher
Knights Alley
The wreckage behind them was so brutish that they slowed, for the giant, who had sensibly if rudely sought to violate the Truce of Pipes in order to gain access to Bell Station on some urgent mission, presumably for the crusading order whose slave he was, was now insensibly squandering whatever time he might have made up with the pointless slaughter of tykes.
They walked now backwards as the rude gladiator become a beast monster transformed their tiny second story nation into a poppet awning of death. Like poppets upon the stage dying before Pompey, or in the London Fire, so fell their little friends. They shivered, and felt not good about going to the place of ambuscade they were bound according to Mob Rule. The Mob Pipes came first, even before wee tykes.
It tasted bad in his mouth, “Dastard Sandman,” he said as he stopped backwalking and stood.
Presses Pipe fell to a leg breaking fall as the Sandman, his feet wide braced, used the pipe to tear down an entire section of scaffold, some higher stairs, and even a pallet from the third story. The Sandman turned to stomp wee Presses Pipe, but five years, and it was obvious would have, but a Jap girl then bent over the tyke to sketch Presses holding his snapped leg.
‘I wonder,’ thought Tyke, ‘was that slavish curiosity or saintly mercy?’
More Gigs fell, one to hit the floor atop a Big body and moan, one to crash on a pallet that listed, and one to be hung up among high wires.
A barrage of bricks and bottles from the agile Twigs above pelted Sandman, one bottle shattering on his helmet and marking the cheek of the Jap girl, it now seemed sketch-nursing, at his feet.
The Sandman reached with his hand for one dangling pallet and a thin voice from above came, the voice of croup-scarred Squeak Gig, “Ahwee, ahwee!”
The rather useless Gig, who none thought would ever amount to but half a Twig, was hung up in the wires, his pale little arm bleeding as he twisted about.
Sandman lost his adore for tyke slaughter with that mournful squeak. He gathered himself, looked with some measure of guilt down at Presses, who was being straight away nursed by the Jap who was being sketched by her fellows, and intoned in an even strident voice, a voice like could be heard through an entire fort or ship, obviously trained up to kiss Caesar’s rare ass in loud tones from the sands, “You lads up there. Cease your fire and attend to your littles.”
Bottles clattered to the floor and broke in his path and various bricks thudded to pallet boards as Squeak cried, Presses whined and some other Gigs began bawling like it was all of a sudden a nursery.
Two things impressed Tyke’s quick mind at this moment: First was the off irony of fact that the construction of their youthful nation hung between fume pipes, smoke stacks and steam pipes, in its deliberate design to foil the progress of heavy-footed Iron Police and whip-wielding Steam Police, with small floors that swing and the hole mess suspended from thin wire, easier for tyke hands to hold then big man paws, had here been turned against its very purpose for an instant. In a momentary flash of spite, Sandman had turned their entire refuge into a swing set of death. Perhaps five of their number were now slain and dead due to the structure of their very refuge being reversed.
Secondly, dastard brute though he was, Sandman never cursed. And, not a Twig above or a Big below doubted his WORD, like the man spoke his very own law, that when a thing was announced he would not do, it was as good as not done.
The Sandman, for that’s all they would call him now after Tyke so blurted it, now drew in a deep breath, calmed himself, shouldered the Great Steel Pipe and set out a blackthorn cudgel as a walking stick. He then regarded them from under the open visor of his steel war hat, set his teeth and limped towards them.
The persistent Japs having now taken over the first floor of scaffolding ahead and sketching all things, particularly the rescue efforts of the Twigs above among the stunned and tangled Gigs, had abandoned the one with the cut cheek, who had put away her sketch pad and pencil and was attending to Presses Pipe.
“To Horseshoe Alley,” came the voice of Check, recapturing leadership. Tyke could not help himself and ran forward slightly and cast a winging dart at that left leg held up by the riot knocker, which he fancied had been an injury had in payment for the rain of Gigs. He had aimed meaningfully for the upper leg, the tender spot between the cods and the hip. But that great brass-gloved hand swept the missile away to clatter in the squared gutter of Knights Alley.
Check hissed as Sandman grimly grinned and Tyke was with them, fast like a sprite for the corner of Horseshoe Alley, their pack of eight harried mobhounds striding out well ahead of the monster who was now their hunted quarry, to meet their fellow conspirators of Pipes for the trophy taking ambuscade that would make the Mob of Pipes the envy of all tykes. [2]
Continued in Ambuscade, Act 6 Concluded
-1. Sandman is an insulting designation for a gladiator bestowed exclusively by Mobsters, who are free, and who seek to remind with this underhanded appellation, that the designated person is a slave, despite his high social gravity, consigned to its well.
-2. Adult mobsters are generally known as such, with elder mobsters identified by the appellation of “crooks,” a compliment not only for attaining that rare crook cane of criminal old age, but for ever having the angle to frustrate the power of the spikes [lictors] nails [police] and screws [jailers] of civil society.
-3. Police and jailers are private, not public enforcers, employed by industrialists and corporations.
Under Hellsong Pipes
spqr a novel
into leviathan’s maw
the year the world took the z-pill
uncle satan
the greatest boxer
winter of a fighting life
logic of force
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