HISTORICAL FICTION WEEK #3: Cater for cameos


Just as Edward and the Reverend Hobbington were about to make a start on extinguishing the fire, an elderly man approached them.
‘That’s a leviathan of a blaze,’ he observed. ‘Someone should do something about it.’
‘Indeed,’ replied Edward. ‘We were just discussing the best way to go about it.’ The old man nodded sagely.
‘In situations such as this,’ he said, ‘a strong central authority is needed in order to prevent chaos.’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Edward, slightly annoyed. ‘I didn’t catch your name.’
‘Tom,’ the old man said. ‘Tom Hobbes. Well, good day, gentlemen.’ With that, he was gone. The two would-be fire-fighters watched him walk away.
‘How strange,’ said the Reverend. ‘Odd little fellow, wouldn’t you say?’
‘Yes,’ Edward agreed. ‘I didn’t like him. He struck me as nasty, brutish and short.’

5 comments:

  1. As the old man walked away, and as Edward and the Reverend Hobbington were about to have another go at extinguishing the fire, another elderly man approached them.

    He stared at the blaze for a few moments, before beginning a monologue apparently directed at the flames themselves rather than the two men in his company. His words were lean, hard, athletic.

    "In the late summer that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the trees.,’

    ‘Troops?,’ replied Edward.

    ‘Pebbles?’ queried the Reverend Hobbington.

    ‘Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another' the old man continued, staring into the flames.

    ‘I’m sorry,’ said Edward, slightly annoyed. ‘I didn’t catch your name.’

    ‘Ernest,’ the old man said. ‘but you can call me Papa. Well, good day, gentlemen.’ With that, he was gone. The two would-be fire-fighters watched him walk away.

    ‘How strange,’ said the Reverend. ‘Odd fellow, wouldn’t you say?’
    ‘Yes,’ Edward agreed. ‘clearly very down in the dumps. Struck as being almost suicidal'

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  2. This makes me think of Susanna Clark's fondness for the Duke of Wellington, among others. It can be fun, but certainly can be overdone.

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  3. My advanced jurisprudence course was worth it just to get the final joke.

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  4. The temptation to do this in historical fic is OVERWHELMING. I've spent the better part of two years stamping it out and squashing any ideas of "Oh, look who just came along" or "Who was that masked man" in my notes.

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