The Last Straw

I have been checking out Deviant again. This time, I decided to write the sketch below. I am totally awestruck, that someone can start with a blank piece of paper and end up with something as perfect as this.

I’m only around 600; four minutes or so.

“I just felt it. It’s giving way. Just a little bit more, Thanos”, panted Cy, through gritted teeth.

An onlooker might have found it strange. Two bare-chested bronzed men, almost identical but for their trousers. Thigh-deep in this freshly-dug ditch, under the burning midday sun. Around them, the olive grove seemed to whistle its approval in the light breeze.

“I told you, Cy. I’ve been telling you for years. Something this smooth, it had to be man-made.” Thanos, clearly the leader and certainly the more portly of the two, wiped his black beard before barking a further order. “Now, fetch that mule of yours; a few good tugs and we’ll have it free.”

Thanos returned to clearing more of the mud which entombed the statue, as the skinny Cy hauled himself up from their pit. Wiping dirty hands on equally-dirty navy pants, he called the reluctant animal to action. The flies were bothering her today and Elspeth was in an even fouler mood than usual, as she twitched them from her pied face and flicked her brown tail at them.

“She’s not keen”, cried Cy. “She’s a grumpy old girl at the best of times, and we’ve disturbed her lunch.”

“Fuck it. It’s a beast of burden, isn’t it? Here to work for us? Fix this rope on it and get it moving. Let’s get this bastard thing out of the ground before it gets any hotter.”

As Cy attached the mule’s harness, the pot-bellied Thanos took another swig of now-warm water, dabbing his brow with a grubby red handkerchief.

Thirty minutes later, both men were heavy with sweat, and the unfit Thanos panted for breath. But the marble stood upright before them. As Thanos brushed more encrusted earth from it, Cy was the first to speak.

“Wow. Isn’t he beautiful? Magnificent. Perfect.” It was not long before Cy was exhausted of superlatives. “Who do you think he is? Paris? Adonis? Maybe Odysseus, himself…” The youth standing in front of them was, indeed, a cherub of the rarest beauty, his flawless locks framing his angelic face, contrasting the laboured expressions of the two peasants, who could not help but perspire in his presence.

“Who gives a fuck?”, Thanos cut him short. “He’s our ticket out of here, that’s all I know. He’s gonna make us rich, Cy. That’s all that matters.”

Thanos let his promise sink in before adding, “Besides, Theo will have friends… They’ll tell us.” Cy’s cousin did something at the university over in Larissa. Normally, they despised this fragile little bookworm, but for this… He would be bound to know somebody. “We’ll just count the banknotes.” But regaining focus on the task at hand, he barked, “Here, help me clean this thing up a bit and let’s get it onto the cart”.

The pair used the last of their water. They cleaned some more of the muck away, but it was clear than more elbow grease would be needed once they were back in the yard. Their bottle drained, the men stepped back on the rocky earth to admire their prize.

“What a prince”, celebrated Thanos. “You realise, my friend, that we will never have to work again?”

*

One fly in particular had been bothering her. As much as Elspeth twitched, it simply kept coming back. When it landed on her nose, that was the last straw. Gathering together all of her pent-up frustration, the beast gave one sudden convulsion as she kicked ferociously to dislodge the insect, her legs thrusting violently out at nothing in particular.

At least, ordinarily, it would have been nothing.

Cy spotted the fleck in the corner of his eye. He heard contact… was that her shoe on something? Time froze, as he stared, open mouthed, and the exquisite figure began to topple.

15 comments

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s