The Striking of Camp 

The Striking of Camp

There were three drummers in the empty hall. The backdrop had an indefinable colour (like most colours worth their pigment), a uniform mix of turquoise and navy blue and bottle green. The floor was earthy, yet smooth. The six feet were really large for the rest of their awkwardly angular bodies. Thick corded arms double-jointed in akimbo angles of percussive attack. Drumsticks with large red business ends: huge lucifers with phosphorous bobbles. Drums themselves - red-trimmed oil barrels of near purpose-built perfection as tympani - trying to escape the neatly thick red straps strung across knotted shoulders and cartilaginous chests. Six legs mingled in clumsy straining stances. Trousers of dark colourlessness. Skin of insipid bronze. Faces intent, staring; haircuts sculptured (except one which straggled across the brow); all archetypically macho, too, except, perhaps, one of them, or two, because, half-hidden by taut drum-strap, was that face with floppy strands of hair. None were exactly ugly nor breathtakingly handsome. A tableau of dark knotty hues. I had caught them 'in flagrante delicto', before they broke a silence of generations. Pity none of them could speak Latin. A dead language. Muffled drums. Unknown warriors. I slipped out of the empty hall. As I made clear to you, initially, it had been ever such.

(Published 'Star*Line' 1998)

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