The Maroon Party 

The Maroon Party

A maroon-party is a picnic over several days, rather than the more usual single occasion spanning, say, a single afternoon. Old Dick had arranged this particular shindig for no obvious purpose: with several stellified ladies, buckets of sloshing trash-ice, slubberdegullions of the village performing pirouettes in pierrot costume, nigh birthless kids with their vanishing-fractions and shilling-dreadfuls, old men with fatty livers or waxy kidneys, geldable steeds, boning-sticks, cantilena-boxes, night-fossickers, lopping-shears, caged horny-winks, whirring orreries, two-seeded slowbacks, makeshift horse-hitching hooks and simple tablecloths. Of course, unlike an ordinary picnic, a maroon-party needed a focussed purpose. And settled weather. Old Dick had been watching the skies for several days now and, also, scrying a deer's grallock and testing the warmth of tree-coffins near the village. The young maidens who were an important ingredient of the party's festivities were prevented from bringing their umbrellas which would have tempted feckless fate - until one particularly comely wench winsomely suggested that they could pretend their parapluies were parasols.

So, in short, one optimum day, when the dirt-beds were low and the dog-teeth retracted in the gums, the whole village, except Chuck Will's widow, set off under a blazing star, past the brick-nogging works, through the frost-smoke of the eggery and, in drowsy-flighted ailerons of fancy, stuck their noses high in the air to avoid the foot-level cess-pipe clysters. They spent cherysshed days in water-bewitched jollity. Only one silly pierrot suffered a greenstick-fracture of his funny-bone and, yes, I nearly forgot, I fell into a donkey-drome rescuing a bespangled lady's currish lopping-shears from a natural cess-pipe. They all laughed and pointed, called me cockle-brained. They claimed it served me right for crack-trysting little Ruth all those years ago, before she became Chuck Will's wife. Old Dick then reeled off by rote a series of my vanishing-fraction liaisons with the fair sex and, it was then, I screeched NONE OF YER BIZNIZ! But I soon realised that the whole maroon-party was for my benefit or, rather, for my being strung up from horse-hitching hooks, for my dunking in the trash-ice, for my prodding by sunshades, for the ripping out of all my wires, for my stuffing with the loamy livers, for my being terror-smitten by the birthless childer, for my being cess-piped and clystered in grallock. And, oh, yes, lopped by the lady's shears which I'd rescued from the donkey-drome (and then gelded by night-fossickers as belt-and-braces). I wish I'd stayed home in bed with a shilling-dreadful. Or, even, with Chuck Will's widow.

(published 'Ball Magazine' 1993)

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