8. GERTITIA

8. GERTITIA

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
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The Judge has to face the population of The Forest

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Elflight had called a counsel meeting, which was no easy thing in a society in which every shade of race, colour and gender was deemed essential for proper decisions to be made. This time, though, he deemed the situation to be so dangerous, what with an apparent alien influence on the wise Judge, that he took Fluffybunce’s advice.

“Include everyone,” Fluffybunce had said, and he had added, “even the renegade Toowitty.”

“For fair play?” asked Elflight.

“And as a warning to the devious Toowitty and whoever lies behind him,” mumbled the Arbiter, and left it at that.

There was a huge open clearing in the forest, a place rarely visited by anyone, not even youngsters at play, because old tales told of a conflagration one stormy night when Wilfreda had ruled the nation. But that was so long ago that nobody alive could remember Wilfreda, and were it not for aural history and tales told and retold down many years, she would have been completely forgotten. But the clearing was still there, and it was known to one and all as Wilfreda’s Clearing and marked as such on the maps, which kept her name alive even if she wasn’t.

Now the monarch was Queen Gertitia, though the title Queen was hardly ever used and she preferred to be called a handmaid, though she was singularly short of hands, being what humanity would have called a goat, though not any old goat but a spectacularly attractive one. But such was the democratic nature of the Forest that it was perfectly acceptable for the overall ruler and monarch to be a handmaid of whatever genus she happened to be. It made a wonderful sort of sense.

The counsel meeting was convened, and as a huge space was required it was held in Wilfreda’s clearing and the stage in its exact centre was dominated by the presence of Gertitia. Her only concession to majesty consisted of multicoloured sparkles on her horns, and these caught the sun as she moved her head when she spoke, casting, seemingly, rainbows all around her, all apparently emanating from her. It was widely considered to be clever stuff.

“We are all here to discuss the brain-washing of Toowitty the Wise,” she began in her usual verbally economic way.

“Just a darned minute!” tooted Toowitty from his seat on the front row, where there were a few seats because most of the counsel consisted of locals who either couldn’t or wouldn’t sit on anything, except a few who preferred the ground. “I’ve not been brain-washed, not now and not ever!”

“Toowitty, it would only be fair to you if you had your say,” said Gertitia in a voice that was calm as a placid pond in high summer.

“And that I will!” responded the judge, fluffing his feathers as best he could. “I sentenced the damned pathologist to a lifetime’s hard labour...”

“You never mentioned hard labour...” put in Elflight.

“Well I should have! I darned well should have! So I senetenced him to a lifetime’s solitary confinement...”

“You never mentioned solitary...” reminded Elflight

“Darn you, I might have! Why, the creature, quite deliberately and without any consideration for the consequences and being a pathologist, which is another word for a legalised monster murderer, slaughtered a poor innocent little farmer whilst that poor innocent little farmer was resting on his slab,” bawled the Judge.

“He was ordered, I believe, to perform a post mortem examination of the deceased,” purred Gertitia mildly.

“That’s what he said, but I didn’t believe a word of it!” snapped the Judge Toowitty.

“But, unknown to him, the poor farmer was merely comatose, in a state so closely mirroring actual death that everyone thought he was deceased,” nodded Gertitia, her horns sparkling red and gold, with the occasional streak of blue.

“So they said, but I chose not to believe them!” replied Toowitty, this time a little nervously.

“But they were giving sworn testimony,” sighed Gertitia, “they were sworn to tell the absolute truth. They were sworn, in fact, to be honest. So why did you not believe them?”

“Why indeed,” muttered Elflight quietly to Prickly, who was sitting on his lap for convenience.

“We don’t need darned pathologists!” snapped Toowitty, “we have no need for their sort! All they do is fettle around in the dead when all those darned dead really want is a bit of peace and quiet!”

“But they establish truths, do they not?” asked Gertitia, “they establish causes and reasons so that action might be taken if a member of our society passes away unexpectedly?”

“Not necessary!” barked the Judge, “everyone knows that!”

“And if some outside and malign creature were to find his way into our midst, and cause irreparable and irreversible death to one of us, might not the pathologist be able to ascertain that evil so that we can put a stop to it?” asked Gertitia sweetly.

“That’s what he said you’d say!” wept Toowitty.

There was a sudden pause in the mass breathing, which is all that had accompanied the exchange between monarch and Judge, and when a few seconds of dreadful silence had been stretched to almost a minute, which is a long time for some to stop breathing and why half a dozen fainted through lack of oxygen, Gertitia addressed Toowitty directly.

“That’s what who said I’d say?” she asked, almost as silent as breathing. “Who has been telling you stories?”

The feathered Judge looked her straight in the eye. “Jules Junkface,” he replied, trying to sound defiant, and failing miserably. “If you must know he’s called Jules Junkface,” and he added, “he tells me lots of truths.”

And who is Jules Junkface? That’s a new name on me,” breathed Gertiria, only just audibly, which made every nuance of every syllable sound dreadful and threatening.

It’s a man!” snarled the Judge, “a man from the village beyond the Forest reaches, and he knows stuff we can hardly dream of!”

© Peter Rogerson 11.10.18





© 2018 Peter Rogerson


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Added on October 11, 2018
Last Updated on October 11, 2018
Tags: Judge, life imprisonment, monarch, debate, man


Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
I am 76 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

Writing