Muck Read Online Free PDF Page A

Book: Muck Read Online Free PDF
Author: Craig Sherborne
Tags: book, BIO026000
his left cheek. He topples. His skullcap is pushed over his eyes by the fall. A blood trickle leaks from between his lips. He unfastens his skullcap, throws it to one side, blinks to clear his sight, sits to catch his breath.
    There is a throb and ache inside my index knuckle from hav ing made skewed contact. I’ve hit cheeks before—a dirty punch in rugby where with dirty punches you enfear. In bull-rush at The Mansions and its toilets where you smoke and fight against your head being flushed. At first it’s you the puncher who feels fear, fear that more harm was done to the fightmate than was intended. Churchill is so much older than those I’ve punched before. I cannot fear harming him, a grown man.
    I’m not certain I have won the fight yet. But he does fear me, I think. He climbs to his feet and steps away from me. His hand swipes across the ground to retrieve his skullcap. He doesn’t look at my eyes. He jog-walks out the gate, muttering to himself, though I hear it well enough, that I’m a mongrel cunt. Any self-respecting father would take me by the shirt collar and give me a thrashing I’d remember to my dying day. He turns and yells with his finger poking at me to emphasise every word that I’m mad, mad, mad. That’s all I am. I’m nothing but mad. Then he leans off into a jog towards the house, calling for The Duke to come out if he’s inside and hear what must be said about this mad son of his. “Mad, mad, mad,” Churchill keeps chanting all the way to the back door where he flings open the fly-screen and knocks so hard he must be hurting his hand.
    The Duke comes to the door, patting his hair flat from his day nap. “What’s the racket?”
    Churchill wants him to know this: that he refuses ever, ever, ever to set foot on this property again while I am allowed to follow him around like a spy, a watcher, a boy who thinks he’s Master Muck. “I won’t be talked out of it,” Churchill says, though The Duke has made no attempt to talk. “I’m sorry but those are my terms.” He takes a few hurried steps away as if to walk to his car and leave immediately. “There’s nothing you can say to talk me around.”
    The Duke stands wedging the fly-screen ajar with his shoulder, bewildered by Churchill’s fury. He looks up over Churchill’s head to where I make my slow, slinking way to explain myself. He signals with a quick arch of his eyebrows that I’m to come to him at once.

    I should have spoken to The Duke in the first place and there never would have been such trouble. I should have made it clear to him that Churchill’s darling-talk soon turns to hate-talk and whip-waves, and when I tried to stop the behaviour in his name, as his deputy and heir to our dynasty, I was assaulted and spoken to like common dirt.
    Yes, I should have let The Duke do the punching if punching was the thing to be done.
    But I am not going to cower just because of a disappointed man, a cowboy and a Gunna. I have dealt with the matter myself, in my own way. The Duke will hardly think less of me for that. Quite the opposite. If I put my hands behind my back, breathe deeply through my nose to make my chest swell out, he’ll see how worthy a deputy I’ve been.
    He steps from the house to the concrete in his stockinged feet. He wants to speak to me, just me. Churchill, if he wouldn’t mind, should stand over there so that we two, father and son, can talk in private.
    Churchill folds his arms and grunts that he’s said his piece. He has no intention of repeating himself. He has said his piece, and he has made his position clear. He has laid down his terms and won’t be talked out of them. No father can be blamed for having a mad son. “It’s only out of respect for you, old sport, that I haven’t left the property already. It’s time to take that mad boy of yours in hand.”
    I tell The Duke that Churchill was one minute hate-talking and whip-waving at horseflesh and then for no reason simply turned on me.
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