* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Usher's Well

15 May 2003
Dan is earthly flesh and blood

Weren't seen any of them near on a year. The triplets. Not that they were triplets. No, not at all. Weren't even all brothers, to tell the truth. John and Samuel, they were. One year apart, and both fine strong men. Went to school with them. Well, nothing much to boast about that, of course. Everyone in the village did, or taught them, or tanned their hides for stealing apples. Things those two used to get up to! Regular devils.

Good lads, though. Always a smile, and a kind word for their mother. And then there was Timothy Wright. Quiet lad, and quieter yet when his da passed. His poor ma couldn't take that, not at all. Just faded away, she did, 'til there was nothing much left but to put her in the ground. Eleven years old, the boy, and a terrible business it was. Wasn't much of a mother to him, but the best of wives. It's worth remembering

So anyway, Timothy Wright was orphaned, and there was some talk of some family or something over east, the other side of the city, but by the time they thought even to get in touch he was over at John and Sam's house three weeks, eating at their table and sleeping in the boys' room. And that was that; they had more than enough food and more than enough money for a third child, that house, and so they did, and they were the triplets. Not a spit of difference between 'em, each from the other. Tall and sturdy as trees, and hair like straw, and never one without the other two.

Surely they did their share of hard work in their father's fields, and their share of drinking at plough's side after the day, but they were all bright lads, and not one fellow with a tankard behind the bar didn't think one or two of them were off to the city.

Still, though, all three. That was a blow to their mother, but they swore they'd be back, and they wrote every week. She read them to Bob Galt's wife, and she told her husband, and before you know it everyone would be toasting their latest successes at the University. Wasn't quite the learning they'd grown big on, their dad used to say, but they couldn't all three run the farm, so why not?

Then five weeks ago the news came through, and then this morning they came back home. Which was a bit of a shock, although my sister Emma met Timothy on the big street and he'd said they wouldn't be staying long. Not long at all. They'd lost weight, she said, and they were wearing the strangest caps. But she didn't like to ask if they'd got them in the city. I say, would you? And there wasn't hide nor hair after that; they were up at the house till after dinner. Still, surprised we were, though, when they walked into the snug that night.

"Evening," said Sam, and pointed to his tankard. "Might want to give that a bit of a rinse, lover."

Well, that broke the ice, and before you knew it they were just as they always were - laughing, joking, exchanging those little looks. They told us about the city, and what they'd been up to, and we caught them up with all the doings in the village. All a bit dull for them, maybe, but they did keep asking about everyone, remembered every name. And then we all settled down and fell to drinking. Went a bit cold, though, when Nick Croft asked if they'd seen any of his little sister Jenny, who'd gone down to the city not much after. And one of those looks again. Felt like they'd never speak a word again if there wasn't another in the room.

"Oh, Jenny," said Samuel, but it might have been John, with the dark and the ale. "We took her out for a drink soon after she arrived. She wasn't used to wine, and we dosed her with spirits. Then we snuck her into our lodgings and took turns. Next day she was so sick she messed her clothes, and we chucked her out before dawn. Timothy held that over her a few times; he has funny tastes. Jonny and me, we thought she was a drabe. Good fun, though."

Well, snug went quiet. Then Timothy spoke up.

"We're not boasting. Not confessing either, really. We're just...we're disinterested now, you see. She's a brave girl, though, Nick. Not saying you should be proud, like. But still, eh."

Nick was pretty good about it, really. Said later he thought swinging for them might have broken a rule or something. But I had to ask.

"So, did you get up to much, then?"

Three shrugs. "Enough, probably, for young 'uns."

"And you....kept your place?"

Quiet Jonny, the eldest, gave that big half-cut smile of his and spread his fingers wide on the table.

"We went where we went to. And we'll be going back soon. Come on, you two. Early start tomorrow."

And that was the last we saw. They were gone before cockcrow. And their mother wasn't any the better for seeing them. Wore black till she died.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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