I lingered on the desire to return to 900 AD. I wanted to hang with
Vikings. Wear mail. Steer longboats. Fight battles. Chant sagas of my
prowess by a towering fire. Use alliterative meter. Kennings. Litotes.
All that. I wanted heroism.
And then it happened.
Don't know how. But it happened.
I woke in a Northumbrian Viking settlement.
It sucks ass.
Rain falls. Everything is wet. My straw pallet is constantly sodden.
Mold's growing inside it. The food's wretched. Rotten lamb. Flatbread
that tastes like feet. Goat cheese dug through by larvae that
doesn't die when you bite it. You can feel each wriggling down your
gullet. Everyone reeks. No teeth. I live in a hut dug into the mud and
covered with moldering straw populated by rats. The rats bite me in
sleep. I have to sleep next to my boss. My boss' name is Ivar the
Bonecrusher. He takes us on raids. We have one boat. It leaks. The prow
is not headed with a dragon. It's a pig. The battles consist of about
twenty guys wearing rusted mail and cracked leather. We raid
monasteries. The monks have no weapons. It's just a slaughter. Real
depressing. At the sagas Ivar gets trashed on mead and lies about the
battles. He rapes children. Once I woke to him licking me. His breath
smelled like the rotten lamb. That's my great king.
Ivar just touched my cheek.
If this' heroism it eats batshit.
- - -
Read JO's "Hitch."
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