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The Cloistered Entertainment

I was rousted from my slumbering bower by a titanic shrieking. The previous evening I’d taken to bed amidst the trees following an indulgence of absinthe and laudanum. The tree I presume, must have presented the best vantage when surveying the territory for tigers and other beasts which might offer untimely wounding. That said I could not imagine how I’d mastered it; the tree rose up above a less towering but still imposing wall of stone which held within it gardens, paths, dwellings and doubtless the source of the banshee wailing. My clothes, or lack thereof I could not account for. Nor the brassiere and manacles which encircled my slender, yet manly waist.

The act of discovering my near-nudity was sufficient to tumble me hand over toe from branch to leaf and finally to earth with a thump. Praise be the analgesia of opiate drowsing. So I was able to gain footing despite the probable bruising, sprain and fracturation I’d likely endured. From my limb tangle I arose in the presence of ladies. Or at least I thought them ladies, their convent attire did their figures little credit, and their hullaballoo was more vulture than vestal virgin.

Nonetheless I do prefer to shave and dress before greeting clergy, for they are wild and bewildering folk, prone to unnatural abstinence and raving. I realised it would be difficult to make a good impression in my state of undress, and made the concession of shrouding my excitable young gentleman in the capacious hollow of the ladies’ mallow-garb which otherwise batted him. This did little to soothe my morning amour but did serve to shield most of the dapper chap from the greedy eyes of the clucking nuns into whose tree I’d trespassed. They had dimmed their clamour somewhat and ringed me with an air of expectation. I was powerfully aware of my inopportune priapism. There seemed only one way to distract the spiritual harpy maidens.

“Behold,” I cried – my eyes red-rimmed and wide, “I have come unto ye like an owl.” They seemed ill at ease with my pronouncement; their pursed lips of confusion begged for elaboration. “Yea, an owl. For I fly by the light of the moon with wisdom and a taste for mice my weapons. And lo, my head doth revolve at least part-way round.” I was beginning to get through to them. “Does a mouse flee from its winged foe by instinct, or fear of a love unnatural twixt them? And so, fear not my feathered fronds for you have minds and a will of sorts. My feathers are but motes in the skies of chance; this is the beak of a man and to ye I have come.”

It is within the realm of possibility that I had not made myself entirely clear for their ecclesiastical squawks resumed. Such is the nature of revelation. The penguine women clustered about me. Their monochrome garb menaced the polychromatic joy of my hazed morning mind-fever. I had descended too swiftly, and the fruits of my concussion and hangover were overwhelming me. I plunged into darkness as they grew near.

I awoke a second time enchained within the convent. This was either a very bad, or a very good thing. I was grateful that I at least bore still the ladylump-lifter for they’d spread-eagled me despite my claims of owl-hood. The room was spare, much as I’d expected but the handsomely erect cruciform gentleman on the wall was a surprise. I distinguished a chanting from the rattling of my chains (myself of course, striking for freedom). The fervour was with the nuns, though not for their Lord. They had had a dry spell for visitors, or so the crone crouching by the cot croaked into my ear.

It was to be a day of short shocks and surprises; I’d not even noticed her presence till she hissed into my aural canal. Her tone and visage quite competed to deflate my rousing charm against the uncloaked ascetics eager to reject their vows. And yet I could not but endure her ear-tonguing whispers. Nor could I refuse the monastical parade that carouseled through my room all  day and night. It probably would have been impolite. I was fed and watered, that I might prolong their licentious festival. And also soothed with balms, ointments, unguents and creams when rasped too far.

Eventually they wearied of me, though by then I’d fallen into the gap between the twin stools of delirium and epiphany from their monastic moaning and cloistral coitus. My final waking was to being unshackled, clothed and supported in hobbling to the convent wall. There I was eased up a ladder and with a gentle shove thrust over the wall’s edge.

I’d been rudely treated, of that I had no doubt. Due to my periods of exhausted slumber I’d never be sure of the depths of the nuns’ depravity. However, the Papal Bull issued a month later which declared them ‘Satan’s Sweetmeats’ certainly implied that it had been a fine evening.

I’d recently amassed a considerable fortune in the underground city of Nottingham. Their love of the gambling and remedial grasp of counting had quite undone them. I took their pennies and left them to the vile stench of their troglodytic tanneries. On an impulse I snapped up the ailing convent and established the first Grande Maison of Infamy. The ex-nuns’ gratitude has never abated; they kept their beds, and kept them warm. For there are those who seek out such rude treatment.

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