Scene Thirty One
In which one of our heroes remembers what he forgot.
Gileppi had managed to find him an old walking stick, it was made of hardwood and Tony Tony found he liked it a lot. He imagined himself in his mind’s eye; he suspected that he was beginning to look the part of the heroic adventurer, his beard was starting to grow soft, and his clothes were beginning to fray around the edges.
They had been walking for most of the day, and Gileppi had told him that they couldn’t expect to reach the army until tomorrow. Still, Tony Tony was happy; they had covered a lot of ground today and he had seen the scenery change before his eyes, it was relaxing; he wished he had started hiking earlier in life.
“How do you know the leader of this army?” asked Tony Tony
“She grew up near me” said Gileppi, who Tony Tony thought looked like a wizened wizard with his giant walking stick, “She would volunteer to help out on my farm occasionally”
Farm, thought Tony Tony, who still hadn’t worked out where he knew Gileppi from. “And you just sort of kept in touch over the years?” he asked, aloud
“I’m afraid not” said Gileppi, “I’m sorry to say that over the years we completely lost touch, when we met again for the first time I initially didn’t recognize her”
“That must have been embarrassing”
“Indeed. However she seemed to expect it, you see in the intervening years she had become a full werewolf, and her appearance was somewhat altered”
“Really! The army is lead by a werewolf?”
“That’s awesome and I can’t wait to meet her”
“So how did you meet her again?”
“She came to me asking for weapons.”
“I am a good engineer; she hoped I could supply her troops with weapons.”
Tony Tony’s brow furrowed, “Why not?”
“I don’t think that directly fighting back is the right move. In my view it only creates martyrs, which of course only makes the Tak’Dek more appealing to the disaffected youth.”
Tony Tony considered this; he had to admit that he saw a certain amount of logic. “But you’re still friends with her?” he asked
“Oh yes, we had a nice long chat and a cup of tea; we still meet up occasionally.”
“So, your long hard days as a gunsmith are behind you?”
Gileppi laughed, he had quite a pleasant laugh, “Yes!” he said, “Gileppi the Gunsmith is no more, nowadays I-”
But the use of the title had made something go click inside Tony Tony’s head, “I knew I’d heard of you!” he blurted out, “You’re Gileppi the Goat Fucker!”
There was a very long silence. The two men kept walking out of shear inertia.
Tony Tony considered every situation he could think of, and concluded that there was no situation in the universe where his last sentence wouldn’t be a faux pas. “Sorry”, he began.
“No, no it’s quite alright; I’m used to it”
“I mean it’s-”
“I mean that name must haunt you a bit”
“Indeed, I have built fine bridges for most of my adult life, and I’ll forever be remembered for my one youthful indiscretion”
“Well I mean, that’s a big indiscretion, how did it, you know, happen?”
“I don’t drink whiskey anymore”
Together the two men walked into the gathering sunset; somewhere above the clouds a large jet kept an eye on them.