The wounded are the first to come trickling in. They stumble back, spattered with ink and dripping errant keyboard keys. First in ones and twos then in clumps supporting others, they come in.
Singing can be heard in the distance. Not that girly singing but warlike and entirely appropriate. The stamp of booted feet comes next. Trumpets trumpet. Drums drum. Tubas tuble (?).
Flags come into view over a conveniently placed hill. On them are depicted chairs and chickens in a heraldic and totally awesome looking way. The flag poles heave into view next, gilt and garnished with braids and gold and other ways that flagpoles can be embellished.
Next are seen thousands upon thousands of imaginary soldiers. A face or two in the crowd should be familiar. This is the imaginary audience, press-ganged and shanghaied into an army for use of literary purposes and all and sundry are smiling and whooping with joy. Horus Lupercal kazoos away on his tiny instrument blowing the triumphal march. The chickens frolic about, clucking and pecking at all who come near. Frostius the Sweet roars his baking-induced madness towards the sky. Pax smirks. Tarless curses. Alpharius informs me that I am not infallible. I tell him to shove off.
Behind them shines the sun. Or at least something exuding light in a most solar fashion. Hands held over eyes (for I would not wish you to be blinded) it resolves into the shape of a chair. Upon that chair is seated a man. That man is me, the lordly and august Captain of Chickens.
“Where have you returned from?” You might ask were you in any way shape or form interested. “What campaign did you embark upon?”
My response is to point back through the pages of my blog towards a post wherein I outlined my intentions to apply to grad school. That is the campaign I have embarked upon and that is the campaign I return in triumph from.
The train of men and women continues apace. Here (aside from me of course) is the real purpose of this parade. Banners, ripped and torn and dripping with ink, display names. Behind the banners, heralded by the clanking of chains, come a train of prisoners (admissions officers all).
The first says this: University of Sussex. The second proudly announces: University of Aberdeen. The third: Trinity College, Dublin. Fourth: University of Bristol. The fifth displays the words: The London School of Economics and Political Science.
The last one, held higher and far larger than any of the others shouts out to the world: University of Edinburgh.
Six fine schools. All have been defeated by the majesty of my pen and the magnificence of my wit. The fools!
Each has said that they would be willing to accept money from my hand in exchange for their knowledge and pieces of paper. Each has been willing to offer me a chance to learn at the bosom of our former colonial master.
Only one was chosen by me as the place where I shall gain my degree. That one is the University of Edinburgh.
After much consultation of the stars and the winds and hours of tense counsel with my War Council, we (read: me) have decided that Edinburgh, the Alma Mater of such luminaries as Charles Darwin, David Hume, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander Graham Bell, Robert Louis Stevenson and (soon) the Captain of Chickens.
A city of gothic magnificence and spooky history is Auld Reekie (the strange, yet beguiling nickname for Edinburgh). I shall wander its streets and haunt its buildings for nigh on a year.
Now enough of all that. Let’s move on to other news.
In the months of my campaign I have not been idle. Oh no! Not for the Captain of Chickens is the dreariness of single tasks. I have written and completed two short stories of excellent provenance and, if the God-Emperor smiles upon me, you might even be able to read them in a format other than my measly printing.
Anyway I have a camp to set up and an imaginary crowd to fold back into civilian life. Begone and thanks for reading.