Third of October

Grudge Galmount reminisces...

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1. New chapter

Third of October

To distract his mind he thought of his time in the satellite city of Third of October—so named for a famous battle. When he’d reached eighteen, the time came to leave the Arenta orphanage. The plan was that he would head into society and do adult work—he’d spent his days in Arenta stitching carpets for the rich—and a place was found for him in Wormwood coffin factory. First, though, the orphanage manager, who for many years had had an unhealthy interest in Grudge, told him there was a temporary job going in Third of October, a two-hour train ride away, if he’d like to gain some work experience in another city besides Bludgeon. Grudge was game for the chance and got a reference from the man whose crush on Grudge was never consummated more like the love that dare not speak its name, or show its hand. The job in Third of October was to be a soft one: shop boy as opposed to mineworker boy or coffin factory boy and he was all set for an easy couple of months—easy at least by the standards of the dictatorship under which he lived.

Oh, oh! The train crashed on the way to the satellite city. A dozen or so passengers were killed, including a woman pregnant with twins. Grudge survived, being in a carriage some cars from the main impact. He was pulled from the wreckage by a rescue team, having sustained cuts and bruises and a broken leg.

The injured were taken to a hospital in Third of October. Grudge spent two nights in a ward with other survivors where he was lucky to meet a young nurse by the name of Laura-Joe who took a shine to him while at the same time tending to his medical needs. His leg was put in plaster and his wounds dressed. He couldn’t take the shop job, he was so banjaxed, but Laura-Joe let him come to her flat where he ended up staying two whole months until he could walk again. She was five years older than him and had seen more of life. Certainly she was more sexually experienced and a good deal of Grudge’s physiotherapy involved Laura-Joe performing fellatio upon him. It was a blissful period of his life, those two months in Nurse Laura-Joe’s Third of October apartment. Like all good things, though, it came to an end. When his leg healed, the need to make a living became pressing once more and he was forced to head back to Bludgeon and leave Laura-Joe behind. Her neighbours were starting to complain anyway that she was keeping a younger non-working man in her flat. Their love-making was coming through the walls. It was a time, as the song says, that he remembered oh so well, and he thought of it now as Assad and his four stooges stared at him from the corridor outside his cell.

Ó Brian Ahern 2014

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