Saturday, 22 October 2011

Grit you say?

What he lacked in looks, he made up for in sarcasm and bitch. He scrapped and scratched his way through school and lied his way through college. Twenty three lies he told in all. At least that's what he wrote in the three volume autobiography he lowered from the top of Nelson's Column on a rope fashioned from a half a battalion's bootlaces. It dangled fifteen feet from the ground and was retrieved by a human pyramid of Dutch tourists.

For three days he sat at Horatio's feet; a faithful hound unaware his master is dead, and elsewhere. He refused to speak and it was taken that all he had to say was set out in the hefty tome. A special unit was hastily established by the Met: Six officers, armed with six dictionaries tasked with deciphering his words and sifting for clues. It was later admitted that this was an error and that the job should have been passed to the professionals and in hindsight it was clear that the lying had continued long after college.

The narrative was jumbled and paid no heed to traditional structure or chronology. He had dined with prophets and fought in every recorded conflict in western Europe. He had fourteen England caps to his name and one goal, though his claim on this was disputed by a player from a rival club. He had created and destroyed in equal measure, his balance at zero. He had loved and lost both men and women and yet still never recovered from the first, of which he listed several, or the last, by whom his heart was finally defeated. This, though, was not what put him at the admiral's feet.

When he impacted the square and officials plucked up the courage to examine his remains they found his foot attached to Nelsons by the other half of the battalion's bootlaces. Had the chain been just fifteen feet shorter it would have snapped when he was within a couple of feet of the unforgiving surface.

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