This is a piece, rendered silly and pompous for the purpose of donating to the effort to befuddle the woman who has just now tried to TRADEMARK the word “Cocky” for all romance novels released in the US. Like Taylor Swift, who trademarks her lyrics (not just copyrights them — which is built in — but trademarks them!)
My blunderbuss misfired. I’d primed the pan, loaded the damned thing with the patience of a milkmaid, but pffft! The contraption, it must have weighed a stone, fizzled and spit back in my face.
“Cocky! Cocky” The cry came from a small boy, waving his hands and pointing to the breach of my weapon.
“What the devil are you going on about – ‘cocky’?”
“Ze cocky, ee moost be pulled waaay back. No middle like da baby dinky.”
I tilted my head his way. He stood on the low stone wall, gesticulating like he wanted to fly away. As I presented the fouled gun he tapped his finger to the hammer that had struck poorly. “Oh, you mean to cock the hammer fully back.” I shifted the lengthy piece to my hip and patted the boy on the head. “Where’d you come by such expertise?”
“Oh, de cocky on da bus is my favorite. All de musketeers de come to me to clean and polish dair busses.”
Hmm, I thought. Here’s a fellow who pays attention. I wonder if he knows of the name of that raven haired vixen I spied when I arrived. “Say, young bus-master, there’s a woman…”
“Oh, you must mean da one-eyed-wonder, Argina.”
“What? One-eyed… No, no.” I tired of hefting the awkward piece so I lay it down onto its leather scabbard. I managed to tip the shot-pouch and spill the balls into the dirt. The cocky little urchin giggled at my mistake. “No, she, the woman, dark-haired, like a stormy cloud and full, here…” I motioned with my hands.
“Si’, de’s is Argina. With only one eye she can hit the tip of the bull’s penis from fifty paces.”
“Da flies, they lay d’er eggs in the moist folds.”
“That’s enough. Thank you. So, this Argina, she is fixed with two eyes, here?”
“Oh, Si’. Two beeutiful eyes, deep like the barrels of…”
A loud percussion sounded from behind us. Another musketeer had approached, loaded and fired his weapon into the bales at the end of the range. The nimble urchin-boy dashed off to advise and pester the other marksman.
The fellow bent his hip out, and allowed the weight of the burdensome blunderbuss to settled through his arm, to his hip and then to the ground. Clever posture, I thought. He stood facing me, a left-handed shooter, unlucky that. But he seemed to wield the firearm with mastery. The bulge below his waist, I figured, must have been a repository for extra powder. No one could have such a large… I decided that such a person would be someone, given the obvious accuracy of his shot, I might want to befriend.
“Say, I see you’ve made your acquaintance with our range-rat. You’re not making a nuisance of yourself are you?” I physically picked the boy up and set him back on the wall behind the man.
The fellow, suave and well manicured, had already reloaded and was just now lifting his buss up to his off-handed stand in preparation for discharge. He paused in his aiming and looked me in the eye.
“Are you referring to Cocky-Dee? This boy here runs the range, for his dead father, the sorry sod. His mother, she whores in town. Argina will gladly take your load, were you to shoot straight. A task I doubt you could muster.”
I stood back, my mouth open like a dungeon door. The gall of the man! As I made to form my rebuttal, he took aim and fired his fully cocked piece. A cloud of grey-blue smoke filled the line and drifted my way. I coughed roughly as I watched the boy dash down range to retrieve the yellowed target.
“Ooh, look, senor. You ‘ave keeled de bull here and here.”
I’d had enough of this fellow’s bluster and bravado. “I see you sport a rapier. Are you as versed with it as your buss?”
“Ah, I have offended you. I would apologize, but, your smell, it has offended me even more.”
I reached for the handle of my steel, but the boy slipped between us.
“Pleeze, senors. We must not fight mano-e-mano. Eet ees de French who must pay with der blood for what de have done to us.”
I settled my haft back into its sheath. “That scar you carry. A favor from the Duke’s men?”
The young musketeer ran a gloved hand down his jaw. “A distinguishing mark paid for in full by the lives of three of his own.”
“Three? Or was it a drunken whore with a hang-nail?”
A grin stretched across his face. His nascent beard spread with the motion. “I am d’Artagnan. And you are?”
I’d returned to fetch my buss and held it, leaning to my side, its weight a load on my mind and vision of the future. “I am Cocky du’Cotaigne, at your, limited service.”