Flash in the Pantry: Brigadier Robert D’Alby by Evan Hay

(Warning: strong language)

Brigadier Robert D’Alby of those famously Glorious Roscommon’s was a mighty fine, hench figure of a man. As an impeccable Sandhurst officer cadet it became crystal clear that D’Alby was hewn from exactly the right old-fashioned, ornamental stuff. Possessed of athleticism, but devoid of contagious narcissism; he employed RP to acclaim a martial style-of-life, minus today’s all-too-familiar, fanatical ‘boot-polish-up-the-kilt’ mentality. Unerring Apollonian devotion to tours of duty, irreproachable ethics & a Spartan indifference to physical discomfort, made D’Alby splendid soldierly material. Additionally, D’Alby’s tendency to remain celestially aloof (distanced from clamorous subordinates) enabled access to private thoughts beyond the woefully limited appreciation of rough-&-ready non-commissioned comrades. Uninventive fellow officers bored D’Alby too: their impossible drunken mess parties, latent homosexuality, imbecilic gambling & monomaniacal brutalism, interdicted him from honourably pursuing a deeper camaraderie. Above all, he abhorred their collective flat-Earth disregard for synthetic cubism, et seq. Still, such wilful textural blindness didn’t prevent (or detract) D’Alby from admiring Britannia’s venerated strength of character; nor could various mind-boggling patterns of crude, spiteful behaviour, intemperately disseminated amongst Blighty’s privately educated landowning ruling-classes, annul an intuitive esteem in which he held this ruthless creed- neither did that intrinsic nationalistic exceptionalism existentially flaunted over generations of folk deemed lower in rank, status, or quality, by English gents.

Well-cushioned by the UK parliament’s Armed Forces Pensions & Compensation Scheme, D’Alby remained fighting-fit at thirty-seven in the wake of this index-linked military retirement, plus subsequent induction into the ‘Guild of Ancient Mariners & Venerable Fishmongers’ (via an old boys’ network) which facilitated another lucrative career opportunity; a stint of reclusive commitment this time, further serving his class with insignia keeping his end up in a private sector lighthouse. Generously endowed & left to his own devices; a proud wickie, embellished with frilled epaulettes, he kept Bishop Rock Lighthouse shining bright & spotlessly clean. Recreationally, during an abundance of spare time D’Alby manufactured basic collectibles, inc. hand-woven cotton rugs- sundry novelty shaped candles, model warships (frequently embattled within bottles) & craftily assembled reactionary objets d’art to be sold as bric-à-brac for cash at mariners’ fêtes. Despite crackerjack diversions, piecemeal, his lonely life’s daily routine drifted surreally into an unplanned concatenation of doubtful occurrences (albeit his loyal service was made as comfortable as possible by portable paraffin heaters, frozen crabsticks, the BBC World Service’s It Sticks Out Half A Mile, & Scilly regional radio). In the fullness of time, Robert quietly monitored how natural power emitted from those loose & fecund bowels of Mother Earth reigned supreme- that is, put simply- the Everyman, nature’s sentient nonentity, merely floated upon her ethereal waves. Yet one who could curry Poseidon’s favour was blesséd indeed. So, weather permitting, Robbie irregularly attended an austere mariner’s guildhall, where a gracious & most proper art of ingratiation was taught in confidence to select scholars. There, inside Twisted Bobbins Sentinel Chambers, one could confidentially manipulate mystical gifts according to one’s breeding, wisdom & talent; ancillary occult factors being two tools of divine provocation (each empowered with prodigious energy) enabling a righteous seeker to beseech & become adorned with charmed privileges afforded to orthodox craftsmen. These were twofold: one pukka velvet wishing cap (immaculately derived from legendary Fortunatus), & the other a pair of elegant ivory lorgnettes, proffering all-sightedness.

Now, as amusing as this esoteric bourgeois scenario may appear, it was not entirely satisfying. Hence, influenced by the compelling literature of Aleister Crowley (on loan from Bobbins’ hypnotic Worshipful Master), Robert sat forlornly under a pointy puce cupola; staring disconsolately through tight fitting magical retinae at his unemployed, purple Hampton Wick. Hallucinatory masturbation just wasn’t working: hard-core, no-nonsense skulduggery was called for. So one day, this abstemious xenophobe- inasmuch as his wasp’s waist seldom played host to dodgy foreign foodstuffs- clipped his magnificently glossed monkey wrench moustache, smeared petroleum jelly around his unloved ring-hole before purposefully penning a charmingly succinct advertisement, all set to be tastefully displayed in the Lonely-Hearts section of City Limits, a cooperatively run alternative weekly listings magazine, ref: pubescent wantonness; an announcement he dispatched post-haste by the utmost economical means of a tax deductible supplies boat, which fortnightly ferried rations of baked beans marinated in orange tomato sauce. ‘Attention boys & girls! Any cute proletarian teenagers out there, hankering after pagan erotica in a lighthouse, should call D’Alby now. Admission is free!’

‘’Oh, yes. London. Now there’s a filthy big city chock-full of perverted deviants.’’ He thought fiendishly- inconspicuously revelling in tutto-anale imagery. On the surface both Robbie’s deportment & attitude conveyed a cultivated character, a noble esquire who coveted beauty & classical repose above all else. But beneath this calm exterior, D’Alby frantically required several hard-knuckled fist fucks. Assimilating contradictory hyper-religiosity & hormonal pressures resulted in self-adjudged guilt; his pallid superego took waxen umbrage, wanly scolding a Dionysian id for its clammy, impure ruminations: ‘’just lay back & think of Merry England!’’

D’Alby tentatively undressed in front of a full-length cheval mirror; perturbed, critically reviewing his aging reflection: an inner resentment grew uncontrollably dark. Most shocking were nauseating surly features that obnoxiously emerged without invitation; ugly, outlandish, bizarrely misshapen in every last ghastly detail. Each flaccid aspect called for slashing &/or expert mutilation. A self-defacing element imbued Robbie’s mind: ‘‘Oh, for a Black-&-Decker Workmate!’’ Robbie hated it. This damned chimera was alas no longer he; rather a mocking minacious curse.

As giant hailstones crashed around surrounding toughened glass, D’Alby laughed uproariously, artistically smearing arterial blood across his scarred gammon-pink nakedness. Having sliced off his inverted hairy nipples, & super glued them to his knees, he recklessly took a rusty cheese grater to the ship’s fringe benefit tomcat, whilst ejaculating over vivid adolescent memories (of his gang goosing by House Apostles ceremonially attired in uniform coats & cocked hats with ostrich plumes) during his assignment as a Charterhouse fag. Relaxed, he reflected upon infamous full moon initiation rituals he’d witnessed agog; rough sleeping orphan Stan Crabbs, a plausible cephalopod, came unstuck. A rootless persona non grata, Stan’s ovoidal working-class corporation was collected; drugged & bewitched by sinister decree. Manhandled by St Agnes’ sturdy yeomanry downstairs into Old Lanes’ spellbinding crayoned pentagram; forcefully shoved, Crabbs fell prostrate between scary cloven hooves- where he was instantaneously plagued by ankylosis & force-fed slough from millions of damned excrescences while his chafed tramp’s sphincter was invaded by vile swarms of chattering animalcules (besieging his cerebrum & infesting his congenitally stunted imagination with obscure forms of regimental Catholicism). Cruelly enough, metemsomatosis irretrievably undermined Crabbs’ innate processes of perception, rendering his alchemical substitute frenetic, barren, snarling & regardent (why such random, forsaken educationally subnormal vagabonds were solemnly condemned to suffer so, fuck only knows). ‘’And then all us nonpareils, chartered fishermen, aristocratic seafarers & the like, steamed the fat plebeian cunt & gouged out his oculi. He can’t see anything now.’’

Following an eccentric, two-month long collage of auto-erotic overload (resulting in the first instance of little more than a sore willy, & secondly, through the latter period, only dizziness, nausea, & an acute sense of futility born of self-mutilation), having received no expressions of interest, nor any letters of reply, Bob nonchalantly applied enchanted Fastskin Elites before decisively jumping overboard. Resplendent in top-of-the-range Speedos; determined to swim ashore & hard ride Shanks’s pony onto central London immediately, in full Picaresque personage, to get balls-deep into heavy-duty cottaging. He wondered what the precious all-seeing mincer would make of that. Beat off an all-penetrating stethoscope perhaps, or tickle an ever-swollen vulva? Because whatever it is, wherever it’s coming from, unequivocally one’s throbbing erogenous zones need a jolly good going over now & again, just to maintain a soupçon of sanity. Seen?

Evan Hay exists in Britain & rather than follow spurious leaders- over the years he’s intermittently found it therapeutic to write out various thoughts, feelings & ideas as short stories to be examined, considered, & interpreted by clinical practitioners who may be able to offer him professional psychological assistance.

You can find more of Evan’s work here on Ink Pantry.


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