Suggested Audio Candy
 The Prodigy “Spitfire”
 The Platters “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”
Our fourth little idiom is one which I know rather a lot about as I have often been regarded as something of a loose cannon since picking up the Crimson Quill for the first time. This translates to an unpredictable or uncontrolled person who is liable to cause unintentional damage and many believe the slipper fits with me. By my own admission, I do load up my verbal artillery without censorship and that has been known to cause concern in certain quarters but it’s actually not nearly as true as it may seem. Honesty can be a rather potent weapon if falling into the wrong set of hands; but I don’t ever look to exploit its use.
I have never been a reactionary and flat refuse to act out of malice as mud-slinging has never appealed. Granted, I may climb aboard my soap box on occasion as attested by my infrequent rants towards the tabloid press but my intention is only ever to inform, not poison minds. We’ve already had a Hitler and I think I speak for the entire free world in saying that we don’t need another one. Hell, I can’t even grow a mustache.
Unpredictable is certainly a charge you could level at me and there is nothing foreseeable about my actions. My next piece of writing is never carefully plotted and, instead, I prefer to fly free and not conform to expectation. I am disinterested in performing word counts or proof reading to within an inch of my life and prefer to come across raw, as though addressing each reader personally. Currently, I use my smart phone to scribe and numerous indiscretions have arisen as a result of this decision. Predictive text can be something of a thorn in my side, especially when scribing at the rate of knots that I do. “I’ve just come back from Tahiti” can turn to “I’ve just come back from vagina” if I don’t keep my wits about me. Therefore should I ever brag over “raping a pigeon”, then nine times out of ten I’m informing you that I have been busy racing the little fella.
We live in a politically correct world where certain terms just aren’t allowable anymore. Take flid for example, a wonderful word which denotes a physically uncoordinated person. “You’re a real flid you know that?” is a marvelous put-down and indeed there’s barely a comeback to dwarf it. However, if I called someone by that mantle, I would be damned sure in advance that they weren’t paraplegic. On the flip-side, if I walked into a busy warehouse full of alpha-male fork-lift drivers and shouted “make a coffee flids” then I’d invariably be commanded to “fuck my own ass” but would wind up holding a mug of tepid brew minutes later. It’s called adaptability, you work out your addressee and act accordingly.
My father suffered from Multiple Sclerosis for the last 25 years of his life. While his dignity rarely faltered, it stripped him of his manhood, and he had every right to be a tad narked about his affliction. Nevertheless, I heard him crack many jokes about disability when around his close buddies even though he was sat in a wheelchair himself. That summed up his positive outlook as taboo is only such when not spoke about and he preferred to keep his winning sense of humor in tact, despite any personal anguish. However, not everyone is comfortable around others with physical differentiation as I found out the very first time I came across Evil Eye.
During my decade long tenure as a store clerk, I prided myself on my ability to deal with members of the general public regardless of their age, gender, creed, color, sexual orientation, or body mass. To me it was never an issue as I had been raised to treat everyone with the same level of respect and did so naturally but my co-workers weren’t quite as acclimatized to those who were different from themselves. Certain clientele would require my gentle, unassuming approach and I had no problem with the buck being passed should a customer enter the store who required a particular approach. For example, I would gladly shelve my managerial duties for an hour to converse with a gentleman who had absolutely no way of venting outside of a notepad. This wonderful soul had no means of speech, negligible balance, was as deaf as a post, and spat like bacon every time he attempted to relay a point.
The other guys were terrified of him and declared it their lunch break the moment he entered the establishment but I looked forward to his regular visits and struck up a winning rapport with him. Over the decade I steered our ship through any potentially choppy waters and my ragtag band of fellow geeks eventually rejoiced each time he paid us a visit, as opposed to slinking into the shadows uncomfortably proving that, the more exposure we receive, the more we learn.
Anyhoots, there was this one guy who even I struggled to maintain eye-contact with. For reasons of which we were never made aware, this timid chap had one eye the size of a miniature honeydew melon and it was totally out of proportion with the rest of his face. It just looked so freaking sore and would often begin weeping uncontrollably like The First Wives Club watching Beaches for no reason. In many respects, his affliction reminded me of the T-Virus from Resident Evil as he appeared to have undergone some bogus experiment and the surgeon in question, likely Albert Wesker, had evidently lost interest half way through the procedure. I half expected our store door sensors to turn into malignant shape-shifting lasers and begin slicing through our regular customers each time he was in attendance.
It may appear as though I am mocking our unfortunate mutated friend but, in fact, that couldn’t be farther from accurate. He brought a tear to my duct without fail as all I could think of was how many insects flew into his eye on a daily basis or how heinous a spot of conjunctivitis would have been for him. I imagined the blind terror of walking through crowds with his lopsided vision as it must’ve been like taking your seat on a rollercoaster but only strapped in on one side. Moreover, he would invariably be the first hapless bastard to get poked in the eye. It must have been soul-destroying and I could sense his nerves each time he walked to the counter to ask a question.
It’s no easy feat maintaining unflinching eye contact when it is looking off to the side like a fleshy ear muff but maintain I did. You see, to the other guys he was a freak of nature, and interaction would be too much to handle. However, think for a moment, about the amount of times in a single day whereby he would be made to feel less than at ease. It was okay for them as the moment he vacated the nightmare would be over but, for him, a new one was set to commence. All he required was perform the simple actions without judgement and not be reminded of the elephant in the room. I made it my business to treat him absolutely no different from anyone else and eventually he began to come out of his shell. My comrades considered me to be some kind of hero but I wished not to be enthroned for doing what anyone should do when facing a person with a severe disability. The point of my story is this: these weren’t the achievements of a loose cannon my loved ones. Mine is of sturdy artillery.
So you see, it turns out that I’m fairly dependable and I can vouch for being cool in a crisis. I may well come and go like a dime store hooker but, erratic attendance aside, I’m one sturdy motherfucking cannon. Over the past few months it has become clear to me that I’m not alone either. We’re all a lot more balanced than it may appear to the naked eye (apologies if that is still a sore subject). I like to think of Rivers of Grue as a galleon of sorts. This vessel is furnished with many rows of similarly flapping cannons but together we stand defiant and flap no more. Solidarity makes us a pretty fucking formidable battalion of cannons in my opinion. And, if there is one thing I’ve learned during my tenure as Keeper, then it would be that the Grueheads possess a helluva lot of balls!
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013