By Greg Grogan
Esmeralda was at home knitting a fish blanket when the front door flew open, practically off its hinges, and in rushed her best friend, Maria.
"Come quickly!" Maria cried breathlessly, her green eyes wide and wild. "The Regurgitating Troubadour of San Lorenz is in the village square at this very moment! Let us hurry!"
Esmeralda's heart began to race. She leapt to her feet, and the two young women raced out the door. It was not long before they heard the enchanting notes of the troubadour's lute echoing softly through the narrow village streets. And then they heard coughing and vomiting, and their pace quickened.
But hope soon gave way to sadness, for when Maria and Esmeralda finally arrived in the square, the Regurgitating Troubadour was gone. Left in his wake was a clutch of fair village maidens, all dreamy smiles and tear-streaked cheeks. As Maria and Esmeralda looked on, one of the women wrapped her arms around her chest and sighed. "So sweetly does he throw up," she cooed, her hair still dripping, "like the most heavenly of songbirds!"
Shielding their eyes against the setting sun, Maria and Esmeralda spied the troubadour in the distance, astride his trusty steed. Alas, he was now no more than a dark and handsome speck, trotting into the dusty hills that rose beyond the river and the fig orchards. His performance had been as brief as it was magnificent, and he would not return to the village for a very long time.
The two disconsolate women sat down on the edge of a stone fountain in the middle of the square ― near Alfonso the village drunk, who abruptly vomited all over himself. Esmeralda wiped away a tear as she embraced the soiled old man. "Thank you," she told him, "But somehow, it just isn't the same."
(Author Greg Grogan's other exciting stories include The Old Maniac and the Sea.)
Sunday, January 20, 2008
By Greg Grogan