by Johnny McNulty
Thoughts from a Royal Guard, 1788
Hugo Weingarth Standswell, Royal Guard
Q: It’s three in the morning; you’ve just finished your shift as night guard to the King. How do you feel?
‘Tis three in the morning and all’s well. Must say the King was in rare form today. Great mood, and when he’s in a great mood, I’m in a great mood. Also, guarding-wise, today was excellent, not an unfriendly soul even made eye contact with his majesty. If even a mouse of Whiggish tendencies had crossed my path today, it would have turned back in well-judged fear.
Anyway, King has gone to bed though now, having passed the hours betwixt five in the evening and two in the morning without harm. I think only of King’s safety for all of the twenty-four hours allotted to my days but sadly the overabundance of guards these days restricts me to protecting him for only those nine precious loops of the clock. Frankly I think we could afford to shed some of the excess sentinelry, particularly the morning boys, who are friendly sheepdogs compared to the mastiffs of the evening. (To say nothing of the hellhounds who guard this darling of fair England [by way of Holland] whilst he slumbers unable to defend himself. One of them, Edward Barnaby, is rumored to blink but twice a day and speak thrice: 1.)“Right, see you in the morning, then.” 2.)“’Ello Margerie, just got off of work now, y’know wha’ I mean? Anyways I’ll be having a pint and a whore then. Thanks.” 3.)”G’Night, whore. I’m back off to work then. See you tomorrow morning. Don’t tell anyone I cried or I’ll send you back to fucking Japan on the next fucking Dutchman what sails into port.” And these three things he says every day, and nothing else.) But those morning boys are as soft as the King’s ass after a good powdering. I guess you can’t blame them, after all, it is a well established fact that a morning assassination hasn’t been mounted since the attempt on Lorenzo the Magnificent of Florence in 1478 at mass, which he escaped but sadly claimed his brother Giuliano. But while the mere concept of an attack on holy property is something that reinforces my suspicion of everyone everywhere, the gap of 310 years makes Chester and Casby, with their ridiculous secret handshakes, complacent. But I guess that’s what makes a night-guard man different from a morning guard man.
Q: What’s your home life like?
Have I told you about the girl I plan to ask to marry me, and then ask the King if it’s permissible? Louise Crumpleybarleyfowl. Quite simply the sweetest, kindest innkeeper’s daughter’s maid in Britain. I don’t know how to describe how I feel about her exactly…I just know I want to protect her. To watch over her, constantly, and monitor her every move. I want to be a buffer between her and any unplanned interference by the outside world. To the point where she can’t even remember what it was like not to be smothered in sweet sweet protection. I’m really very excited.
Q: Uh, thanks for meeting me on your day off, Hugo. I’ve never been to the…uh… Hogwilde Public House before. I thought maybe we’d share a bit of bitters but I see you’ve got a bit of a head start on me. Maybe we should do this at a more…sober hour. What do you say?
Ask me about the status quo. Just ask me. Say “Oi, Hugo. ‘Ow do you feel about the status quo?” and I’ll say “Fucking brilliant, that” in a fucking heartbeat. I guard the King. Not the duke, not the earl, not some rich burgher arsehole from some arsehole town like Amsterdam. The fucking King. Not even just the king, it’s the King. Fucking capital, that.
Do you know what it’s like to walk into a bar and be the guard to the fucking King? Try wearing a sign that says your prick cures fucking cholera and you’ll have some fucking semblance of an idea of how I feel on a Friday night. Half of the fucking crabs in town are descended from the colony I brought back from Spain.
Why was I in Spain? Well not that it’s any of your fucking business but I was guarding one of the King’s bastards as he had a “lost fortnight” on that godforsaken Catholic peninsula.
So what is the status quo exactly? It’s how things fucking are you scholar twat. Yeah I know where the words come from, fucking status quo ante fucking bellum: the state of things before the fucking war. It was a term thought up by a bunch of pricks playing diplomat so they could convince everybody to just go home and pretend nothing fucking happened.
So you better remember that before you go shooting your fucking face off about “changing the status quo.” Because if you want a change from how things are from before the war, you better start a goddamn war. I don’t have a “vested interest” in the status quo. I defend it with a fucking pike. Well, it’s a pike on Mondays and Tuesdays when I have duty in the yard, and a sword Wednesday through Friday. I have off on weekends but you can bet that if someone made for the king on Saturday or the Sabbath I’d fight him with my stiff yard if that were all I had.
I love that motherfucker, even if he does fuck his male pages. Oh fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Shit. Fuck. FUCK! C’mere, mate, lemme show you something in the back room…