The way I figure it I’ll have, if luck is with me, five chances. Tomorrow will be like today and all the days since my capture so my reckoning is sound. My first opportunity will come early, in the crossing. Sometimes my guards are too eager. If I slow they come onto the bridge to jab at me with bayonets. They are vulnerable above the drop.

The second comes when our work party is given its implements for the day. A hoe would be little use but a spade, hammer or pickaxe; only circumstance makes them tools rather than weapons.

The next chance comes at lunchtime. The broth is little more than peelings and salt but at least this new cook brings it to the boil. Sometimes he adds an onion or two or a yam from the forest. He is better than the other, who served it safely tepid. No matter.

Another, of course, is the crossing back to the camp, when the guards are tired from the labour of watching.

But it will be the last chance I take again, when the candles have been snuffed and stiff limbs stretch on stiff bunk boards. That’s when I will act. Dream it again; the brief pleasure of another’s death scream.



No good can come engaging fools as fools,

Leave fooling for those few who do it best,

who understand, though fooling eschews rules,

the import of the judgement of the jest.


Have all true fools in foolish roles employed,

in wars or sales or screwing lids on jars,

Judge where they’re fit by that they should avoid

such tasks as ill-judged sense of humour bars,


For poor fools fancy they’re the kings and queens

they think their daily audience so dead

as not to judge their foolish utterings.

These naïve jesters loose their foolish heads,

then find decapitation gains attention

where foolish fooling barely got a mention.