Jupiter Flintlock

Jupiter Flintlock stood in the stockade, stoic as always. It was not his first time. He’d been broken and humiliated so many times in that stockade, it was just like any other day, far as he was concerned. There was a certain belief among the founding fathers that Jupiter’s mind was not quite right, that Jupiter’s failure to whimper or drool was a sign of an essential moral failure. For every chicken Jupiter plucked, it was back to the stockade. For every pint of beer he pilfered, it was back to the stockade. He’d taken his vow of silent suffering as a child, during the years when bamboo was used to whip little sinners into submission. With every blow, with every welt, he brought himself steady into another world. A world of spinning rings, a world of tigers, a world of ravens cawing and nasturtiums blooming. His bloody legs were thin as grasshoppers; the small animals who scampered past did not see a man or a boy. Only a quiet creature, like them, holding still as he could as the blows came down. Silence became Flintlock’s fame, his number one foolishness and strength. The boy is father to the man, he said to himself later, much later, when the stockade had burned to the ground.


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October 2012
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