"The Strangest Adventure of Foul Mouth Freddy"
A Flintloque Short Story by Tony Harwood
Miniature Converted, Painted, Based and Photographed by Tony Harwood
Under the influence of some particularly potent Goblin Scrumpy the lovable rogue Foul-Mouth Freddy stumbles into some of the strangest things he has ever experienced.
In later life a number of Freddy’s tall tales grew in the telling, usually well lubricated with plenty of ‘Rotgut Brandy’ Freddy would exaggerate some point or other, elaborate some fact or increase his own involvement by adding to an action or event, sometimes to an extraordinary level! Such tales have already been chronicled in previous Advent Calendars, however the story I am about to recite to you is one of the strangest…
This yarn is set some years ago. Freddy was still new to the life of a soldier in The Grande Alliance and had only just arrived in the Al Garvey Peninsular.
One night, as Freddy made his way back to camp following some boring patrol, he became lost; whether it was the moonless night, the strange surroundings or the numerous flagons of Goblin Scrumpy Cyder he had drunk at that eerie Al Garvey inn, he was not sure. Regardless of the cause Freddy was lost, well and truly b****y lost.
Freddy bumped into trees where there oughtn’t to have been any trees, stumbled into brambles where there shouldn’t have been any brambles and trod in stinking wet bogs where the ground should have been dry. The wind was cutting, it began to rain and soon Freddy was lost, cold and wet. And as you good reader will know Freddy doesn’t like being b****y lost, ****ing cold or ****ing wet! Where he was or how he got there – he couldn’t for the life of him remember – Thankfully at that moment, through the trees Freddy saw a warm and welcoming light.
He bent forward against the driving rain and made his way to a small stone hovel with a thick thatched roof.
He knocked on the door, but no one answered, he shouted Hullo, HULLO and then swore (as is his wont), but still no one came. By now he was very tired and very cold and soaked to the skin so he barged through the door. It was only a small house but there was a fine big fire blazing in the hearth and a chair drawn up alongside. Freddy sat himself down and held out his hands and stretched out his legs to the fire. Then he allowed himself to relax, placed his trusty Bakur rifle at his side he sat with the steam from his wet uniform coming off him in clouds. Freddy loosened his huge ‘Daisy Roots’ boots and wiggled his toes through his still damp socks at the warmth of the blaze.
Well, he was feeling much better and thinking of taking a short snooze when he heard…
“Foul Mouth Freddy, Foul Mouth Freddy give me back my money!”
Freddy jumped up. He couldn’t see anyone, but he could clearly hear the voice.
“Foul Mouth Freddy, Foul Mouth Freddy give me back the money you owe me!”
Freddy’s flesh began to crawl. Freddy owed lots of money to lots of people.
“Foul Mouth Freddy, Foul Mouth Freddy give me back my money, or it’ll be the worse for you!”
Freddy knew that voice. He looked around the house; he opened the door and looked outside. No one, no one could be seen in any direction.
“Foul Mouth Freddy, Foul Mouth Freddy pay me back the money you owe, or it’ll be the worse for you!”
Suddenly from out of the wall a face appeared, the man was in a fearful rage, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The face was that of Ronnie Dangerfield, a soldier that Freddy had known back in his early enlisting days – Ronnie was dead; he had fallen in the river and drowned following a night on the town after excessive drinking and debauching. His body had been dragged out of the stinking water and buried in the regimental cemetery back in Albion, years and years ago. Ronnie was dead. Well and truly b****y dead and buried.
But Ronnie was now speaking to Freddy, actually screaming at Freddy.
“Give me my money, or it’ll be the worse for you!”
Freddy picked up his Bakur rifle and legged it through the door.
“**** me!” said Freddy as he ran into the night not heeding where he was going, no longer worrying about the cold, no longer worrying about the rain. Freddy just wanted to get away. As far away as possible.
As Freddy looked over his shoulder he could see Ronnie, stumbling behind him, in his hand he held a huge wooden club and his face was full of anger. Freddy didn’t need to hear what Ronnie was saying – his face said it all and Freddy began to remember just how much money he owed Ronnie.
Freddy was worried.
Later as the rain eased and the wind ceased, Freddy was wondering if he had dreamt the head coming out of the wall, if he had imagined the voice or actually seen the shambling form of Ronnie Dangerfield. Then more voices.
“He’s a heavy old ****er, and there’s the truth.” Said one voice.
“Steady now, steady.” Said the second.
Freddy looked around and seeing a great old Oak tree decided to climb into the branches and hide.
As the voices grew closer two ruffians stopped under the very branch that Freddy was hiding in and with little pomp or ceremony, they dropped the body of olde Ronnie Dangerfield to the ground. His face was the colour of ash and his eyes starred out like a long dead cold fish.
Even so Freddy shivered as he looked down into those dead eyes as he was sure that they were staring right back at him.
The two ruffians began to gather some wood – they chose the driest pieces and soon there was a roaring fire burning. As Freddy watched from his hiding place, the ruffians tied together some poles, one either side of the fire and then tied Ronnie to a larger pole that they placed over the fire. For the world it looked like a great big roasting spit.
So there they were, Freddy in the tree looking down on this macabre sight, Ronnie on a spit that the two ruffians had began to slowly turn.
“He’ll do now.” Said the first ruffian.
"Yes, but who’ll look after him while we are away?” Said the second.“Foul Mouth Freddy, Foul Mouth Freddy.” Said Ronnie and Ronnie and the two ruffians stared up into the tree to where Freddy was watching. Freddy’s first reaction was to grip his Bakur a little tighter but even he knew that the earlier downpour would have soaked his pan – any chances of firing a shot with damp powder was poor to say the b****y least. Freddy decided that bluster was the order of the day.
“You’ll be pleased to excuse me, Gentleorcs” Said Freddy clambering down from the tree.
“But I’m at a loss to know how to help.”
At that moment Ronnie opened his mouth and spoke again.
“Freddy, Foul Mouth Freddy you had better turn me, or it will be the worse for you.”
“Turn the spit.” Said the two ruffians and with a mighty twirl they were gone. Ronnie spun on his spit and as the spinning slowed, Ronnie screamed at Freddy.
“Turn me, turn me, don’t let me burn or it will be the worse for you.”
Freddy placed his hand on the spit and began to slowly turn Ronnie. But even as he did his head felt dazed and he wondered if he was in his right mind – here he was turning a spit over a roaring fire, in the wilds of Al Garvey – with what everyone knew was the dead body of Ronnie Dangerfield tied to it.
reddy knew that Ronnie had died all those years ago – drowned in that stinking river, buried in the regimental cemetery in Albion and most importantly Freddy’s debts had been written off – hadn’t they?
Each time that Freddy slowed or the spit lingered, Ronnie would call out.
“I’m burning, I’m burning – turn the spit.”
For some time this continued, but as Freddy tired.
“**** this!” thought Freddy and he stopped turning the spit. He turned to Ronnie and said.
“Begging your pardon,” he thought it only right to be polite to the dead, “but why are you here?”
Ronnie glared at Freddy and then in a single bound was free of the spit and had his hands around Freddy’s neck. Ronnie eyes were now glowing as bright as the fire and Freddy had to beat him off but Freddy’s fists just pushed through Ronnie as if he was water.
Once again, Freddy ran and ran, stumbling over stones and bumping into trees, whilst the rain returned and the wind began to howl.
Freddy didn’t know where he was heading or where he was running from, his body ached and his head pounded, but soon he came across that same small stone hovel. He dashed through the door and bolted it before settling down in the chair, all dazed and drenched and draggled. As he caught his breath he heard.
“Freddy, Foul Mouth Freddy give me back the money you owe me or it will be the worse for you.”
My, if it wasn’t Ronnie Dangerfield’s voice. Then through the wall came Ronnie, and the same plea,
“Foul Mouth Freddy give me back the money you owe me.”
“I don’t have the ****ing money.” shouted Freddy. Then pulling himself together he continued.
“But I do have this.” And pulled out of his Shako a handful of copper coins, a silver Goblin doubloon, a plugged dime and some crumpled I.O.U’s. Freddy handed the contents over to Ronnie and waited. Things got a little muddled after this as Ronnie counted and re-counted the coins again and again. Freddy began to watch but was too tired to really care and he was soon snoring away in the chair. He didn’t wake up until the sun was well in to the afternoon sky. The hearth was just grey ash and the room was eerily quiet, Ronnie was gone and all Freddy had in return was a pounding headache.
The rest of the day was a bit of a blur for our Freddy, the damp weather didn’t help and the fact that Freddy had left his trusty Bakur rifle back at the Oak tree meant that he had to be extra vigilante and on the lookout for any marauding Elves or un-friendly Guerrillas. For most of the day Freddy’s mouth felt like the inside of an Otharmann’s sandal and the thought of some liquid refreshment was never far from his mind. By nightfall he was once again contemplating a night out in the open when he spotted some familiar features and was quickly marching into camp – two days late, although two days late was not so uncommon for Freddy who would regularly ‘go on a bender’ and arrive back uncertain of where he had been or what he had been doing! On his return to camp Freddy was fined for the loss of his Bakur rifle, there was no way that Freddy was going back to that hovel for it and so he borrowed some money from Kenny and Mad Mickey to pay the quartermaster.
However this weird adventure would give Freddy ‘the willies’ for some considerable time and to this day, Freddy never talks about the time he became lost in Al Garvey or drunk Goblin Scrumpy, for he is haunted by the image of old Ronnie Dangerfield once again appearing and asking for the money Freddy owes him or the many I.O.U.’s that Freddy gave him to be cashed-in. Even the thought makes him shudder! But paying back debts has always made Freddy shudder.
As everyone knows Goblin Scrumpy is the Devil’s own brew and unlike ‘Rotgut Brandy’ it gives Freddy a right royal hangover. I’m not sure that even Mad Mickey Hoolihan could stomach it, and he can (and does) drink most things.
Another Foul Mouth Freddy story for Advent and you may well be thinking what was Tony thinking?
Well, I had been thinking that the last Foul Mouth Freddy Story - "The Lady Canrig Bwt", went back to his childhood and how he set out on his adventurous life in the Army of Albion. In this short story I wanted to look back at his earliest military activities and set the scene for the later stories and friendships. I came across a very weird Folk Tale called The Strange Adventure of Paddy O’Toole and as I read the story, I thought how it could be re-written to include our potty-mouthed hero. The story does ‘waffle on’ a bit and includes some very macabre imagery, but as I had also just finished Terry Pratchett’s book ‘Raising Steam’ and read about the properties of ‘Snail Juice’ - these ideas were all bobbing about in my head. I surmised that the story of Paddy O’Toole could work if he had been under the influence of Snail Juice! I transposed Scrumpy Cider for the Snail Juice as everyone knows that Scrumpy or Cloudy Cider has exactly the same effect as Snail Juice and the story thread was complete.
I hope you like the latest Foul Mouth Freddy episode.
Foul Mouth Freddy Will Return in 2016 !
The above short story is an Orcs in the Webbe original and was first published on December 8th 2015 as part of the 2015 Advent Calendar.
To see the complete adventures of Foul Mouth Freddy simply click on the maroon tag just below and to the left.