Oh, Mademoiselle from Armentare, parlay voo.

Oh, Mademoiselle from Armentare, parlay voo.

She got the Palm and the Craw de Gare,

For washing soldiers’ underwear.

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

You didn’t have to know her long, parlay voo.

You didn’t have to know her long, parlay voo.

You didn’t have to know her long,

To know the reason men go wrong.

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

She’s the hardest working girl in town, parlay voo.

She’s the hardest-working girl in town, parlay voo.

She’s the hardest-working girl in town,

But she makes her living upside down.

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

She’ll do it for wine, she’ll do it for rum, parlay voo.

She’ll do it for wine, she’ll do it for rum, parlay voo.

She’ll do it for wine, she’ll do it for rum,

And sometimes for chocolate or chewing gum.

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

The cooties rambled through her hair, parlay voo.

The cooties rambled through her hair, parlay voo.

The cooties rambled through her hair –

She whispered sweetly, ‘Say la gare.’

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

She never could hold the love of man, parlay voo.

She never could hold the love of man, parlay voo.

She never could hold the love of man,

Cause she took her baths in a talcum can.

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

My froggy girl was true to me, parley voo.

My froggy girl was true to me, parley voo.

She was true to me, she was true to you,

She was true to the whole damn army too.

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

You might forget the gas and shells, parlay voo.

You might forget the gas and shells, parlay voo.

You might forget the groans and yells,

But you’ll never forget the mademoiselles.

Hinky, dinky, parlay voo.

They can hear a big splash at the conclusion of the last verse, and a high cheerful laugh following – as though the girl were having the g*yest time of her life bathing there in the river in the middle of a deserted mountain range in the middle of a vast corpsedom.

Abraham looks as though his muscles, beneath his skin, are all knotted taut around each other. He picks up a stone from the grassy verge and hurls it into the river, where it makes only the most pathetic little splash.

I swear to God, Mose, says Abraham. Things are gonna start gettin rapey around here if that girl don’t leash herself somehow.

Moses kneels down and splashes water in his face. It is cold, like melted ice, and the sound of it running over its rocky riverbed is peaceful.

Stow it, he says to his brother. Come on, let’s take a look at that leg of yours.

So Abraham strips off his pants, and they wash the wound in the river – but his thigh is still swollen and painful, and there’s an ugly brownish-grey colour in the skin around the hole where the bullet went in.

Hm, Moses says.

What is it? asks his brother.

I ain’t sure about this.

Forget it, Abraham says, grabbing his leg back and splashing some more water over it. I had worse. Everything heals give it enough time.

Not everything.

Never mind.

So Moses strips naked too and submerges himself in the icy water of the river. When he rises, the water streams out of his beard. He sits in the shallows and plucks the nits from the coarse hair all over his torso, squeezing them between his fingers and then drowning them in the river and letting them wash away on the current. He must look, he realizes, like a massive infant – a big hairy baby or a corrupted orangutan or something else not quite right. It’s one of the happy things about a world gone so wrong: your personal freakishness don’t stand out so much.

When the Vestal Amata wades back from around the bend to where the Todd brothers are, her lower half is sunk in the water and she is wearing a brassiere on her top half – which is something in the direction of decency.

Hey, she says and points to Abraham’s wound drying in the sun, that’s not lookin so good. Is it going rotten?

We’ll find somethin for it on the way, Moses replies.

It ain’t anything, Abraham says and begins wrapping it up again to keep it from solicitous eyes.

The three of them stay for a while longer, wading in the small river. They should be travelling, they know, and yet they are reluctant to leave. Overhead, a breeze rustles the leaves of the trees, and they shiver in the cold – and still they do not wish to go, as though dozing under some spell of nature, the classical form of the earth itself that they sometimes think of as lost and gone.

After a while, they emerge from the river and let the air dry them. The Vestal Amata peruses her companions as they sit in the sun.

Are you sure you two are brothers? she asks. One’s a big hairy bear and the other’s a skinny, runty little thing.

We had different mothers, Moses says.

I guess you did, the girl replies. Maybe not even from the same species. So what were you two up to before you embraced the duties of holy protectorate?

We wandered around a lot, Moses says.

Seein the world, huh? she says.

There’s a lot of it to see, Abraham says.

One thing a plague of death does, Moses says, is rip down a lot of borders that people used to put up to keep the likes of us out. Now there’s no place that’s off limits to us.

True enough, the Vestal says, nodding her head. The world is wide open now. All those builders and maintainers of society – they’re dead and gone. So who rushes in? I guess us. The rules are gone. Is that happymaking or sad-making?

It ain’t either one nor the other, Moses says, rising to his feet and beginning to dress. And the rules ain’t gone – they’ve just took up a new home on the inside of your brain rather than the outside of it.

He walks back to the car and smokes a cigar while waiting for the others. It’s peaceful here, all right. So peaceful it makes you long for things you don’t know the names of.

*

She was beautiful, Moses says, addressing those members of the caravan still awake to hear his story. Some have slunk off and some have fallen asleep on their own arms by the fire. The sky is deep dark now and no one has spoken for a long while save the large one-eyed man himself. The fire is lowering. A few listeners toss twigs and brush into the flames, but more for the brief flashes of consuming light than to keep the fire alive. The face of the large man is becoming difficult to see – but by the momentary light of a handful of burning weeds, it is possible to make out his features, his grizzled beard, his downturned mouth, his liquid staring eye.


Tags: Alden Bell Books Reapers Series Books Horror Books
Source: www.StudyNovels.com