Ole Grumpy, sits back on the dock, bota of paga in his hand. It’s been very quiet since Franzi and his two boys went on their travels. He sits back and picks his toes a bit, then lifts his arse and farts. He doesn’t know why he stays at the dock, watching over the merchant’s stall. Probably cus he has been doing it for so long, he can’t think of anywhere else he should be. He takes another long swig of his paga and leans back enjoying the sunshine.
He heaves a sigh, at least when Franzi’s sluts are around he has something nice to look at, even if they do tease him mercilessly. He smacks his lips a bit and gets up, wandering over to the snack bar. The fire is out so he bends down and lights it, then drops a pan on the stove intending to make himself something to eat. Instead his eyes rest on a bottle of Kalana wine and he reaches for that instead.
He carries it back over to the market stalls and sits under the shade. He pulls the stopper out with his teeth and sniffs it. It smells a little sour, as if it has turned. He checks the label and grunts; it’s from the local wine maker. He sniffs it again and shrugs, taking a big mouthful.
He leans back in the sun and contemplates his life. It’s been a long time since he had a companion; she left him when his love of paga became more for his love for her. For a moment he feels regret. Regret for letting the one woman he had loved to walk away. Regret that she had taken his three sons and daughter with her.
For a moment he wonders what became of them then he shakes it away.
He finishes off the wine and belches loudly, tossing the bottle aside before reaching again for his paga. He finishes the bota then gets drunkenly to his feet, staggering over to the snack bar and going behind the counter. He grabs a large jug and then fills it from the keg. Sipping it he doesn’t notice that he knocks a cloth onto the stove. He staggers back over to the market stalls and sits down again, taking mouthful after mouthful of the fiery paga. “Might do some fishing,” he says drunkenly to himself but he doesn’t move. He can’t be bothered. He fumbles around in his clothes, looking for his pipe. Finally he finds it and lifts it up triumphantly. It’s already packed so he sticks it in his mouth then starts to fumble around again, looking for a sulphur stick. Finally he finds one and he scrapes it on the wooden boards of the marketplace until it finally fizzles and produces a flame. He holds it to the bowl of his pipe, sucking over and over till the weed inside it catches light, then he haphazardly tosses the still lit stick over his shoulder.
Ole Grumpy hadn’t always been Ole Grumpy. He was a handsome man once, even owned a girl of his own before he met his beloved companion. He had sold her to pay for a home for them both. He wondered what had happened to the voluptuous redhead. He had got a good price for her from a passing red caste that wanted a slut to pass away the nights on the road. He hoped she was happy, she was a good girl. What was her name? He shook the memory of his pretty slut away, tucking it in the same place as he kept the memories of his companion and children.
He sucked on his pipe, leaning back against the stall, just puffing and puffing, watching the day pass by.
The sun began to lull him gently into a peaceful state, conspiring with all the paga and Kalana wine he had consumed to lead him into a false sense of security. His eyes grew heavier and heavier and his head nodded forward. His pipe dropped from his mouth and a loud snore slipped out from his withered lips.
In the snack bar the rep cloth smouldered slowly on the stove, catching light in the dry heat. The flames began to spread, catching easily to the dry wooden construction. They ate at the frame, and the parchment menus growing fiercer and fiercer until they were roaring out of control.
A light breeze spread the flames, sending embers through the air till they caught the market stalls and trading hall. They started to consume all they touched while Ole Grumpy lay in his drunken stupor. Before long Franzi’s trading post and market were blazing, Ole Grumpy, lost in the flames, too drunk to realise he was even in danger.