Saturday, May 26, 2012

#1ss Installment II: a REALLY epic one-sentence story

De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

289 words

As the distant roar of the volcanic eruption drowned out screams of animals and people trapped on the shore in front of Porta Marina and the hissing splashes made by gobs of molten lava falling all around his madly racing trireme propelled across the Bay of Neapolis by dozens of terrified oarsmen, and as a cloud of ash descended to the foot of Mount Vesuvius to shroud the dying metropolis in a roiling gray mound that would become a mass burial ground for thousands of inhabitants of the soon to be forgotten city of Pompeii, Marcus Pontius Gladiolus took another sip of a mediocre vintage of Falernian that would have been quite drinkable but for the dust that fell into the wine cup during his escape, looked about for his wine steward before remembering he’s left the boy at the villa to guard the family heirlooms of the Pontii clan from looters and other plebeians, emptied the krater overboard with a sigh, walked across the deck to refill it from the half-empty amphora tied to the mast, raised it, poured a libation, splashing his steersman’s feet with wine and drawing from the stalwart sailor a muffled malediction, and drank deep as he wondered just how much he would miss his twice weekly visits to the Lupanarium and whether the ladies of pleasure in its Neapolitan sister establishment were as good as the hetairae (well, pornae, actually, but, as they say, De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, and it’s not like they could charge an extra as after a posthumous promotion) of Pompeii, and if so, how much of a volume discount he would be able to negotiate in Neapolis for services of copulatory nature.

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