Fan Fiction : Discworld : Innocence


Mik Calow mikchaos at hotmail dot com

Inspired by the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett, a British literary genius

The common room of the Mended Drum was unusually quiet, considering it was one of Ankh-Morpork's most famous watering holes [1]. Its darkened alcoves were usually home to various groups of criminals and ne'er-do-wells of varying degrees, plotting their latest nefarious schemes, and tonight was no exception.

Medium Dave returned to the table with the tray of drinks. Anyone who had seen him always recollected that he was of average height, average build, and average looks, but as Average Dave [2] had already taken that name he became known as Medium Dave. His only distinguishing feature was his ever present younger brother, Banjo. A hulking brute who could match a rock troll in size and strength, but would still lose in a battle of wits [3]. Dave set the tray down, passing Banjo his drink and taking his seat as his other companion reached for his flagon. Another patron of the inn pushed their chair back noisily, the sudden screech causing Dave's associate to jump back nervously into the concealing shadows of their booth. Sighing resignedly, Dave took his own drink and pushed the tray forward towards the darkness "Easy, Chicken-wire. They're not our concern and we're not theirs" he growled.

Chicken-wire leant cautiously forward, his thin wiry frame full of nervous tension and his eyes constantly darting around, looking for non-existent danger "As long as you're sure,Dave" he wheezed quietly before taking a slow drink.

"Our mum says pay no mind to people and they'll pay no mind to you" said Banjo [4], cradling his half emptied flagon in his huge hands.

Dave leant forward, his arms folded on the table before him "Look, the Musicians Guild have hired us for a job so we need to get organised, right. Some Johnny-foreigner's come to town and started performing without paying up, so we've got to go and stop him".

"He's not a girl is he our Dave? Our mum said you shouldn't hit girls" said Banjo.

Chicken-wire laughed nervously, until Dave glowered menacingly at him. "No Banjo, he's definitely not a girl" said Dave reassuringly, "now finish your milk. We've work to do".

Moments later the trio were making their way toward Flood Walk, on the very banks of the river Ankh, as inconspicuously as they could [5]. In any other city they would probably have drawn the stares of all the other travellers on the crowded streets, but the denizens of Ankh-Morpork paid them no heed, happy to go about their own business and only taking enough notice to avoid colliding with the man-mountain that was Banjo. The short walk seemed to take forever as Banjo ambled along deep in thought [6], but they arrived just as the concern that had ridden around in Banjo's child-like mind found voice. "Why is it wrong for him to sing our David? He's not 'urtin anyone."

Ahead of his brother, Medium Dave cringed and not for the first time wondered why a person so suited to the life of a hired thug as Banjo had been cursed with the innocence and morality of a child. Before he could turn around and answer though, the air was split with an unearthly shriek from the wooden shack that housed their quarry.

"What's that bloody caterwauling?" asked Chicken-wire, putting his back to the nearest wall, his eyes darting back and forth in search of danger.

"Caterwauling? You're closer than you think Chicken-wire." said Dave, "That's the sound of our mark. Told you he was foreign didn't I, well he's one of them Northern Klatchian's he is, and that noise is him throwing kittens at the walls so he can match the high notes for his singing." [7]

Chicken-wire looked at Dave confusedly, about to ask a question but Dave cut him off with a glance, and then they both looked at Banjo who had begun to tremble with rage.

"'Urtin animals is worse than hitting girls, our David, 'urtin animals is bad our mum said" growled Banjo as he stalked past his brother and Chicken-wire, wrapping his huge arms around the shack and pushing against it. For a moment it seemed nothing was going to happen, then with a sickening lurch the entire building began to move steadily over the edge of the riverbank as Banjo continued pushing and the shrieking carried on unabated until the entire shack slid into the murky embrace of the Ankh and slowly disappeared beneath the surface. The only sign of its passing was the stone chimney place, sticking up like some sort of grim, grave marker.

"Don't 'urt no more kitty's" said Banjo to no-one in particular, then he turned and walked slowly back to the Drum.

"Doesn't it ever make you feel bad? You know, playing on his innocence like that?" asked Chicken-wire, standing beside Dave as they watched Banjo walk away.

"There's no such thing as innocence in Ankh-Morpork, Chicken-wire," said Dave as they began to follow his brother, "just different degrees of gullibility".

  1. Formerly known as the Broken Drum, it was renamed upon being rebuilt following it burning down (see "The Colour of Magic"). Go back to 1
  2. Average Dave was a member of the Guild of Carpenters and Coffin-makers, and specialised in caskets of an average size and quality, his motto being "One size fits all (even if you have to bend 'em a bit to close the lid)". Go back to 2
  3. Some said Banjo had all the cunning of a child, but this would be a great exaggeration as most children can be cunning to some degree. Go back to 3
  4. Banjo often reiterated nuggets of wisdom garnered from his and Dave's mother. Go back to 4
  5. Well, as inconspicuously as a group containing a seven foot tall bruiser and another who was more skittish than a cat in a rocking chair factory, could be. Go back to 5
  6. You could tell by the look of concentration on his face, the reddening of his balding head, and the slow shuffle of his feet. Not what you might call one of the disc's greatest multi-taskers. Go back to 6
  7. Used to his brother's inconvenient bursts of morality, Dave had become adept at twisting the facts to suit his own ends and keep Banjo on track. Go back to 7

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