Merkin Whoopee/The Only ‘Goyle In The World

This is a belated Sunday Photofictioner submission and my first foray into flash since my failed Nanowrimo experiment. Since then, I’ve been focussing on my second annual ghost story for Christmas which should appear here in four installments from 21st December.

Thanks to Al for the photo.


Filbert rubbed his hands together to drive off the bitter winter cold. At times like these, he wished he’d been a cooper or a fletcher. Still, there were worse gigs than being a stone mason in the 14th century. The conditions might have been atrocious but the pay was good and the punters gullible. They’d nearly finished renovating the balustrade already, but Gawain, the taciturn welsh foreman, had conned the marquis into thinking it’d take another week. A few of the lads had gone off on another job, but Filbert had stayed. It was relatively peaceful, now; he had only the lutist for company, playing a selection of popular ballads at maximum volume. Filbert didn’t mind the isolation, though; it left him free to concentrate on the real perk of the job: ogling women.

He could see one now. A pretty woman, buxom, just the faintest palimpsest of cowpox on her décolletage.

“Oi, love,” he called, “Nice flagons. Bet you don’t get many of those to the clove.” The lutist sniggered and the woman walked on. Filbert decided to continue. “I like your kirtle, darling. Bet you’ve got some cracking gourds.” The woman blushed a little, and hurried her pace. Filbert looked over at the lutist. He seemed bored. Recognising that he’d be without an audience soon, he decided to escalate. “Settle a bet for me pet. Does your bonnet match your merkin?”

The woman paused, looked up. The expression on her face was one of utter hatred. As she pointed a long, tapered finger at him, Filbert froze and found himself hoping that the paralysis had only been brought in by fear.


Six centuries later, Filbert watches from below the balustrade. Few of the tourists pay him attention these days. Gargoyles, the received wisdom goes, are old hat. For the modern aficionado of medieval architecture, it’s all about the corniches. There are few perks to his current job, though, in his petrified form, he’s at least immune to the cold. He knows he shouldn’t complain. Most people would give their eye teeth for immortality and, looking at his uglier companions, he wonders if some of them have.

Still, he knows it was a mistake to catcall a witch. If ever she comes back, he might persuade her to reverse the spell. Trouble is, the castle’s maintained by English Heritage and most witches prefer the National Trust.



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3 responses to “Merkin Whoopee/The Only ‘Goyle In The World

  1. Al

    That made me laugh. Great story.

  2. Loved it! Still smiling! At least his hands aren’t cold, but it is too bad about the National Trust!

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