...whistle, to attract that pretty girl's eye.

You whistle sweetly, too. Not like some alleyway lout tootling a painted docksie for a cuddle. Rather, like the yearning songbird this baker's girl may take you for, high in your cage.

Below in the walled yard, she blinks. Eyes, pretty as a cat's, flash upward. As swiftly return to the brace of guards yapping eagerly about her. She nods at them, smiles and laughs. But she's plainly only staring at them.

She has stuck one foot out the hem of her skirt. Dainty foot, in a clog. Her ankle's showing, pale in its stocking as the soft underfeathers of a pigeon's wing.

Your heart patters under your shirt.

What is that interrupting ruckus, at your back? It stops. The cell's gloomier, since you've looked out on the morning's possibilities.

Again, the ruckus. Beyond your cell door. "ROOM SERVICE ROOM SERVICE!" Ah, some caged boy.

Chuckling, you like him already. You like the baker's girl outside even better.

She tips her face to one side, as a cat would stretch out a crick in its slender neck. It's the ideal position, of course. She flicks a roving stare up the prison wall.

Pushing your hand between the bars, you waggle fingers at her.

She smirks! She returns to her guards and laughs.

Out your window, your fingers brush...softness. It's the peachy, puffy lichen you part-remember seeing in the country's wilder places. High among crags. Visited by the lonely moaning wind. And by surefooted mountain bucks with their great curling horns, which brave the airy cliffs and nibble the herb as a delicacy. Peering as far through the bars as you can squeeze your forehead, you see the stuff seems to grow especially well on the mud between prison stones.

It's pretty enough, and perhaps the only flowers you might shower over any girl, from your cage over the town.

Both your hands through the bars now, you pick and flick peachy blossoms. Winging below, a gull screeches, veers away.

The big sergeant reacts not dissimilarly. "HE'S ESCAPING! STOP HIM, YOU TWO!"

Two guards rush the tower. The sergeant and his remaining two guards glare up at you from beneath brimmed pot helms. Your flowers pelt their stony faces.

Still, you could sing for joy! Blossoms in her hair, in her basket of bread, the girl's laughing, gazing at you. And, there, where her blouse fell open, one bloom rests upon golden skin, as if placed by your own hand.

You must know her – “GIRL, TELL ME YOUR NAME."

"Don't tell him!" barks the sergeant.

But she grins. "MOLLY. WHAT'S YOURS?"

You thrust both arms out wide through the bars. "DUNNO, MOLLY."


"PEYTON, LEAVE HER BE!" The sergeant waggles a fist at you. He shouts at his last two guards, "Go up –shut him up!"

They hesitate, share a look.

But now keys jangle outside your cell door. It's the Sergeant's first pair of guards. You hear them muttering. You hear the boy, too, howling "ROOM SERVICE!"


Peyton. "Pey'ton." Even saying Peyton aloud isn't refilling the hole in your memory.

One key clunks inside the lock of your door.

Below, like a promise in the glorious morning, Molly's smirking. "I LIKE DONAL BETTER."

You do, too.

But now the door squeals open...

The End

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