2.  Rude awakening

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The blows had stopped.  The stinging lashes to his inflamed backside had come to an end.  He’d taken his punishment.  Had he endured those thirty unjust strikes? 

The strikes had stopped.  But not the burning.  Any movement  ..  a slight shift with his feet  ..  like a red-hot spear  jabbed into his flesh.

The strikes had stopped.  But not the indignity.  Suddenly his anger flared.  Abruptly the searing heat on his backside had become a seething fury.  How dare they! 

What gave them the right!  Rightfully he was the unanointed king here.  Charged with treason?  What?  Against himself?  Suddenly Maciste was fighting to right himself.  Struggling against the rope doubling him up like this.  Wriggling, squirming, lifting his head.  Putting up a fight.

What army had invaded?  Which country had conquered his land?  Accused of treachery  ..  him, Maciste? Their heir?  What man had conquered and had himself anointed king?  When Maciste’s back was turned  ….?


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in praise of men we’d like to be





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