5.  Kingly constraints

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“What I would give  ..  to be there to hear.  The thwack of the mallet onto the nail.  The cries of pain.  Crunch of bones smashing up.  The sweated pain hanging off nailed wrists.”

Kheir’s head was swinging from side-to-side  ..  his eyes somewhat glazed over  ..  clearly enjoying imagining Maciste suffering on the cross  ..  and relishing every pain-filled moment. 

Kheir felt delirious with the thoughts.  Seeing that unbearable suffering following on from the walk of humiliation.  Shoved and barged naked and in chains through the watching rabble.  Walked in abject filth and shame to his execution.  Object on display  ..  object of the new king’s derision.

Champion of the people.  Beloved son and heir.  All that hero-worship.  All that strutting muscle.  A lifetime of swaggering  ..  going bare to the waist.  His whole conceited being one great showing-off.

Held down on the cross.  Crying out  ..  blunted nails smashing up his bones.  Flesh and busted bone.  The brave champion of the people  ..  screaming under the blows.  Lifted up  ..  for all to see  ..  the soldier’s hero  ..  hanging in his agonies.  Naked.  Flesh and blood  ..  gushing from his smashed-open wounds. 

The shame.  The pain.  The agonies of the traitor’s cross.  What a sight his stepbrother would make!

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in praise of men we’d like to be





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