paris saw an endless stream of decapitations during the reign of terror. buffalo sees an average of 56 homocides a year. paris, the city of love. and buffalo, the city of good neighbours. why aren't they known as the cities of exsanguination and the semi-automatic?
eyam is why not. eyam once lost three-quarters of its population to fever and buboes. eyam, the plague village. and you know what happens when you name a place after death?
this is what happens.
people gut sheep and twirl their innards about over the fire. (oatcakes soaked in drippings, 50p; lamb bab with mint sauce, £2.50).
they gut piggies and twirl their innards about over the fire too. (hog roast sandwich, £3.50)
they perform human sacrifices. you see the look on that the face of the little one with the tiara? she doesn't know where quite she's going, but she's pretty sure it's not the sweet shop.
they pen up ponies in the same field where poor mrs. hancocke buried her husband and six children in eight days. this is knobbly-legs. he has knobbly legs and he's possessed by the spirit of little william hancocke, who liked a wee taste of human forearm now and then. knobbly-legs is less particular about where on the human his meat comes from. here, I had panic-lept back onto the road after declining to let him sample my stomach, and he is trying to climb through the stile. all he wants is a little nibble; is that too much to ask?
it's been simply ages since knobbly-legs had a good taste of human, and he's bloody well going to have some this time, even if he has to chew through the fence to get it.
so you see, paris just couldn't be known as the city of exsanguination, or there would be a wicker man at the end of the champs-elysees and a human hunting-ground in the louvre. tourist shops would sell replicas of flayed napoleon-heads and locals would gather at the base of the arc de triomphe at midnight on the summer solstice to chant as they burned cows at the stake. and you know what? when I order a crepe, I'd really rather it be made of flour and eggs (unhatched, unfertilised, belonging to a chicken), not bits of the last american tourist to pronounce the 'n' in bonjour.