Hooting Yard: Two Monks and the Blood of a Duck

Then Brother Fabrizius strangled another teal. “Hand me that retort, Brother Arpad, so that I may decant into it this teal’s gore.” Brother Arpad reached for the retort and in so doing smashed an alembic. There was a sound of bells. The monks were called to compline. For each canonical hour they allocated a duck to be slaughtered for its blood. At compline, a teal. At matins, a merganser. At prime, a pintail. At tierce, a shoveler. At sext, a wigeon. At nones, a smew. And at vespers, a bufflehead. Out in the fields, sweet little lambs gambolled and frolicked. They would not frolic for long, for soon, in the monastery, it would be bathtime.

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