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The Crumbs of Mortality

General Mortimer could no longer abide the company of others when dining. He had, over the years, developed an overwhelming disgust for seeing others masticate and swallow their breakfasts, lunches, or whatever comestible happened to be to hand. The chewing, the noises, the slurps, the morsels that escaped and gathered in the corners of the mouth - all of these details, and many more besides, gave the General a terrible sense of horror and instilled within him a desire either to escape or inflict great violence on the innocent perpetrator.

The General was aware that his reaction to consumption was abnormal. He had tried but failed to get beyond his phobia, so now he dined alone in his office, avoiding all potential encounters with those who might be eating.

When Field Marshall Beckscroft entered the General's office one lunchtime, the General noted with trepidation that he had not completed his own simple midday repast, and hoped ernestly that the Field Marshall would overlook the remaining sandwich. The Field Marshall did not, and promptly picked it up.

He held the sandwich for a moment. "Mortimer. We have two options before us. Firstly, an attack on the South West of the peninsula," began the Field Marshall, before expounding the full plan. He paused before describing the second option, and bit soundly into the sandwich. He chewed for a while, swallowed, then continued.

The General watched appalled as Beckscroft bit again, and could not help noting the crumbs gathering in the Field Marshall's moustache.

"Intolerable!" he cried out, unable to contain himself.

Field Marshall Beckscroft stopped in surprise. He gazed levelly at the General.

"Very well," he said. "It is by far the riskier option, and many more men shall no doubt die, but we shall adopt the first plan as you advise." He devoured the rest of the sandwich, and departed.

Story by:

Peter Blaws

submitted at 4:40pm

2 June 2011