Once again, I ready for battle with an implacable foe. I prepare for the latest foray as best I can: cotton armor, leather gloves, boots of Spanish leather. My weapons are sharp though I know this will be a close quarters fight, main a main.
I approach the champs du bataille warily, my step slow. Had I a true squire, he would wipe the sweat from my brow; instead, i must be content to blink it away. I cannot raise my hand because the Foe is most unforgiving. His wounds seem light but the misery does come, if days after the encounter.
At the last moment I’ve brought my fickle friend Mont-de-Santo. He has failed me so many times, but he is the only one mad enough to join this folie a deux.
I pick my way through the hedge, my weapon lowered at first. And then I see the advance line: trefoil, edged by rubor of spite. And this is a warning, a shaking of spears, for its poisoned edge is a harbinger of erythematous misery.
I can delay no longer. I begin to hack my way through his ranks, but he seems unfazed. He bobs up and down, perhaps thinking me risible. He isn’t wrong. I look down, his line unfazed by my attack, no breach to sally through. I check my leather and cloth and bend down to do the work of a true knight. I grasp the enemy one or two at a time, by the neck, and pull, hoping to unseat him.
Have I found a weakness? Why does he seem to give way so easily? Oh! Woe! He has struck! I have unseated him, yes, but his hind has flown forward striking my wrist below the gauntlet. I should retire from the field and tend to this as I know it will inflame at a later time, but the heat of battle is upon me. I tear at him, no longer careful of his strikes but amok with rage. For each I unseat, more take their place to unleash their insidious poisons (not poissons for that is a different story altogether).
Finally, nearly surrounded, I retire and find my sometimes-friend Monte-de-Santo at the edge of the champs with that same look he always has, the one that says, “you may not want to but you will always return for my help and in return I will ask you for a favor.”
And it is done. The outcome unsure. Monte-de-Santo has returned to his place up high, my edged steel has been sheathed, my armor soaked in sweat. I strip it off carefully, not knowing where the Foe may have struck.
“A bathrobe?? Are you naked? In the laundry room? What the hell is wrong with you? You know the poison ivy is just going to grow back!”
Ah, a maid who cares more for my welfare than her gardens. I may just live to fight another day.