A bit of flash fiction for your Friday.
WARNING: Adult content.
The Scribe by N. E. White
The scribe writes at a pace that would rival a snail.
“Is it always this hot in Alexandria?” I ask, then immediately regret it for the scribe’s quill lifts from the page. His face crunches up in what I surmise is frustration at the loss of concentration my question precipitates. I glance at the harlot on my arm. Her lavender perfume encircles me and all I can think of is the moment when I can satisfy my loins. I cup her breast in one hand.
“No, my lord,” the scribe answers. “It is usually much hotter.”
I look back at the scribe, sitting on the stone steps of the central library. His ink-stained fingers dip his quill into the inkwell. Balancing his writing tray on his knees, he resumes to transcribe my letter. He works quicker, and I began to wonder if he can read my mind, but then he pulls up again.
“And?” he says.
“And what?” I ask.
“What else would you like your letter to your wife to include?” The scribe casts a furtive glance at my whore.
“Read it back to me,” I say, my eyes and hands busy with the plaything I bought for only a few copper coins. Since landing at its port, Alexandria has received this one merchant rather well. I want to boast of my sales and reassure my wife that I would be back soon, but instead my letter tells of hard-earned bargains and the unexpected travails of foreign customs. The whore giggles when my fingers find her cleft moist with desire; I hardly hear what words fall from the scribe’s lips. It is long past finding a room.
I wave my free hand at the scribe, tossing a few coins. With my voice thick with lust, I say, “That will do. Send it off on the next boat.”
I walk away with my whore, not knowing the scribe hunkers over my letter for some time after. I don’t see him sand the ink, roll the parchment tight, and secure it with a seal. I don’t see him hand it to a runner who will carry it to the next ship bound for the north. I don’t see my wife open it to read a recount of what my hands did to that whore on the wondrous streets of Alexandria.