The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison


Montazoa Aztozura slowly climbed to the summit altar of the Aztec sacrificial pyramid. He glanced at the sky, confirming by the stars that it was the hour before dawn. Beside him trod his willing victim, aware that in a few brief minutes he would be dead. Proud, however, that his still beating heart, newly carved from his breast, would be held aloft in offering to the God of Light to initiate the rising of the sun.

His victim tied, and rituals complete, the priest raised the knife and stepped towards the altar. His foot slid on stone, lubricated by tropical rain and blood from previous sacrifices. As he fell, his head struck rock.

Montazoa regained consciousness two hours later and looked up to see his still living sacrificial victim backlit by the brilliant morning sunshine.

The Council of Priests debated. They knew the morning ceremony was vital to spur the horses of Sol’s celestial chariot on their journey across the heavens. It was now clear, however, that the human sacrifice offered for generations was unnecessary.

Which part of the ritual inspired the sunrise? Each morning one element would be omitted from the ancient rites until they found the answer.

Next morning the ceremony occurred away from the pyramid. The sun rose.

Next, the richly carved sacrificial knife, forged before memory in the furnaces of the gods, remained in the temple. The sun rose.

Next, the ancient prayers to the Sun God remained unuttered. Still the sun rose.

On the fourth day, for the first time in a thousand years, the priest did not open his robe to reveal his naked manhood to the sky. An hour passed, then two. The pattern of the stars became unfamiliar. More time passed until the priests estimated noon - yet still the sky remained dark.

Legend tells how Montazoa then leapt to his feet and flung open his robe, his erect penis pointing to the eastern horizon. The ancient texts record how the sun then flew from its place of rising to its zenith in the blink of an eye, leaving a smouldering trail branded across the sky - a seared and sacred track which took years to fade.

Generations have passed since the Aztec priests confirmed their destiny to initiate the sunrise. Knowing that their civilisation might one day pass away and their descendants be scattered across the Earth, the secret was passed from father to son. All were committed to enact the ceremony on every morning they were able, to ensure that at least one would succeed.

And so it was, in twenty-first century London, that Monty Astor, wearing just a raincoat, strode onto Wimbledon Common in the hour before dawn to discharge his ancestral covenant. He was not to know that nuns of St Hilda’s convent, virtually invisible in their black habits, were walking there in contemplation. Nor that PC Heathcote of the Wimbledon Constabulary cycled that route to work. Thus was Monty arrested.

There M’lud and members of the jury, I rest the case for the defence.