"The world of professional golf is dangerous. Nine out of ten golfers die. Eventually." - Mao Tse Tung, 1889.
Warsaw in winter is terribly cold. I've never been there, but a friend once told me.
It was February 1934 and I was stationed in the living room, my rifle trained upon the pigeons on Naysmith street. Mama was in the scullery and Papa was in Borneo, on business. D'artmoor Lewis walked down the avenue, his rubber cane swingily daintily with his every stride. I pulled my trigger, and the pigeons scattered like cornflakes, squawing and shrieking into the treetops. I heard the front door opening. D'artmoor entered the room, wearing a coy pre-raphelite smile. I turned around and faced him.
"They say that it is terribly cold in Warsaw", he said.
"So I've been told.", I replied.
"It was I who told you that, Winston."
I smiled. "I know, old boy. I know". I smiled and thrust out my hand in welcome. I missed and struck him firmly in his ribcage. Fortunately his waistcoat was padded with feathers. He was winded but unhurt.
"Steady on old boy.", he grimaced as I helped him into a chair. "Goodness, how you've grown."
"It's the experimental drugs - they are affecting both my mind and body in peculiar ways. I grow stronger every day. " I squeezed on the back of the chair and it snapped in two, showering D'artmoor with splinters. He tumbled to the floor. He looked at me, shocked. I can still recall the look of horror upon his face, as though he had just witnessed some monstrous aberration of nature.
I helped him to his feet, which were in the corner, by the coal-sweep. "Dr Bergsson says soon I shall be invulnerable to bullets. The formula has been more successful that he had imagined.", my eyes glazed over as I spoke.
Winston Stoanes D'artmoor Crescent Heidi Bernardi
As I spoke I realised I was not fated to live with my fellow man. If D'artmoor, educated at the finest schools in Winchester, reacted with such repulsion, how would the common man act when confronted by my grotesque physique? I would be shunned, become a leper, a pariah, a liberal.
At that moment, Heidi walked into the room. D'artmoor bowed and scraped his knuckles on a chess-set.
"Good afternoon Heidi", I smiled blandly and she sat at my side, gazing out at the remains of the pigeons. That last summer, Heidi had blossomed into womanhood and as she sat there in her tiny, anachronistic bikini, I realised that I was in love with her.
"So, Winston, when do you go the front?", she spoke with a gentle voice, like a dove strumming a heavenly harp.
"The war is scheduled to begin in March, but I'll most likely be in place a month before to get a good seat."
"They say you're a crack shot. The best in your division.", she purred.
"They say that. But they say a lot of things. Don't believe everything they say."
How could I tell her I loved her? Doctor Bergsson's drugs were turning me into a supersoldier to fight for Queen and Country, but my heart remained timid and puny. No drug could change how I felt for her, nor lend me the strength to tell her of my true feelings. I sighed and stared at the sun as it set behind the trees.
For a while, all was silence.
Then I turned around and saw that she had left the room.
I never saw her again. Six months later I was destroying enemy aircraft in an unknown area of France.
"You can lead a horse to water." - Wilson Pickett's book of incomplete proverbs, 1958.