BRUTUS had two problems: He was an alcoholic and he sleepwalked. The only thing worse than that was sleepwalking under the influence (SWUI). In this latter state, he became a menace and many times he walked overboard, snoring as he went. Villagers had to rescue him many times. More than once, he set off for a city in the dead of night on foot. The city was more than 150 miles away.
One night Brutus walked into church while SWUI. It was just about communion time and a little before the Father had consecrated the bread and wine. Brutus made straight for the altar, grabbed the chalice and emptied it in one humongous gulp. It took about five able-bodied members of the congregation to wake him, and wake him they did, he never entered the church while SWUI again.
Another night, he walked into the small supermarket, the only one in Green Valley. It was owned by a Chinee. Brutus made for the liquor section and grabbed a bottle. Chinee thought he was playing drunk and put two Kung Fu chops in Brutus. He started sleep running!
What crowned off his bad behaviour was when he almost killed everybody in the village with fright. That night Brutus was drunk fo’ glutton. He was so drunk that he fell asleep on the table in the rum shop.
Suddenly, he was up and walking like a man possessed. As usual, he was still fast asleep.
Meanwhile, the rest of Green Valley was at the wake of old Mrs Beharry. She had passed away at the age of 99; one year short of perfection. The wake house was packed because she was a very popular and friendly villager. Drinks and food were in abundance.
The wake was noisy that night. There was loud talk, low talk, bad talk and small talk. Then just so, Bam! Black out. One man had a small torchlight but this was not bright enough to be of much help, someone was sent to buy candles.
Brutus headed unsteadily down the dark road, his feet totally in charge. Petal lived a few yards away. She was the local washerwoman and had taken in a large order. Her lines were filled with clothing and sheets.
Rain began to pour and when Brutus reached opposite the house of the washer he stopped. He made a sudden turn and walked straight into the yard. Brutus walked through all the clean wash. Luckily for him Petal was at the wake.
His head hooked down a dress, sheet, underwear and towel. Brutus left the wash and headed back out of the yard. He walked out tangled in all kind of clothes and sheets. He headed up the road: wash, rain and Brutus. Then he stopped and made a second turn this time into the wake house.
Drunk and SWUI, he barged through the gateway and bore down on the house. The two candles inside gave small enclaves of light to the big room. The chatter was still loud and spirits were high when the front door was shoved open. Silence hit the room like a K.D. Punch.
There, in the narrow doorway, was a creature that looked like the mummy from hell. It was something none of them had ever seen before. They all did the wise thing. They abandoned the wake. With screams and howls of terror, people exited the house by every open space they could find, except the front door. Brutus turned around and walked out heading straight for a packed church.