fi50The Rifles Are Calling, and I Must Go is the title provided for this month’s Fiction in Fifty Words #Fi50.  This exciting 50 word microfiction is managed by Rebecca Douglass on her blog, and you can join in.

Actually, this title wasn’t provided – there was a blank to fill in where I put Rifles.  Why rifles?  I opened my dictionary at random and scanned through until I made something half sensible. It called to the Sharpe fan in me.  It might call to the Hardy in you, I don’t know.  The tune to the traditional folk song “Oh, soldier, soldier will you marry me?” ran through my brain as I wrote it.

I’ll classify this one as historical microfiction!

The Rifles Are Calling, and I Must Go

Yes, my darling, I will love you forever. I don’t just want your body, I want your voice, your loving heart, your golden hair. 

Of course I’ll be back.  

Of course we’ll marry.  One, two, maybe three wonderful angels. Well-fed, well-clothed. 

And I’ll be rich, when I return.

© J M Pett 2018

The 25th Rifles

Another inspiration from Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels is the 25th Rifle company that appears in my Princelings series from the second book onwards.  I need to do a short piece for Princelings book 9 featuring Haggis, their redoubtable leader.  He was a sergeant once, I think, but he’s been in charge fo so long that I just think of him as Haggis and never give him a title.  He’s named for someone’s guinea pig, along with his number 2, Neaps (who rather seems to have gone awol in later books).  Haggis was a great concatenation of Sharpe’s two riflemen, Harris and Hagman, who themselves were pretty much inseparable, and were undoubtedly my favourite riflemen.

Here are some pictures for fans to drool over, taken from the South Essex fan club page (the 95th Rifles were part of the South Essex regiment in the books). I think that site is more or less defunct, but Jason Salkey (Harris) still does appearances and is working on a book of the making of Sharpe.

#Fi50 | The Rifles Are Calling, and I Must Go
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5 thoughts on “#Fi50 | The Rifles Are Calling, and I Must Go

  • 22 August, 2018 at 9:58 am

    It’s just possible we get, or used to get, Sharpe on our local PBS affiliate here. I remember seeing a commercial with Sean Bean as the title character so I assume it was Sharpe. I hope he didn’t die in the end. 😁

    • 23 August, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Sharpe tends to crop up whenever they haven’t got anything else to put on. I’ve watched the original series so many times I can’t watch it any more – except for bits of certain ones: Sharpe’s Sword is a good one, even though it has Simmerson in it.

      After the success of the original books and their series Cornwell wrote a load of prequels, which I can’t stand. And to add insult to injury they relabelled the order of the series, so the original book is about 4 or 5, I think. Then they did a series with Sharpe and Harper reunited in India (which was rubbish, or at least showed up how repetitive the plots were….

      So, he was my hero in the book; I eventually accepted Sean Bean’s reimagined version (black-haired Cockney to mouse-haired Yorkshire in one leap), and then loved the series, then fell out of love with the machine big time. 🙂

  • 24 August, 2018 at 12:01 am

    Thanks. I’d no idea it had been a book first. It sounds as though Sharpe went through the same transformation Jack Reacher did over here. I’ve never read the books but I understand he stands something like 6’5″ in the stories, but Tom Cruise, who plays him on screen, is 5 ‘6″ on a good day.

  • 24 August, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Never heard of Sharpe but love Bernard Cornwell’s other books – and of course Sean Bean is a heart throb! I was devastated when he was killed off so early in Game of Thrones.

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