Know Your Foe

Key's Cupboard

Sometimes it can happen that you find yourself confronted by a foe, or enemy. This may be on account of some ancient blood feud, or vendetta, or it may be more recent. You might, say, steal some fruit from a greengrocer and thereafter the greengrocer becomes your foe. I am not suggesting for one moment that Dabbler readers are the kind of people who go around stealing plums or conference pears, I simply use that as an example. Ancient blood feuds, or vendettas, are more complicated, usually having their origin in the doings – or misdoings – of your remote ancestors, for which you are in no way responsible. That being so, you should nevertheless be aware that an ancient blood feud foe is likely to be alarming, vicious, and bent on violence, whereas the greengrocer whose plum or conference pear you slipped into your pocket may not remain your foe for long. The greengrocer’s enmity is of a less frenzied nature.

It is a good idea to assess the level of enmity your foe feels towards you before accepting their invitation to meet, unarmed, at the top of a high tower. If they have a foe-score of more than seven point five, it may well be that they plan to push you over the edge of the tower so that you plunge to your doom on the savage rocks below. Less than seven point five and your foe may simply have chosen a place with breathtaking views the better to facilitate a little chat, after which bygones will be bygones.

Of course, calculating the foe-score is not an exact science, so when you have conducted the tests it is advisable to repeat them. Always allow for a margin of error. Should it be your judgement that your life would be imperilled by meeting your foe in a high tower situated on a promontory below which waves crash tumultuously against jagged rocks, do try to send a polite note explaining that you will be unable to make the appointment. Invent an excuse if necessary, but try to cleave to the truth wherever possible. Even the mildest of foes is likely to be enraged if your pathetic lies unravel.

Next week : how to dispose of the stolen plums, or conference pears, undetected.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

3 thoughts on “Know Your Foe

    May 13, 2011 at 08:19

    If only everybody had a visible foe-score… life would be like an endless game of Top Trumps

    May 13, 2011 at 09:22

    Does one ‘make’ enemies, I personally, owing to the age old problem of spade naming just accumulated them.
    Avoid if you will the use of sharp swords during foemangling, this can lead to the removal of foeskin.

    May 14, 2011 at 07:29

    I LOLed at least six times here – four at Frank’s post, and one each for Worm and Malty…

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