Interveniens – 6

Trimalchio, as the master of ceremonies, told his own horror story, following Niceros. In his youth, a fellow slave had died. Witches then came into the area and began to screech. A strong slave took a sword and dashed out to confront the hags. However, he came back in all blue and looking like he had been flogged, for the witch’s hand touched him. Then, the witches somehow took the dead body of the fellow slave, and replaced it with a heartless changeling. The heroic, wounded slave died raving mad a few days later.

All of us prayed that the night-riders would stay home as we make our way back to ours this night.

And this, meus amicis, is where I fail you. I cannot tell if what I viewed from this point on is truth or not, for sleep was almost my master. Nevertheless, it is in my memory, so I shall tell it to you.

Trimalchio had the defender of the household, a large dog, Scylax, led in on a chain. He commented that no one loved Trimalchio more than the dear guard dog. Nearby, Trimalchio’s favorite slave, as I was told, by the name of Croesus, was jealous and set down his little obese black puppy and encouraged it to attack Scylax. In the ensuing commotion, a lamp was knocked over, and hot oil struck some of the guests, including my uncle. I attended to Traianus at once, but he insisted it was only a surprising injury, and not a serious one. Trimalchio then proceeded to give Croesus a piggy-back ride, as the favored slave slapped the master’s shoulders saying “how many are we, blind man’s cheek?” I did not like that slave.

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