TO THE BITTER END a tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett
“Have I ever let you down?”
Hat was angry.
“Well no but then it was hardly within your power to do so,” said Man.
“I have always been there for you; through good times and bad,” said Hat.
Man shook his head, “I have to do it on my own, Hat. I can’t take you with me even if I wanted to.”
Hat fell silent, betrayed, left alone on the desk as man strode out of the room leaving his old friend behind.
“I’ve always kept you safe and sound,” Hat called after him.
He heard the front door slam as Man left the house.
“I’m talking to myself, he’s gone”.
Hat is crushed.
He’s never done that before. “You always said we were inseparable,” he called pitifully. “After all we've been through together. Perhaps you’re ashamed of me. I’m too…. shabby.”
“You're nothing without me!”
Hat is thinking.
I’ve done everything you’ve ever asked of me. I’ve made you the famous Man you are. But I’m nothing without you.
Hat is miserable.
He glances up at the mantelpiece; at a picture of Man and himself together, looking out over their much loved countryside.
I am important and there’s the proof. We’re pictured together all the time. Where ever he goes I go too. No one else important enough to be photographed as often as me.
Hat hears the door bang and Man comes back in.
“Knew you’d come back for me,” he calls.
Hat is smug.
“I’ve decided to try and make you understand,” says Man.
“Never mind that but please just promise….”
Man shakes his head.
Hat is dizzy.
“Listen to me Hat. We’ve been together for a long time. Almost since the beginning.”
“Look what we’ve achieved together.”
Hat is interrupting.
“You’ll never manage without me.”
Hat is glorying.
“Look around your study; all the photographs of happy times we’ve had together. Not a single picture of you without me.”
Man nods sadly.
“We've had our ups and downs, I’ll admit that. Good times and bad. Do you remember when you needed a name for a story and I was fidgeting and you said something, and I said something else. Oh dear I can’t remember what, and you said, that’s it! That’s what I’m looking for.”
“I do remember. I was looking for a title and you inspired me Hat. There’s no denying it. You are, in every sense, my thinking Hat. But I won’t be doing much thinking without you if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Where are we going?”
Hat is puzzled.
“Your favourite walk,” Man pulled Hat firmly down; it was a windy day to be walking on the open downs. “Along the Drovers road to ….”
“What about the time when I rescued you from the wind and rain up there on the track.”
“Your memory’s going too Hat. It was me who rescued you.”
“Well I was definitely there.”
Hat is defiant.
“It’s just that I won’t be writing much more Hat.”
“Ohh is that all,”
Hat is relieved.
“I thought I was worn out and you were going to replace me.
“Well you are; bit like me, but that’s not it.”
Man began to think explaining was going to be difficult.
“You might get bored if I’m not writing.”
“Never…. I promise.”
“I’ll not deny you always help me get in to that special frame of mind.”
“That’s true as well.”
Hat is winning.
“I’ve never said this before but we are a good team.”
Oh I’d go further.”
Hat is winning.
“I’d say we were the greatest partnership in literary history”.
“When I’m stuck for an idea and I take you with me, it always helps me think.”
“Well there you are then. What’s all the fuss about? You’ve done some of your best thinking with me on your head. Why change anything?”
“Hat, you think you could ever be satisfied with a quiet life?”
“Hat senses victory.
“I won’t mind one bit, I promise. I’ll just sit quietly.”
Very well. That’s the deal then.
“We stay together to the bitter end?”
Man is nodding.
“Why have we stopped walking?”
Man had stopped at a gate and threw his Hat high in the air. It came floating down and he caught it.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that without warning.”
“Now do you remember?”
“It was a Hat Full of Sky.”