Saturday, 24 October 2009

Saturday Wordzzle 86

Each week, Raven gives us a set of 15 words - 5 for the mini, 10 for the 10-worder or all 15 for the mega challenge. The idea is to create a passage which includes the words

You can go to Raven's Nest for the original rules of the game and some excellent advice.

This week, I only had time for a mini and a10-worder.

Most awkward: Haz-Mat and Sidewinder

The Mini (abstemious, chlorophyll, origami, cheerleader, dung beetle)

Jake stared morosely at the brick walls of his cell and sighed. It was all his own fault, he supposed, taking the kid's stuff like that. He'd sold the camera and watch quickly enough but why, oh, why, had he kept the wallet? He could have taken the money out and just tossed it away. Stupid! The young female cop with her cheerleader good looks had not liked finding a wallet on him with someone else's id in it. She had stared at him like he was some species of odious dung-beetle instead of the poor drunken homeless man he was passing himself off as. She had not been impressed to discover several bottles of the chlorophyll-green Dr Evergreen's Efficacious Elixir either. The kid must have ratted him out good: she had known just what to look for in his stuff. Memories unfolded in Jake's mind and took flight like so many origami birds: the kid, with his sandy hair and college-boy good looks, almost a man. The kid, a dimple-cheeked toddler, running up, arms outstretched to be picked up and swung as high as the moon by his daddy. Ah well, a more abstemious life now lay ahead of Jake and the thing was, the kid would probably never know.

The theft referred to in this story is recounted in the Mega here (scroll down to the bottom).

The 10-worder (Incensed, sidewinder, bogus, conniption, Haz-mat, conniving, customize, perforated, zeal, rolling off a log)

New to Harold's story? The summary is here

"Easy as rolling off a log!" crowed Ray, as he finished checking the duct tape binding India's and Mercury's hands and feet. "I can't believe you fancy-pants OGS agents with all your special training, Captain Midnight decoder rings, silly names and whatnot fell for the ole' bogus 'couple in distress' routine, I really can't".

The two agents glared at him in incensed silence. They had little choice: Ray had pressed a strip of tape over their mouths once Mercury had (reluctantly) uttered the formula that would release Harold.

"Right-ho, old shoe," declared Teatime, "Time we made ourselves scarce, I think.""

"You sit tight now. I'm sure someone will come along – eventually - and find you." Ray sniggered. "Agent Dumb, Agent Dumber, it's been a pleasure." He sketched a mocking bow to the two agents, and walked back to his car.

"Where to my Lord?" he asked Harold.

"Oh, mm," Harold hadn't the faintest idea where would be a good place to go but Ray and Nicole were looking at him expectantly. Fortunately, Teatime had an idea.

"Your house, I think." he said, "We can plan what to do from there."

"My Lord?" Ray looked to Harold for confirmation.

"Yes," declared Harold, "let's do that." One of these days, he was really going to have to start making decisions for himself.

When they had gone, the two agents immediately began to try and free themselves. Ray had been pretty thorough, however, and they made little headway. Eventually, they gave it up as a bad job. When they missed their nine o'clock check-in, someone would be despatched to investigate. Until then, there was little else to do but wait.

"The look on those OGS agents' faces!" laughed Nicole as they sped along the road. "They must have thought they were being sooo good-Samaritan-like, rescuing us!"

"Yeah, and when Mr Teatime started talking I thought they were going to have a conniption," Ray chuckled, "Bet their fancy training manuals didn't cover that!"

Meanwhile, in the back seat, Harold was trying to make sense of it all.

"Teatime," he asked, in Infernal, so as not to be overheard, "Who are these people and, come to that, who are OGS?"

"These, dear fellow, are Black Sheep, our little helpers here on the Brightside. In exchange for a life of wealth and comfort, they do odd jobs for the likes of you and your father."

"I see," said Harold, "But how did you manage to call them?"

"I was fortunate enough to find a public telephone and, one quick reverse-charge call later...." Teatime looked very pleased with himself.

"Ok, but what about this OGS thing?"

"Well," explained Teatime, settling comfortably into his role as tutor, "OGS stands for Order of the Good Shepherd. They're committed to the cause of Light and work to protect human souls from us – well, you demons, specifically. They are, shall we say, somewhat noted for their zeal"

"But, how come you know all these things and I don't?" Harold wanted to know. "I know I wasn't always paying attention, but I'm pretty sure no-one mentioned this stuff."

This put Teatime into an awkward position: he knew perfectly well why Harold hadn't been told anything about OGS, Black Sheep – or plenty else that a demon needed to know before venturing to the world of men – but wasn't about to let on, not yet, anyway.

"I'm sure it was an oversight, old sock. Anyway," he continued brightly, "That's why your father sent me along to help out, I expect. Oh look, I do believe we're here.""

Ray and Nicole's home was a magnificent sprawling mansion set in its own grounds. The gates, huge steel things, perforated in a beautifully intricate pattern, swung silently open as the car approached, courtesy of Ray's remote control.

Hearing Harold's low whistle of appreciation, Ray laughed. "It certainly is something, isn't it, my Lord?" He stopped the car in front of the magnificent front doors and they all disembarked. Harold gazed at his new surroundings. This was certainly a whole lot nicer than the SleepEZ Motel!

"Ray had the architect customize just about everything," Nicole said proudly, "Even the bath-taps!"

"Woman, will you ever shut up about them taps?" Ray pretended to grumble, "Can't a man have his initials on something without hearing about for the rest o' his life?"

They walked into the cool spacious elegance that was the house's hallway. Ray's two huge dogs, Haz-Mat and Sidewinder, bounded up to them, barking joyfully. What do you know, someone's actually pleased to see us, thought Harold. That makes a change.

Eventually, Agents Prada and Othello arrived to free India and Mercury. When they heard what had happened, they shook their heads wearily.

"It constantly amazes me that people are willing to risk conniving with demons when it could cost them their very souls." said Prada,

"True," agreed India, massaging some feeling back into her hands, "But they probably don't think it'll ever come to that. They just see the benefits they're getting right now."

"Well," sighed Othello, "I guess we lost this one, I don't suppose we'll be seeing that particular fiend again anytime soon."

India was just about to agree when an idea struck her. If it checked out, they'd be seeing that demon again soon enough – and this time they'd be sure to nail that perishing monkey as well.


  1. Another excellent adventure with Harold & Teatime - good job! Can't wait to find out why Harold was kept clueless...

  2. Great sequels Argent. I love the names of the agents, so original. Poor Harold needs to be kept up to speed. :)

  3. The first one I have to think about for a long time.
    But I just love the Harold story. I love the way you handled Haz-mat and Sidewinder ( Clever)
    Now I am wondering why Harold was kept in the dark.
    You are one great writer.

  4. I just love the Harold and Teatime story. I hope you submit it somewhere when it's finished. You wove the words in so seamlessly that they didn't seem nearly as difficult as they really were. And I enjoyed the follow up on Dr. Evergreen's Efficacious Elixir too. Well done as always!

  5. To use awkward words for pet names is masterful! Well done Argent!

  6. You have our poor dragon heads spinning. Going backward and forward to understand the first story.
    But the Harold story is just sad. Good is foiled. Evil triumps. But you write well.

  7. @Bug - Thanks. Keeping someone clueless is a pretty mean trick, but I guess demons don't play nice - even with one another.

    @Akelamalu - Thank you also. I was going to use normal names for the agents, but like having fun thinking up odd names for them now.

    @DrJohn - That first story ended up more opaque than I intended, I think. The idea was that Jake would turn out to be the father of the young man who drank the green elixir a few weeks ago. Not convinced I pulled that off and not sure it even makes sense now.

    @Raven - Thank you. I'm not sure anyone would publish this as it's already been on the net. Might have to resort to doing it myself using Lulu or something.

    @Reston Friends - originally Haz-Mat and Sidewinder were going to appear as two biker friends of Ray's, but then the story would be getting too overcrowded with characters so they were turned into dogs instead.

    @Fandango - Sorry to give you dragons a headache - my reach exceeded my grasp I think. As to evil triumphing? Well, the story's not over yet.

  8. I agree that Harold's story is definately worth extending, re-working a bit and sending somewhere - but i don't think Harold himself is especially evil, nor have you intended him to be.

    Things are getting interesting here


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