Saturday, 17 October 2009

Saturday Wordzzle 85

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.

I left it a little late to begin writing this week, so only managed a 10-worder and a Mega.

Hardest word of the week: Pinocchio

The 10-worder (early morning light, Pinocchio, mist, leaves, sandy, coffee, walking, traffic, pray, stomach)

Through my open bedroom window
Early morning light through early autumn mist
Steals in uninvited, but nonetheless welcome for all that.

Sounds of distant morning traffic come floating in.
Postman walking up, whistling, rattling the letters in
To fall like leaves upon the waiting mat.

The smell of coffee lures me downstairs
And bacon stirs my stomach awake.
I stoop and scoop the mail.

One sandy envelope peeks out sheepishly
From amongst the busy whiteness of bills
I clutch it and let the others drop, a snowy paper trail.

My fingers barely know how to tear, to open
My heart barely knows how to hope, to pray.
Like Pinocchio with cut strings, I'm falling
My boy is wounded, but he'll be home today.

New to Harold's story? The summary is here

The Mega (early morning light, Pinocchio, mist, leaves, sandy, coffee, walking, traffic, pray, stomach, train, art, admirable, cotton, fluffy)

The early morning light was burning off the last few wisps of mist, giving the day a washed-clean look. Overhead, the light edged what few clouds there were, turning them into fluffy cotton wool balls. It was going to be a glorious day.

There was little traffic on the road and, with Agent India at the wheel, they were making good time. So good in fact that, upon hearing India's stomach growling, Agent Mercury had allowed a brief stop to pick up coffee and muffins for them both.

Needless to say, they didn't offer any to Harold, which the latter thought was a bit mean since he hadn't eaten anything since the previous afternoon. Maintaining a physical vessel here in the world of men took energy, surely they knew that? Oh, well, if they weren't going to give him proper food, he'd have to improvise. He reached into his rucksack and pulled out one of his paperbacks. It was better than nothing, he supposed. He tore out a page from Murder at the Blood Drive, screwed it up and popped it into his mouth.

Agent Mercury caught the movement in the rearview mirror.

"What are you doing?" he demanded. Harold chewed quickly and swallowed, so as to be able to speak.

"Having breakfast," he said, tearing out another page. He glanced at it briefly, "Oh, what do you know. Looks like the janitor did it." He screwed up the denouement and ate it. It tasted like wet leaves, but it was an energy source of sorts. Agent Mercury shook his head in disgust and turned back to face the front once more.

Up ahead, there was a car parked on the shoulder with its hood up. A sandy-haired man stood looking into the engine compartment, scratching his head, clearly baffled. On the grassy verge at the roadside, a young woman with a swaddled baby in her arms looked on anxiously. As the van drew near, the couple waved frantically at them to stop.

"Shall I stop" asked India.

Mercury sighed, another delay! Still, all they might need to do is phone for a tow-truck or something, he couldn't in all conscience just pass by without helping.

"Yeah, pull over," he said, and India did so.

As the van stopped, the woman ran up to the nearside, a look of relief and gratitude on her face. Mercury wound down the window.

"Oh, thank goodness!" the woman cried, "I thought no-one was ever going to stop!"

"That's alright ma'am," replied Mercury, "what seems to be the trouble?"

"The engine just cut out on us. Please, could you take a look? Ray's not really very good with cars and I'm sure it's something simple. Please?"

"Well, OK," said Mercury, "But I'm no expert either. Mechanics is a bit of a dark art to me." He turned to India, "I'll just be a minute." then to Harold, "You stay put and don't try anything."

Harold shrugged and carried on eating.

As Mercury was walking towards the other car, Ray turned towards him. He had something in his hand, a tool of some kind, Mercury thought. As the object came into full view, however, Mercury realised it was actually a gun.

Agent India was surprised when the woman suddenly let her "baby" fall to the ground, revealing a gun of her own, pointed straight at her.

"Everyone out of the vehicle!" shouted Ray, his gun levelled squarely at Mercury's chest.

Moving slowly, India complied. No matter how much they train you, she thought, there are always things they don't prepare you for.

Harold reached for the door handle but immediately felt the warning prickle of Mercury's Binding. Stay put, he had said. That was pretty unequivocal, and to disobey would be painful. The thing was, if he stayed put, Ray might react badly and start shooting. Harold had no affection for these two humans after the way they had treated him, but he didn't particularly want them to die either. He stalled in indecision, feeling like Pinnochio with his strings cut.

Mercury, seeing that Harold hadn't moved, called to him to do as the man said, which he did.

"You must be the one who did the Binding," said Ray. "You have until a count of three to release my Lord."

Now Mercury realised what these two were.

"No chance, Black Sheep" he snarled. The man laughed.

"Your bravery is admirable, my friend," he said, "but, pray tell me, are you willing to let your lady friend die because of your stubbornness?" He called out to his wife. "Nicole, shoot the girl"

"No!" cried Mercury and Harold both together. "No shooting!" added Harold. If he was their Lord, they should obey him, right?

"Sorry, my Lord," said Nicole, "we have orders not to do anything you say until you're released."

"Whose orders?" asked Harold.

"Why, mine, of course, old sock, whose do you think?"

Harold looked down in astonishment to where the voice was coming from. Teatime shook off the baby blankets and climbed nimbly up to his usual place on Harold's shoulder.

"You didn't think I'd abandoned you, did you?" he said, grinning.


  1. Loved the Teatime reappearance! What fun! Oh and the poem is so poignant... Good job!

  2. Lovely poem... And of course I'm so glad that Teatime came through with a rescue...

  3. Oh your poem enthralled me, then scared me - I thought your boy had been killed - then I was relieved to hear that he had been injured and would mend.

    I enjoyed the Mega too - we all need a friend to appear just at the right time don't we? :)

    You have an amazing way with words.

  4. I am impressed. I envy people who can take the words and produce beautiful poems like yours. I just wish I had that creativity.
    I knew that monkey was going to be trouble. I just knew it.
    You have created such an amazing character you should do a book.

  5. All great work argent,some real nice stuff there in the poem, how do you get the time?See you on da bus!

  6. Loved the poem. I had to stop and go get a cup of coffee and some tissues before I went on to Harold. Just to absorb it a bit.

    And I just KNEW the baby was Teatime! KNEW it! I was saying, "NO! DON'T STOP TO HELP THEM!" The dragons would say we're victims of our own sentimentality. sigh. This story is so good. I agree with Dr. John -- a book is in order!

  7. We dragons stand in awe. You write better poetry that we ever will.
    We want to eat that Monkey. He tastes good and is nothing but trouble. Now we have to spend another weel worrying about Harold being on the loose.

  8. How do you do it?
    I'll really have to do it on the sly, without publishing, a few times.
    You are seriously good!

  9. The poem is fantastic, and Harold enjoyable as usual. I went back to read last week's Harold too because I had to skip the wordzzles last week. Then I discovered you've also written a summary. That is a very good idea!!! I might copy it - I mean the summary idea, not the content of yours... My story is growing so long and it's getting harder and harder to keep track ;)

  10. @Bug - Thank you. You and others have reacted quite a lot more strongly to the poem than I expected. I'm a fraud really, as I am not a mother at all and certainly not one with a child away in the armed forces.

    @Raven - Yes, Teatime is nothing if not resourceful, it seems. Glad you also enjoyed the poem.

    @Akelamalu - Thank you also. Yes indeed we could all do with someone to bail us out from time to time.

    @DrJohn - Thanks for the kind words but you have plenty of creativity methinks. Perhaps one day, I'll edit Harold's story into a book, it's a tempting idea.

    @TFE - Nice to see you on a Saturday. How do I get time? If you saw the state of my house and garden you'd know how I have time for this :-)

    @Reston Friends - As I said to The Bug, I'm amazed at the strong reaction I've had to the poem but I guess you have to be a mom to understand. I should apologise right now for the Teatime-as-the-baby cliche, it was sooo obvious and sooo corny. But I couldn't resist.

    @Fandango - You dragons are very kind, especially since you manage a great poem every week not just now and then. I wouldn't worry too much about Harold running around loose - he hasn't posed much of a threat to the collective welfare of human souls so far, has he?

    @Friko - You really should come and join in the fun. I didn't think I could do this either. I used to read the ones Watercats did and marvel at them. Then one Saturday night, while the husband was watching TV in the other room I thought I'd give it a go and the rest, as they say, is history.

    @DawnTreder - You're very kind. I'd love a summary of the Slumber Party Mystery, as I came in sort of half-way through. I still read it every week though as it's really well-written. All I can say is, I wish my swedish was as good as your English!

  11. I liked the poem, and I'm glad its surprise ending turned out to be a good one. I liked the Harold and Teatime story, too. While I was a little suspicious of the couple who needed help, I was surprised that the baby turned out not to be real, then I was surprised that it was Teatime, as I thought it was just a doll or even just padded blankets. I was also surprised that they were not trying to rob them, but were there specifically to rescue Harold.

    Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

  12. I probably should be pulling of the side of Agent India and the OGS, but I cannot help being happy that Harold and Teatime escaped. Now I know there is a lost more story in this story.


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