Saturday, 3 July 2010

Saturday Wordzzle 116

Really. Must. Try. To. Post. Stuff. Other. Than. Wordzzles. And. Poems.  However, in the meantime, it's you-know-what time.

Go to Raven's Nest for guidance and other players' writings.  Tough words this week.

The Mini (operation, hair, brick wall, flamingo, porch)

Jespah Oreole leaned casually against the brick wall, running a comb through his near-perfect black hair. Any time now, the target would be coming round the corner, oblivious to what fate had in store for him. Across the road, Fat Neruda was lounging about on the rather overdone rococo porch of the Hot Flamingo club, trying to look nonchalant. He lit a cigarette, but even from across the street, Jespah could see his pudgy hands shaking with excitement. He's trying too hard, he thought. He's going to blow the whole operation. Just then, a car with blacked-out windows appeared at the end of the street and purred towards them. Jespah calmly put away his comb and slipped the gun from its holster. As the car drew level, Neruda's cigarette fell from his mouth and he instinctively bent down to retrieve it. Amateur, thought Jespah, disgustedly, forget the stupid cigarette and focus! Where Neruda's head had been a moment before, however, the ornate plasterwork exploded into fragments and the sound of a gunshot echoed down the street. The car was past and Jespah could now see that the rear windows were rolled halfway down. Before he could react, however, there was a second loud crack and chips from the brickwork stung his cheek. So they'd been double-crossed.

The 10-Worder (easy come easy go, charcoal, flute, sugar plum, signs, side effects, gymnastics, operation, credit card, wings)

New to Harold? The summary is here.

"Doesn't look like much, does it?" said Prada, parking the car outside the very ordinary-looking residence corresponding to the address that Harold had texted.

"Probably why it was chosen," said Mercury, "It's not like you'd want to post signs outside saying 'Safe House This Way'."

Prada shrugged and got out of the car. The others followed suit and they walked up the drive to the charcoal-coloured front door. Othello pressed the bell and they were rewarded with the first few bars of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, played on what sounded for all the world like some kind of adenoidal Patagonian nose-flute.

"Quaint," he murmured.

"I was thinking of going with tacky," commented Teatime from Othello's shoulder, where he had taken to riding, "But quaint is more charitable, I suppose."

Harold opened the door and stepped back to allow them all to enter.


Mr Teeth was squinting at the maddeningly small text printed on the packaging of the new muscle-growth supplement he had just bought. He was really going to have to get some reading glasses one of these days. The package blurb claimed the powder had been used successfully by eastern European gymnastics coaches with minimal side-effects, and the list of chemical ingredients was worryingly long and unpronounceable. It looked like his credit card had got him DuPont's annual output and had almost maxed out doing it. Oh well, easy come, easy go, he thought, pouring the unappealing grey powder into a jug.

The phone rang.

"This is Peck."

"Go on,"

"My associates have tracked your quarry to an address in the suburbs, where the other people he's been associating with have joined him. There is also one other there – a small, bald male, rides a motorcycle."

"I don't recognise him from that description."

"No matter, my associates are watching the house now. How would you like this to play out? We can put together an operation at the house or we can intercept them if they leave."

"I actually just want to talk to the punk for now," replied Mr Teeth, "and don't want to go stirring up trouble that might attract attention."

"My associates are very discreet and very competent." Peck's voice was smooth and cool.

"I'm sure they are." and expensive too, I bet, "OK, see what you can do. Call me when you've got him to the address I gave you."

"As you wish." The line went dead with a soft click.


"We thought you'd sprouted wings and flown away, old sock." said Teatime, hopping onto his accustomed place on Harold's shoulder once more.

"Not quite," laughed Harold, "although I did spend a small amount of time in the air when the bomb went off. Luckily, Reverend Box came along at just the right time." Between them, Box and Harold filled in the missing pieces of the night's events.

"OK," said Mercury, when they'd finished, "We need to work out how to flush out the traitor in our midst – maybe he or she will lead us to whoever is causing us so much trouble."

"I've been thinking," said Othello, turning to Box, "Your Dynamo records, did you really send them away and, if so, where?"

"I never actually had any," said Box, "I made all that up so I could give you the Osprey building's address. Sorry"

"So there are no records left then? You mentioned an Agent Iris having some, but there was no such agent in our database."

"Ah," Box smacked his hand against his forehead, "I'm such an idiot. Iris was the joke name I used to call him back then, on account of his surname."

"Which was?"

"Rainbow – his name was Mark Rainbow. Iris is a messenger of the goddess Hera and the personification of the rainbow, you see?"

"No wonder I couldn't find him." Othello rubbed his eyes, "Any coffee around here?"

"I'll make some," volunteered Harold, who quite fancied a cup himself. He went into the kitchen and began fiddling with the coffee maker. After a few moments, he heard the kitchen door open. He turned around and was surprised to see India coming into the kitchen.

She held something out to him.

"Thought you might want this," she said, curtly. It was Harold's backpack, containing his trumpet.

"Wow!" he cried, "Thanks! I thought I was never going to see this again, that was really – "

But she was already closing the door on her way out.


  1. H Argent - very Raymond Chandler. I loved the mini there was something about that collection of words that draws you into a mystery.

    The major "Harold", has this wonderful Waiting for Godot feel to it. A great episode in the Harold series. I'm really smitten now. You have a knack of being able to slip these words into your "Harold" series without losing the spontenous feel, it's all so "natural" - how do you do that!?

  2. Hi... tried to leave a comment earlier but it didn't take. Now my computer is going in and out of connection but I'm hoping this one will take.

    Loved the mini... and I always love Harold.

    Thanks for asking about how I'm feeling. Much better, thanks. Thanks for next week's words too. Hope your knees are behaving.

  3. Gwei Mui - Raymond Chandler and Beckett, eh? I'm honoured to be compared to such august company. I basically just stared at the mini words and the passage just fell out of my head.

    Harold generally takes a bit longer to put together each week, as I have to try and make the words fit smoothly and also keep what passes for a story on track.

    I've got several 'cheap tricks' up my sleeve for when the going gets tough(est). Newspaper headlines, radio ads, book/magazine titles, snatches of overheard conversations, titles for music that Harold is composing in his head are all things I've had to do to dispose of troublesome words. And will no doubt do again :-) Thanks for reading.

    Raven - Thankfully, your kind comment did take. The knees are behaving very well, thanks.

  4. You're a riot.

    "All that stuff is hooey, except the stuff which happens to fit what I think, in which case it's divine wisdom"

    I'll be checking with you when I need to know which it is.

    "Without your comments, I am but a wave without a shore..."

    Uh, then what are you WITH them?

    "I'm extrovert when I'm with people I know, and introvert with strangers. I also like pie."

    If strangers give you pie, do you immediately turn extrovert? Are you a slut for pie, as it were?

  5. P.S. I FAILED to hit the subscribe button, so I had to come back to correct my FAILURE--the one about which I feel so HUMILIATED. This kind of thing happens whenever I rely upon my DELUSIONS of adequacy.

  6. Ooh - I like the double-cross story. I could see this turning into something - if you wanted it to, which you probably don't since you just finished another serial. I'm enjoying Harold too - I can tell India is warming up to him. Heh.

  7. @Snowbrush - With comments, I am a wave with a shore :-) My puny existence has some validity in other words. A slut for pie? Not quite, but pie IS awfully nice!
    @Bug - I am absolutely NOT going to start another serial - although it was tempting :-) India warming to Harold? Or is she just attempting to do him a good turn since he saved her life and all.


Without your comments, I am but a wave without a shore...