Saturday, 17 July 2010

Saturday Wordzzle 118

It's been about a year since I started this Wordzzling lark.  Personally, I blame the Watercats, since reading the masterly concoctions they came up with each week inspired me to have a go.

You can have a go too!  It's not too late!  Combine it with the Poetry Bus Challenge if ya like, as the Bug did so successfully this week.  Rules, guidance and other players' fruits are at Raven's Nest.

The Mini (shade tree, price, disappointment, power, camera)

David wandered out into the garden. It was sad to see how it had deteriorated since his father’s death. David had not inherited his father’s seemingly magical power over green and growing things, so had no idea where to begin with it. He smiled to himself, remembering the joke question he used to ask his father: what’s the best time of the year to lay concrete? His father had always laughed indulgently, but David knew that the laughter covered a secret disappointment that David had not taken to gardening and would not be continuing the nursery business. He hefted his camera: he would need some good pictures if he was to sell the house quickly and for a good price. He approached the old shade tree at the far end of the garden. It would make a good steady back-rest for his shot of the rear of the house. As he walked up to the old tree, he noticed something in the bark: David’s Tree. He smiled. He had carved that when he was eight. He ran his fingers over the inscription and surrounding bark, savouring the roughness and the memories. Suddenly, for just a moment, he got a most vivid impression of the life of the old tree, pulsing slowly but strongly under his hand. He snatched it away quickly, not really liking the strange sensation. Curiosity overcame him, however, and he pressed his fingers to the bark once more. Hours later, sunset found him wandering around the garden, his camera discarded and forgotten, his hands caressing every flower, leaf and stem, his heart rejoicing in his father’s secret.

The 10-worder (shark, Scotland, gravity, final hours, aggravation, heat wave, sweet tooth, killer, tragic, flowers )

New to Harold? The story so far is here.

“I’m pleased to see you‘ve taken on board the gravity of the situation, Doctor Flowers.” The voice was deep, but thin and tinny, as though it came from a long distance away.

“I certainly have,” replied a second voice – Flowers’s, presumably. “Arranging the logistics of the move is pure aggravation, but a sensible precaution given what we’ve been hearing.” This second voice was higher-pitched, distorted to almost a mosquito-whine. The listener could barely make out the words, but the words were all that existed in the listener’s world – there was neither light nor shade, neither warmth nor cold, and – up till now, at least – there had been no sound. Memories stirred lazily in the depths of the listener’s mind, like fish in the depths of a frozen pond. It had not always been like this. The listener struggled to recall what exactly it had been like, but the effort was exhausting. The first voice was speaking again.

“Have you done the ten o’clocks yet?”

“I was Just about to do them, sir. Would you care to see?”

“Yes, I would, actually. Lead the way.”

The voices fell silent, leaving the listener alone to wonder if it had imagined them.


“I wonder how long this heat wave is going to continue,” grumbled Prada from her post by the front window, “it wouldn’t be so bad if we had air-con or something.”

A couple of hours had passed and the mysterious telephone truck was still parked, apparently deserted.

Behind her, in the living room, Othello stood up and stretched, a few joints popping as he did so.

“Seen anything yet?” asked Box, who was indulging his sweet tooth with the jar of jelly beans from the kitchen.

“Nothing that jumps out at me,” sighed Othello.

“Me neither,” added Mercury, sitting back from his computer and rubbing his eyes. “Let’s take a break and come back to this, my head’s buzzing.”

“I could take over if you like,” offered Box. Mercury gave him a be-my-guest wave and wandered into the kitchen in search of a cooling drink.

Remembering not to stand in full view, Harold wandered over to where India was watching the back garden.

“I could watch for a while if you need a break.” He said. India favoured him with a killer stare, but then seemed to reconsider and, mumbling her thanks, walked after Mercury.

“I think she’s thawing,” Harold whispered gleefully to Teatime. “She didn’t even insult me that time.”

“I think the final hours of the universe will be but a distant memory before she ever warms to you, old button.” Teatime replied

“I live in hope.” Grinned Harold.

“Then it’s a jolly good thing you’re immortal.” Was the monkey’s dry response.


The voices were back, closer and louder this time. With an effort, the listener dragged together the shreds of its diffuse attention and tried to focus on what was being said.

“…pioneering work was first done in Scotland,” the one the listener dimly remembered was called Flowers was saying.

“Oh, yes,” agreed the first, as yet, unnamed voice, “Shark-something and Webber, or something, wasn’t it?”

“Sharkey and Webster, sir, yes.” replied Flowers. “Brilliant researchers, both, but sadly not given the credit they deserve. It was tragic the way they were killed before they could publish, truly… Oh hello.”

“What is it?”

The voices were very close now; the listener did not have to struggle at all to make them out.

“The readings are a bit high on this one.” Flowers explained, “Could you just hold on to this for me, while I change the settings? We don’t want to go the way of Shark-something and Webber, now do we?”

The two voices laughed together quietly for a moment. There followed a rapid series of clicks and suddenly the listener forgot itself once again.


  1. LOVE the first one! I wish that would happen to me - alas, I'll just follow Dr. M around & watch him water things...

    Wow - Harold is getting even MORE interesting! I have a guess as to who the listener is - but I'll have to wait & see I guess.

  2. It just gets better and better.
    Damn you woman, one of these days I absolutely will have to do at least a shortie. Damn you. Is that permitted?

  3. Bug - I wish I could get some magic green-finger power too! At least you've got Dr M, my hubs is as bad as me in the garden!

    Friko - You absolutely will have to try this - I KNOW you can do it. You can do just a shortie if you like - Raven always says there are no rules.

    Thanks for the good words peeps.

  4. You just get better and better! The first one was beautiful.... and Harold, well I always love Harold's story, but this week was extra fine. I love the mystery of the new characters and the great word play. And I just loved the exchange between Harold and Teatime about "good thing you're immortal." Brilliant!

    By the way, I'm not ignoring you about the Poetry Bus... just can't quite get my brain activated enough to try it yet.

  5. There is something so unqiue about a carvng in a tree. Beautiful tale

  6. I must pop over to Raven's nest, have a looksee. Looks like fun. In the meantime I have scheduled my Poetry Bus ride to begin at 3 this afternoon - I know it doesn't leave until tomorrow. I thought I'd get on, grab a seat and wait for it to take off. Thanks for doing the honours.

  7. Raven - Many thanks for the kind words. The new characters were a bit of a surprise to me if I'm honest - they just turned up and demanded to be in the story and since they were prepared to use up some tricksy words, I let them in. There are plenty more rides ahead, so don't worry about missing the Poetry Bus.

    Gwei Mui - I really enjoyed writing that piece about the tree myself. I never actually know how these things are going to pan out until I actually start writing. After than, I just follow my nose, as it were.

    Dave - You definitely should give Wordzzling a go. It's a great stimulus to the brain. Look forward to seeing your ticket later on.

  8. The first selection is absolutely beautiful. Inspiring, really. It will stay with me when I greet my three giant Sequoias later in the day.

    Will return to read the longer piece.

  9. Lyida - Thank you for the kind words. I love trees, myself, although I don't have any kind of green fingers. If you want to read the second piece, I strongly recommend you read-the catch-up first or it won't make a huge amount of sense.

  10. I'm going to have to dedicate an evening to catching up with Harold, I've missed so much!... slowly dragging myself back into blogland. Sorry to have missed yours and Pixies buses! that would be me and my 'perfect' timing again! tsk!

  11. Watercats - Hey! Nice to see you!


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