Sunday, 6 February 2011

Weekly Wordzzle 141

Well, I'm looking down the loaded barrel of Monday Morning, but there's still a little time left to enjoy some Wordzzle fun.

Go to Raven's Nest to see other players' offering and next week's challenge-words.


The Mini (caustic, cloudy skies, ballet, cell phone, covert)

My covert coach-bound observations reveal:

A Caustic voice dripping loud sarcasm into a tiny cell phone.
Cloudy skies whirling a mad fandango past the dirty window,
Trees holding their ballet positions, arms upstretched, fingertips barely touching.
Night falling, painting out the scene with a black velvet brush.
Dreams fading, as dreams will

The 10-worder (sugar cookies, muscles, drama, chimes, heating vent, paprika, runes, envelope, candle holder, stubborn)

New to Harold? Catch up here

"Hold on, not so fast." said Harold, "We can't just go running in there. Agent Moon won't be asleep yet, we have to give him chance to eat his supper and go to bed - or whatever he does at the end of the day. Agent Othello said he would call us."

"True enough, old Sock," said Teatime, "Got a bit carried away by the drama of the thing. So now we wait, I suppose."

Harold sat down on the floor and leaned back against a wall. He fished in the sports bag and brought out a paperback he had picked up earlier that evening - The Curious Case of the Candle-Holder and the Wind Chimes. It was a cheap and tacky murder mystery, but it would pass the time. Teatime tutted and fetched out a book of his own - an altogether more worthy tome on the history of the Inuit. About an hour went by when Teatime closed his book with a snap and said,

"Right, why don't you break out some of those sugar cookies you bought? I'm quite keen to get on the outside of some of them."

Harold shrugged and brought out the cookies. Soon he and Teatime set to and it wasn't much longer before there was nothing left but a few crumbs and the wrapper. Harold idly turned it over in his hands. It was a gaudy paprika-coloured thing, with a sickly-sweet close-up picture of a child's smiling mouth wide open to devour one of the cookies. The name of the product was written in such bizarrely stylised lettering that it might as well have written in ancient runes. Harold crumpled it up and tucked it back into the sports bag.

"No sense leaving behind evidence of our being here." He said, "Or of making a mess."

Teatime rolled his eyes, "A litter-conscious demon!" he sighed, "You're still not getting the hang of this whole evil malarkey are you?"

"I can't see the point of it." replied Harold, "The humans seem quite good at it all on their own without us lending a hand."

"That's not the point, though, is it?" said Teatime, his voice assuming that familiar didactic tone that Harold wasn't particularly keen on, "Your side lost. The losers don't get to dictate the terms of their surrender, the winners do. So you get to do the dirty work of providing mankind with a means to exercise his free will. End of story."

"Doesn't mean I have to like it," grumbled Harold.

"Well you should have thought of that before you threw in your lot with your so-called father."

"I know," Harold sighed, "But there's no going back now. The Penthouse does not forget - or forgive. Not the likes of us, anyway."

"So what have you got to lose? If there's no hope of a way back...?" The little monkey let the question hang in the air.

"You sound like my father," said Harold, "He keeps saying that and then calls me stubborn when I refuse to agree. Anyway, this is more fun than running around tempting silly humans, don't you think?"

"It has a certain appeal," admitted Teatime, "Although I wish we didn't have to spend all our time with those stick-in-the-mud agents."

"Well we're stuck with them unless we want to spend our time dodging Baruthiel and that big sword of his."

Demon and monkey lapsed into a rather tense silence after this. After about another twenty minutes, Harold's phone buzzed.

"Moon's apartment is in darkness from what I can see," came Othello's voice. "Suggest you make your move."

"Will do," said Harold and ended the call. "Right then," he said brightly, "Let's go." He replaced the black wig and the spectacles, but left his face as it was - he would change it only if they were discovered. He handed Teatime a small drawstring bag, which the latter slung over his shoulder.

They made their way quietly down the stairs to floor six. Harold pushed the door open quietly a crack and looked up and down the corridor.

"Coast's clear," he said quietly, "Come on".

They walked quietly along the corridor to Agent Moon's door. As the corridor was lit, albeit quite dimly, it was not easy to see if Moon's lights really were off or not. They would just have to trust Othello's judgement.

Harold placed his hands against the wood of the door and felt with his senses for the lock on the other side. Moon was obviously security-conscious: the door was secured with both a five-lever mortise plus a chain. For several seconds, nothing happened.

"Hurry up, old button," urged Teatime, "If someone should happen along..."

"I'm doing my best," Harold whispered back, "Why couldn't there have been a handy heating vent leading into Moon's place that you could have crawled into, then I wouldn't have to stand here like a lemon."

"That kind of ridiculously contrived convenience only happens in films and those cheap novels you enjoy so much, now do get on with it, there's a good fellow,"

Harold returned his attention to the door and concentrated harder. Minutes ticked by. If Harold had been human his muscles would have been seriously cramped and sore from crouching over the lock. As it was, his mind was beginning to get fuzzy when, at last, there came a soft click. Harold eased the door open a little, as far as the chain would allow. He gestured for Teatime to go through the gap.

"Are you mad?" whispered the little monkey, "You couldn't get an envelope through there. We need to undo the chain, for pity's sake!"

Allowing the door to re-close a little and propping it open just a crack with his foot, Harold picked up Teatime and held him while he got his tiny arm through the gap and disengaged the chain - which had just enough slack to allow this.

"Ok, in you go and good luck" whispered Harold as the tiny simian disappeared into the darkness.


  1. Loved your covert observations... especially the balletic trees. And I always enjoy Harold. A highlight of my week. Enjoyed the dialog between Harold and Teatime.

  2. Loved your mini - nicely descriptive. I like your interpretation of free will - quite original :) Can't wait to see what Teatime is going to do in there!

  3. Raven - glad you enjoyed. The words weren't quite as bad this week, were they?

    Bug - I had hoped to include more philosophical discussions about things like free will in here, but the short, episodic form doesn't really allow it without the story bogging down horribly.

  4. yeah - the mini was great this week, and Harold flowed well.

    The format can be a problem sometimes for longer development - but it equally serves to ensure not too much padding so its a bit of a trade off

  5. DFTP - Thanks. It's difficult to balance giving enough background whilst at the same time not slowing the story to a crawl. Maybe in the re-write...

  6. I thought the mini story was very nice, very poetic.

    I enjoyed the Harold story, too. The cookies they were eating sounded good, and I think I would have liked to have some. I thought the conversation between Harold and Teatime was interesting, and the difficulty Harold had with the door was a nice humorous touch.

    Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA


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