The Precious Life and Rambles of Liz Tattler

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      (And her struggles with editorial and cleaning staff anarchy)

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        “Oh. how ridiculous!” exclaimed Elizabeth, throwing a transcript at Godfrey.

        Deftly catching the paper being tossed in the whirlwind of a forceful exhalation of Liz’s cigarette smoke, he raised an eyebrow but remained silent.

        “She had a dream, you see,” continued Liz. “A dream about a writer and her maid. She mentioned it to me because she had one of those funny feelings it was about me, and when she told me, well the first thing I thought about was, well, you know….”

        But Godfrey wasn’t listening, he was winking at Finnley who was reading over his shoulder. The maid stifled a giggle.

        “So then I said to her,” Elizabeth explained, “‘I wonder what she’s been up to, left to her own devices?” and then she asked him all about it, and that’s what he said. Thrown me for a loop, I must say.”


        E: (chuckling) Left to her own devices, she generates considerable intensity in extremes.

        A: is this a character that has become a focus?

        E: Reverse.

        A: So it’s a focus that has become a character…. is there any information on the focus itself that I could offer her to play with that?

        E: The focus is a past focus, but a recent past focus…a past focus in the timeframework of the 1940s…

        A: in the Americas?

        E: This focus travels, but I would express is based in Britain.

        A: That makes sense.

        E: And in actuality is involved with early computers…with large cables. LARGE cables…

        A: [babble babble ohh ahh blah blah] …and she is female?

        E: Yes.

        F LoveF Love

          “Pffffft, I did not stifle a giggle,” said Finnley. She said this in order to get the 222nd comment but then couldn’t think of much else to say.


            “You see,” Godfrey pointed out with the rolled paper “Finnley’s got a point here.”
            “And what point pray you say?” Liz’ looked outraged at the lack of encouragements.

            “Oh, I don’t know, I just said that to grab your attention for a minute.” Godfrey smiled from the corner of his mouth.

            Liz’ could not think of something to say, suddenly noticing with amazing details the tense silence, and the small gathered crowd of people looking at her in a mix of face expressions. A scene from her last hospitalisation came back to her, and the horror of trying to seem sane and not utter anything strange to those so-called experts, who were gauging her sanity like hyenas laughing around a tentfull of human snacks.

            “You have my full attention.” she heard herself say unexpectedly.

            “That’s really the first step in rehabilitation” the doctor opined with a pleased smile.

            “Did, did I relapse again?”

            “What are you talking about Liz’?” Godfrey was back looking at her with concern in his eyes. She had never noticed his eyes before. Only the furry moustaches above them.

            “I think I got lost in the story’s threads again…” Liz’ felt like a little girl being berated by the teacher again, and by her mother for not standing for herself.
            “Yeah, it’s a bit of a dumpster…” Haki said snarkily, to which Liz quickly replied mentally “go away, you’re just a character, I fired you many threads ago.”

            Liz’, you have that vacant expression again, Liz’!” Godfrey was waving at her face.
            “Stop DOING that, you old coot! What’s wrong with all of you!”

            Felicity took a reprieve from her observation post ogling the gardener’s backside, on the guise of bird-watching, and snickered “told you it wasn’t going to go anywhere.”

            “Hold on” Godfrey stopped her in a conciliatory tone. “your attitude isn’t really helping Felicity. And Liz sharing her dream recall is a good thing, honestly, we could all do with a bit of getting in touch with our magical self.”

            “Oh, I’ve had enough of this loads of bollocks” Felicity said, and she packed and left for good.

            “That was a bit abrupt ending, but I like it” opined Godfrey at second reading. “Actually like it better than the version where she jumps through the window, probably pushed by the maid she criticized about the hair in the pea soup.”

            “That’s about as magical as I can muster for now, Godfrey, give me time.” Liz smiled relieved that the mummy ordeal was behind her. “Fuck murmality” she smiled impishly, “let’s start a new fantasy thread.”

            “With dragons in it?” Godfrey’s eyes were beaming.

            “Oh, you and your damned dragons…”


              Liz was aghast. What had her characters been writing about her now? If there was one thing Elizabeth had learned while unleashing characters into the reality experience, was that there was no such thing as control. You could not expect the expected when it came to characters. It was almost as if they had a mind of their own.

              “Not so fast!” she shouted to Felicity who was trying to climb the fence with the help of a sturdy old vine. She glared at Godfrey. “Now look what you’ve started.”


                “You’re not leaving here without taking your dragon! You can’t leave it here!” Elizabeth shouted. “You! You there, handsome gardener man! Stop that woman climbing over the fence!”

                Elizabeth glared at Godfrey again. “I’m not sure you can be trusted to saddle up her dragon, frankly. Finnley! Where is that dratted maid? Finnley!”

                F LoveF Love

                  Finnley staring at Godfrey in a bemused manner. Dragons? She hated it when characters changed personality mid-story and without warning. It was unsettling. Sidling closer to him she tentatively reached out and poked his arm firmly with her index finger.

                  “Ouch, dammit Finnley! What are you doing?”

                  “Testing to see if you are real or if I am hallucinating. Anyway, seems you are real so all good.”

                  “Oh, there you are, Finnley!” Liz beamed. “I seem to recall I was looking for you but I can’t remember why. Perhaps it was to remind you not to monopolise my thread. You are doing it again, you know.”


                    “Saddle Felicity’s dragon, Finnley, and Saddle Godfrey’s too. Felicity might need a spare. And stop gaping at me!” Elizabeth continued to beam magnanimously at her little treasure, the cleaning lady.

                    Godfrey’s been experimenting with his hallucinogenic botanicals again,” she added, lowering her voice. “He probably won’t notice, or else he’ll just think it’s his mind playing tricks on him again.”

                    “You’ve been wanting to get rid of those dragons ever since we started, haven’t you?” asked Finnley. She didn’t need an answer, she knew it was true.

                    “You look like the cat who got the cream,” she said to Liz.


                      “The characters don’t like it, you know,” Liz said, realizing that nobody was listening. “The don’t like it at all, being abandoned during the festivities. Maybe they’d like to join in singing happy bollocks to christmas carols, or pull a cracker for a cheap hat and a dumb joke, or stuff themselves with dead poultry. Maybe they’d like half a chance to join in!”

                      “Scrooge,” muttered Finnley.

                      “I said nobody was listening, and what are you doing here anyway?”

                      “It all seems so samey,” replied Finnley. “I got bored so I left.”

                      “Same every year,” agreed Liz. “it’s like writing the same chapter over and over and over again.”

                      F LoveF Love

                        “Happy New Year and all that bollocks,” said Finnley placatingly, knowing that Liz had a tendency to get maudlin when she drank too much. “Did you notice I got the very first comment in this year? On YOUR thread,” she added smugly.


                          “But I got April Fools Day, dear, which is altogether more interesting,” replied Elizabeth.
                          “I was going to ask you if you could jog my memory about something but perhaps today is not the best day to ask.”

                          F LoveF Love

                            “Go on then. If you must,” said Finnley with unexpected graciousness.


                              “Don’t bother me with that now, Finnley! We really must do something about that loose hanging thread before it trips us up. Godfrey will wrap it up, and we will unravel again. We’ve left those poor dears hanging by a thread ~ again! ~ stitched up….. if we carry on like this we’ll never get characters to agree to work in our stories again! And who could blame them! They gem hemmed into a scene and left there. Until someone tries to patch it up, and then it all starts fraying at the seams.”

                              “Is something needling you, Elizabeth?”

                              “I can do without your warped sense of humour. Do pay attention dear, how can we knit this all back together?”


                                “You can’t make a braid, if you don’t move your thread” Godfrey sung with a powerful baritone.
                                “And you can’t make a cut, if…” sniggered Finnley, still all wet from her trip to the grocery store under the debbie downpour.

                                “Oh hold that thought!” Elizabeth raised her finger, “there’s a gem hemmed there.”

                                She turned to Finnley “and get yourself a towel darling, you’re making the floor all slippery.”


                                  “Trusting that the invisible connecting links are seamlessly interwoven even if they are not apparent is not for the faint hearted” added Jingle.

                                  “Who said that?” cried Elizabeth and Finnley in unison, with varying degrees of exaggerated surprise.

                                  Oblivious, Godfrey continued his tuneless bellowing, his voice rising to an ear splitting falsetto as he sang A Weave A Weave Oh.


                                    “Jingle has always been very precocious” her proud grandmother, Mrs Bell told Liz and Godfrey over nougat and peanut cakes. “She has read all your books so many times, and really was ecstatic that you agreed to have her for a couple of weeks.”
                                    Ms Bell smiled at Godfrey “Obviously, it has nothing to do with it, but here is a generous donation that should more than cover the meals and lodging.”

                                    “As well as a score of bills fallen behind, I reckon” thought Godfrey while smiling at the oddly bespectacled and bejewelled woman, while grasping the edge of his seat in case Liz’ would realize it would mean to have a moody teenager over the manoir for the next days.

                                    “It is our dear pleasure to have this darling child,” Liz’ spontaneous answer astonished Godfrey by her graciousness. “Our Finnley will take care of her, she knows the ropes of writing better than my ropes of drying laundry, if you know what I mean huhuhu.”

                                    Mrs Bell nodded with a look of lost perplexity on her smiling face.

                                    F LoveF Love

                                      Liz was furious. She stormed into the living room of the manoir where she found Finnley, swishing her duster lethargically and rather randomly with one hand while she texted with the other. Liz frowned but decided to ignore this blatant breach of cleaning protocol. There were more pressing matters on hand!

                                      “My fury knows no bounds, “ she said, rather dramatically, to Finnley.

                                      Finnley grunted non-committedly. Liz was encouraged by the unexpected response.

                                      “That child, Jingle — and what a ridiculous name — that child is the rudest person it has ever been my misfortune to meet. Do you know what she said to me?” She glared accusingly at Finnley.

                                      “No”, said Finnley.

                                      “I was kind enough to read her an extract from my latest novel and she had the audacity to say, in that awful german accent of hers, that I was getting on her nerves with my outpourings. That “I” was getting on “her” nerves! The cheek of it.”

                                      “That is quite rude,” agreed Godfrey, who appeared from nowhere, as usual. “But don’t worry, dear Liz, it is just a projection of her own insecurities. It always is. Unless it is you being rude one, of course, in which case it is no doubt most profound and accurate,” he added hurriedly, wisely thinking it was best to cover his bases.

                                      “Just get rid of her,” said Finnley.


                                        “But how?” asked Liz. “We don’t even know where she came from, or how she got here. I don’t think you can just banish characters that easily. Look what happened last time.”

                                        “What happened last time?” asked Finnley.

                                        “Oh, I don’t remember! Never mind that now! How are we going to get rid of that rude interloper?”

                                        Finnley snorted at the word INterLOPEr. “That was rather clever, Liz” she tittered.

                                        Liz couldn’t help but snigger too. “I didn’t plan that,” she admitted.

                                        “Do you mean the story character refugee crisis, Liz?” interjected Godfrey.

                                        “Yes! Of course, that was it.”

                                        “Well you can’t banish characters just because they’re rude, Liz,” remarked Godfrey, reaching for the cashew nuts.


                                          Ronaldo, the new gardener, came out of the same nowhere as Godfrey, which Finnley with her eyes in every corner of the house found quite suspicious. She still hadn’t found the secret passageways these two were using and most of all she didn’t understand the WHY? of their strange behaviour.

                                          “I’m going to dust the fireplace,” she said looking at the two men at the same time; she had learned that looking at chameleons. If there was a secret door there or a secret button to open one, she’d certainly find it by now. The men didn’t react much.

                                          She left the room and pushed Ronaldo on the side with a twist of her hip while at the same time clicking on her phone screen to send a message to a friend. She had mastered that particularly useful move last summer at the Know Your Buddy Body seminar. She was quite glad she attended as she also met that lovely woman, a kindred spirit if she dared say. The only problem was that she had a girl with a German accent, and Finnley suspected Jingle was that girl. What was the name of her new friend again ?

                                          She went to the fireplace and began to probe every corner with her duster, still texting to her friend.

                                          Her last message “Why have you sent your daughter?”

                                          F LoveF Love

                                            Finnley woke with a start. She’d been dreaming that she was chatting and giggling with a group of girlfriends. At one point they all held hands and starting running through a field of flowers, singing at the tops of their high girlish voices.

                                            Thank flove that was just a dream, she thought, breathing deeply to calm herself.

                                            Finnley! What are you doing curled up on the chaise-longue? Don’t tell me you are sleeping on the job? Good grief, what next!”

                                            Finnley felt an unexpected rush of emotion towards Liz. Don’t ever change, you rude, dictatorial, bossy tart, she thought, still shaking off the remnants of the awful nightmare.

                                            “You want me to get rid of the German?” she asked gruffly.


                                              Liz thought about it for a moment, having a sudden inspiration. “No. No, let’s keep her. She might come in handy,”

                                              Finnley wondered what strange plot was brewing in the rude, dictatorial, bossy tarts mind, but refrained from commenting.

                                              “But we must be vigilant. Tie her up or something until we know what to do with her,” added Liz. “Oh, and be sure and gag her, too.”

                                              “I’m not quite sure that fits my job description…” Finnley started to say.

                                              “Get that new gardener to do it then, I heard rumours that he was into bondage, he will know what to do.”

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