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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      “In the pentatonic scale of things, one can only shake ones head kindly,” mumbled Liz, humming tunefully. “Of course, geotectonically speaking, “ she added, “Would be quite another matter, and could potentially result in considerably more shaking than an indulgent platonic head.”


        “Tartonic,” mumbled Finnley under her breath.


          “Where does that music come from?” asked Liz baffled that someone could play such unLiz music while she was there.
          Godfrey and Finnley looked at each others rolling eyes and gulped another glass of tonic.
          “Well, why. It’s Roberto,” said Godfrey. “He came to me the other day with an old VHS he had found in the cellar. Apparently an old French gym program called Gym Tonic with two girls hopping and stretching for one hour.”
          “I didn’t even know we had a cellar here,” said Liz. More treasures to find, she thought, her eyes glittering.
          “I recognise that look of yours,” said Finnley, “Don’t even think about it. You’ll come back and scatter spiderwebs and dust all around and I’ll have to find someone to clean your mess. Take another tonic.” Finnley handed a glass to Liz and Godfrey looked, one eyebrow raised dramatically, at her other hand hidden behind her back. It held a small vial that looked empty.


            “But is it empty?” asked Finnley, mysteriously.

            Godfrey and Liz looked at her questioningly. “Is it empty or not, Finnley?” Liz sounded impatient; she was anxious to get to the cellar.

            “Well, yeah, it is actually.” Finnley sighed a little sadly; it was barely perceptible. “I just said that to …. I don’t know why I said it really.”

            “Waste time?” suggested Godfrey helpfully.


              The entrance to the cellar was in the library, just behind a book shelf that had been pushed away. How convenient, Godfrey thought.
              Roberto has been busy,” he said, appreciating the new little wheels under the elm wood bookshelves. He tried it several times and saw that the wheels were perfectly oiled and made no sound.
              “Too oily,” said Finnley tutting disapprovingly at the stains on the wooden floor. She was already thinking of buying a new carpet, or maybe a new puppy that would help her dust the floor as it followed along. It would have to be small and energetic. Not too energetic though.
              Liz was fascinated by the door. It was an old door, carved certainly in oak wood and painted with oddly hypnotic patterns. She looked at the tonic glass she still had in her hands. “Did you put something in my tonic?” she asked. The glass pigheadedly refused to focus on the bottom of her eye.
              “I think it was empty,” said Godfrey. “Or at least it is now.” He took the glass from Liz and came back quickly, not wanting to miss the opening. He handed a pair of pink and shiny scissors to Liz who glanced at them and then at Godfrey with a puzzled look.

              “Do you expect me to cut your hair?” Liz asked him. “I think you should have your hair cut,” she added because it seemed to crawl and wave on his head. She looked at Finnley. “Yours too, dear, I’m afraid.”
              Finnley’s lips and eyes thinned as she tried her sharp face on Liz who cackled, and Finnley just shrugged and tutted again.

              “Well, use them to cut the red ribbon of course.” Godfrey nodded in the direction of the door and Liz saw that there was a fluffy red ribbon sagging between the side shelves and barring the entrance to the cellar. How come she hadn’t seen it before.

              She took the scissors and winced when the sound of the cutting resounded like nails on a blackboard, and for a moment she shuddered as the face of Sister Clarissa and her magnifying goggles popped out of the door. A horrendous sight, if you asked her. Liz had always suspected that their only use was to traumatise the students. She had forgotten she went to a catholic school.

              The door was finally opened, and Liz hoped what they found downstairs would not bring up more of those memories.


                Not a second after they’d all entered the room, one after the other, the door suddenly slammed shut, propelling themselves down the stairs into the hallway, soon trampling and trampolining upon one another.

                “Aaaah!” exclaimed Liz’ pointing at Godfrey’s face.
                “Aaaahaahahah, yourself you old hag!”

                Soon, FinnleyAAAhh“ed herself too, realizing but too late that they had all turned into very old versions of themselves.


                  “A diabolical plot twist, Godfrey. Really!” Liz was furious, but had trouble speaking clearly. Her lower denture had been floating around alarmingly since her last tooth had fallen out, and there was nothing to anchor the plastic, other than the slippery gravity of her caved in mouth.


                    “I fink I heard somefing,” said Liz feeling a tad nervous when underground. She looked around, squinting her eyes.
                    “What are you doing?” asked Godfrey.
                    Liz squinted more.
                    “I can not distinguish anything,” she said. “Are those books?” She pointed at a twisted column with her crooked finger. “Oh! bloody hell, my back hurts.”
                    “I think they’re written in latin,” said Godfrey after skimming through some of the covers.
                    “I heard it again!” said Liz.
                    “Ain’t that tinnitus?” asked Finnley louder.
                    “I’m not deaf,” replied Liz. I tell you it’s like a very small person talking. She looked at her feet and almost had a heart attack when she saw a mouse waving at her. The little creature ran swiftly up the book column and stood on its legs.
                    “Quis estis? Mus sum,” it said with a very high pitched voice.
                    “It says it’s a mouse and asks who we are,” translated Godfrey.
                    Liz frowned, which accentuated the relief of her old face.
                    “You speak mouse language now?” she asked.
                    “Not at all. It speaks latin.”
                    “Of course you would know latin,” said Finnley.


                      Elizabeth wondered, nay, marveled, at how Finnley had read her mind before she herself had even thought it in her own mind in order for it to be read.


                        Finnley, reading Elizabeth’s mind again, for it was a constant habit, duly noted the trouble Liz had taken to phrase her last thought.


                          Finnley wondered if liz’s use of “nay” was an attempt at a horse synch.


                            “I feel really bad now,” Godfrey said to nobody in particular, although he hoped Finnley’s hearing was as good as usual, while she was busying herself dusting the booklice off bookshelves. With the humidity, there was an infestation, and Finnley was polishing her art of war against the invaders in novel ways each day.

                            “There’s really no need” she answered, or maybe she wasn’t, but Godfrey was glad for their parallel monologues.

                            “True, true, nobody has really forced anybody into a tooth synch…”

                            “How clogged is the sink is what to think about…” never-missing-a-bit-of-synch Finnley answered, taking her bag of booklice harvest to the kitchen.
                            Then, smiling wickedly while raising the bag to eye level “not as good as huhu bugs, but hey, it’ll make for a easier to chew medicine…”


                              Annabel Ingram, while aimlessly perusing the pile of old notebooks she’d picked up at the second hand market, felt the familiar sense of slack jawed wide eyed wonder at the unexpected synchronicity. How did that happen all the time! Annabel had opened to an entry about teeth, just after taking a call from the dentist about an emergency appointment for her partner. Not only that, but on impulse earlier in the day, she’d joined a favourite book share game with a few friends ~ despite previously ignoring it because of the difficulty of choosing favourites when there were so many.

                              Sighing heavily, Annabel noted that the summer had been unusually humid, too.

                              “Let’s just hope there are no booklice,” she muttered.


                                Fortunately the aging spell didn’t last long and they returned to normal.
                                The missing teeth had not grown back, but Liz had had perfect new teeth installed in place of the old ones. They were shinier and could even sparkle under full moon light. Of course, Godfrey told her the dentist was a fan of Tolkien and found inspiration from the elven magical artefacts.
                                At the time Liz almost canceled her appointment because she didn’t want disco teeth in her mouth that could distract her audience. But she had been seduced by the bubbly personality of the dentist, and though she did not admit it as it was not proper, she rather liked going to him.
                                Liz grunted unladilikely as she opened her lips wide like a horse, trying to see if they would shine under some bathroom LED light. But the glitter only came from the beads and sea sparkles of her bathroom mirror and vasque, the bottles of shampoo and her new rejuvenation stem cell cream she had just put on her face. The teeth, they looked perfectly normal.
                                What a disappointment, really, she thought.
                                She had to ask Godfrey when was the next full moon. Would the treasure in her mouth only shine under moonlight or would it shine also indoor? She wondered. She might as well have to have special mirrors installed to redirect all the light in the new ballroom.


                                  It had been weeks since Annabel looked at the old notebooks again, but when she did, she couldn’t help but marvel once more at the synchronicity. Her partner had a couple of dental appointments in the coming days, and a number of teeth were to be extracted ~ more than Annabel would be willing to lose in one fell swoop after her singularly unpleasant experience with an extraction of two adjacent teeth, but her partner Dalgliesh didn’t seem unduly worried.

                                  Annabel felt an affinity to Liz as she perused the yellowing pages of the notebooks, although thankfully she, Annabel, still had most of her own natural teeth and had not yet resorted to plastic, despite that they were a similar colour, indeed a perfect match, to the yellow notebooks.

                                  It wasn’t the first mention of yellow that day, either. Annabel had painted a wall purple and was surprised to find that it made her feel gloomy to look at it. The green accessories looked pleasant enough against it, but she strongly felt there was a need for yellow as well. And yet the idea of that seemed repugnant. Lavender, blue green, and yellow! It sounded ghastly. Annabel was avoiding looking at the wall for the time being, thinking the best solution was probably to repaint the wall a safe neutral scream.

                                  Annabel meant cream, naturally, a safe neutral cream, but the astonishing typographical error was duly noted, in case it was related to the other mention of yellow, which was when not one but two of the local guru’s suggested she be sure and twirl her purples with her yellows, whatever that meant.

                                  Meanwhile, Annabel was giving some thought to the idea of a safe neutral scream, which had rather a catchy ring to it, despite it’s accidental appearance.


                                    Aunt Idle: I’ll be honest, I don’t really like thread crashing, or let’s put it another way: I don’t like it when Liz crashes in on my thread. But I can’t see how me thread crashing on Liz can possibly make any difference anyway.

                                    But when I got there, it wasn’t Liz, it was Annabel.


                                      Annabel Ingram?” Finnley was trying hard to keep up.


                                        Nobody answered


                                          “I didn’t answer right away because I thought you’d have remembered by now! How terribly rude you are, Finnley. Please excuse her unforgivable manners, Annabel.”


                                            Liz was lying on the living room couch in a very roman pose and admiring the shiny glaze of her canines in the pocket mirror she now carried with her at all time. The couch was layered with fabrics and cushions that made it look like a giant rose in which Liz, still wearing her pink satin night gown, was like a fresh baby girl who just saw her first dawn

                                            ehm, thought Finnley, eyeing Liz’s face, Maybe not her first. But to the famous author of so many unpublished books’s defence, since the unfortunate ageing spell it was hard to tell Liz’s true age.

                                            Finnley looked suspiciously at the fluffy cushions surrounding Liz. Where do they come from. I don’t recall seeing them before. I don’t even recall the couch had that rosy pink cover on it. She snorted. It sure looks like bad taste, she thought. She looked around and details that she hadn’t seen before seemed to pop in to her attention. A small doll with only one button eye. Reupholstered chairs with green pattern fabrics, a tablecloth with white and black stripes, and a table runner in jute linen… Something was off. Not even Godfrey would dare do such an affront to aesthetic, even to make her cringe.

                                            Finnley went into the kitchen, where she rarely set foot in normal circumstance, and found a fowl pattern fabric stapled on one wall, a new set of… No, she thought, I can not in the name of good taste call those tea towels. They look more like… rubbish towels.

                                            “Oh, my!” she almost signed herself when she saw an ugly wine cover. Her mind was unable to find a reference for it.

                                            “Do you like it?” asked Roberto.
                                            Finnley started. She hadn’t heard him come. She looked at him, and back at the wine cover. She found herself at a loss for words, which in itself made her at loss for words.
                                            “It’s a little duckling wine cover,” said Roberto. “I made it myself with my new sewing machine. I found the model on Pintearest.” saying so, he stuck his chest out as if he was the proud duck father of that little ugly ducklin. Finnley suddenly recovered her ability to talk.
                                            “You certainly nailed it,” she said. In an attempt to hold back the cackle that threatens to degenerate in an incontrollable laugh, it came out like a quack. She heard her grandmother’s voice in her head: “You can not hold energy inside forever, my little ducky, it has to be expressed.”

                                            Uncomfortably self conscious, Finnley looked up at Roberto with round eyes.
                                            “Oh you cheeky chick,” said the gardener with a broad smile. He pinched her cheek between his warm fingers and for a moment she felt even more like a child. “I didn’t know you are so playful.”

                                            Somewhere in the part of her mind that could still work a voice thought it had to give him points for having rendered her speechless twice.

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