September 10, 2014 at 3:55 am #116
(And her struggles with editorial and cleaning staff anarchy)
December 22, 2014 at 11:44 pm #3661
“Oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god,” mumbled Finnley, head in hands and rocking strangely.
“What on earth is wrong with you?” she asked irritably.
“What’s wrong with me?” she snarled. “I will tell you what is wrong with me. All these fucking batshit crazy characters making mess and expecting conversation is what is wrong with me. What’s going on? It’s not fucking Christmas is it?”December 23, 2014 at 7:52 am #3665
“Christmas! You’re kidding me! Is that why the plaza was full of donkeys and goat cheese and that dreadful jingly singly stuff? Bolt the doors quickly! Haki! Lock the gate! We don’t want anyone here full of good cheer or god forbid, bringing mince pies!”December 23, 2014 at 8:37 am #3666
“Oh !”, said Finnley graciously. “I forgot to mention my sister was coming tomorrow for Krismas she’s bringing the honey turkey stuffed with siberian mushrooms and a few bottle of rakia”, she said the last word as if she was about to spit. “I told her we would need that for the entertainment.”
Liz flinched. “I didn’t know you had a sister in Bulgaria,” she said.
“Well, not exactly from there, it’s home made. Better, if you ask me.”
“I didn’t ask.”December 23, 2014 at 8:49 am #3667
“Mam, it’s snowing, in the green house”, said Norbert in his a slow monotonous tone, “I can’t work…”
“Bloody heel!” said Arona Haki with that kiwi accent of hers.
It was the first time Liz was afraid of one of her personel, she had the impression the maid’s tongue was trying to force its way out of her mouth for another haka, “Don’t come into Mam’s house with you boots full of huhu dung.” She shoved him off unceremoniously.
Second time Liz was rendered speechless. “Well done, Arona”, she added a bit late.December 23, 2014 at 8:55 pm #3668
“Will someone get rid of that old woman with the horrible accent?” hissed Finnley, ungraciously.
“What on earth for? She is doing a splendid job. I must say though, Finnley, just as a side note, it is good to hear you sounding more like your normal ungracious self.”
Elizabeth look unaccustomedly thoughtful. “Do you think you need a break, Finnley dearest? You really must be exhausted after all the splendid proof reading you have been doing for me this year. Why don’t you go home for a while, on full pay of course.”
Finnley burst into tears. “Where is my home though?” she snuffled. ”I am not good with descriptive details. I just found myself in this stupid story doing your stupid cleaning. And now I have a Bulgarian sister, to boot. And,” she looked witheringly at Elizabeth, “ proofreading is one word”
“Crikey, matey,” said Norbert patting her awkwardly on the shoulder. “Christmas is a killer, in’t? Family coming out of the woodwork like blimmin worms. Keep ya chin up though, eh. Ya can’t be letting things get to ya like this. Ya wouldn’t be able to carry on like this if ya were in bloody China ya know. Like bloody robots they are there. I don’t think they know the meaning of the word feelings over there.” He shook his head in wonder at their philistinism.
“And ya right about that one,” he added quietly, with a conspiratorial raised eyebrow and a slight nod of his head towards Haki.
Elizabeth leapt up and rushed to the bookshelf. “I know what you need! some Lemon Juice! I will pick one at random; they are all absolutely superb.” She opened the very small book and closing her eyes stabbed the page dramatically with her finger.
”Let’s not be overachieving fucks.”
“Wow,” she mouthed, awestruck. After taking a moment to recover herself, she looked sympathetically at Finnley.
“The oracle has done it again. Do you hear that Finnley? You are an overachieving fuck.”
Finnley rolled her eyes.December 24, 2014 at 9:28 am #3671
Elizabeth suddenly felt overwhelmed with loving kindness, and hugged everyone. “I am so sorry I’m a sourpuss at times, I love you all.”
While everyone was speechless, she continued: “This is indeed a trying and difficult season at times, despite our best efforts to eradicate it from our calendars. The social constructs of cheer and goodwill must never be confused with acquiescing to the pressures of the needy, if the needy resort to emotional blackmail and bullying. Indeed, it is a kindness to all concerned, not least ones own self, to refuse to kowtow simply because of the date on the calendar!”
“Hear! ……Hear!” said Norbert slowly.
“Waaaahh wahhhha!” cried the cold baby shivering on the patio.
“Oh my god, the fucking baby!” Elizabeth shouted, leaping up and running outside, and accidentally tipping over the sherry bottle and the plate of mince pies.December 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm #3673
“I have an idea!” she announced suddenly, standing up and crushing a mince pie that had rolled under her desk. “Gather round, come on, come on!”
“It wouldn’t matter WHO came,” Liz paused for effect, “If none of us were here!”
“We are now!” replied Liz, “But we could be gone in an hour! We could go and visit my cousin ~ third cousin twice removed, actually ~ in Australia. They have an old inn and it’s sure to be half empty, it’s in the middle of nowhere, and,” she added triumphantly, “It will be lovely and warm there!”
“Blisteringly hot, more like,” muttered Finnley, “And would they like unexpected visitors for Chri, er Kri, er, that date on the calendar?”
“I’m sure they’d be delighted, “ replied Liz, crisply. “Not everyone is as curmudgeonly about Chri, er, Kri, er that date on the calendar as we are. And anyway,” she added, “If I write it into the story that they are delighted, then they will have no option but to be pleased to see us.”
“If you bloody lot are coming to the Flying Fish Inn, I’m buggering off to Mars for the holidays” said Bert.December 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm #3675
There was a rat tat tat tat on the door, and Sonia started barking excitedly, hoping that it was someone coming to feed her. She would have been more hungry had she not licked up all the crushed mince pies off the floor. The barking and incessant knocking on the door roused the ex, who was sleeping off the eggnog in the spare room. Eventually he shuffled out and opened the door; the knocking had become dangerously insistent.
“Yes?” he said to the woman in the red cape standing on the doorstep. Inwardly, he groaned. “Batwoman, I presume?”
“Get out of my way, Alvin, you good for nothing lush, and what are you doing here anyway?”
“No idea, Gertrude, more to the point, what are YOU doing here?”
“Tis the season of good will, you arsewipe, where’s that idiot daughter of mine?”December 24, 2014 at 6:59 pm #3676December 24, 2014 at 7:03 pm #3677
“And have a good Christmas!” she shouted to their departing backs, just in case she seemed uncompassionate.
Peace at last.
She sighed happily and went back to bed.December 25, 2014 at 1:12 am #3680December 25, 2014 at 1:51 am #3681
“Agent X77-86, we have a mission for you” the deep voice on the phone said.
“Wrong number.” Finnley answered unceremoniously before knocking the phone back in place.
Twenty one seconds later, the phone rang again.December 25, 2014 at 7:09 am #3682
Arona Haki was trying to dust the celadon tea set without being noticed by Finnley. The cranky old crone hadn’t noticed the maid also hakaly refused to take a plane.
“Rather be devoured by a kiwi flock than leave the land”, she had mumbled when Mam Liz had suggested she could come too. Liz did not insist, she only asked out of what she thought would be kindness.December 25, 2014 at 9:07 pm #3690December 26, 2014 at 5:45 am #3691December 26, 2014 at 11:18 am #3692
“Who ratted me out, obviously”.
Godfrey said finishing a mouthful of peanuts from the smallish bag the air attendant had just given to them.
“So, what’s the next destination now? not home surely?” “By the way, this nice Australian family will rue the day they met you. You managed to make their only paying guest flee as soon as you arrived with that bawling baby of yours.”December 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm #3693
It was good to be back, and surprisingly pleasant to have Godfrey back. Even more delightful was to see the back of that baby. Arona Haki had taken it off somewhere, to find it a good home, Elizabeth supposed. Finnley was as cranky and taciturn as ever, which was a comfort to Liz after her brief foray into the story.
The people at that dreadful dusty inn would no doubt be disappointed at losing Godfrey as a paying guest, so Elizabeth, feeling relaxed and generous, decided to write a little surprise into the story to mollify them.
Mollify, what lovely word, she mused, mollify, mollify, mollify….
“What’s that you say?” croaked Finnley, “No flies in here.”
“Oh Finnley, dear, do turn your hearing aid up a bit, will you?”December 28, 2014 at 7:03 am #3695
“Haki, did you find that baby a good home?”
“I left it at the shrine, madam…”
“Please, call me Liz!”
“I left the baby at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Yellow Burden, Liz. It’s a busy shrine, I’m sure someone will pick it up and look after it.”
“Well, perhaps you could pop back and check tomorrow, just in case it’s still there, Haki.”
“Don’t be daft, Godfrey, people flock to shrines all the time.”
“Precisely,” he replied.December 28, 2014 at 11:20 am #3696
Perhaps everyone thought that the baby belonged to one of the tourists that were gathered around the shrine, either holding their phones up to snap pictures, or gazing down at the screens in rapt concentration. The baby scanned the crowd, aware enough on some level to know there was a purpose, that being handed about here and there was a necessary part of the story and that the one who was meant to come, would come.
Night fell, and nobody came. The gates to the shrine were closed and locked by the night watchman, who was too engrossed in his phone screen to notice the baby. The baby didn’t cry, despite huger, thirst and a very smelly nappy. When all was silent, and the last of the shrine staff had descended the hill, a doe approached the helpless bundle, blowing warm breath on the chilled little face. The gentle deer lay down beside the orphan, nudging it with her soft muzzle until it was enveloped next to her warm body.December 30, 2014 at 10:55 pm #3698
When Matilda, the local bag lady, saw the scene, she almost fell on her knees and prayed.
But then as the child seemed more than a passing gin induced vision, she told to herself “get a grip, Mati, there’s a child who obviously needs your help by the smell of it, no offense deer.”
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