Voice town welcome virus suddenly
Dusty complete plague flew trail
Fell party change attention crying
Walk move drama married experiment
Arthur baby showed deal stress
Rose legs aren luckily doctor
Resumed worn shaman spotted focused
Throwing cool arona giant secretive
Considering cave mangled pearl offer
“This is the life, eh!” June said, stretching out on the sun lounger sipping a fruity cocktail. “Turquoise sea and a salty breeze, this is the life for me!” she said, kicking off her new deck shoes in nautical blue and white, and hitching her dress hem up to expose her thighs to the sun.
The skipper raised an eyebrow and smiled sardonically, while simultaneously averting his eyes from the unappetizing sight of the doughy flesh. He could imagine this one rolling around below decks looking green as soon as the weather changed.
“Sure beats that jail. That had me worried, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t sure we were ever gonna make it outta there,” replied April, smiling fondly at Ella Marie and giving her hand an affectionate squeeze. “You saved our bacon, honey.”
“If it weren’t for that there Lord Wrick turning up, even the money might not have got you out.” Arthur chimed in. “Promising ole president Lump that land for the golf course if’n he pardoned you. Jacqui, you done wonders there.”
“Ah well, the young Lord Wrick owed me a favour, you might say. But that’s another story,” Jacqui replied. “The main thing was we had to get out of the country fast before Lump finds out about that land in Scotland.”
June sniggered. “Can’t imagine him in a kilt, can you? I wonder if he’s orange down there as well.”
“Oh, please! You really know how to lower the tone, dontcha? Gawd, what a thought!” April started to feel queasy. Changing the subject, she said, “Hey, did I tell you our Joanie’s going to meet us in Australia too?”
“How in tarnation did ya do that?” Arthur looked at his wife suspiciously.
“Do what, honey?” Ella Marie replied, feigning innocence.
“This here lottery win! How did you do that? You aint been doing them there voodoo tricks again, have you? You promised…”
“Oh heck Art, it’s pure chance, a million to one, you know that! We just got lucky, is all.” But she couldn’t meet his eye. “Well I had to do somethin’! It aint for us, it’s for those friends of Jacqui’s. When I heard they’d been locked up in jail on cooked up charges, after being so excited about visiting the family, well I couldn’t bear it.”
“You promised you wasn’t gonna do that hokey pokey stuff no more,” Arthur said.
“Yes but it aint for us. This is different, just a one time thing, helping out friends. We can pay the bail money for ’em now and get ’em outta that stinking hellpit. Aint no place for decent ladies, Art.”
“They’ll need some darned expensive lawyers to fight the Beige House, and fat chance of winning.” Art looked doubtful.
“Oh they won’t stick around to fight the case. I had this idea,” Ella Marie had that old twinkle in her eye that used to get Art all fired up, back in the day. “We’re gonna buy them a boat. I been talking to Jacqui ’bout it. An old flame of hers turned up who can sail the boat for them.”
“How big’s the boat?” asked Art, an idea brewing in his head. He’d always wanted to sail around the world.
“Well we aint bought the boat yet, Art, the lottery check only just arrived. How ’bout we go down to Orange Beach Marina and see what’s for sale? We could have a seafood lunch, make a day of it.”
A big smile spread across the old mans face. ” Well, hell, Ella Marie, I guess we can do whatever we darn well please now! Let’s do it! And,” he added, planting a loud smackeroo of a kiss on her forehead, “Let’s get a boat big enough for all of us. I’ve got an adventure in me, afore I pop my clogs, I sure do.”
The few cars on the dark road were flying past him at speed, sometimes honking in alarm when abruptly realizing he was there at an inch of being run over. But none had stopped so far. Might have been they couldn’t see his little thumb up.
“Hitch-hiking my way back isn’t doing so well for me.” reflected Barron after a while. Oh, you may wonder how he escaped from his captors. Simple answer was he got bored waiting and he saw an opportunity.
In reality, it was an elaborate plan, and the screeching sound of a nearby car had provided the right amount of distraction for him to make a run for it. Well, not run really, more like a patient and careful tumbling around. The sound had been alarming enough for most of the forces present to run for the potential intruders without caring to leave someone to watch over the innocent sleeping baby (that was him, but he wasn’t really sleeping).
Anyway, he hadn’t made it very far outside the clandestine distillery at the back of the Motel, and was about to abandon all hope and phone his half-sister Yvanevskaia for help, when an old DRAPES CLEANING van suddenly braked to a screeching halt just in front of him.
“Why d’ya stop Art’! They’re still after us, those maniacs!”
“A baby honey! I almost ran over the baby!”
“That’s a big ass baby, it’s almost a kid, and what is it doin’ hitch-hickin’ in the dead of night?”
“I dunno my sweet cotton-candy luv,… maybe he got bored or sumthin’…”
“So what are you waiting for? Just damn’ take it, and let’s pump gas and put some distance between us and these gangsters!”
Barron was all too pleased to oblige, and as a matter of fact, had already managed to sit in the back with the funny looking lady with the long face.
“Go!” he cooed at Arthur, who pushed the engine back into a roar.
“The Spanish Moss Motel? Well, I’ll be darned, so this it where it is,” said Arthur, “But hell, it’s no place for a baby!”
“What do you mean, Art?” asked his wife. “Is it one of them there broth kitchens full of painted tarts?”
Art shook his head. “Not exactly. Nobody really knows, ‘cept everybody knows that things go on here.” Art shook his head again. “Aint no place for a baby.”
Arthur was driving the minivan. It was an old Chewy Express van with the big bold “DRAPES CLEANING” sign on it that he’d repainted by himself over the years. The business wasn’t doing great, truth be told, so he’d cut down the marketing costs, which according to Ella Marie wasn’t a bright idea. “You never know where you next patrons could hide.” She’d said, and then had him hooked up on some social website to post random things and get some likes and thumbs up. He’d come a little late for the new century’s game and couldn’t see any of the appeal, but he’d learned over the years never to make the missus irate.
He’d been so glad when she’d come back from the floods, unscathed and full of completely batshit crazy stories. Mummies and stuff. Sounded like being rolled in shredded drapes fanfiction to him. Complete garbage, but you can’t tell people they’re crazy, they’d hate you for it, and in truth you may be wrong. You might be the one crazy and all the others the sane ones. How’s that for a thought.
Anyway, he loved his Ella Marie dearly, and had learned not to sweat the small stuff. Like this night drive to a funny place she’d just received coordinates from an acquaintance on the Net. Those were mad times, mad times indeed. At least, she could have told him she wanted to catch a new rare pokemeon go! in the dead of night, and it might have sounded… well, just as mad probably.
They were driving steadily, being careful about the road signs; the van wasn’t much for crazy stunts anyway.
“How far is that?” he asked the wife, who was busy on her phone tracking the route and chatting on the thing with her friends imaginary or else.
“Not far, luv’. Next turn right, then left, then right and we should be there.”
The last turn took them off the road, and Arthur started to wonder if that wasn’t another “turn left at your peril” GPS experiment, where they’d have to haul the van out of a tar pit, but it seemed fine so far. The place looked ominous, and full of croaking noises 🐸🐸🐸🐸.
He killed the headlights, and moved in the parking lot at a crawl. There was no point in alerting whoever was there of their nocturnal visit. A barn owl flew straight in front of the van, scaring them.
“STOP!” jumped Jacqui, who’d been sleeping the whole time, and woke up to a frightful sight.
Arthur pushed on the brakes that gave off a screeching sound that would wake up a mummy.
“Och aye, now that’s intriguing,” remarked Jacqui, looking up from her phone. “Well I’ll be darned.”
“What’s that, honey?” asked her friend Ella Marie, looking up from her needlepoint. She was working on a cushion cover with an Egyptian theme.
“How far away is Chickasaw?”
“Why, that’s not far away at all,” Arthur said, and then went into some detail involving road numbers that neither of the ladies paid attention to.
“What all is a happening over there in Chickasaw anyway?” asked Ella Marie.
“Can you drive me over there? I have to kidnap a baby,” said Jacqui.
Noticing the astonished looks on her friends faces she hastened to add, “Oh it had already been kidnapped. I just have to kidnap it back, the mother misses it.”
Arthur and his wife said “Ah” in unison, recalling the time when the divorced father had snatched the neighbours children, causing poor Mary Lou no end of grief.
“Of course we’ll help you, that child needs his mother,” Arthur said. “Where in Chickasaw are they holding him?”
“That’s the tricky part, Art. The exact location isn’t known. In fact, ” Jacqui said, “In all honestly I don’t quite know where to go from here.”
It had been rather a bold move on Tajine’s part, especially as she was a new member of the staff at Little Big Hopeswell, but an ingenious one, or so she thought. Tajine always aimed to please; nothing gave her more pleasure than to arrange wonderful little surprises for people based on her assumptions of what would please them. In her few short weeks with Ann, she couldn’t help but notice the disparaging remarks her publisher, Pig Littleon, habitually made about Ann’s work. The last straw for Tajine had been when Godfrey referrred to Ann’s streams of thought as ‘incoherent’, and it was at that point that the plan began to form in her mind.
“Compliments to the new cook! I must say, that was the most delicious bacon sandwich I have ever tasted,” remarked Arthur, wiping his lips with a napkin. “You must ask Tajine where she buys her bacon, it has an enticingly subtle hint of peanut, quite delicious!”
“Arthur, DAHling, how good of you to come!” Ann hugged her old freind.
“Ann!” Arthur smiled broadly, his grey eyes twinkling merrily. “You don’t look a day over 3757 years old, how do you do it!”
“Oh, Arthur” Ann blushed “Go on with you! You’re looking rather sprightly yourself, for an old coot. Come on inside, the new cook’s preparing a snack lunch, you must be hungry after your trip. Tajine von Snork’s her name, and she makes a mean bacon buttie. Jibblington will see to your luggage.”
Arthur Bickerswell-Snodley had been delighted to receive Ann’s invitation to stay with her at Little Big Hopeswell for the May Day weekend. He hadn’t seen Ann for 570 years, although they had remained in contact through the years, at first by old fashioned handwritten letters, and later by email —as well, of course, by telepathic means and out of body rendezvous— but this was to be an actual physical visit.
Arthur travelled by train to Chipping Else Hampton, where Jibblington, Ann’s chauffeur and general dogsbody, met him in the old jalopy, a rather grand old Silver Ghost Rolls.
Jibblington, it must be stated, worked part time for Ann, as did the enigmatic cleaning lady, Franlise — both were merely aspects of much larger personalities elsewhere engaged in myriad pursuits. Jibblington was a much of a mystery to Ann as dear Franlise was, not to mention old Godfrey Pig Littleton. Godrey’s flooh, in point of fact, had been the catalyst behind Ann’s invitation to Arthur.
While Jibblington and Bickerswell-Snodley glided along the country lanes, cushioned and buoyant in the silver car’s plush, if a trifle vulgar, crimson upholstery, Ann tutted in exasperation as Godfrey pestered her to finish her latest entry to the Play.
Ella Marie Tindale was one of the many people reported missing after the floods. Her body was never found and her husband Arthur intuitively felt that she was still alive, although he had said little to the police. They hadn’t connected the mummy’s disappearance to his wifes disappearance, but Arthur had his suspicions.
One night a few weeks previously, Arthur heard Ella Marie talking in her sleep. She often mumbled aloud, that was nothing out of the ordinary, but Arthur had had a nasty jolt when he read about the theft of the mummy, and recalled that Ella had been talking to a mummy in her sleep. He couldn’t imagine why Ella would steal a mummy, let alone walk out on their marriage in the middle of a flood, of all things, but then, Ella had always been strange.
Arthur Tindale sighed. He missed his wife.
Ella Marie put the encounter to the back of her mind, and whistled loudy and kept her eyes averted when dusting the mummy case during the following months. It wasn’t until the floods of the following spring that she heard Elioctyl’s voice again, urging her to take action, that now was the perfect opportunity.
Pssst! Ella! Do it now, NOW!
NO! shouted Ella Marie.
Suit yourself, Honey, replied her husband Arthur, pouring himself a cup of coffee from a thermos and screwing the lid back on.
Ella Marie spun round, saying HUH? Yes, I mean yes, please.
Arthur raised an eyebrow and tutted. You said No, Ella, who was you talking to anyway?
Oh Lordy, Art, I was just saying NO to all the flooding, NO more rain, and all….Ella Marie replied, but her mind was racing.
Art Honey, why don’t you wade round to your mothers and see if she’s ok, why dontcha, and I’ll start moving stuff up into the attic. River’s gonna burst its banks tonight, I reckon, we oughta do what we can now.
Don’t get lifting nothing too heavy, ya hear? Leave anything you can’t manage for me, I’ll do it when I get back, Arthur replied.
As soon as Art was out of the door and down the porch steps, Ella Marie raced out the back door and into the garage. The adrenaline was pumping through her veins, and she felt light as air, and fit as a twenty year old. Her flashlight beam swept the garage…she didn’t know what, precisely, she was looking for, but she knew she’d find it.
Aha! Ella Marie spotted a coil of washing line rope, and a tarpaulin. Stuffing the flashlight into her pocket, she grabbed the surfboard off the hooks on the wall and dragged it outside, the rope and tarpaulin under her arm. Quickly she tied the tarpaulin to the surfboard, tethering it to the garage door handle while she went back inside for the oars out of the uninflated dinghy. The flood water was past her ankles now, inching towards her knees, as she set off for the museum, pulling the surfboard behind her, thankful for the power blackout and the dark streets.JibParticipant
Arthur, the bald eagle was flying quite high above the land… he was unnoticed but was here.
He was following a raft drifting along with the current of Self River… He could see far in the distance… and could hear a tiny goaty voice
— What no bald eagle icon!?
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