“B and B and B”

This is an entry for the weekly Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week, the challenge is to include the word ‘grasp’ used in the sense to comprehend.

It’s not a stand alone story, it’s a further revelation in my ongoing story about Leopold Haman. So, it isn’t very exciting on it’s own. But for those who have read the other instalments it’s a little clarification as to what on earth is going on.

Enjoy either way.

——–

The sign above the door read, “BBQ, BEER & BOSOMS.” It was exactly the sort of place Leopold despised. He hated himself a little for being there, but he needed information and there was no-one better than Giggs for getting that.  Unfortunately, this was exactly the sort of place Giggs loved.

Leopold strode through the front door with the confidence of a man who knew he was being hunted; that is to say very little. Hunched in a feeble effort to hide his face, he walked quickly and avoided eye contact. Leopold’s trademark overcoat gave him away. Once they saw that, every man in the bar knew exactly who’d condescended to their level.

“Giggs, my good man.” Leopold  whispered, still trying to conceal his presence. His whisper simply disappeared into the melting pot of sounds that bubbled through the room. “Giggs, sir, I wish to benefit from your unique talents.”

“Well, well, well, Mr. Haman. Lord of the manor, knight of the round table, professor of all the world. I wonder what on earth you could be doing in the B&B&B?” Giggs was fond of Leopold really; but it was in his nature to have a bit of fun when the opportunity arose.

“You know very well why I’m here, a man of your abilities. Don’t let’s drag this out…” Leopold, still whispered, but spoke such that he was certain he’d be understood.

Giggs’ eyes narrowed, “You’ve not begun to grasp the situation you’re in have you Leo? You’re up to your neck. You’re past you’re neck. You’re neck disappeared long ago!”

Leopold was getting impatient. “Whose following me and why!? … If you don’t mind.”

“It’s the boss, Leo. Turns out you do your job a little too well. You killed his son protecting that politician and now he’s offering a pretty penny for your scalp.” 

Leopold, for the first time in nearly 20 years, was flustered. He grabbed Giggs by the collar, “I suggest we discuss this further outside.” 

“Drive”

The tinny sound of ricocheting bullets rang loud in Leopold’s ears. It was hard for him to tell just how close the shots were from the sound alone but the small puffs of lime plaster exploding off the walls one foot away from his and his assets heads showed he didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. Leopold wrapped his arm tightly around the neck of the man he was protecting and drew him tightly into his own chest.

“Stay down. This will all be over momentarily.” Leopold’s speech was calm and even. 

In one fluid motion he sent his asset sprawling to the floor, pushing himself up off his shoulder. He carried his upward momentum into a half spin and presented himself, face to face, with the would be assassins. In the blink of an eye he fired off two rounds from the hand gun he’d produced from the holster concealed beneath his coat.

He was only visible for a split second. His turn had taken him from the protection of the thick oak bar to the safety of a large supporting pillar. He waited. Perhaps 3 or 4 seconds. He slowly slid his gun away before coolly grabbing his asset by the scruff of the neck and hoisting him off the ground.

“Quickly. I’ve yet to determine whether those gentlemen are the first wave or the full extent of the attempt on your life.”

As Leopold led the quaking man towards the back of the building, his asset craned his neck to snatch a glance at the effects of his handlers shots. The two men who moments earlier had burst into the abandoned bar now lay motionless, like a pair of marble statues. Their faces were obscured by the dark red blood that flowed liberally from the gaping wounds in the middle of their foreheads.

“My man will have heard the commotion. We’ll find a carriage ready and waiting just through here. This way please.”

It was a little odd that Leopold would say ‘please’ to someone he was treating so severely. But Leopold knew his place and he knew his job. He’d been hired to protect this man and in a situation such as they found themselves in that meant taking the bull by the horns. Yet he was still in this man’s employment. The employment of a rich, no doubt important man, so he was sure to remember his manners, as he tended to no matter how important an individual was.

Leopold kicked out at the door in front of them, he was in too much of a hurry to even try the handle. His heavy boot sent wood splintering in all directions and the afternoon light came flooding in. The contrast, gloomy darkness into a spring afternoon, made it difficult to see what was in the alley before them.  Sure enough there stood a plain carriage, drawn by a solitary horse, driven by a smart though obviously poor man.

Leopold tossed his asset across the bench at the rear of the carriage.

“Feel free to lie down and rest sir.” Once again his politeness was in stark opposition to the roughness with which he was handling the man.

Gripping the side of the carriage Leopold readied himself for a quick get away. “Drive.”

Murphy and Associates

Gregory sat alone in the offices of ‘Murphy and Associates’. A dilapidated building in as great a ruin as the law firm it housed. Gregory Murphy had no associates. Nor did he have any clients. Someone had once tried to console him, “You may not be the best lawyer, but if they were handing out prizes for the worst you’d defiantly win!”

“I wish,” Gregory thought to himself, “if they did hand out prizes at least I’d have something to show for 20 years in the legal game.”

Gregory had been a lawyer for little over 20 years and in that time had never won a case. He was without a doubt the greatest bungler in legal history. Once in a cross examination of a confessed thief he managed to instil such doubt in the juries mind that the criminal was released! He’d lost count of the number of times he’d arrived at the wrong court room or brought the wrong papers with him. He knew it himself, he simply wasn’t cut out for law. It was time to give up.

Gregory stood up from behind his clumsily organised desk and walked towards the door. The sign which was to welcome folks in read ‘closed’ from his side of the door. He took it in order to turn it but it came off in his hand. The suction cup which kept it attached to the glass had come unstuck. Dejected, Gregory simply tossed it aside towards a near by waste paper basket. He missed.

Gregory slouched so heavily that his head was almost lost inside his chest. He opened the door and walked out, never to return.

***

Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Write about a time everything did — fiction encouraged here, too!

Daily Prompt: In defence of Clichés!

Clichés become clichés for a reason. Tell us about the last time a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush for you.

I think people give clichés a hard time. Seriously, lighten up. We love to say, “Oh that’s such a cliché.” without realising that in complaining about clichés we are becoming the monster we bemoan.

But that’s not my point. My point is this:

Clichés are clichés for a reason.

Generally clichés have become clichés for one of two reasons; both are reason enough to stop giving them such a hard time.

Man holding Tower of Pisa up.

This is a cliché. It’s still fun to do though!

Reason numero uno: Because they are true. Take the cliché that comes in the prompt. Is a bird in hand worth two in the bush? Well, yes. It’s great advice because it carries a weight of truth.

Raison d’être part de second: Over usage. Is this really a reason to run a cliché down? For starters, clichés that are over used tend to be overused because the work well. Aside from that, when can we really say too much is too much? Perhaps for someone it isn’t overused. Is it still a cliché for them?

So stop complaining about clichés, let them slide, perhaps learn from their ability to withstand the test of time.

People who use clichés on the other hand, now that’s a different story.

Daily Bread: Seconds

Describe the most satisfying meal you’ve ever eaten in glorious detail.

sgt pepper millAnything with Jalapeños in it. Seriously. I’m contemplating finely chopping them and drizzling them over my cornflakes of a morning. Is there anything they can’t improve?

Perhaps I’m on to something here…we seem to have developed a taste for salt and pepper to such an extent that we assume they should be on the table to accompany every meal, why not a little ‘Jalapeño Pepper Mill’?

Here are two suggested recipes for using Jalapeños in meals you might not think:

Cheese and Jalapeños on toast – Simply intersperse your usual ‘grilled cheese’ with delicious Jalapeños. My favourite is mature cheddar on white bread. Toast the bread lightly before applying the cheese evenly. Grill until the cheese begins to melt then add the Jalapeños. When the cheese begins to brown you’re good to go!

Spicy Bolognese – Simply make (or purchase) your standard bolognese and add truck loads of Jalapeños from a jar. I suggest using jar Jalapeños for this recipe as the water they are stored in adds a little something to the recipe too. Perhaps make it for a friend who doesn’t like spice in their food but don’t tell them! It will at least give you something to laugh about later.

Does anyone else use Jalapeños in everything they cook? What’s the weirdest place you’ve used (and enjoyed!) them?

Daily Prompt: InstaScam [Undo]

If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

This is an easy one, an opportunity to wax lyrical about a pet hate of mine. Instagram.

First, a few things I do like…

  • Sharing photos – anyone who is friends with me on Facebook or follows me on Twitter will know that I’m constantly posting pictures of my family, events I attend or things that amuse me.
  • Twitter – yep, it’s my favourite social network, it’s where I interact with people I care most about, find news items that might interest me and generally spend my social networking time. Facebook is more a place for me to store photos and organise events.
  • Filters – I’m no idiot. I know your toast looks more delicious with a bit of vintage grunge applied.

So why do I hate Instagram? Why do I wish that it was un-invented? Well there’s a historic reason and there’s a more up-to-date reason too…

Toast

Toast captured in an Instagram Square Filter of Doom – from katiedeaves

Historic – I’ve never been able to figure out why Instagram insists on squaring off all your photos? What’s the deal? Who’s ever heard of square photographs? Certainly not the good people who print photographs in 6×4 or alike. Certainly not the people who developed the portrait vs. landscape screen I view the pictures on. Why, oh why must all Instagram pictures be squared off!?!

This is even more mind-boggling when you consider that for quite some time it was a iPhone only app. Are there people walking around with square iPhones I don’t know about?

Up-to-date – One of the features I love about Twitter is when links (such as WordPress blog posts or YouTube videos) preview at the bottom of the tweet. It helps to decide whether you’re going to click-through or not. In the case of pictures displayed using something like pic.twitter.com url’s it negates having to click-through at all! So when a service like Instagram decides to rescind that function I get, “like totz annoyed.”

So what would happen if it got ‘un-invented’? Well, to pay Instagram it’s dues, it did pave the way for the photo filter craze. Some may see that as a bad thing but as I’ve already said I quite like it. If Instagram hadn’t taken off as it did I doubt Twitter would have filter integration and the Facebook camera app wouldn’t exist. Both those things would be a real shame.

But as an alternative here’s what I’d recommend. Firstly, if you use an iPhone and Facebook, get the Facebook camera app. It’s as good as all the actual Facebook apps have been bad. In my book it’s the best designed app on the iPhone. If I then want to post those pictures on Twitter to then they are right there in my camera roll (in their original aspect ratio!) for me to post. Simple.

If you don’t use Facebook, then why not just stick to the filters bundled with the Twitter app? Okay, they aren’t the best, but neither is your photography. Seriously, it just isn’t that good. The benefit is I can recognize that without having to click-through some links.

If you do either of these things I’ll be eternally grateful 🙂

Nightmare, singular.

Describe the last nightmare you remember having. What do you think it meant?

I think I’m odd. In my entire life I’ve only ever had one nightmare. I think there are a number of possible explanations:

Firstly, my brain likes me. We’re close you know. I help it out by not getting squashed by a falling piano, it helps me out by not terrifying me at my most vulnerable, in my sleep.

Secondly, I quite enjoy my ‘horror’ dreams. Perhaps I do have nightmares but don’t categories them as such because they don’t scare me. I went through a period where Each night of the week I was a different secret agent. Sometimes defeating the bad guys sometimes not. But as a big James Bond, Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer (and even Sydney Bristow) fan I never found these frightening. Exciting and entertaining is probably a better description!

Thirdly, I do have nightmares but I simply don’t remember them. Perhaps this is the case, who knows, not even on some seriously cheese fuelled Christmas nights can I remember having any nightmares. I’ve always assumed that if you have a nightmare you remember it.

skeleton sat on a chair

from Power House Museum on flickr

Which ever of the above is the case though, I have had one nightmare and it was truly terrifying. In it I travelled to a parallel dimension (don’t worry about the physics) through a gateway that people in our dimension shouldn’t have been able to use. The amazing thing about the parallel dimension was that it was impossible to die there. Sounds great, no?

Here’s the catch. Because I wasn’t from that dimension, when the powers that be found this out I was sentenced to be shackled forever at the bottom of the sea. So I drowned for eternity because remember, you can’t actually die.

Now to the question, “What do I think it meant?”

Well that’s easy, I think it was my brain telling me, ‘Please Sammy do us both a favour, don’t just dodge falling pianos, try and avoid drowning too.’

Daily Prompt: Plain Old Gio…as Odd as the Next Guy

…tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

[Note this isn’t about me, the blog author, this is about Gio, a character in a novel I’m writing who I previously wrote about for another daily prompt here]

I guess other people view me in one of 3 ways. Either they think I’m a freak who they want to belittle, or I’m a celebrity they want to rub shoulders with, or I’m just another guy like one of them. The thing that makes them view me like that has very little to do with my life or who I really am, it’s all down to the fact that I’m a special and I have an ability.

Other specials just see me as plain old Gio…as odd as the next guy. But people without abilities either hold us up or want to smash us down. I guess that’s the way it’s going to be for a while until everyone uncovers a special in their family tree.

So here’s 6 things that people looking in from the outside probably don’t realise:

  1. My ability to ‘see’ smells is a blessing and a curse. It means that smells are twice as strong for me as the rest of you. Too much even of a good thing can make you feel queasy.
  2. Smells I end up liking tend to be greenish in colour while smells I dislike appear more of a redish brown.
  3. All smells are a mixture of colours…a bit like a tie-dye shirt.
  4. I don’t want to take over the world. People always assume that specials want to get together so they can take over. Half the specials in your street don’t even want you to know about their abilities let alone use them to enslave you. In any case  have you ever met a special with an ability that was actually useful?!
  5. My real name is Glenn.
  6. I have webbed toes (not really :p  )

Daily Prompt: Mmmm, Mento’s

Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

men·tor  – /ˈmenˌtôr/
Noun: An adviser.
Verb: To advice or train (someone).
Synonyms: adviser, preceptor, monitor, counsellor, tutor.

The best advice I’ve ever been given was from my father. To put it in context my father has given me a lot of advice, as have numerous other people, but for the most part it’s ‘in one ear and out the other’ with me. So much so that I’d struggle to list 10 pieces of advice I’ve previously been given. This means the advice I do remember, vividly, must be the best I’ve heard. Or at least it’s the advice I’ve taken most to heart.

It goes a little something like this:

If you don’t ask you don’t get.

The fact that this, above all other pearls of wisdom, has stayed with me probably says more about me than the advice itself. Nonetheless it’s great advice. Often we’re too afraid to simply ask for something; help, directions, a second helping, advice! If we’re not careful we can go through life without ever asking for anything. Some might say that’s a good thing, to be self sufficient.  I say we all need others and when we neglect to ask others we’re the ones who miss out.

Thanks dad, I’ll always ask. Sometimes people will say no. Too bad. But sometimes I’ll get that bigger potion, sometimes I’ll carry a lighter load, sometimes I’ll live a fuller life. All because you advised me too, because you’ve been a mentor.

The Clock – (150 Words or Less)

Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.” 

Time was running out. Hell, I didn’t even know how much I had to begin with, but I was sure by now my hourglass was empty.

It’s funny how we’re content to let time tick by, hour by hour, day by day. We’re careful with money, which comes and goes, but our precious time we treat far too loosely.

Now my time was gone. I was on borrowed time and I was just waiting for someone to come collect.

Another car drove by and I twitched at the curtains again. Not this time.

If I knew what it would cost I never would have gotten in so deep. But that’s how some people make a living and how some people end up dead, we forget to count the cost.

I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock. Time up.