“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.” 

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Who Are You?

Leopold opened his eyes. It was the sort of coming to that happened in stages. At first the light stung his eyes as if he’d been asleep for some time. He raised a hand to shield them and felt a pain in his shoulder. Next, the light brought with it information about where he was waking up.

The walls were decorated unlike the room he’d been occupying. Yet Madam Prie sat watching by his bed. He surmised he’d been moved to her private quarters.

“How long?” He grunted.  It was his fashion to show women more courtesy but the concoction of shoulder pain, splitting headache and confusion as to unfolding events was taking its toll.

“Couple hours.” Came the gentle reply. “Let me tell you a lot’s gone on.”

“Where am I?” Leopold thought it prudent to double-check and assess his safety.

“Honey, you’re safe, don’t worry. I got you held up in my private suite and before you ask don’t nobody know you’re here. I told them boys that came looking for your body that you ran off with your tail ‘tween your legs.

Clearly Madam Prie was as streetwise as Leopold and he trusted her assessment.

“It was that bellboy, Shankly, he must have talked. No-one knew I was here!” His voice betrayed that he was clutching at straws.

“That’s mighty weak Mr.Haman. I knew you were here didn’t I? So too did all the guests down in the bar when you checked in. Throw in a couple of snoopers on the street when you arrived and you got a heap of people who knew exactly where you were.”

She was right of course and Leopold knew it, “Smart lady.” He thought.

“What I’m more interested in is exactly who it is who brought a hole in the wall to my hotel?”

It was a reasonable question to ask and Leopold didn’t know where to start. He just lay his head back and braced himself for an awkward conversation.

***

It’s been a while. I’ve swapped writing for DIY in the summer Sun. But as you might expect in Wales the sun was short lived. So with the rain comes more writing and with that writing comes a few more instalments of a guy I’d missed, Leopold Haman.

Perfume

Dust was settling on his head. The scratching sound had changed into a booming sound and now a ringing sound in his ears. Leopold twisted his head around to assess the damage done. As his neck turned it sent spasms through his upper body. He could see right through the hole left in the wall. A huge space the size of 5 men standing side by side. Through it just another empty room.

“Who tipped them off?” He breathlessly asked himself. “That bell boy has some questions to answer. I don’t tip that well in order to be found!”

Gently he placed his palms on the ground and tried to lift himself. His shoulders quaked and he fell heap like on the floor. Through the ringing he could hear quick footsteps in the hallway. Judging by their percussiveness it was the hotels owner, Madam Prie, coming to see what had happened.

She burst suddenly into the room, half expecting to find her guest blown into a thousand pieces, half expecting to expose Leopold as teh culprit  She wasn’t expecting to find the strong, deliberate, calm man who had checked in yesterday morning lying bedraggled on the floor; blood seeping from a gash in his forehead.

Leopold hated others seeing him so vulnerable, least of all a woman as beautiful as Madam Prie, he was embarrassed. Yet he’d trained himself never to blush, he wasn’t going to show her any colour.

“Mr. Haman!? Are you all right?” Her soft, southern accent soothed the ringing in his ears.

“I’m afraid my dear that I’m quite how you see me to be. Struck down by the force of that blast and unable to right myself.” He tried once again to lift his medium-sized frame from the floor. He couldn’t.

Madam Prie stepped over to his side and lay her hand on his chest, “Take it easy sir, help is on its way.” He believed her. He allowed her perfume to send him silently into unconsciousness.

Boom

From little acorns do mighty oaks grow. That was an adage that Leopold knew all too well. On numerous occasions he’d been in taverns and bars and witnessed seemingly innocuous disagreements alchemy into all out mass brawls. But he was a cool head. Often surrounded by such chaos part of his skill was to not be enveloped by it. Leopold had long ago lost the ability to flinch.

Flaking paint textureThen he heard it. A small, insignificant scratching sound. Repeating in beats of three.

*Tink* *Tink* *Tink*

He turned his head to face the wall he thought the sound was coming from and he felt the corse fibres of his uncomfortable scarf pull at his three-day old stubble.

“What on earth is that?” He thought. “It’s too percussive to be a mouse gnawing at the skirting board; couldn’t be tap dripping either.”

When Leopold had rented the room he’d expressly asked that the two rooms either side remain unoccupied for the duration of his stay. Slowly he rose from the chair which furnished the otherwise bare space and silently made his way towards the wall.

*Tink* *Tink* *Tink*

“What ever is it!?”

Leopold pressed his ear against the flaking paintwork and listened. The noise stopped. All that remained was his breathing and the slamming of a door out on the landing.

“Flint!” Suddenly he realised what the sound had been; two flint stones crashing together in the hope of igniting a spark. Leopold instantly understood that they’d found him yet again. He also understood that as he stood there with cheek resting against the partition wall that a short powder fuse was burning its way towards a makeshift bomb. He surmised that he hadn’t the time to supposed so instead he readied himself. Sat down and braced for the blunt force that was about to strike him.

How things often escalate! A disagreement in a bar; or even a small scratching sound, ‘tink, tink, tink.’

*Boom*

– Image courtesy oDietmar Down Under –

Bump

Preamble: The following short story was written as part of the Trifecta Writing Challenge. Dan, the main character  is the protagonist in a super hero novel I’m writing called, “The Specials.” In it he develops his ability of seeing the future and together with friends takes on a criminal mastermind, €A$Y. Enjoy 🙂

***

Bumper Car

Dan was rushing. If he had any chance of seeing her today he had to make the bus. “Why is the future so dark, so cold?” He wondered.

Bump

Dan was no longer moving in the right direction to catch his bus. Instead he was spinning round, drowning in a cascade of papers as he recoiled from clashing shoulders with a stranger heading in the opposite direction.

It was in many senses a lucky bump. Instantly Dan saw a whole set of different futures unfurl in his mind. Where before all he could see was darkness, this lucky bump was beginning to shine a brighter light on things. Before the bump he’d been destined to catch the 9:43 bus at the end of the road; but the bump and subsequent tidying of strewn papers from the floor meant that he was sure to miss it and so miss the impending explosion.

Of course Dan would have foreseen the explosion from his favourite seat near the back of the lower deck and would no doubt done something to stop it or at least raised the alarm and rallied innocent victims off the bus. Now, while he stood leaning against the cold metal frame of the shelter he heard the distant boom of the bus exploding into flames.

€A$Y had struck again. This time closer to Dan’s home, his family and loved ones than ever before.

The bump was lucky for him, but luck is really just a relative term.

***

Image from Digiray CC by 2.0