“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.

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 –

Borrowed Time

Time was running out. Hell, I didn’t even know how much I had to begin with. 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, my hourglass empty. I was on borrowed time and 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. My time had come.

I heard the ponderous footsteps on the asphalt. I heard the condescendingly polite knock at the door.

Time’s up.

A Word Paints a Thousand Pictures: Image vs. Text

They say a picture paints a thousand words. There’s plenty to be said on that front. But it’s true also to say that:

a word paints a thousand pictures.

Do you know what I mean? When I say winter, a picture (or pictures) immediately jump into my mind. They’re probably totally different to the pictures that jump into your mind.

In this post I want to share 5 images/thoughts that spring to my mind when I hear the word,  ‘Chicago.’

delicious deep pan Chicago pizza

all rights reserved aymane.hamahmy – flickr

Firstly, it has to be the pizza. Chicago town pizza is brand that is pretty successful in the UK. Their microwavable mini-pizza’s kept me going through university so I think I’ll always feel a debt of gratitude to the great city of Chicago for giving us great pizzas.

Confession time: I’m actually a bigger fan of thin Italian bases than I am of the deep dish 😮

Al Capone Portrait

all rights reserved che1899 – flickr

Secondly, I think of Al Capone the infamous gangster. He was from Chicago right? Specifically I think about the Valentines Day massacre that I learnt about in school. In my mind’s eye he’s the quintessential gangster, setting the standard for all others to adhere to. The Valentines Day massacre particularly sticks in my mind because of the juxtaposition of emotions that the event conjures.

I was also fascinated to find out that Capone was finally arrested and convicted not for bootlegging, murder, or anything of that nature. Instead he was finally brought to justice for…tax evasion.

Album art from Sufjan Stevens'

Chicago is in Illinois right?

Thirdly, I think of the Sufjan Stevens song (and the album artwork from Come on Feel the Illinoise). Interestingly the album art includes I figure I’ve  always assumed to be Al Capone. I’m happy to be corrected on that one.

Sufjan’s song is a favourite of mine and it’s one that I often share with friends I’m trying to turn onto Steven’s as it’s one of his more accessible tracks.

two men kayaking on the green Chicago river

all rights reserved Jonathan Wood – flickr

Fourthly, I think of the Chicago river running green every March 17th. It seems from a distant observer that St.Patrick’s Day is of far more significance on the US side of the Atlantic than the British.

St. Patrick’s Day tends to be around the same time of year that we in the UK celebrate Comic Relief. So I’ve got some fun associations with this in my mind.

Barack Obama on the Cover of Time Magazine

all rights reserved Tony Fischer – flickr

Fifthly, and finally, I can but think of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. The little that we learn of him this side of the pond includes the fact that he was Senator for Illinois before running for President.

It’s funny that in the UK Obama is considered nothing short of a hero yet I guess no-one could tell you why that is. I think he’s so well loved over here not for who he is but for who he’s not. George W. Bush.

#Part of the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge#

Meet Gio

Allow me to introduce you to Gio. He’s a character in a novel I’m writing (sshhh, that’s a secret). He isn’t the main protagonist but he does play a fairly major role in proceedings. I’ve previously done a character sketch on my main character, Dan, but this is first time I’ll set down some solid ideas about Gio, his background and what makes him tick:

Gio, real name Glenn, is a 16-year-old who’s in the process of trying to reinvent himself. Like most 16-year-old boys he’s very concerned with his appearance and how members of the opposite sex perceive him. Being Glenn from Dundee just never seemed particularly ‘sexy’ to him.

Enter Gio, his new persona. The name derives from Glenn in the following way. Firstly, drop all letters until you’re left with G. People called him that for a while. Then, introduce two new letters that give you a Mediterranean feel. Try ‘i’ and ‘o’. Add a smidgen of olive skin and people are left wondering, “Is he really Italian?”

Mysterious. Sexy.

Gio is a pupil at St. Swithun’s College in East Hampton. It’s a boarding school so most of the other pupils don’t need to know he’s really from Dundee rather than the Italian Riviera. He’s an only child which means that his parents dote on him. The common word to describe him is spoilt. But what parents wouldn’t want to give their only child all that they could?

Gio has a short fuse. He never really blows his top but he’s easily aggravated. Yet to those he likes he’s warm, caring, funny and dependable sort of guy. Those who are closest to him know when they’ve set him off which means that most of his ranting and raving is ignored. Gio doesn’t mind as long as people let him blow off his steam.

Gio’s ability* is his super sense of smell. It comes in a few parts…

Firstly, he can literally see smells. They appear to him coloured as if the gas that carried them were laced with dye. Secondly, his nose is super sensitive. Even the faintest whiff to others is a real stench to Gio. Finally, he can make smells visible to others if he so wishes.

Gio is just a typical teenage boy with an odd super power. Desperate to impress but deep down longing to be accepted.

*I should mention that my novel is set in a world were abilities are common but not altogether glamorous.

#Part of the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge#