Monthly Archives: August 2015

Doughnuts in the Morning

Sir Tempest Brockel rubbed the perspiration from his brow and moaned. The heat was unbearable, he thought to himself, and it was draining watching the hired hands excavate the tomb. As he watched one slowed down a bit and a swell of outrage rose in Sir Tempest’s breast, but it was too hot for that, and so he retired to the tent to sip on fresh-pressed oranges and eat the sweet dates of Al-Garbled. If the workers found anything they would call him.

He had no sooner slipped through the tent-flap when the cries began, and he ran straight back outside.

‘A tomb, Offendi,’ cried his right hand man, the name of whom Sir Tempest could never remember, it being fiendishly difficult. All foreign names were; why couldn’t they stick to simple ones like Archibald, Algernon and Agamemnon, just to take the ‘A’s’for example?

Pondering on this impenetrable mystery, he wandered over to the structure being uncovered, losing half his bodyweight in fluids from the heat. Crouching down over an inscription just legiable, partly out of interest and partly to prevent his suddenly far too loose trousers from falling down, he blanched.

‘There’s a curse on this one!’ he cried, suddenly regretting it. The natives exchanged glances.

‘It just says ‘If you dare to uncover this tomb- Do not enter!’ explained another of the men, whose fiendishly difficult name was much harder to remember than, for example, Montgomery, Montmorency or Marsupial. although Sir Tempest was not too sure about that last one either, come to think of it.

Another native turned up, and the tall Englishman gave a sigh of relief as it was the only one he could ever remember the name of .

‘What do you want Halibut?’

‘That is Al- Biet, Sir Ten-pests,’ replied the man with good humour; ‘I just wanted to know if I could keep this small trinket in exchange for helping you fully uncover the tomb.’ And he produced a four-foot tall roll of bandages.

Sir Tempest looked at it lazily.

‘That’s fair;- oh, that’s who I came for!’ He turned bright red, but not out of annoyance, out of sunburn which could come on quite suddenly over here, and added; ‘no way. I’ll dig out the Tomb with may bare hands if I have too!’

Four months later, Sir Tempest scooped up the final handful and proudly strode into the tomb. In doing so he became the first person to die of doughnut asphyxiation; the curse, which he had misheard, was ‘doughnut enter, and they did so at the rate of one a second, popping into existence between him and the door. And what was worse was that they were jam doughnuts; and so Sir Tempest Brockel came to a sticky end.

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Autumn Falls

You would expect that Autumn personified would be a red-head. Sadly, at least in this reality this was not strictly the case; true a few wisps of reddish-brown hair clung to his head like a shipwrecked sailor to a domed desert-island, but most of it had fallen out. If you understand how things work this would not surprise you. But this coldish and dampish day Autumn has more to worry about than the fact he is follicly challenged; for he had heard that Winter, fed up with being last of the Four Seasons, has decided to come and slay his precursor act, and has a sword of the sharpest frost. A decomposing leaf offers little by way of opposition.

And so Autumn has retreated into his gloomy and damp castle to take stock and devise a plan which will save his skin, and spends the evenings in a foul mood. However it is not possible to spend to long facing the prospect of imminent termination without either having an idea or going mad, and as he strongly suspected he already was the latter, Autumn did the former.

Two days later, Winter arrived at Autumns castle, and was greeted by a very fat man.

‘Have you seen Autumn?’

The voice was icy.

‘Yes,’ the man replied with a grin. ‘I have.’

‘Where is he?’ came the demand in a voice full of frost; ‘and who are you?’

‘I’m a travel agent,’ the man replied with a grin, ‘and he’s gone on holiday. You can go there to if you like; I’ve got a vacancy in about three months.’

‘I’ll take it,’ replied the cold one, and this explains a lot.

Sea-life

Some things are more than strange. They are bizarre, that most wonderful of words that makes the hard of hearing reach for their shopping-bags, and nets a decent score in scrabble. And one of these things was the planet of Gooman-Gusht, a small planet circling an unimportant star near the intergalactic drop-off point in the milky way.

The planet’s bizarreness manifested itself in many ways, from the native Squeegons, intelligent spongiforms who did little besides hang around gossiping as they filter their food out of the warm purple seas that circle the planet’s landmasses. The Squeegons never went to war, always got on, and were perfectly tempered; sure signs of something having gone horribly, horribly wrong somewhere. The planet had actually been invaded four hundred times, but since each successive invader had been a land-dweller this did not bother them unduly, although the bits of bodies falling in the sea as the varying armies hacked each other to bits was mildly discomforting. Still, the leading Squeegons maintained that at least they learnt a lot about biology that way, even if they were not quite sure how you pieced them all together.

It took a long time for mankind to get to Gooman-Gusht, mainly because it was a very long walk , but when they did they studied the Squeegons extensively, much to the latter’s displeasure. In the end though, they only learnt one thing from them- that the sea of knowledge is highly overrated. Especially if you don’t know how all the bits fit together.

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Sample story 1. (eBooks by Severely Odd available on Amazon)

With pirates you can never really be sure. Oh, they’ll make someone walk the plank sooner or later, at least if they can get hold of a plank, but about everything else you can’t be sure. Take the crew of the Jolly Robert, a particularly nasty bunch who have just successfully boarded a ship carrying dynamite to the fabled island of Los Temrabel, where it is needed for silver-mining. At the moment they are killing the crew, but this is merely for business purposes rather than any pleasure they get out of it; indeed, the captain has a deep self-loathing for himself that can only be assuaged by regularly giving money to good causes, such as the Bingham home for psychotic stray cats.

Arhaaaar!’

This cry, the death-yell of an overenthusiastic pirate who has just impaled himself on a pointy thing being held by the man he has cornered, has an electric effect on the Jolly Robert’s crew, mainly as it causes them to break out into a chorus of ‘arharrrrs’ dominated by baritone and tenor. There is at least one soprano, plus a falsetto that is the product of Fat Tony, the would-be opera singer. His parents had forced him into a more useful profession, and so here he was, but he still harboured the desire to do something truly epic. As he isn’t a smoker he is going to miss his chance.

Slim Yellow Jake is a smoker, and so he is going to do something truly epic. It is actually a surprisingly small gesture, just the dropping of the match which he has lit his pipe with- bloodbaths always making him nervous- down through a crack in the deck. There is no silver in the sea, but if there were he would have contributed a bit to its recoverability due to a complicated bit of chemistry involving the still-lit match and the until-now-unlit dynamite. It is a spectacular bit of chemistry, and things become very interesting for a very brief moment in time. 

Make him walk the plank!’

Considering the circumstances, you might tend to sympathise just this once with the old pirate custom which the Captain of the now-destroyed Jolly Robert wishes Slim Yellow Jake to benefit from. The newly re-named Flat Tony, who now has the beginnings of a lifelong-hatred of the letter ‘L’, certainly sympathises. Still, one of the other pirates has to point out the obvious problem-

Captain; we are on a plank.’

There is a pause while this is considered.

Well he can walk it, can’t he?’

The pirate cursed with the flaw of being practical (he never stuck burning things in his beard, for example, due to carcinogens,) spoke again.

It will tip over. And there aren’t any sharks and there are loads of other planks he can get hold of. All that you’ll achieve is that we’ll all get wet.’

The Captain thought about this.

He’ll get wet as well.’

He’s wet already.’

The Captain now thought he saw an opening.

So it shouldn’t matter if we get wet either, as were all wet!’

Yes, but we’ll get more wet. Or is it wetter?’

Alright, you’ve convinced me. Make him walk the plank!’

The practical pirate realising that he had been rather cornered into this, turned to the man clinging next to him.

Walk the plank. You heard the Captain.’

Slim Yellow Jake shakes his head.

No.’

This seemed to flummox the practical pirate

Captain, he says no.’

Well make him do it, poke him a bit with your sword.’

It is an interesting fact that people who are eminently practical when pointing out others flaws have a tendency to make very big mistakes themselves. This was also true of the practical pirate, who attempted to draw his sword from his belt. To do this he had to let go of the plank with one of his hands, and the next wave washed him away.

Ahhhr,’ sighed the Captain. ‘Now that’s much better. Annoying twerp.’ And he didn’t say anything else about slim Yellow Jake until they got to shore, at which point they decided to use him to make a three-dimensional skull-and-crossbones sculpture, although they couldn’t get all the flesh off. With pirates you really never can tell.