Story Time: A Goohuul

If you found our first Halloween offering quite tricky, Dear Reader, this next story is something of a treat. It’s by my good friend, Cade the Okie Devil from Text US, and appears in ‘Underdog Anthology VI: The Gallows Stone’…

pumpkin treat

*Faught you’d perk up for that, Clicky… /flicks ash…*

Dear Reader… Enjoy! ❤

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A Goohuul

by Cade F.O.N Apollyon

Yarnip County Texas is likely the strangest county in the entire state. It appears on no maps. It does not appear on nor in any registry. There is no county-seat, as there are no towns. It has no courthouses. No sheriff. No police departments. No fire departments. No hospitals nor clinics. In fact, except for the ice-skating rink in the southeast corner of the county that sometimes doubles as a roller-rink, Yarnip County Texas has no real infrastructure to speak of at all. There are plenty of roads that lead to and through Yarnip County, but not a single crossroads in it’s length and breadth. There is only one permanent resident, and yet, at certain times of the year…Yarnip County Texas has the largest population in the entire Universe.

I know, I know…you are thinking that I’m telling some tall-tale in order to spin some investment opportunity or encourage tourism. But if you take a minute to actually ponder the merits of your own skepticism, why would I even need to encourage tourism to a location that is already, at times, the most populous place in the entire Universe? Yes, I am the guy that actually lives there. But I’ve already got so much money I could never spend it, and I’ve also got so many trinkets and gifts from visitors, that were I to sell them all, I’d pretty much have all the money on the entire planet. Plus, I don’t sell any of the gifts that are given me, nor do I sell any of the trinkets that I find. And believe you me, with all the traffic we get here, there is plenty of stuff left behind.

So you are likely wondering if I am a junk collector who is trying to sell off his collection. No. I’m the owner/operator of an ice-skating rink that sometimes doubles as a roller-rink. Junk collecting is more of a hobby that doubles as my attempt at being a responsible citizen due to the amount of flotsam and jetsam that this county accumulates during the course of the year.

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. If someone passes through on a weekend trip, and accidentally leaves their Blarrchuck Moopeen Grinder, or a pair of Mastelline Vipps? They are going to come looking for it/them. I once found the entire Senate Building for The Realm of Cipotci, but I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I took it home, put it on my dresser, and even contemplated cutting a hole in the top to use as a change bank, although I never did. Good thing that I didn’t, because the Ipo of Cipotsi herself came looking for the building, and it turns out that the entire Senate was actually still inside the building and in-session. Just a misunderstanding that quasi-cascaded into a comedy of errors because of some chance encounters. The Ipo was very gracious though in the end, and she’s now aware of both me and the fact that I lurk and roam these parts with mostly the best of intentions. That said, the particulars about how the Senate Building from The Realm of Cipotsi wound up in Yarnip County Texas is a story for another time.

You’ve likely guessed by now that I am the founder of Yarnip County Texas. Well, technically, you’d be wrong. I only gave it the name. Yarnip County Texas is actually as old as The Universe itself, and I’m just a newcomer that just so happened to be paying attention at just the wrong time, in exactly the wrong place. But those unfortunate events inspired me to eventually give my home a name, Yarnip County. I even gave it a slogan; “Always Passin’ Thru!” But I’m not really here to talk about that, nor even about myself, as much as I am to talk about one particular event that happened about ten years ago. It’s something that is on my mind daily, and I try diligently to neither suppress nor recall that and those events. For the most part, I just sorta try and let the memories be what they are, and go on about my life as best I can.

She introduced herself as Abbey Attrix. I was pretty sure from the start that this was not her “real” name, but it didn’t really matter to me one way or the other. She told me that she had some friends that were meeting her here in a few hours, and wanted to know if she could rent the rink and skate alone until they arrived. I asked her for how long, she glanced at what I assumed was her watch, and told me that she could pay me $50 and would also let me have her watch if I would let her have the rink for two hours. She held up her arm, and around her wrist was one of the most unusual watches I’d ever seen. It had only one hand, a minute hand, and two digital readouts; one for the hours, and one for the seconds. It had a deep red face that seemed to be surrounded by some kind of internal light source that was a combination of blue and red that cycled somehow…it appeared very expensive.

Let me state that it’s not unusual to have individuals show up alone and want to rent the rink for themselves, nor do I personally think that it’s particularly strange when someone wants to rent the rink alone. Afterall, I built the rink for myself so that I could be alone and skate alone, so it’s really no surprise to me that others also seek solitude on the ice. However, when I looked into her face and into her eyes, I perceived there was a distance between us that I could never plumb. I could make all of the observations and conjectures that I wanted, but time itself seemed to be slipping away before me, and I could tell by her occasional glances out toward the rink that she just wanted to get onto the ice. She’d been running from something, but that running was about to cease.

I told her that she could keep her watch, and that $40 would do for two hours as I had nothing scheduled and was unlikely to have any chance renters pop in other than herself. She agreed, retrieved two twenty dollar bills from her bag which she then handed to me, and I asked her what size skate she wore. She told me her size, I went and retrieved a pair of ice skates in her size, returned and gave them to her, then I retreated to the DJ booth to put on some music. By the time I had arrived at the DJ booth, she had already put on her skates and was headed for the ice. I grabbed the microphone and asked her if she had any preferences, but she just smiled and shook her head no, leaving the musical selections up to me. Her hair was very short, and until she smiled at me, I hadn’t noticed just how beautiful she was. I’m a professional afterall; I’m here to operate an ice-skating rink, not pick up chicks.

Abbey had already began to skate a bit, and I could already tell that she knew how to skate as I pressed play on the CD player…

“The whispers, in the moment…of lovers sleeping tight…”

No sooner had Celine Dion finished breathing the first line of The Power Of Love, that I looked out to the ice, and saw Abbey slide to a ice crystal spraying stop, put her hands on her hips and look down her nose at me in mock-contempt as she smiled. I couldn’t help but smile back and laugh a little as she stood there, smiling and tapping the toe of her ice skate the way a mother might. I immediately hit the stop button on the CD player, glanced up and noticed that she was still tapping her foot as I rummaged quickly through the CD’s to find a different song. I admit that I noticed that the Jennifer Rush version of this same song was handy, and I contemplated putting it in the CD player as an attempt at being funny, but this was Abbey’s time. She paid for it, so I decided to hit her with a musical blindside instead, put in a new CD, and pressed play.

“As loud as hell, a ringing bell

Behind my smile, it shakes my teeth

And all the while, as vampires feed

I bleed

I bleed

I bleed

Abbey had started skating again, and I could see her doing the “head-bob” in an approving manner before Black Francis and Kim Deal of The Pixies even began to sing. And that’s how our relationship went on that cold and lonely October evening. Two hours of back and forth without a word between us. She’d slouch her shoulders while rolling her head back in disgust if I played something she didn’t like, and she’d smile, bob her head, and keep skating if I played something that she did. I must admit that I was quite surprised at the varieties of music that she did and didn’t like, and a few times she even gave me a look of surprise that an old fart like myself would know that the song I was playing even existed.

“I’m bigger than that.

Can you tango, can you mango,

mix n mangle, can you flow?

Let me angle more my kangol,

Are you single, can you go?

I’m bigger than that.

Format B’s remix of Skeleton Key by Pleasurecraft & Green Velvet boomed on the speakers as Abbey continued to zoom around the rink while grinning a smile that couldn’t be purchased for any amount of money, and I’d been enjoying the time so much myself that I simply hadn’t noticed that we had already run about fifteen minutes over time…but that’s when the power to the rink went out.

I immediately reached for the small flashlight next to the DJ mixer, and yelled to Abbey to stay where she was until I could get some light, but the flashlight didn’t work. I found this extremely odd since I knew for a fact that the batteries had been changed only recently. The music had been so loud for so long, that I simply had not noticed that the wind had picked up as the sun had gone down. But as my hearing slowly returned, it became quickly attuned to the fact that the wind was indeed blowing quite viciously outside, and assumed that the wind was likely the cause for the power outage.

Probably less than a minute had transpired when my eyes adjusted enough to notice that the watch Abbey had tried to barter with was still glowing around her wrist, and as I looked around and surveyed the rest of the rink, I noticed that this was the only source of light in the rink. None of the emergency exit signs were working, which was odd considering that they were battery powered in a power outage, but even more strange was the fact that not even the luminous paint on the walls was glowing. If ever a person who loved Halloween wanted to be somewhere extra-spooky on Halloween night, Yarnip County Texas was suddenly the place to be.

I recall trying to keep my cool since I was the owner/operator of this place, and ultimately responsible for the safety and well being of my one and only paying patron, and luckily Abbey had worked her way over to the DJ booth by the time that I started getting a shade rattled. Without saying a word, she took the watch off of her wrist and laid it on the table next to me since it appeared that she had also noticed that her watch was the only source of light in the entire place. From the cycling purple-ish glow of the red and blue lights in the watch, I could barely make out the outline of her face and noticed that she was smiling. A large closed-mouth grin that made her eyes sparkle somewhat, but there was what seemed to be a hint of sadness in her eyes. To tell the truth, I don’t know if it was sadness or joy or what it was that I saw in there. After a moment of looking at each other, and just prior to me realizing that my gawping was about to become uncomfortable, she said “My friends are here.”

That’s when all hell broke loose.

The entire building and everything in it moved as if it had just had the ground removed beneath it, and I felt that sudden quasi-sickening feeling in my stomach as if someone or something that was only previously holding me up had suddenly dropped me or given way. I knew it wasn’t just and only me, as the entire building shook as it came crashing down shortly after starting to fall. Judging by the way that my knees buckled, it felt as though the entirety of the building had just dropped about one foot, and it’s unlikely that there was a single object in the entire building that didn’t make some kind of noise. My immediate concern was for Abbey who was standing on the ice in skates in front of the DJ booth. But as metal and glass found their new equilibrium amid much clanging, shattering and crashing, I noticed that I could no longer see her face and assumed that she had fallen in the chaos.

The glow of the watch provided me with my only bearings, and I quickly grabbed it and held it out over the ice from the DJ booth’s lofty position…no Abbey. My heart, weakened in its pulse somewhat from the fear, pounded a first ‘BOOM!’ of approval as my being shifted from the fear of cower to the cape of crusader. I knew it was foolhardy, but I sprang over the counter of the DJ booth onto the ice of the rink without hesitation, and luckily my somewhat aged ankles held as my feet found their footing on the ice of the rink. The soles of my shoes had hardly touched the ice when the power came back on, and it scared the living shit out of me. Deamau5 immediately began blaring on the sound system since I had just put a new song on prior to the power going out, and I quickly looked around and surveyed everywhere, but Abbey was nowhere to be seen. I yelled her name as loud as I could…no response. I reached up and around to hit stop on the CD player, but the song kept playing. In frustration, I reached for the volume sliders, but when I moved them down, no change. I admit that a flush of rage came over me as I looked around at the damage of the place, and contemplated ripping the power cables out of the wall for the whole fucking mess, but then something grabbed me…

“Feeling the past moving in

Letting a new day begin

Hold to the time that you know

You don’t have to move on to let go

Add to the memory you keep

Remember when you fall asleep

Hold to the love that you know

You don’t have to give up to let go

Remember turning on the night

And moving through the morning light

Remember how it was with you

Remember how you pulled me through

I remember

I remember

I remember

I remember

I remember

I remember

I remember

I remember

I noticed that I was still holding the watch, and still standing in the same place that I had landed on the ice, looking around in disbelief listening to a song by deadmau5 & Kaskade blaring on the PA, when it occurred to me that I was a complete moron for jumping onto the ice because I could have landed on top of Abbey had she fallen.

The ice. The ice is unbroken. I looked at my feet in disbelief, then looked around the ice itself…no fractures, no bulges, no shards…no lines? Impossible. I was wearing my Converse All-Stars, but wandered shakily out further onto the ice anyway, and as I surveyed the ice itself there was not a single line to be found. The song suddenly ended and I instinctively looked back towards the DJ booth, and on the railing to the left of the DJ booth hung a pair of ice skates with the laces tied together, and they were swaying ever so slightly as if someone had only just hung them there. I watched them for a moment to be sure that my eyes were not playing tricks on me, and sure enough, they stopped swaying after a moment. I kept watching them for a while longer just to see if they started moving again. The wind was blowing furiously outside afterall, and this building was already drafty even before some Titan decided to throw it off a cliff a few moments ago. The skates didn’t move.

I kept feeling as though I should be scared, but I never really recall being afraid after the lights came back on. I’m not sure exactly what I felt at this point. My entire life has been filled with weird and strange experiences, but I am neither witch nor wizard, alchemist nor mage. If I had to qualify my feelings at that point, it was simply “keep going”…don’t stop. And so, that’s exactly what I did. I had to know. Still clutching the watch, I proceeded off the ice, and straight to the breaker box for the power. When I got there, and without hesitation, I pulled the main breaker lever, and the entire rink was suddenly aglow via the artwork within the rink that had been painted in phosphorescent paint. I flipped the main breaker back on, the lights came back on, and headed out the front door into the parking lot.

Nothing. No cars except my own. Just prior to turning around and going back into the building, I noticed that the front-end of the car was sitting at an odd angle. I walked a little closer and craned my neck to look around the car, and sure enough, the left-front tire was flat. To be honest, it didn’t even phase me because I was already home and had luckily already stocked up on beer and food for the evening as I was planning to grill a steak out in the cold after the sun went down.

It’s likely that at this point, you have many questions. You’ve identified holes, you’ve thought about what you would have done or would have done differently, and maybe even what I should have done. You aren’t wrong in doing so, and I can assure you that I’ve questioned myself relentlessly since then. But I can only tell the story as it happened. I cannot go back and make everything right, nor can I write some instruction manual so that I’ll be better prepared next time this happens. A woman calling herself Abbey Attrix wandered in to my skating rink in Yarnip County Texas on October 31st of 2008, some pretty weird shit happened over the course of about one minute, she vanished from my rink and my life completely, I’ve no idea what happened to her, nor have I seen her since. The last thing that she said to me was “my friends are here”, but I never saw anyone other than her, and I could only just barely see her when she said that. No one has ever appeared looking for her, she has never returned, and I still have her wristwatch.

“Well I live with snakes and lizards

And other things that go bump in the night

‘Cause to me everyday is Halloween

I have given up hiding and started to fight

I have started to fight.

Well any time, any place, anywhere that I go

All the people seem to stop and stare

They say “why are you dressed like it’s Halloween?

You look so absurd, you look so obscene”

Oh, why can’t I live a life for me?

Why should I take the abuse that’s served?

Why can’t they see they’re just like me

It’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world.”

– Ministry, Every Day Is Halloween

So if you again are thinking that I’m telling some fantastic tale in order to drum up interest in Yarnip County Texas and/or my skating rink? Well, you are free to think what you want. Just know that my skating rink is only closed one day out of the year…Halloween. Oh, and good luck finding Yarnip County Texas or my rink the other 364/365 days of the year.

😉

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p king x mass

*Yeah! I love his ‘Christmas Ever’ tale …/final drag… I ‘ope he’s written some some stories in the next Anthology, Clicky… /stubs butt…*

😀 Happy Halloween, Dear Reader, and… Have a Song ❤

Story Time: Trick or Treat

Welcome, Dear Reader, to a double-bill of stories for this Halloween…

This first story appeared in ‘Underdog Anthology III: Treeskull Stories’ for Halloween last year. If you like it and want to know what happens for Halloween this year, you can find out by purchasing the latest Underdog Anthology – ‘The Gallows Stone’…

next halloween

*Yeah… /lights up… I’ll post ‘Cos Play’s The Thing’ up at the LoL for next Halloween, Clicky… /drags…*

Dear Reader… Enjoy! ❤

*******

Trick or Treat

By Roo B. Doo

Any day that starts with a Grim Reaper confrontation is probably not going to be a good one, especially if it’s your first day back at work, following an all-inclusive fortnight in the Balearics. That’s exactly what I faced, however, when the lift doors opened onto the 5th floor offices of F.A. Kontrell this morning. I smacked aside the knobbly phalanx rudely pointed in my direction, and heard rather and saw it bounce off the wall and skitter across the floor.

“Ow, ‘Arry!” the Grim Reaper cried in an accent more Thames Estuary than Afterlife. The hooded figure bent down awkwardly to retrieve the plastic skeletal hand, and dropped his plastic scythe in the process. “Jesus!”

“Oh no!” I replied, pushing open the door to the main office, “Is he here, too?”

The Bride of Frankenstein looked up from behind the reception desk. Blood red lips that appeared to still be bleeding smiled thinly in my direction. It made a change from the norm; Shazza generally avoids spending any time at her desk doing the job she’s paid to do. “Happy Halloween, Harry! WOooo!”

To think we’d nearly got shot of her back in the spring when her drunken behaviour at the County Business Awards had landed the firm on the front page of the local rag. If only the Fat Kontroller had seized the opportunity to sack the bitch then, my working life would be so much more pleasant. But he hadn’t, probably due to the good mood bestowed by winning the Green Business Award. He’d given Shazza a second chance and, today, as a result, the office is manned by a fucking freak show.

“Nice costume,” Shazza remarked slyly as I signed myself in.

“I’m not wearing one,” I replied slowly. “I’ve been on holiday.”

Shazza lowered her kohl-rimmed eyes. “Oh.”

The silence was broken by an unexpected bark of laughter from the Grim Reaper, who’d followed me in from the lift lobby and now slouched against reception desk, gazing longingly at Shazza. Far from being the Angel of Death, with the hood down, the Collector of Souls turned out to be none other than Ian, the gangly six-foot apprentice, with acme acne and unibrow. F.A Kontrell had taken him on during the summer, and Ian had taken an immediate shine to Shazza. Fuck knows why, but she was absolutely loving having a teenage acolyte hanging on her every word. They were turning out to be a match made in hell. My hell.

“Go anywhere nice?” Shazza continued, ignoring the ringing reception phone. “Bet it was really hot.”

“Ibiza and yes,” I replied curtly. I pointed to the phone. “Are you gonna get that?”

“Yes.” Shazza snapped her fingers and Ian reached across to pick up the receiver. “You’re very red, Harry. Are you sore?” she continued.

“No.” One of the curses of being fair skinned of the ginger variety is a tendency to turn into a shade of vermilion at the slightest sniff of sunshine.

“Oh, I thought you’d come as a burns victim. That’ll be a fiver.” Shazza held out her hand.

“A fiver for what?”

“The donation,” Shazza said innocently. “For not wearing a costume today. It is for charity,” she purred sweetly.

Fucking cheek! I fumed, but decided to keep my temper under control. At least for now; it was still early. “Sharon, I’ve only got Euros until I can get to the bank at lunchtime. You’ll have to wait.”

Ian, having finished dealing with the phone call decided to join in the fun again. He pulled the hood of his robe back over his head. “Later,” he intoned gravely at me. Shazza tittered.

“By the way, you two,” I pointed at each in turn. “Horrific, truly horrific. You’ve excelled yourselves. Kudos.”

I left them to their mirth and made my way to my desk. En route a zombie, a fairy and Elvis poked their heads up from the grindstone to mouth “hellos” and an “Uh-ha!” before resuming their computer screen vigils.

“Harry!” the Fat Kontroller’s voice boomed from out from his office. “Come on in here. Good holiday?”

I wandered through to see the boss, sat at an uncommonly tidy desk. He was wearing an opera cloak over his suit. “Yes thank you, Mr Kontrell. Erm, can I ask, what’s with all the fancy dress this year? We don’t normally dress up for Halloween.”

The Fat Kontroller grinned slowly, revealing sharp incisors tipped with blood. “Raising money, Harry. For the wictims,” he said rolling his R’s and finishing with a maniacal laugh.

I refrained from rolling my eyes. “Victims of what,” I asked.

“Does it matter? There are always wictims worthy of support.”

Oh fuck! What was the betting Shazza and co had waited until I was safely out of the country before springing the idea on the old man; I would have poo-pooed it. Or at the very least I could have joined in. “Was this a lastminutedotcom decision?” I continued to probe. “I don’t remember seeing anything about this before I left for holiday. I’m feeling like… well, kind of left out.”

“Oh don’t worry about it,” the Fat Kontroller said magnanimously, running his tongue over his vampire teeth but entirely missing my point, “You can still contribute with cash. It is for wictims.”

“Wictims. Right.” I turned to leave.

“Although,” the Fat Kontroller continued, “You know you are awfully red, Harry. You could get away with saying you’re a burns victim.”

Why are the first day back after holidays always the worst?

“I’ll let you get caught up with your emails and the like this morning. We’ll have a proper catch-up later on today, Harry,” the Fat Kontroller called out after me. “There’s much to do.”

“Right-O, Mr K,” I replied with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, which started at minuscule and was decreasing rapidly having caught sight of the piles of paperwork on my desk. FAK! I thought malevolently. That’s why the bastard’s desk is so clear!

I snatched up a gaily coloured flier that had been placed on top of my keyboard, where I couldn’t miss it. The day’s intended ‘Wictim Support’ activities and best costume prize were detailed,replete with an overdose of exclamation marks and crappy puns; the telltale signs of Shazza. And what was this? The best costume winner would get a bottle of Glenfarclas single malt whisky, courtesy of the Fat Kontroller!!! Other than the man himself, I knew of no other person in the office that would appreciate that prize as much as me.

I balled the flyer angrily and threw it at the paper recycling bin across the walkway from my desk. It flopped weakly onto the floor before reaching the target. Good grief, Harry! I scolded myself, you throw like a bloody girl!

***

The queue at the bank snaked back to the main entrance and was populated with a mishmash of people who looked like they longed for death. I had no intention of joining them in their endless quest to reach a cashier, and walked over to the desks at the back of the lobby. “Hi! I’m here to see Mr Williams,” I told the pretty thing, with dimples and chestnut curls, sitting pertly at one of them. She must be new, I hadn’t seen her before.

“Do you have an appointment?” she asked me brightly.

“No,” I said and glanced at the name badge fixed to her jacket. “Peta? Could you tell him that Harry Egg is here bearing holiday gifts.” I lifted up the duty free bag I was holding to an audible chink.

“Oh where have you been to?” Peta asked with a smile. “You certainly caught some colour.”

I briefly wondered if she were taking the piss before catching the smile in her eyes. “Ibiza. San Antonio. The weather was unseasonably gorgeous, thank you.”

Peta gasped and her whole face lit up. “I went there in the summer! I’d definitely go back again.”

“Yes, it’s a lovely island,” I said with a smile that also reached my eyes. “The nightlife was pretty good, too.”

“It is! Absolutely super,” she gushed. There was an awkward silence. “Your colour makes your eyes stand out. They’re really blue. Piercing.”

I’m not used to compliments – I blushed; luckily it was well camouflaged. “Thanks!” I was momentarily stunned. “Um. Lol, Mr Williams? Is he in?” I said, fixing her with a piercing blue stare.

Now Peta blushed. “Oh yes, sorry. Do you mind waiting? I’ll go tell him you’re here.” She smiled again and wiggled off in the direction of Lol’s office. And what a wiggle! Like two puppy dogs fighting under a blanket. It would seem my day was picking up at last.

I parked my arse on the edge of her desk, trying to look suave and nonchalant, awaiting Peta’s return. Piercing blue eyes, eh? I pondered and I nearly missed her frantic waving, gesturing me to join her. With a final glance at the sad saps standing in line, I sauntered off toward my best friend and his delightful new member of staff.

“Harry!” Lol ushered me into his office. “Peta, could you rustle us up a couple of cappuccinos? Thank you.”

Peta left and we slunk down onto the sofa in the corner of his office. “When did you get back?” Lol asked, loosening his tie.

“Last night.” I yawned involuntarily. “I’m absolutely knackered today.” I passed him the chinking Duty Free bag. “Here, your present. I’m afraid it’s booze.”

“No imagination whatsoever,” Lol playfully chided me before giving me a kiss and a hug. “Thank you!”

“I kept the giant Toberlone for myself.”

“Well you never know when you might need it,” Lol said with an exaggerated wink. “Now come on, tell me H, did you have a good time? I can see you’ve caught some colour…”

There was a knock at the door, heralding the return of Peta with our coffees. She set the foamy cups down on the table in front of us, smiling the whole time and showing her dimples off to their best advantage. I flashed some ‘piercing blue’ at her and wondered if she had any more dimples secreted elsewhere.

Lol waited until she left for a second time before opening up one of the bottles. “Why don’t we Irish up these coffees? So, come on, Harry, spill. Did you get any good minge?” he asked, raising a quizzical eyebrow as he poured slug of whisky into each of our cups.

I laughed at my friend’s directness. “Lol, you have no interest in minge and absolutely no idea what constitutes good or bad minge!”

I’d met LoL at university during Freshers. We’d hit it off straight away like a long lost brother and sister reunited, but with zero potential for incest. We’re a queer, old fashioned pair; neither wore our sexuality on our sleeves. Fag and Fag Hag. Both happy to keep each other company in the closet. Much like that song by the Cure.

“Alright then, did you get any minge at all?” Lol pestered. “Come on, tell me you got laid, Harry. You’ve not been on Facebook or Twitter these past two weeks. I have no idea how your holiday went.” He sipped his coffee and licked his lips. “I’ve missed you.”

“Aww, that’s so sweet,” I said slapping his knee. “I needed some time out, away from emails and social media and work.” I fairly spat out the last word. Since the Fat Kontroller had deemed it necessary for me to be issued with company mobile phone and laptop, I’d been tending to keep on top of my workload in my own time. I wanted to completely remove any temptation to do that during my holiday, and had left all electronic devices at home. Of course, I had second thoughts about that decision as soon as I discovered more than 1,500 emails awaiting my return. It had not been a fun morning.

“Minge?” Lol reminded me.

“Oh my god! You’re incorrigible!”

Lol was not deterred by my rebuke. “British? Foreign?”

“German.”

“Ah, ze Hunny cunny. Das ist gut! Wunderbar?”

“Ja! And I had an English,” I added, clearing my throat.

“Did you swing low, sweet Harriet?”

“Always,” I grinned at his exuberance and slurped from my cup. “There’s nothing like a Manc-muffin for breakfast.”

“Ooh Harry! You filthy tramp! Both at the same time?” Lol asked eagerly.

“No, sadly,” I sighed. “Hey, I was going to ask you, what’s the deal with Peta? She’s new isn’t she?”

“You are not corrupting my staff, Harry,” Lol said with a stern look. I returned it with one of innocent affront, to which he snorted derisively. “She’s straight, I think, but young. I did hear on the grapevine that she’s not adverse to a bit of Toberlone when tipsy.”

“Hmm, I’ve not had much luck with chocolate in the past,” I mused pensively.

“And how is the fair Josie?” Lol asked. He was referring to a stunning goddess masquerading as F.A. Kontrell’s HR Manager. We’d had a close encounter the Christmas before and I’d ended up with concussion courtesy of Alfie, the troll masquerading as her boyfriend. I’d pretty well much kept my distance after that but, as I said, goddess. And how often do you meet one of those in real life? I had to give it a go.

“I dunno, I haven’t seen her since I got back,” I said, which reminded me: “Ugh! You’ll never guess. Every fucker in the office is wearing fancy dress today.” I grimaced and reached for my handbag. “Even the Fat Kontroller. He’s wearing bloody fangs, for fuck’s sake. I’m the only one not in costume!”

Lol leaned back and surveyed me quietly. “Harry…”

I rummaged for my purse. “Yes.”

“Have you thought…” he continued slowly.

Call it a spot of deja vu, but I knew what was coming next; I flashed him a look. “Don’t!”

Lol grinned mischievously. “Well, you are kind of glowing. Have you thought of saying you’re…”

I cut him off. “A burns victim?”

“No!” Lol snapped. “No, I was thinking you look more like a Bloody Mary. But yeah, a burns victim works just as well.”

I watched him convulse with laughter at his own joke before holding out a wad of Euros at him. “I’m glad I amuse you so, oh bestest friend that’s also happens to be a bank manager.” I placed the money in his hand. “Now, be a dear and change this lot into Sterling for me. And I’m not paying commission.”

Lol went off in search of the cash and I finished my coffee. I was contemptuously contemplating the afternoon ahead – apple bobbing and pumpkin carving were on the agenda courtesy of Shazza – when there was a soft tap at the door. It was Peta.

“Hi, Harry.” She sounded nervous. “I just wanted to say it was very nice meeting you today.”

Interesting… I decided to play it cool; no need to shit all over Lol’s warning off straightaway, and it was entirely possible Peta was mistakenly brown nosing her boss’s ‘girlfriend’. Softly, softly catchee monkey. “You too.” I smiled brightly; teeth and eyes. “I hope to see you again soon. Maybe for Christmas drinks.”

She didn’t get a chance to answer because Lol returned with my cash. After that we said our goodbyes and made plans to meet for a proper catch up at the weekend. I left the bank with a spring in my step – possibly down to the Irish – and walked back along the High Street, back to work. And then I saw it. In the window of a shop. Of course! I mentally slapped my own forehead, even as a creeping smile split my face. I took the crisp notes Lol had given me and went inside.

***

Impatiently I ascended to the fifth floor of our building, willing the ancient, groaning lift along the way. I wanted to get to the toilets, preferably without anyone seeing me, so I could change into the costume I’d seen in the fancy dress shop. Luckily there was a dearth of people in the outer office of F.A. Kontrell when I arrived, but a noisy hullabaloo was emanating from the conference room: festivities were in full swing. I rushed to the ladies and locked myself in an empty stall.

Inside I shrugged off my clothes and stood naked, shivering, ripping at the plastic bag holding my costume with my teeth. I heard the outer door to the toilets open and somebody enter and lock themselves into the stall next to mine. I hope they’re not having a crap, I thought fleetingly as I struggled to release the silky material from the packaging.

Quickly I changed into the costume and stepped out and over to the wash basin mirror to adjust the fit. Saggy and tight in equal measure, it was a typical shop bought costume and I was both pleased and disappointed at the way I looked. I shook the few cosmetics that I own out from my handbag and set about finishing the look. The toilet flushed behind me and my heart skipped a beat as I caught the reflection of Wonder Woman emerging from the cubicle.

“Hey, Harry! How are you?” Josie said blithely. “Is this yours? It slipped under the gap.”

Yes. Yes. Oh fucking yeah! I mentally screamed as I drank in the sight of the woman I lusted after. From the soft fall of her naturally raven black curls over her shoulders, down to the skintight boots via voluptuous chest, crotch and lean, tanned thighs, Josie stood every inch the embodiment of that most Marvelous creation. Girl, you should wear that every day!

“Horns!” I blurted out and took the plastic package from her hand. “Thanks! You look amazing!” I said thickly, no doubt down to my drooling tongue.

Josie strode purposefully – how could she not in that outfit? – over to the washbasins and washed her hands, all the time smiling at me in the bathroom mirror. “Thanks. You look great too, Harry. Did you have a good holiday?”

“Yeah, it was nice to get away,” I said unable to take eyes from her hard curves and inviting crevasses reflected back at me. “Just back today actually. I didn’t know it was fancy dress.”

“Well you look suitably devilish now.” Josie finished washing her hands and pushed past me to get to the hot air drier. “Do you need a hand with that?”

I’d been gawping, holding the horns in one hand and an eye liner pencil in the other; half a mustache painted over my top lip. “Okay,” I said meekly.

Josie hit the button on the drier and warm air blasted out, rustling the hem of her cape as she dried her hands. I had an idea.

“You should try this,” I said, adjusting the air drier so that it blew upwards, lifting her hair and billowing her cape. “Now, that’s the Wonder Woman look!”

Josie giggled her delightful giggle, the one what made me feel all wet and gushy. “Harry, you and your bright ideas. Now come here and I’ll finish your mustache off for you.” She gently held my chin and with a few deft flicks of the eyeliner, completed my look. Then she took the plastic horns from my hands and adjusted them on my head. “Perfect.”

Maybe Peta was on to something because I definitely felt a frisson pass between us, as my piercing blues met Josie’s chocolate browns. She continued staring at me and it felt as if time itself had stopped. “Alfie and I have split up,” she stated calmly.

I was about to reply: “Thank fuck! The man’s a brute and totally undeserving of you”, but was rudely interrupted by the door to the toilets crashing open, quickly followed by a screeching howl of pain. Shazza rushed in, tears streaming down her contorted face, holding out her hand, blood pouring from the palm. The Grim Reaper followed, hopping anxiously from foot to foot.

“Are you alright, Shazza? I’m so sorry!” Ian cried with anguish. “Shazza. Shazza. I was only trying to help.”

“Arghhh!!! It hurts!” Shazza screamed, thrusting her hand under the basin cold tap. “You idiot, Ian!”

“What’s happened?” Josie gently shoved me aside to get to our bleeding receptionist. “Oh shit, that deep? You’re going to need stitches.”

Shazza glared at Ian in the bathroom mirror with pain and rage; he looked back with stricken despair. “I was carving my pumpkin quite nicely when he comes along and… Oww! Oh my god, that really hurts!!!”

“I’m sorry Shazza,” Ian wailed, his voice breaking with barely contained sobs. “I was… I was only trying to help you with the… with the eyes!”

“The eyes were fine! IDIOT!!!” Shazza roared back.

“Okay, okay. Let’s just calm down now shall we?” Josie said grabbing a roll of toilet tissue from the cupboard under the sink. She placed it firmly against the cut on Shazza’s hand and blood immediately started to saturate the roll; creeping up and spreading out. “Hold that there. I’ll take you to the hospital and we’ll get that seen to, okay. Harry…”

“Yes okay,” I said springing into action. “You two do that. I’ll take the lad for a cup of tea and a sit down, and then I’ll clean this blood up.”

“Thank you,” Josie said with a strained smile as she ushered Shazza out of the toilets.

Ian’s top lip was wobbling quite badly. “Come on, darling,” I said gently. “Let’s take you round the corner for a cuppa, eh? You know, you really shouldn’t be in the ladies toilets, Ian. Didn’t we mention that during Induction?”

“Na…na…no,” he sobbed.

“Oh that’s okay, sweetie.” I rubbed his shoulders and guided him out of the toilets. “We know now and can include it for the future, eh? You’ve helped us improve our induction process. Well done you. Okay? Come on, let’s get that cup of tea.”

***

The rest of the afternoon was a bit of an anticlimax after all the excitement of the ladies toilets. No one noticed I was now dressed as the devil. Except for the Fat Kontroller.

“Superb costume choice, Miss Egg,” he informed me when we finally sat down to catch up on business. “Sadly you haven’t won as you didn’t wear it all day, but I love the improvisation with Deviled Egg. Very good. Eggcellent in fact!” he chortled loudly. In fact he carried on chuckling at his cleverness throughout the meeting. Oh, how I laughed.

The Grim Reaper eventually calmed down and volunteered to help me with the mounds of paperwork on my desk. I declined but thanked him, noting the new found respect in his offer. I should have got him to mop up the blood.

Neither Josie nor Shazza made it back to the office in time for the costume prize giving, and I wondered if I’d ever get the chance to see Josie in her Wonder Woman costume again. That, I thought emphatically, now, that’s what I want for Christmas!

I still don’t know which wictims will benefit from the £22.50 raised from the day’s Halloween themed activities. No doubt they’ll be grateful when they find out. As for the Fat Kontroller’s bottle of Glenfarclas, that was won by Elvis. She received it with hip wiggle and extremely droll “Thank you very much!”

*******

sandy claws

*Yeah, I suppose Harry could have gone as Santa, Clicky… /blows smoke ring… Butt that would have spoiled the Fat Kontroller’s Devilled Egg enjoyment…*

Our second Halloween story offering will be along in a bit, Dear Reader. Have a Song whilst you wait 😉

Pinch, Punch…

I hope you had a sufficiently spooky Halloween yesterday, Dear Reader…

A prominent American television host has fainted live on air, returning just minutes later to host the remainder of her programme.

Fifty-three-year-old Wendy Williams fell to the ground during a live broadcast of her morning show, in a segment dedicated to her annual Halloween costume contest.

If I may direct your attention to the recent LoL post, ‘Miss Chief Maker‘…

*Overheated, my arse, Clicky… She looked like she’d seen a… mouse?*

The Underdog Anthology Three: Treeskull Stories

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Not long now ’til Christmas, Dear Reader 😉 Have a Song…

 

Halo! WE’s A Coming… And WE Are Smoking!

So *lights up* my current favourite theory is that God, who made everything, apparently, is a big fan of cosplay

Literally “Costume Play.” Dressing up and pretending to be a fictional character (usually a sci-fi, comic book, or anime character).
There are anime cosplay conventions around the world.
by Mario Rogic January 15, 2003

15th of January was Mum’s birthday. On that date in 2003 she turned 58. She’s dead now; now I’m the elder mother in the family.

costume (n.) 1715, “style of dress,” an art term, from French costume (17c.), from Italian costume “fashion, habit,” from Latin consuetudinem (nominative consuetudo) “custom, habit, usage.” Essentially the same word as custom but arriving by a different etymology. From “customary clothes of the particular period in which the scene is laid,” meaning broadened by 1818 to “any defined mode of dress.” Costume jewelry is first attested 1933.

OMG, Clicky! How can you be bored with language? And English is the language of angles. Let’s carry on, shall we? If you can be bothered to, Click.

custom (n.) c. 1200, “habitual practice,” from Old French costume “custom, habit, practice; clothes, dress” (12c., Modern French coutume), from Vulgar Latin *consuetumen, from Latin consuetudinem (nominative consuetudo) “habit, usage, way, practice, tradition, familiarity,” from consuetus, past participle of consuescere “accustom,” from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + suescere “become used to, accustom oneself,” related to sui, genitive of suus “oneself,” from PIE *swe- “oneself” (see idiom). Replaced Old English þeaw. Sense of a “regular” toll or tax on goods is early 14c. The native word here is toll.

Click. Tell me about it… 😉

play (v.)Old English plegan, plegian“move rapidly, occupy or busy oneself, exercise; frolic; make sport of, mock; perform music,” from West Germanic *plegan “occupy oneself about” (cognates: Old Saxon plegan “vouch for, take charge of,” Old Frisian plega “tend to,” Middle Dutch pleyen “to rejoice, be glad,” German pflegen “take care of, cultivate”), from PIE root *dlegh-“to engage oneself,” forming words in Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, and possibly Latin.
Meaning “to take part in a game” is from c. 1200. Opposed to work (v.) since late 14c. Related: Played; playing. To play up “emphasize” is from 1909; to play down “minimize” is from 1930; to play along“cooperate” is from 1929. To play with oneself “masturbate” is from 1896; play for keeps is from 1861, originally of marbles or other children’s games with tokens. To play second fiddle in the figurative sense is from 1809 (“Gil Blas”). To play into the hands (of someone) is from 1705. To play the _______ card is attested from 1886; to play fair is from mid-15c. To play (something) safe is from 1911; to play favorites is attested from 1902. For play the field see field (n.).

Please, Clicky, for the love of god, no..!!

Phew! That could have been sooo much worse…

*flicks lighter* At the beginning of the month, 3rd October to be exact, I wrote an email to MJ, my online friend who lives in Tennessee, US of A:

Mary Jo, I like the title, I want to use it for a post at the LoL – I will quote some of this email, just so’s you know 😉 It’s how WE get to write the script 😉 …Vik’s ‘crack the code’ *shakes head*. And it’s all true – this is an after thought, another level… Clicky!
Now MJ, what do you and Charlie have cooked up, costume-wise for this Halloween? The boys did costumes once for a Halloween party that some woman at work threw. It was horrendous. The less said, the better. If I wrote a post about it for the LoL, it would be called ‘A Freakishly Boring Night Out’.

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We don’t do Halloween, so wishing to live vicariouslyMJ, you are my only hope!

I love your Charlie photo updates – he’s a gorgeous child and you are a gorgeous mum. You’re just the sort of mum I never was to my boys. I made a decision, you see, to treat them exactly the same. Very noble of me 😉
As it happens, they are complete opposites to each other and have very different interests, and to split my time and energy in half… no, there’s Steve and WORK (a huge amount of my time is spent there)… to give equally, I just let them get on with their own play. Mostly I did homework with them or painting. Costumes were for school trips & photos and mostly shop bought. Cheap and cheerful and the boys weren’t really that interested in them anyway. Now if it was Star Wars school trips…
Kit Bisto
Also, Halloween is not that big of deal in the UK and the night itself is celebrated more by adult- kids than children-children. Well, where I live anyway. And Steve will tell me all about that when he gets home from driving them about that night 😉
So spill, I want to enjoy knowing what I didn’t get or choose for in my life… a proper Mother and Child run up to Halloween… 😉

*deep draw* A nice woman, MJ, she replied straightaway. Now how long would it have taken, to correspond with your overseas girlfriend, in days of yawn ?

Roobee! So good to hear from you! About to run some errands so this won’t be as long as it should be.  Charlie is going to be
and I’m going to be

But we probably won’t look just like that. We will probably look more like

😀 😀 😀 😀
It doesn’t mean we aren’t “super” though!

Oh Clicky! You shouldn’t hide stuff behind MJ’s illustrations. I know you do it to mine, but did you ask her? …*tumbleweed*… No, I didn’t think so *tut*

Then *flick, flick, shakes flick* then today, 30th October, I arrive at my place of work, with a Song playing in my head, to find it’s Dress Down Friday. Goo goo g’joob I’d forgotten… nobody needs to see me in my jimjams… except maybe for me and I really don’t think that’s what Management intended.

I took off my hat and coat, fired up my PC (no resemblance to The Flash in that piece of hardware, believe me) and ventured into the kitchen to make myself a cuppa joe.

Now I must tell you, we’re getting new toilets at work, so all kinds of doors that are normally held open have been allowed to close. To cut down on the noise and the dust, from the men at work.

On returning to my desk I had to turn the handle of a door that I never normally have to touch. As I pushed it open, more concerned with whether I’d forgotten to add sugar (again), I was surprised by the looming presence of another, on the other stood of the door. I look up and to my utter astonishment, there stood… MJ!

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Okay not Tennessee MJ, Clicky, but a woman who looked so like her I just stood there staring…

COLON CAPITAL O

I told you, Click, I’d forgotten it was Dress Down Friday *rolls eyes*

*Exhales plume* Who’d of thought? I had the title of this post weeks ago; I had no idea what kind of shambles it would make. The whole idea of ‘Selfie Sounds Like Sophie’ on Sync Miss For Him was to develop a long exposure selfie of the goddess, in an ‘as below, so above’ amateur experiment.

On Merovee, the site of MJ/Isis’ love Frank/Osiris, ‘WE’ is major meme. Shambles are magical things and I’d managed to conjure a goddess 😉

In honour of that fact, I decided to do something I’ve never actually done before, unless you count capturing the odd stray hand or foot in the odd photos I taken. I took my very first selfie. And I took it in what our office new ladies loos is going to look like, courtesy of the 2nd floor, which has already been renovated…

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LOL! A ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ sort of thing, Click? Blimey that’s a grey tongue – must be all the smoking. Or it could be that the manufacturers have missed a trick 😉 Maybe I should tell them…

Why? Y knot, Clicky? ‘Cos play’s the thing *wink*

The_Play's_the_Thing

Have a happy Halloween everybody and… Do, please Doo have a Song 😉

*stubs out butt*