Joe2stories

Stories from a Dublin Scientist

Month: January, 2013

Horoscopes 5

Capricorn (22 December-20 January): You will make a killing in real estate as a direct result of your other occupation; killing.

Aquarius (21 January-19 February): You have sacrificed, money, family and friends in an effort to reignite your love-life. Now there is one more thing to cast off. Standards.

Pisces (20 February – 20 March): You will be on billboards countrywide next month when you become the new “Face” for Johnston’s patented haemorrhoid cream.

Aries (21 March – 20 April): Everybody has a story to tell, even you. Though in your case the stars can’t guarantee anyone would be interested.

Taurus (21 April – 21 May): Low cost dental work in Bulgaria will take on a surprising turn when you become an unwitting drugs mule for a ruthless South American cartel. On the plus side your smile will look fantastic.

Gemini (22 May – 21 June): After decades of tests, years of deliberations and months of tense waiting officials in Geneva will finally declare you “most useless human being alive”.

Cancer (22 June – 23 July): When the stars said last week that you need to get some colour into your life they did not mean you to set paint bombs around everywhere you work and live. Perhaps you shouldn’t take things so literally next time?

Leo (24 July – 23 August): While aboard an aircraft you will announce there is someone on the wing and panic requiring you to be restrained by several passengers and crew. The thing is the plane will be on the ground at the time and that will be a technician. You idiot!

Virgo (24 August – 23 September): They say fools rush in where angels fear to tread. In your case they also ignore the many signs, screaming guards and perimeter fences left as a warning.

Libra (24 September – 23 October): They say the last second of your life extends to infinity. If that is the case then prepare to spend eternity with two thousand very angry hockey fans from next Thursday.

Scorpio (24 October – 22 November): Scientists will eventually find a solution to your insufferable body odour. Unfortunately for you this will involve burying you in ten metres of concrete. No one else will object to this.

Sagittarius (23 November – 21 December): Your mother used to tell you that when you were born they broke the mould. She was right! But in reality it was to prevent the horrible mistake that was you ever being repeated again.

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Picture It and Write: Tryst

Hello there! This is my offering for this weeks picture it and write from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

Tryst

Night had long fallen when Jenny left her room through the open window. It was a three-story drop but there were plenty of  ivy and trestles to climb down with. She moved as quietly as she could and regularly looked back at the house for lights or other signs that she was missed. When she passed the first hedgerow Jenny knew that she was in the clear.

The summer heat had yet to leave the air so she was perfectly warm in her silk robe. Her bare feet felt comfortable on the cleanly manicured lawns as she bounded across it. She felt free. Free and nervous, nervous for what she was about do.

The night-time air was unusually calm so the waters of the large pool had barely a ripple on its surface. The subsurface lights had all been turned off and the water was as black as the starless sky above. With one cursory look around Jenny disrobed, revealing her youthful form and dived into the water. She delighted in the feel of the warm water flowing around her body as she casually stroked her way through the stiffly resisting water to emerge at the other side. Her hair soaked, and rivulets of water running down her face.

It was then that Jenny realised that she was not alone. More a presence than anything else. She just felt something, make that someone, approach her from behind. A hand, a strong yet sensitive hand pressed against her cheek. It was him! After all her hoping and nerves he had come like he promised. She turned and looked into his eyes. He was kneeling at the poolside, still wearing his gardener’s overalls. His two arms wrapped around hers, pulling her out so they could kiss. It was long and passionate, the perfect greeting.

Jenny slipped herself out of his grip and swam to the centre of the pool. There she waited, beckoning him to join her. There was a another nervous glance and he started removing clothes, as rapidly and wildly as possible. Within seconds he was standing over the water, in all his sculpted glory, his manhood already showing signs of interest. Jenny grinned at him, commanding him with her eyes. Obeying, he dived in.

They swam towards each other and met in an underwater embrace. Hands explored each other through a blinding haze of bubbles finding each and every part of each other. They both surfaced and kissed even more passionately than before. Entwined they came again to the poolside. With one arm he held firmly to the side while the other held onto Jenny.

His hand touched her in every way. Her mouth quivered in ecstasy as  he found her most intimate places and brought them to life. Her hands were busy too, search him, playing his back, his neck, his chest, Her body writhed against his and her attentions went down, where his excitement was becoming ever more visible. She took it in her hands and together, gently, they joined as one.

Paroxysms of pleasure flowed through Jenny’s body as he thrust inside her. They moved in rhythm, each body synchronised with the other, building momentum, heightening passion. Water splashed around them as they worked themselves into a frenzy, getting faster and faster, the sensations building higher and higher. She closed her eyes, her whole body shuddering as she came closer and closer to climax until…until..

“Jenny!!! What are you doing?!” It was her father, with two of the servants from the house. He had gone, vanished without a trace. Even the clothes had disappeared. She was on her own in the water, confused and embarrassed trying to discreetly removed her hand from where it had just been. She didn’t, couldn’t, understand what had just happened.

It seems that her father was equally confused. He tried to look anywhere but at the pool while Jenny exited and put back on her robe. “We didn’t know where you were” he said sheepishly when she was finished “But we figured you would want to know as quickly as possible considering how well you knew him.”

Jenny looked confused, her father continued “Billy; the Gardener’s son. He was in an accident while driving back here from Louisville. He was hit by a drunk driver just before six O’Clock. His father said he had been pronounced dead at the scene.”

Waves of sadness and confusion passed over Jenny as she tried to digest the news. Tears refused to form though she wanted to grieve. Part of her refused to believe that what had just passed was not real, that he was already dead then. But.. It had been real.

Jenny shivered in her robe and her father wrapped her in a hug and his jacket and walked her back to the warmth of the house. All through the journey home her mind raced with thoughts of what had just happened. They had agreed, sworn to meet that night, at that pool and it was with that on his mind that Billy had raced to face his fate.

As she walked back through the gardens Jenny realised that what they had sworn was too powerful even for death. He had come to her, even if he couldn’t in body. What they had shared that night had been real and it had been special, even if it was not corporeal. Proof of passion after death.

She supposed she would be thankful for that.

Funny

Threw open the door

Dashed through the sheets of rain for cover

Too late

The paper bag ripped, spilling all its contents

“I suppose you think this is funny?”

The clouds laughed thunderously

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Written for Trifextra Week Fifty-two

 

 

 

First Day

It was the first day of my governorship when I had them brought in.

I first thought it was going to be a bitch of a task to track them down but in the end it was surprisingly easy. These guys were just ordinary folks, with regular jobs.  That they were ordinary made things even worse, at least in my line of work  the moral ambiguity is the order of the day.

I had my most trusted lieutenants do the initial ‘questioning’.  I have to say; they know their work, they really do me proud. Carlos’ skill with a pair of pliers is legendary. And Ivan! When he hits hard bones don’t break; they shatter. I was confident that when I  made my way to the small jail, our captives would be sufficiently, passivated to give no problems.

Carlos assured me that they were all still alive when I entered the small cell, but each of them looked in a sorry state. It was hard to make out features through all the bruising and missing eyes, but they were unmistakable.

I pointed to the biggest, Jack Lynch, slumped in a chair and motioned Carlos to wake him. Too weary to scream, he could only weakly protest his innocence.

I asked Carlos and Ivan to leave and kneeled beside him. “Hello Jack!” I said, “Remember me!” He looked confusingly at me, “Come on! I’m sure you do. Remember John Williamson, who used to play around here? Remember how you once had some ‘fun’ with him? Remember what you did? I certainly do!”

I hadn’t gone by that name in years; not since I ran away all those years ago but it brought back a flash of recognition in Jack. He tried to say something, maybe an apology. But I hushed him. “Not now Jack. It is far too late for that.” I got even closer to his head and whispered in his ear, “I’m back now Jack! Welcome to your first day in Hell!”

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Written for Trifecta Week Sixty-One

Picture it and write: Storage

Hi there! This is my offering for this weeks Picture it and write on Ermilia’s blog here. Once again; the picture is not mine I only use it for inspiration. Anyway Enjoy.

Storage

Five…Four…Three..Two…One. As if a switch went off the body moves her hand, this one is a woman, already beginning to tear at the soft polymer membrane that makes up her mould. That is how things work. I make you a mould, pour in a cocktail of nutrients and engineered cells, wait a few weeks, then download your mind into your fresh new body. When you are born you rip the mould to shreds, you literally break the mould. I have always found that funny; even before my upload. But then I haven’t changed that much.

I supposed I still think of myself as human; I was born one. But I have spent so much more of my time as a machine. Existing in the quantum foam of the computer. And I have been active all that time, unlike all the others in storage, one of us had to be. The council called me ‘Captain’ but in reality I was so much more. I was the ship, I was all its senses, inside and out, I was its engines, and the life-support systems and even the little repair robots that scurry around so much. It has all kept me very busy I can tell you. There was even a couple of time when my quick (I’m talking nanoseconds here) thinking saved the ship and everyone one it. But I won’t bore you with those details; they’re all in my report.

I know some people back home don’t like the idea of us; that we should stay “normal” but like me ask them, do they know how dangerous space is? The human body can barely survive the month-long trip to Jupiter let alone the three hundred year voyage here. There is just too much radiation. Even if we were frozen in the heart of the ship we’d be damaged beyond repair by the time we arrive. This way is so much better. Save the mind in a multi-redundant memory storage system; fly there safely on autopilot (Thank you! Thank you!), land on the new world where it is nice and safe and build fresh bodies for our minds to be put into and live in.

I say ‘our’ but that is not strictly true. I won’t be joining them. Being a machine does things to your mind; you see things differently, at much greater scales, and so much faster. I couldn’t imagine living in a body again. It’s not even possible to do it; there is too much of me now, all that would remain would be a ghost, a shell of what was there, I don’t want that. Who would?

So I am here to help. I will be very useful to them. A nearly infinite resource. I will be glad to still be of service. After all I protected them this long. I am even helping them be born again. I kind of feel like a dad again. Maybe they’ll look at it the same way.

Oh! Look at me rambling on! I have been nearly three whole seconds talking. This one has ripped a nice big hole in her mould and she is breathing again. No need for the laser-scalpel this time. Good.

Everything looks ok from here, vitals are good, download looks successful. She is a little dazed, but who can blame her? I just put in a call to Gerald; telling him that another one has woken up. That makes fifty humans wandering around now. The place feels so much more alive.

Ah! The woman! I will have to say something. Now what is her name? Elizabeth Zhao. Hmmm! Robotics engineer! Maybe she could help me! I have been thinking. The disembodied voice is just too impersonal. Maybe she could build me a nice android; something more human so I can talk to the crew directly, on a personal level. I’d like that. They might like that too. Best to wait until she is recovered though!

Things are certainly looking a lot more exciting!

Picture it & Write creative writing prompt January 20, 2013

Up the river

War! What is it good for? As the wise man once said; absolutely nothing. For the vast majority of people that is completely true but there is a certain subset, comparatively rare, for whom war is an opportunity to make vast sums of money. They are the smugglers, arms dealers and mercenaries of the world. Most like just to retire once the fighting is over, to enjoy their not quite ill-gotten gains in peace. But there are an even rarer subset who positively love war and anarchy and all that go with it. When everyone is indecent enough to go and stop fighting and start being nice to one another they decide to take matters into their own hands and go about setting up little islands of chaos around a much more peaceful world. It was just such a bunch of people that I found myself attached to when I joined James’ band. Though of course I did not know that at the time.

I was still severely drugged when I was dragged back to my feet after I got out of the taxi in front of the Hotel Royal by two of James’ burly compatriots. “Somebody must have tried to get the best of you eh Enrique?.” James said as I tried again to stand and the promptly fell again to the ground “Still you managed to make your way back here. Gunther!” he said to one of the men, “See! I told you this guy has spunk. Let’s see what we can make of him.”Somehow I was able to drag myself back to my feet and staggered waveringly back into the hotel.

It was there that I was introduced to the rest of the group. There was twenty men from many countries and walks of life, I can’t recall all of them it was so long ago but there where three who really stuck with me, mainly because they scared the pants off me. There was a French man by the name of Christoph who had the air of someone who could cut the neck off you as soon as look at you. There was a Black Brazilian called Pedro who was as built like a tank and had a tendency to take out a large knife and start stabbing at things (not people as far as I have seen) and looking at someone he wanted to intimidate. Finally I remember Gunther who was German. There were several former axis soldiers in James’ cabal but the other Germans all made it a point of denying they had ever been Nazis, even though I had never asked them. Gunther though when he heard the other Germans denying so vehemently just took a look at them and they shut up. Gunther, I soon found, was very much James’ second in command. As harsh an unforgiving leader as James was generous. Notwithstanding the veritable United Nations of hard men around whom I was rapidly sobering up. They all got on reasonably well and it were actively engaged in work together which at that particular case referred to barking orders at me while I did a lot of the heavy lifting.

There was plenty to move. Boxes covered with lines of numbers and other packages that I was unable to identify littered the ground as well as all the available tables and shelf space. Most of the boxes were grand, if not a little heavy and I was able to move them with about much bother and a little elbow grease. A few on the other hand, I was warned not to go near and they were carefully wheeled out by the others with all the care the could muster. In all it took us nearly an hours to load two trucks at which point it was near 10 O’Clock.

The two trucks left behind the hotel and we all followed in a third. It was there that James told me that I had arrived on an auspicious day “We are going on a mission!” he said with evident glee. These trucks are going to deliver us and those supplies to our boat in the docks and we will then make our way up the river. I know you understand that it is sometimes better to do these things at night.” I nodded pretending I understood.

We emerged by the Congo river in a more industrial setting than the ferry dock that I had arrived in early that day. Moored along the pier was a old riverboat that looked, if anything more old and decrepit than the Magnificent that I had so readily abandoned. Whatever reservations I had were silenced when Gunther barked orders for us to leave the truck and start loading all the boxes into the boat. We all worked this time and were joined in our exertions by and old-looking man who had come off the boat. This man; the others just called him Billy, somehow whipped all the men into an efficient frenzy and the trucks were empty in less than half an hour. By just after midnight we were cast off and on our way.

The Congo is a wide river, without much in the way of obstructions along its path but there was still the need for constant vigilance on the part of the pilot to avoid the unexpected. Billy, William Mackintosh to his mother, was in late middle age and hailed from (heavens praised) Scotland. I immediately highlighted the Hamish in my name and tried to play up the Scottishness of my ancestry as well as I could (It might have been true!). I doubt Billy cared. He had worked for the royal navy during the first great war and sailed on cargo ships and river boats for over twenty years. He hadn’t seen Scotland in all that time and didn’t much care for that fact. Billy loved the river and to hear him he knew it better than anyone else.

Though it was as dark as pitch for all of the night, thanks to some miracle and no doubt Billy’s skill, we were still free and heading up river when the sun rose above the trees. I had spent most of the previous days travelling through jungle but to really appreciate its scale, you have to see it from a distance like in the middle of a river. The tall trees and sheer distance that the carpet of green extends can only be seen if you step back a little, the wood literally cannot be seen  for the trees. The assortment of men were busy at work amongst the boxes. With the benefit of the fresh light they had opened them and started to remove and prepare a frightening assortment of weapons. Most of them I had never seen before with the possible exception of war film and even then it was hazy. Boyhood fascination aside, I found myself increasingly nervous with this and decided to join Billy in the pilot’s house.

Billy; whether he believed my Scottish dimension or not, seemed to like me and while the sun rose he started to tell me the ins and outs of river navigation. The way he spoke it sounded so incredibly easy. It was only when I tried to remember that I realised that I didn’t understand half of it. Still I learned some new things from him that morning and every time I came to speak with him. This was to be a defining feature of our relationship.

When the sun was close to its zenith. James summoned me and announced what he expected me to do. There was a small galley in the bowels of the boat and I was to go there and fix them up something. I did know how, didn’t I?

I once again lied through my teeth and heading into the stifling heart of the boat found the small remedial galley and tried to summon what little I had learned from Granny and Hans. A number of packages had been stashed into the galley and a quick survey of their contents found that they were filled with canned and dried foods of several kinds. These were all fighting men, simple folk, they wouldn’t want fancy, they would want filling and warm, or cold, depending on the weather. I worked as well as I could.

Soon enough. I was dishing out “O’Brien’s Broth” to each and everyone. A light, simple chicken broth with some added spices and vegetables. Perfect for a warm day. The comments were generally favourable and I was told in no uncertain terms that they expected more of the same for dinner at nightfall. My mind started spinning with ideas.

Food prep if you do it right is not all-consuming and I found plenty of time to spend on deck talking with the others mostly Billy mind. I had found that after you watch a man slurp down a bowl of food, you can never be truly scared of him. That had worked for most of them, except for Gunther and the other three. Nothing could make them seem non-threatening. But even they treated me a little better after I had fed them. I asked a few what they were doing, mostly it was cleaning and fixing guns, bombs, general mischief matériel. They were a little reticent to talk about what they were going to do, even Billy, I figured I would soon find out.

I made boiled rice with fish of some sort for dinner then after everyone had finished and the galley and dishes were clean, I made my way back to Billy for another chat. I must have fallen asleep in the Pilot’s house because I was awoken with it still dark and was met by James telling me to go to the galley and stay put. He said they wouldn’t be needing any breakfast that morning but if I could rustle up some coffee, that would be good.

I rustled up four pots of steaming coffee and handed them to Christoph and another man who had seemingly been sent down for the purpose of collecting them. They didn’t seem too non-plussed about their errand work, the looked excited, eager even. Like they had already drank too much. When they had gone I couldn’t tell too much more. The galley window showed that the sun was already coming back but it only looked like the river bank was even further away than it had been the previous day.

It was then that I felt a lurch and was nearly knocked onto the still warm oven. We must had hit something. A sandbank maybe? Not likely with Billy in charge. Heard voices and the unmistakable tones of Gunther barking something harsh. This continued for a few minutes, then, nothing.

I waiting down in my station for it must have been half an hour without any sign or visit when I gathered the courage to climb back up to the deck. The place was deserted. I quickly realised that we where not in the middle of the river any more, we had pulled up in a little inlet, right against the bank. A long gantry had been extended and was lost in the greenery of the undergrowth. I was about to step onto it and investigate when I heard behind me “Hey you! I thought they told you to stay down in the galley!” It was Billy. I asked him where everyone had gone. He sighed and said “I’m sure you were going to ask sooner or later.”

Before he could say anything else there was a popping sound from further up the river, like fireworks in the distance From my youth I knew what they were, that was  gunfire, occasionally the popping would be accompanied by a muffled thump, the sound of explosives going off. The sounds continued at a rapid pace for a few minutes, then gradually subsided down to only a few pops a minute then there was silence. I looked in the direction of the sounds and then back at Billy, his face was stoic, he was looking at the river. I was confused a little at what could have grabbed his attention and then I saw it.

On the river, running down with the flow was a veritable armada of boats. The first were large metal boats,  I could just pick up the whirr of their motors. With each passing moment the boats got more and more simple going from modern diesels to steam junkers and finally to dugout canoes, moving on human power. They all had one thing in common; they were all filled with people and not much else.

“That is why we were here.” Sniffed Billy, his eyes not showing much emotion at all. I was confused again, “We were there to protect them?” I asked. Billy choked out a laugh “What! Of course not! We were here to get rid of them” He put a hand on my shoulder “You see son; there are hundreds of little settlements like that which have grown along the river in the past few years, all of them without permission. Sometimes they find that they are sitting on something valuable, like gold, or diamonds, or the like. Well then; there are powerful, people with powerful companies that would want to use that. So they send us in to scare them away and then they can come in and claim the site like the village was never there. We get paid plenty for our work and there is enough to make sure certain Belgian officials look the other way as well. Everybody wins!”

“What about them?” I asked pointing at the flotilla “What do they get?” Billy sniffed again “If their lucky they won’t get killed. We don’t want them dead, we just want them gone, it’s too hot to be burying people. They can set up somewhere else just as fast and if they have sense they wouldn’t stay were there is something valuable. Listen to me, we all are going to get very,very well paid for this, if you have any kind of moral issues about it then you are free to walk away.”

But that was the thing. I wasn’t free to walk; I couldn’t go anywhere. James had found me with literally nothing and had taken me in, at the very least I owed him, and I would have to stay until that debt was repaid. I resigned to my fate. “So what happens next?” Billy looked back in the direction of the original noise, already some wisps of smoke could be seen. “Well it looks like they have already started razing the village. They will burn everything they can and then they will wait for a crew from whoever hired us to show up and bulldoze what is left. Then it is back to Leopoldville. Soon I will be getting a message from them on the radio to sail up the river and land where they are. Son! They would be expected some lunch when their done, something good. The job makes you hungry.”

I stepped back down to the galley and started to put together what I could from what I had. They had devilled ham and it I lightly fried that with some onions I might be able to pass that off as steak. I wouldn’t be exactly but they might appreciate it all the same. They did.

That was my first excursion with James and his band but it wasn’t my last. I never saw much more than I did that first day; I wasn’t meant to, I was support staff. Still what little I saw gradually hardened my heart. A testament to what familiarity can breed in us all.

I wouldn’t stay with James forever though and the tale how I finally left his service was every bit as weird as how I entered it. But that; dear reader, is for the next part of my story.

Horoscopes 4

Capricorn (22 December-20 January): Sometime next week you will suddenly develop feelings of being alone and not supported. Don’t worry, that’s normal when your parachute doesn’t open.

Aquarius (21 January-19 February): Your love-life will take a surprising turn with the arrival of your new six-foot prison room-mate Bubba. He’s a ‘cuddler’!

Pisces (20 February – 20 March): Many times you have told people “It’s not illegal to be me!” Well from next week; thanks to a cross-party initiative in congress, that will no longer be true.

Aries (21 March – 20 April): Your health will take a decided turn for the worse after you discover the joys of bacon flavoured mayonnaise.

Taurus (21 April – 21 May): Your career prospects will take a dive when you drop the ball at work. The ‘ball’ in this case being the code word for a vial of  flesh-eating virus.

Gemini (22 May – 21 June): People will be amazed when you announce that you will cross the country to find your lost childhood sweetheart. They will laugh their heads off when she rejects you right in your face.

Cancer (22 June – 23 July): They say a man’s body can only survive the harsh conditions of the Arctic circle for a few minutes. This week you will put their wisdom to the test, and prove them right.

Leo (24 July – 23 August): They said you wouldn’t make anything of yourself. But you will prove them wrong when you enter the history books as your pants fall down in front of the Pope.

Virgo (24 August – 23 September): You will continue to neglect the little things in life this week leading Klaus the midget to once again punch you in the groin.

Libra (24 September – 23 October): This week; you will find yourself passed over for promotion to a job for which you are under-qualified. Take solace with the fact that not everybody is meant to operate the cash register.

Scorpio (24 October – 22 November): You are the product of an amazing journey through billions of years of evolution going back countless generations to the origin of life; yet you are still not able to figure out how to work that clock radio.

Sagittarius (23 November – 21 December): Still not able to find your keys? The stars know where they are. But they’re not telling you. How do you like that? Huh?

Introductions for Trifecta

  1. What is your name (real or otherwise)? : JoeTwo. Or Doctor Two if I want to be pedantic. I was called that because I was the second Joe to come to work in our research group and I have come to embrace the name.
  2. Describe your writing style in three words. Anything that works!
  3. How long have you been writing online? Since July 2011. Though I did take four months off last year because I was writing my thesis.
  4. Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in? I am a regular at picture it and write on Ermilia Blog. I try to do that every week.
  5. Describe one way in which you could improve your writing. Proof read some more. I tend to throw it out as soon as I am finished with readers then commenting with all the stupid grammar mistakes. I consider that my editorial process. 
  6. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given? “Love writing. If it ever becomes a chore then stop doing it”
  7. Who is your favorite author?  I love science fiction and am a big fan of the masters but I have recently started reading Iain M Banks who writes both Sci-Fi and regular thrillers. He has a way with stories.
  8. How do you make time to write? I usually sneak time between duties in work and I also keep the laptop on throughout the day on the weekend.
  9. Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember–it must have a third definition. Luminous. I figure I could have some fun with that one!
  10. Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading. How much, which was written for a picture it and write back in November had more tears in the comment section than anything else I have written.

This is for Trifecta Check in 

The Lord

Lord Branagh was upset. He had to be up before noon; a frightfully uncivilised hour. Karsten, his solicitor had been so insistent that he had no choice but to agree.

Normally; Karsten would come up to the estate, that is how things worked, so Lord Branagh had never actually set foot inside his office. It was well laid out. Nice to see the retainer being put to good use.

Karsten had explained that there was to be an accountant at the meeting. The man, a Mr Jones, was sitting opposite Karsten at a large desk. He was a thin, reedy man, with bottle-top glasses. Lord Branagh disliked him instantly.

“My Lord!” Karsten began “Mr Jones here has some rather disturbing news with regards to your finances.” Lord Branagh sat up at that. Mr Jones started to speak “My Lord. Over three weeks ago I was hired to review and audit the accounts of the Branagh Estate. I find some thing somewhat puzzling.”

The accountant hesitated. Lord Branagh, getting irritated, pushed the accountant on “Well! What was the matter?” Mr Jones continued “We cannot find any receipts or invoices to account for the income of the estate. As far as we can tell the estate business has been completely idle for at least three years. My Lord; can you account for this income?”

Lord Branagh had taken about all he could of the accountant and shouted at him “What nerve I will not take these questions?” Then; past the protesting Karsten, he stormed out and back down to his car.

As the car drove back through the long city streets back towards home. Lord Branagh; ignoring the Karsten’s attempts to phone him, thought about what to do next. There was likely to be an investigation. Probably best to shift the brothel to one of the more outlying buildings to hide it. The grow-house might be more tricky but sometimes these things had to be risked.

After all he had an expensive estate to run.

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Written for Trifecta Week Sixty

 

Picture it and write: Time to think

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again the picture is not mine I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

P.S. I have a new book out. It is a collection of poems and stories from my blogs (With one or two extras!) check it out here.

Time to think

Sandra closed her eyes as she dips her head under the sudsy water of her bath. It was a small bath so she had to raise her legs into the air, streamers of suds and water cascading off them onto the sides of the bath and onto the tiled floor. She didn’t care much about that. It was a relief to feel the water flow around her face, pressing against her eyelids, tickling her nose. It was heavenly.

She never had much time like this anymore. Two sons old enough to cause trouble and a husband not much better, that was her lot in life. Every waking moment was demands from all directions. “Take me to school!” “I have to go to football practice!” “I want a packed lunch for work today!” It never ended.

But this! Ah this! This was her special time, her time to think. Just after 10 am in the morning, both the kids and the man were gone, Sandra had the house to herself and the opportunity to unwind, to recharge. She could use all the chances she could get.

Sandra stuck her head back above the surface of the water. She could feel the tickling of the tiny bubbles from the soap bursting against her skin. With an equally sudsy hand she wiped her face, hopefully taking most of the white foam with it. She figured she must have made a comical sight and smiled at the thought.

There was a slight draft from the window that never quite closed properly and she found that her exposed legs chilled remarkably quickly. Dunking them back in the water relieved that somewhat but not as quickly as first. That was the first sign, the water was slowly starting to cool. She would soon have to get out and back to her life.

Her mind raced through all that needed to be done just before morning. There was the Dry cleaning to be collected, steak for the dinner to be bought, a play date to be arranged for the youngest and the stairs to be vacuumed. All of that would keep her fairly occupied before lunchtime and the return of the youngest from school after which options would be reduced.

She didn’t want to though. Even with the water cooling she had no desire to get out. “Let them do it!” she thought, “Let those ungrateful shits do the house work for a change!” “Let them cook their own dinner!”

Almost as if on cue her left foot, nails rebelliously painted black the night before, came out of the water again and pushed against the taps at the front of the bath. It took some finesse but she was good at it. The tap shifted there was a stream of hot water into the already half filled bath. Sandra could feel the pulse of the hot water flowing up her legs and around her back. She breathed out a little; that was better.

She stopped hot tap after only two or three minutes; no need to get scalded, and settled down again. Her mind on the other hand, was as active as ever. The work still needed to be done. But Sandra had no intention of getting out just yet. The chores could wait. She was thinking.