Thursday, July 29, 2010


 Maire and George are back again with a quick little view into their hectic lives.  To meet the entire Finnegan family and witness George's hatching, please read Marie & George: The Beginning
Marie secretly hated taking George for his daily walks, but she liked her house in its (minimally) un-charred state too much to risk not taking him.  It wasn’t the walking itself that bothered her – George’s walking skills had improved to the point that her being entangled in his leash was a weekly rather than daily occurrence – but the questions that she got from passers by.  They were always the same.

“How old is he?”
“Nine months.”
“Where did you get him?”
“My son found him in the woods somewhere.”
“Will he get much bigger?”
“I certainly hope not.”
“Can I pet him?”
“Only if you want a bite marks full of sulfuric acid.”

The last answer, probably the one Marie used the most, was an exaggeration.  George was exceedingly friendly (she only knew about the acid was thanks to a burglary attempt a few months back) but Marie felt there was no need to run the risk of some idiot kid – or adult, for that matter – doing something stupid, getting hurt, and then blaming George for it.  As far are Marie was concerned, people should know better not to bother animals.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Plant Whisperer

A quick and fun not-so-Friday-flash based on the Writer’s Digest prompt “You wake up one day with an unusual super power that seems pretty worthless—until you are caught in a situation that requires that specific ‘talent.’”

Sun sun sun! Shine shine shhiiine! A small, merry voice hummed.

What in the – I thought as I woke.  I squinted at the rays of sunlight that crept through the gaps in my venetian shades.  Leaning on an elbow, I looked around my room, trying to locate the source of the voice.  No one was there.  I could hear the pattering of water from the showing in the adjacent bathroom.  My roommate was up, but it couldn’t have been her.

Glancing back at my window, the African violet my mother had given me caught my eye.  The bud it sprouted a few days ago had finally bloomed.  Its violet face seemed to smile as its velvety leaves bathed in the light.  I grinned back at it and reached into its pot to test the soil moisture.

Water, the voice had returned. Please? it added.

I pulled my finger back from the soil like it was going to bite me.  Was that…what I thought it was?

Tentatively, I stroked one of the leaves.

Tickles! The voice giggled.

Great.  I’m hearing plants talk.


By the end of the week I’d gotten use to hearing plant chatter whenever I went outside.  The grass would whisper, the flowers boasted about their blooms, and my potted herbs would sing to me whenever I watered them – in harmony no less.

It could get annoying, though.  I use to enjoy the quiet walks through the park, but now my walks were invaded by the passing thoughts of every blade of grass, every shrub, and every tree.  It was no longer a quiet walk.  The only way I could get away from the noise was to plug myself into my ipod and blast Dragonforce.

On one such walk I was minding my own business, power metal buzzing in my ears, when a young girl and her untrained puppy jogged past; her parents walked behind them at a more leisurely pace.  Actually , it was more like the puppy was walking the girl and in its excitement it pulled the leash free of her hands.

“No!  Mr. Snuffles!  Come baaaaack!”

He bounded into the woods edging the park and without a second though the girl ran in after him. 

“Nora! Nora, get back here right now!” her mother cried, running up to the edge of the woods, but it was too late.  The girl and puppy were gone.

People began to stop and gather around the wailing mother and frantic father.  Cell phones were out en mass as everyone started calling 911 and the news stations.   I paused my music and popped out my earbuds.  My plant senses were tingling. 

By the edge of the forest where the puppy had bounded off, a faint groan rose from the plants whose stems had been bent or torn.  That gave me an idea.  Maybe I could put this new, slightly annoying new “talent” to good use.

I strode past the crowd and right up to the parents.  “I’ll go find them,” I said and before they could reply I stepped into the woods.

As the chatter of the crowd gave way to the murmur of the undergrowth, I knelt and listened for the pain ridden moans of damaged plants.  Sure enough, there was a whole line of them bearing to my right.  Doing my best not to add to their pain, I followed the string of complaints deeper into the woods.

A half an hour later, I found a sweaty Nora holding onto the dirty leash of Mr. Snuffles who had paused to relieve himself on a nearby oak.

Smelly, it whined as the urine seeped through its bark.  I felt sorry for it.

“Hello, there," I smiled a the girl.  "You must be Nora.”

The girl nodded and Mr. Snuffles finished doing his business.

“Are you ready to get out of here?”

She nodded again and took my hand.  I retraced our steps, whispering my apologies to the plants as we stepped on them, again, and Mr. Snuffles frolicked over previously undamaged growth.  I apologized to those plants too.

When we emerged from the woods, we were greeted by ambulance sirens, TV cameras, and cold drinks.  I took a bottle of water while Nora shyly told her story to an overly made-up news anchor.

“And how exactly did you find her?” the anchor asked, shoving her microphone in my face mid-sip.

I took my time swallowing my water before saying, “Oh, a little oak tree tipped me off.”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rottin' Job: Tape 2

After a month hiatus, we're back with part 2 of the serial Rottin' Jobs!  This is my part of my challenge to mari over at mari's randomities to write a story involving a zombified dragon.  Make sure you follow her serial, starting with It's Coming.

I'm trying yet another approach to this story to to make it understandable while letting the characters...uniqueness shine through.  Let me know what you think. Thanks for your patience, everyone, and enjoy!


Montague Mansion Log
Butler in residence: James Butler III
June 4, 2021

This is a continuing account of the “incident” in the primary underground vault that required the hiring of Mr. Timothy “Teeth” O’Mally and his crew of zombie hunters – or as they call themselves, “undead pest exterminators.”   I left Mr. O’Mally and team at the entrance of the vault at precisely 11:23 am on Monday June 3, 2021.  The following is my own account of the incident with aid from the audio and video recordings made by the vault’s security cameras that morning.

“What the ‘ell is that?!” exclaimed the leather clad twenty-something, his nail studded, blood stained baseball bat slung over his broad shoulders.

“I think…it’s a dragon,” murmured the red-headed teenager.  Slung over his bony back was a bag near as tall and twice as wide as himself, it’s contents leaking in odd patches through the rough canvas.  I can see him quiet literally shaking in his too large boots in the video.  He holds his remaining arm behind his back, as if hiding it will keep it safe.

“Stop talkin’ crazy, Nom!  Dragons ain’t real!” the angry man shouted.  He used his bat to point at what was clearly a dragon, “’E’s probably just an ‘uge zom-bay-fyed lizard!”

“’Ush up, Brady!” Mr. O’Mally hissed at the angry man, presumably his son by their shared resemblance.  “I don’t care what it is, but ‘elp me gods if you should wake it up.”

Indeed, Mr. O’Mally judged the situation wisely.  The graying dragon had made itself at home, going so far as to sweep all of Mr. Montague’s treasures up into one pile around the 1/3 scale model of the Parthenon.  At that moment he was fast asleep on roof of the half buried monument, using a gilded treasure chest as a pillow.  With every snore he emitted greenish puffs of rotten air from his nostrils.  His scales, red turning to gray-black with mold on the edges, were sliding off on his sides, neck, and tail to expose the rotting flesh beneath.  I dare not recall the stench of the vault for risk of having to rush off to the lavatory.  Again.  How they could stand being in the same room with it…But I digress.

“What’s our move, Teeth?” The man in a broad rimmed hat and shaggy beard asked.  He was tugging on the hat’s brim with one hand, the other resting upon the hilt of his machete.

“Standard procedure, me thinks,” Mr. O’Mally replied while tucking his necklace of human teeth strung like pearls under his worn t-shirt. “Wes goin’ fer the ‘ead, boys.”  To illustrate his point, he drew his thumb across his neck. 

“But first, doe-vide ‘n con-core.*  Me ‘n Jake will go round the back ta sneak up on ‘im.  Brady, you ‘n Nom go round the front.  If the beast-ay wakes up, distract ‘im.  Use the bait first, ya hear?  I don’t want ya ta go chargin’ in there on yer own. Keep ‘im still fer Jake ‘n his machete.  Are ya listenin’ ta me, Brady?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Brady said waving him off.  “Wes can ‘andle it, Da.  No need to Mam** us ta death!”

“Ya want us ta get closer,” Nom gulped, his knees knocking more violently than before, “ta ‘im?” 

“No, ‘e wants ya ta go back up the stairs ‘n tell Montague ‘e’s a nutter.”  Brady slapped Nom upside the head, “O’ course we’re gettin’ closer, ya dummy!”

The dragon gave a little snort in reply to Brady’s yell as it echoed through the room.  The entire team went still, readying their respective weapons.  When the dragon turned over, sending a cascade of rotting scales sliding down the side of the treasure pile, it was still asleep.  They all breathed a visible sigh of relief.

“I’ve read ‘bout these monster types,” Nom insisted in a whisper.  “Theys got these super senses so theys can tell when ya gets too close ta their fancies.  Wes’ll wake it up fer shore if wes gets closer!”

“You ‘n your readin’!” Brady whispered fiercely, bending down to get in Nom’s face. “If I could knock off a zom-bay ‘ead fer every time ya say ‘I’ve read,’ I’d be the best ‘unter in the world!”


Nom snapped to attention while Brady gave his father an annoyed look.  “Will ya shut your bloody gobs ‘n get a move on?!”

“Yessir,” they both mumbled.  Brady, swaggering like a bulldog, took the lead with Nom trailing behind.  Nom riffled through his bag, pulling out a handful of plastic bags that seemed to contain various animal parts.  “Chicken livers, sheep brains, or cow ‘arts?” he murmured to himself in a distracted way.

O’Mally shook his head as he and Jake watched them walk off.  “What are wes gonna do with ‘em, Jakie?”

“Ya worry too much, Teeth.  They’ll be fine.  Brady’ll keep Nom safe ‘n Nom will stop Brady from doin’ somat stupid.”

“Wes can only hope.” Mr. O’Mally gave his head a final shake.  He shifted his taser gun, a monstrosity I’d heard him refer to as “Mr. T” earlier that afternoon, from one shoulder to the other and said, “Well, there’s no need fer us ta be lolly-gaggin’ ‘ere.  It’s you’re show, Jakie.”

Mr. O’Mally took a step back to allow Jake to take the lead.  “Knock ‘im dead.”

“’N take ‘is head!” Jake finished.  “Slice 'n dice, brotha," he held out his fist and Mr. O’Mally knocked it with his own.  My nephew has told me this is called a “fist pound.”  Where they come up with these things…

And thus, they headed towards the far edge of the vault by the dragon’s tail just as Brady and Nom disappeared behind the mess of toppled terracotta soldiers closer to the dragon’s head.

So ends tape 2.  I will continue this account with tape 3 after Mr. Montague finishes his afternoon tea.

*I believe he was trying to say “divide and conquer.”
**Perhaps “Mam” is some reference to mothering?