And as the faces above him swam and altered, he thought: "no, there can't be two dormice, there's something wrong – it's either me or him!" and he caught sight of Quentin's contraption, but the screen had changed, now it was like a television and showed the front door of The Bunker, with a microphone standing beside some sort of improvised lectern, and he realised what was about to happen: "Mad Hatter, can you hear me?" and the Mad Hatter, vaguely resembling Sir Wilfred, bent closer and said in a brumal sort of voice, soft as falling snow, yet crisp as frost: "it's all alright, Jim, Lad, you see, The Queen of Hearts has baked a huge Charlotte Russe and if the Nasties don't fall into line she's going to boycott their Winter Frost Fair on the Thames – did you hear, Jim, lad, the ice is now twelve feet thick and the locals are dancing with yokels from the backwoods round a blazing fire and everyone is throwing their passports and all other Identity Cards we've conned them into over the years – Bus Passes, Driving Licences, Credit and Debit Cards, Supermarket Loyalty Cards, anything with a Chip and a Pin or a Passport-type Photograph! now we won't have a scooby Who's Who! or What the Buy, or Where they Go! everyone in the country, whether home-grown or imported, will be completely anonymous, absolutely wiped clean, washed out, laundered better than anything the Mafia in the Banks and Hedge Funds and on Trading Floors can do; all reborn, able to go where they like, with whomever they want and the Government can't control them, nor can anyone else!" and as he danced around his voice grew to a crescendo! "no Referendums, no Elections, no Taxes, no Check-outs, no Money, no Traffic Wardens, no Police, no Border Controls, no Civil Servants, no NHS, no Army, no Navy, no Churches, no . . . . ." which was when Timothy screamed: "you can't abolish the NHS! for God's Sake man, that's a Bridge Too Far!" and they fell back, as if he was a Leper, come to infect them all, and then the screen caught his eye again and he stood stock-still and watched, and the others crowded round him and watched too, as the PM, Mrs Maybe-Maybenot came out of the most famous door in the World, and before the door closed, the most famous cat in the World slipped inside; the PM stood before the small lectern, now with a bouquet of microphones, and a girl crept into shot and attached another to the bouquet and crept out of shot again; the PM gazed earnestly around at the journalists, photographers, cameramen and women, from all over the world, indeed, the Known Universe, she nodded to a few, smiled, even gave a tiny wave of the hand, and took a breath, looked directly into the BBC camera and then . . . . .
Quentin Quibb was nursing a hangover, and still seemed to blotto to be capable of work, while Sir Wilfred Heath-Robinson fed him Alka-Seltzers, when Brexit Secretary of State Timothy Michaelmas-Daisy crept into The Bunker by the back door: "Happy New Year," he said and held out a bottle of Laphroaig and one of his mother's Dundee Cakes (from Harrods) which he had sneaked out in an S&M bag, thinking that would arouse no comment if he was glimpsed by the TV cameras lurking in the undergrowth, or Quentin's partner, Dan McGann, the Headline Man, whose ethics refused to permit him to decline a good story even out of loyalty to Quentin; but Dan was at home in bed even worse for the wear, Timothy the only one who seemed chipper at the start of what should worry him – the Meaningful Debate leading up to the Meaningful Defeat followed by the Meaningless Plan B – surely less likely to be remembered for it's good lines than Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space; indeed, Quentin seemed to have aged rapidly, from his pre-Festive-Season boyishness to a fair lookie-likie for Bela Lugosi! "make some coffee," said Sir Wilfred and Timothy happily obeyed, and it was when he was in the kitchen that he heard a faint knocking from the other side of the cellar door; hesitantly, he opened it and was rather surprised to find the Conservative Members of Parliament for the three Beddingshire Constituencies: North (Sir Pompus MacFarlane), Mid (Mr Digby Doubleday) and South (Ms Natalie Rhombus) looking like they had climbed over a slag-heap, so besooted were they: "hey, come in, would you like some coffee," asked Timothy, then adding: "how long have you been down there?" but other than to hand him their dirty coats, the three walked straight through to Sir Wilfred's office; it was only when Timothy, assisted by one of the Police Officers – who had had to put down his weapon to carry a tray – came in with the coffees, that Natalie recognised him: "I thought you were one of the minions, sorree," so he laughed with her, and now that she at least knew who he was, he again asked: "how long had you been down there?" but by this time Quentin had dimmed the lights and was setting up one of his strange contraptions, with numerous boxes, presumably different pieces of computer technology, connected by a spaghetti-junction of cables and wires, topped off by a wide-screen monitor that was blazoned with the words Chardonnay Presentations which meant nothing to Tim: "belt up in the back," quipped Quentin, and Timothy realised it was directed at him, so he sat down and watched and tried to listen as the remarkably agile Lugosi, darted around, drawing attention to This or That, or The Other, "which dare not speak it's name!" the gist of the Presentation was that a) the PM's Chequers Proposal – unchanged since she had withdrawn it before Christmas and delayed the rest of the Meaningful Debate and Meaningful Vote, would be defeated; b) would it be a total rout, or just a slight rout; c) what can Plan B possibly be? and this was the crux of it: "we have to go outside the box," said Quentin "and Sir Wilfred will explain, he's the Master of the Political Syllogism!" at which Sir Wilfred put on his reading glasses, put down his notes and gazed myopically at them: "okay, bottom line – the PM is going to ask the question: 'does anyone want a Hard Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic?' chorus of 'Noes!" so she then says: 'I have spoken with the Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar and we have agreed a Plebiscite on the Unity of Ireland, in which electors in the whole Island will vote, so that, to quote Robert Emmett: "Ireland long a Province May be a Nation once again!" so let us do the decent thing and let his epitaph be at long last, written!"' and Sir Wilfred said: "cries of 'No Surrender!' from the Orangemen, deafening cheers from the Opposition, the PM announces that the Referendum will be held next week, as will a Second Referendum on Scottish Independence and then a second EU Referendum, a so-called People's Vote on her Proposal the week after – but what she doesn't tell them is that Irish Citizens will, like all other EU Citizens, be unable to vote in either the Brexit Referendum or UK General Elections which follow – think of it, most of them vote Labour! and if the Scottish Referendum produces a majority for Independence, with one sweep, we guarantee a Tory Majority in England and Wales for the next 100 years! and even if it goes against, with Roxy Davidova rallying the Unionist Troops, we'll have Great Britain under our party for generations!" and Timothy fell over backwards, lay on the floor, trying to focus on the anxious faces staring down at him, but could see only stars – delirious, siderosous? he felt that he must have slipped into another, parallel, Universe, in which Sir Wilfred was the Mad Hatter, Quentin, the Dormouse, Sir Pompus, the Cheshire Cat, Doubleday, the White Rabbit, Miss Rhombus, the Queen of Hearts and himself, the Dormouse! through the Looking Glass or down a Rabbit Hole into Wonderland, it made no odds – everyone was Stark, Staring, Mad!
"The problem is," said (Sir) Faslane MacFarlane MSP, in the most secluded corner of the upper room in The Wee Windaes restaurant, on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, "the sausage-dog, this, whatsisname, Hector! if he's allowed to give evidence it could result in the vindication of these," he took a sip of coffee and glared at Duncan Doubleday, Chief Constable of Police Scotland and Martin Elginbrod, the most successfully venal bent lawyer in the city, "three snoopers! who's representing them?" and Elginbrod examined the menu while Doubleday tapped at his phone, before saying: "it's Egbert Shadbolt, he lives in Morningside too and his wife's also a member of the Neighbourhood Snoopers, he's giving his services free, gratis and for nothing!" and MacFarlane muttered "bugger me backwards," while Elginbrod's face blanched, making him look more aglopened than his partners in crime had seen before: "he's the Clarence Darrow of Embra, he'll push for disclosure of what the Snoopers saw!" and MacFarlane's face was like thunder: "surely that's not permitted? it's the fact that they were Snooping into other people's private residences," and Elginbrod nodded, "mine," and MacFarlane continued: "but it's their actions that are on trial. not what they saw!" and Doubleday shook his head: "aye, but he'll argue that it's what they saw prompted them to call the rozzers, if only they hadn't phoned!" and MacFarlane said: "if only you'd pulled down the blind before doing what they saw – okay, Duncan, you're the one with the size 13 boots, beat for the walking of, so nip into the Call Centre and write up a call to the cops from Martin as coming in before the one from the snoopers, say he noticed them watching him and phoned in and it's his call the cops were responding to!" but Duncan shook his head: "it's all digitised and each day's records are uploaded to the Central Computer and one, I wouldn't have any good excuse to go in there, and two, I wouldn't know how to do it anyway!" so MacFarlane turned to Elginbrod: "okay, Martin, it's down to you – it's your blooper, you're the one who got us into this mess and you're going to have to get us out of it," and the lawyer looked askance at him and hissed: "how?" so MacFarlane smiled grimly: "there's a Wormhole in your garden shed, isn't there?" and the other nodded, warily; "okay, go into it tonight and access the wormhole, go back to before the Snoopers made their call and phone the Call Centre to report Smookeekers up on Braid Hill, watching you; that'll do the trick nicely, and then we're home and dry!" but Elginbrod blustered: "how do I work out the time?" but was shut off by MacFarlane: "make a guesstimate, Martin, isn't that how you lawyers earn a crust? jist dae it!" and in Drumchapel, Glasgow, the 13-year-old Economic Migrant took off his headphones and made a call from a disposable mobile phone: "Goldy, it's me, the Target is going to go into a Wormhole in it's Garden Shed this evening, and travel back to yesterday evening and place an earlier call complaining about Smookeekers, to get that logged into your system before the ladies make theirs," and without any small-talk he switched off; the bug Budge had attached to the Brief's coat as they squeezed past each other on the busy Royal Mile was worth the £50 he now transferred to his Embra pal's account!
Budge reflected that the palimony he might have to pay at the behest of his burd could easily leak the reserves from his cryptodepression, "oh, man, this life's turning intae a fuckin subcreation in ma heid an there's no a fuckin thing ah kin dae aboot it!" but the voice of the Economic Migrant in his head, from the little ear-bud receiver was crystal clear and he knew the images his Weegie Boss was watching, from the button-hole camera would be pin-sharp, was calm: "here he comes, pal, wearing a crombie, with a tartan scarf, bare headed as to both hat and hair, got him?" and Budge moved to close the distance, the bug in his hand and, as the crowd pushed them together, just the slight jostle and a grunt and he was striding away without looking back: "cool one, Budge, that's £50 going into your account after I tell the client," and Budge decided that a pint was affordable now.
Edinburgh Daily Chronicle
Three Neighbourhood Watchers Nabbed For Watching!
Worthy of Taggart and Still Game!
Another Cock-Up by Police Scotland!
Three members of Morningside Neighbourhood Watch who decided to carry out 'Pro-Active' rather than 'Passive' Watching for the protection of their community have been arrested on charges under a 12th Century Offence of Smookeeking! while previously, Neighbourhood Watchers tended to do their Watching from the comfort and safety of their own homes, usually behind net curtains, after several incidents of encroaching, or attempted encroaching on their properties, these fearless and courageous women, concerned about the protection of their own families amd all the others who come within their 'Neighbourhood' decided to view their Patch, from the wilds of The Braid Hills after dark, when who knows what creatures might be slithering or creeping through the undergrowth; spotting something suspicious – which they freely admit could be open to a variety of interpretations – they called to the responsible authority for investigating such things, Police Scotland, Morningside Station, where the Senior Officer is Superintendent John Bruse; the Call Centre despatched one car, with two constables, while alerting another two cars to stand-by in case the might be required; at this point the Police did not know who or how many might be involved in the Neighbourhood Watch Operation Thomasina! in due course and within a very creditable five minutes, PCs Wullie Ord and Tommy Inary, arrived on the scene and set off to speak with the Neighbourhood Watch volunteers, to seek further information which had not been given to them by the Call-Centre – but the ladies, accompanied by a sausage dog, attempted to flee the scene; this was the beginning of the mind-boggling Comedy of Errors! the two officers – no malingerers them – were nippy on their toes and quickly overtook the ladies and apprehended them; on instruction from the Call Centre, they arrested the three women under the archaic law prohibiting smookeeking and took them, together with the dog, to the Police Station in the Grassmarket where they were charged with being, in the colloquial, Peeping Thomasinas; the three, detained overnight to appear at the Sheriff Court this morning are: Nancy Rathbone, the Morningside Squiggler for the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, Madame Madeleine Parmentier, Medium and Clairvoyant and Mrs Janet Askew-Pemberton, widow of the former Director o the Royal Bank of Scotland whose hefty golden handshake was quickly invested in Monifieth House purchased and registered in his wife's name; Sergeant Goldy Brevity, long-time vexillary of the Grassmarket and Cowgate Community Policing Hub and now Inspector in Charge of Morningside and Braid Hills Community Policing Centre, which has it's own Detention Block, Stables and Kennels as well as an excellent Canteen tod this reporter that he sausage-dog Hector has been accommodated in the Kennels and is regarded as a possible Witness for the Defence!
Meanderins oan the rurban Braid Hills owerlookin Morningside
by Nancy Rathbone
"May ah, Mrs Askew-Pemberton?" ah sed an reached fer ma binoculars; "och, jist cry me Jinty," sed she, handin them ower, so ah cood tak anither bogle at the bane o ma existence, Martin Elginbrod and whahoomsoever wis gien him the BJ, as Madeleine had called it: "the effin shitface bocht up lots o feus in Morningside, includin mine, an when Tommy Sheridan was pushin thru the Abolition o Feus in 2000, Elginbrod worked a flanker an somehoooranuther, goat exceptions tae the Abolition for aw the properties wha's feus he'd purchased, under the name o an a variety o so-called Charities, ye've probly nevver heard o The Morningside Mithers and Toddlers Milk Charity, or The Braid Hills Conservation and Children's Play Areas Foundation, an The Jordan Burn Early Years Bathing Society, tae say nuthin o The Holy Corner Salvation Memorial Fund an the demotic Public subscription Campaign to Raise a Statue of Sir Parlane MacFarlane on Bruntsfield Links, weell they're aw Fronts whit wis the registered Feu Superiors an because o their Charitable Status were exempted fi the Abolition and as soon as the Bill wis passed by the Scottish Parliament, me an hunners o ither Feu Vassals received letters fi lawyers acting for the Charities – as in Martin Elginbrod, Solicitors – detailing hoo much the annual payments wis bein retrospectively increased tae thoosans o poonds, in sum cases hunners o thoosans, an advisin that the only wey we cood avoid this wis tae sell oor hooses, but that 'unfortunately' because the arrears wud be passed oan tae whaever bocht fi us, the properties wis noo, officially, Blighted! but as a gesture o goodwill, the Charities wis prepared tae buy them aff us, at a knock-down price; ah ken sum folk soucht their ain legal advice but ye ken hoo hard it is tae get ane solicitor tae tak action agenst anither, so for fear the valuation micht drap even further, a lot o them accepted whit wis offered; ah wis lucky, ma nephew is cried Felix Rosenstiel an he's Chief Clerk at ane o the few honest solicitors in Embra an he managed tae get me a meetin wi a Judge o the Coort o Seshun, Lord Jock Linkumdoddie, wha wis very interested in ma case an sed an investigation into Elginbrod wis currently underway, but it hud tae be aw Hush-Hush, but Felix wrote back on ma behalf an telt Elginbrod tae get stuffed – in mair proper legal langwidge an he drapped the threats but it took a lang while an ah wis worrit sick, but ah wis only lucky that Felix is ma sister's laddie, otherwise ma goose wud hae bin cooked!" an then the person wha's heid ah thocht wis a sporran stood up an Madeleine wis richt enough, it wis a wee laddie, wha coodny hae been above ten yeer auld; ah handed the binoculars tae Madeleine an suggested we call the polis: "ye'll be lucky," said Jinty: "the Chief Constable, Duncan Doubleday is in cahoots wi him, an so's that MSP wha chairs the Policing and Security Committee in the Scottish Parliament, ye'll ken him, Sir Faslane MacFarlane – oh he dusnae use the Sir bit noo, but ah ken fi some o Iver's papers ah fund in the loft – oh, ah cannae tell ye whit aw else a fund, it'd mak yer hair staun oan end – that he still owns vast estates in the North West an a couple o Islands, and earns a packet, though he wears a cloth bunnet an talks like he's the reincarnation o John MacLean!" and Madeleine chipped in: "and from what Duncan Doubleday has told me," which made Jinty look queerly at her, obviously wondering how on earth Madeleine could possibly be on intimate acquaintanceship with the Chief Constable, "he and Elginbrod and MacFarlane are related, cousins I think, and they are in some kind of Brotherhood, a bit like the Masons, called The Ring of Gold!" and "aha!" cried Jinty, that's it, The Ring of Gold! my Iver was the Treasurer, there's a hale filin cabinet stuffed fu' o bank statements an tax returns an membership lists, bit ah coodny mak heid nor tail o it, ah thocht it wis a Boolin Club or suchlike, they only hud a few hunner in the bank, bit fae whit ye'se huv sed, those'll be the public accoonts, the richt anes'll be hidden somewhaur else," then Madeleine said: "we'll I'm doing something," and took out her phone and in a few minutes had told the Police Call-Handler that she believed a child was at imminent risk of sexual assault and shortly after we heard the siren and saw the flashing lights of a police car as it pulled up in the street below, opposite Elginbrod's hoose; but the twa officers stertit running backassforwards up the hill towards us, hauncuffs at the ready an calling on their radios for back-up, sae we scarpered, pronto!
(Editor's Note: our Morningside Correspondent, Miss Nancy Rathbone, together with Madame Madeleine de Parmentier and Mrs Janet Askew-Pemberton, all claiming to be residents of Morningside, was arrested by Police Scotland yesterday and charged with the ancient offence of Smookeeking – which, for our English readers, means Night Peeping, or invading the privacy of others by watching through windows from the shadows! this is a serious offence and until such time as Miss Rathbone and her accomplices can prove their innocence, this newspaper will not be publishing any more of her contributions; we apologise unreservedly to those innocent residents whose privacy was invaded by these three snooping women and trust that when they are found guilty in a Court of Law they will be punished with the full severity which their crimes warrant; the offence of Smookeeking carries a maximum sentence of Transportation for Life to the Scottish Colony of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Canada – signed on behalf of the Publishers by Praline MacFarlane, Editor-in Chief)
Still Ramblin up-hill an doon-dale Aroonaboot Morningside
by Nancy Rathbone
Mrs Askew-Pemberton hud tooken a guid grasp o the binoculars an fair wrested them fi Madeleine an quickly found the object of our comments; she gasped: "that's that bastardin swellheid Elginbrod – he's the ane wha led Iver astray – well, no strictly troo, ah suspect he wis aye thon wey inclined, but Elginbrod egged him oan!" it was a surprise when she dropped her clipped Pan Loaf voice and reverted tae the tongue o her roots: Burdiehoose! she hud stertit an noo she continued: "he wis a Slavi," she said, "am urny racist, it's whit memburs o the Rooshan Orthodontix Church ca' theirsels, his full name wis Ivan Erminovitch Rostropovitch, which wis a moothful fer abdy else, sae when he wis Naturally-sized he chinged it tae sumpn mair ordinary, Iver Novello Pemberton, an when we goat wedded he added ma name, Askew and gied it a hyphen, as he sed: 'whit cood be mair ordinary and British a name than Askew-Pemberton?' an it helped him get his fit oan the ledder at the Royal, weel that an tellin abdy that he'd been tae Gordanstoon wi Prince Cherlie! oh he cood spin yarns like a Harris Tweed weaver, but he met his match wi that Elginbrod; noo therr's a sleazy fucker if ye want ane; efter he keeled ower – an bye the wey, it wis in bed, like it sed in the peppers, bit no wur merrit bed an no wi me – ah used tae be a midwife at Elsie Inglis an a still hae freens in the NHS an a goat telt he wis in bed wi sum fifteen-year-auld buoy, whae wis dressed as a schill-gurl an had his will up Iver's bum and when he hud the hert attack, his mussels gaed intae spasm so the para-medics coodny pull the buoy oot, an they hud tae pit the baith o thum on ane stretcher an tak thum tae A&E so the docs cood dae it; an ah ken fur a fack thon Elginbrod fund oot Iver's predisposition and used that tae reel him in, an it wis Elginbrod wha persuadit Iver tae invest millions o the Bank's money into dodgy schemes, so when the crash came it wis like a car-smash fur Iver, his hale life went doon the tubes; oh we goat the hoose wi his severince pey, but he kept runnin efter Elginbrod an a woodnae be surprised if there wis drugs tae – lik smack an crack an skunk an goad kens whit else – it wis thae an shaggin we buoys wot kilt 'im bit he wis deid afore that, an Elginbrod wis just clearin oot the garbage; it dusnae tak a pardigm shift o viewpoint tae come up wi an alternative tae the Polis Report tae the Fiscal that sed it wis a combined hert attack an stroke brought on by unusual exertion, unusual ma erse! av proof that he wis shaggin an bein shagged by young kids several times a week an twice on Sundays, they sed nae drugs in his system but he wis snorklin white powder for ten or fifteen years afore, nah! it's like yer chance o findin a virgin in a whoore-hoose oan Hogmanay! zero-pint-zero!"
Tae be continued agen
Rambles Aroonaboot Morningside an The Braid Hills
by Nancy Rathbone
Weel, in response tae requests fi readers, wha fondly recalled last year's eclectic series o Walks Aroonaboot Morningside, me an ma trusty wee freen, Hector the Sausage Dug, hae embarked oan a further range o Rambles an this week's taks us intae The Braid Hills; noo, no mony fowk ken that the origin o the name Braid isnae frae a use o the Scotch pronunciation o the wurd broad as braid, bit rather fi Henri de Brad, a Norman wha wis Sheriff o Embra in the 12th century an owned an estate oan the lower slopes an jist as de Brus was respelt Bruce, so de Brad cam aboot tae be Braid so, as it happens, tho they urny as high as the nearby Pentlands, the Braid Hills offer sum fine views oot tae the Forth an Fife, ye micht catch sight o pufflings makin fer the Isle o May or The Bass Rock but efter derk, an possessed wi ma nicht-sicht binoculars, they huv loats o oppertunity tae see nature close up; weel, oan ma walk yestern nicht, me an Hector wis accompanied by Madame de Parmentier (she's no goat a dug bit she'll whiles tak a shottie wi Hector's lead) and Mrs Askew-Pemberton (wha's weel kent in Morningside oan accoont o her late husband Iver bein a Director o the Royal Bank when it crashed an wis biled oot by Gordon Broon, PM at the time - wi his golden haunshake, the Askew-Pemberton's wis able tae buy Monifieth Hoose in ane o the best streets in Morningside; ah dinny begrudge them, they wis shunned by aw the RBS customers in Embra but bein as hoo ah've aye been wi the Bank o Scotland, ah wisnae personally affected an Madeleine keeps her dosh in a pillowcase in her attic, tho it's unlikely the Revenue will come efter her, some o her clients bein top names in the city!, so we set aff efter dusk, each o us hain a wee knapsack wi the essentials; ah'll no tak up space wi directions o oor ramble, the attached map shows the route we took an is self explanatory: efter a bit o a hike, an feelin a wee bittie weyworn, we reached a grassy knoll whaur we set wursels doon fer a fag an a nip an surveyed the city, wi lichts springin intae life aw ower, it wis a bonny sicht; then ah pulled oot ma binoculars an swept the scene, until somethin close by took ma attention – ah kent the hoose an ah kent wha bides in it: that evil, schemin, spongin, oops, ah almost swore in print, which is sumthin ah never dae, bit sich wis ma intense dislike oh the maun that ah peered intae his lit up rooms an eventually spotted him: Martin Elginbrod QC WS OBE! wha's erse he licked tae get that last yin ah cannae say, but it must've bin a richt royal ane! but there the swellheid wis, as large as life staunin in the windae an starin richt at me – ah nearly frapped ma binoculars but the sicht wis sae unnexpectit that ah kept a ticht haud on them an focussed till he wis pin sharp: he wis neckit! well, as much as ah cood see, he seemed tae hae a muckle sporran hung in front o his privates, an wis pleyin wi it, so ah haunded the binoculars tae Madeleine an askit her tae hae a keek; she let oot a whustle, which surprised me, ah didny think wimmin cood whustle, ah ken ah cannae, an then she said: "he's gettin a BJ," which baffled me, so she explained an ah wis disgusted: "wha'd want a thing like that in their gub?" ah askit her an she laughed: "oh, well, not me for sure, but I'm a Dominatrix and submit to no man, but many women take it, even if they don't like it, and of course gay men, submissives, or some guys switch," and Mrs Askew-Pemberton coughed, and said: "excuse me, but I couldn't help overhearing, I hope you don't think me nosey, but I think I know what you meant by BJ – my husband spent most of his life In The Cupboard, and I don't mean as a Bank Manager," an she gied a nervous wee laugh, "it was only after he died that I found out about his Secret Life;" hur sentences wis peppered wi italics an pregnant pauses but ah thocht tae masel: "methinx hur an me's oan commin grund as regerds the Weasel Shagger!"
To Be Continued
Burds in ma Winter Gairden
by Nancy Rathbone
Them as kens me, wull be aware o the situation o ma back gairden: tho ah bide in a wee cul-de-sac, wur hooses huv a handy lane aff the main road that accesses wur back gairdens an mine dusnae hae a gate since the day ma summerhoos wis delivered an the bhoys whit brocht it hud tae remove the gate tae get it in; well, efter ah gied them baith coffee an even a tip when they'd finished the wurk, the cheeky buggers didnae pit the gate back an left it in the lane, frae whaur it disappeared – stolen, is the wurd that best describes it! onyhoo an hooanever, the summerhoos is ma latebra, or retreat, an it's whaur a dae ma richtin durin the dey, oan ma wee Ollivetti portable, bein as hoo there's nae electricity in it an naebdy's bin minded tae gie me a present o a portable laptop, huh! so bye-an-bye ah took up watchin nature frae ma hide an developed an interest in burd-watchin: noo, but am urny a swellheid! am nae itcher, ah cannae name aw the burds that visit ma gairden, apairt frae corbies, and blackburds, an robins an sichlike, but nanetheless, ah fair enjoy ma hairmless pursuit an speshully in winter, ah hae burd-feederrs hingin frae the branches o ma trees tae attract me feathered freens; noo, a couple o nichts ago, there ah wis, in ma summerhoos wi a flask o hot toddy an some shortie, fur ma usual nicht-cap afore prayers an bed, when a noo an unexpectit burd entered: it wis thon wee dumpy burd wha works in the Morningside Library and she wis accompanied by that skinny lad wha works in the Dominion Cinema! imagine ma surprise as they stertit tae mak use o ane o ma benches fur their winchin! noo, ah ken Glesca fowk describe us Edinbuggers as wearin fur coats an nae knickers, but imagine ma surprise when this burd in question lifts up her skirt tae reveal that she wis wearin nae knickers – in sub zero temperatures! she probably didnae huv aa semmit oan tae – even wi'oot ma nicht-sicht binoculars ah cood see her big bum gleamin bricht in the moonlicht, a pair o white buttocks, until the laddie goat in the wey an aw ah cood espy wis his, cos he drapt his breeks roon his ankles, took ahaud o her big-moonlik bumcheeks an got stertit! ah wis that astonished, ah gulped doon a hale mugfu' o ma toddy an near choked! bein a loyal member o the Neebourhood Watch, ah kept my eyes – an ma binoculars – glued tae them, but thankfully it didnae tak lang fur him tae feenish his bizness, efter which they sat cuddled thegither oan ma bench an shared a fag, they kissed a bit an his hauns were up her jumper fur a while, an then the burd looked at her watch an said sumthin unprintable – this is a femly pepper an the editor dusnae tolerate smut – an she took oot her phone an ah cood hear her say, no that ah wis deliberately eavesdrappin, mind: "aye, mammy, ah've jist feenished work, oo've bin herd at it oan the stock-takin but am headin hame noo, ah'll catch the bus in five meenits," the brazen hussy has sum barefaced cheek tae lie tae hur mither like thon – it made me appreciate the fact that ah've nae weans o ma ain, an no maun tae – the sicht o their couplin wis near enough tae mak a decent, God-fearing boady boulk an if thon's whit it taks tae get babbs am glad tae be an ould maid; bit efter they left ah noticed ma next door neebour, Madame Madeleine de Parmentier pittin oot her milk boattle, sae ah called oot tae hur, an she cam roon tae ma gairden an jined me in the summerhoos an we shared sum o the Laphroaig ah keep there fur emergencies; noo, she's quite fastidious an she asked me fur a oshibori – a thocht she wis wantin tae borry ma secateurs or strimmer, but it wis a damp cloth tae wipe her hauns afore takkin some o ma sultana cake, she must come intae contact wi a lot o boadily fluids, but ah dinnae want tae think whaur they much come fi; so a gied her the wee face-cloth ah use tae wipe awa the condensation on the inside o the windaes, an that seemed fine by hur – well, ah telt her whit ah'd inadvertently been exposed tae an she commiserated, confiding that the doonside o her profession is that she hus tae be exposed tae the sicht o awfy mony strange men's nekkit boadies – but ah think she wis referrin tae her day joab as a Pathologist, rether than her nicht-time sideline as a Dominatrix, though ah suppose that must hae it's fair share o unpleasant sichts, like thon Chief Constable, the abominable Duncan Doubleday; she did sey that when they're lyin oan their backs, her still livin customers, no the deid anes, maist men's erect penises look like a kin o miniature Leanin Too'er o Pisa or thae wee caterpillars that raise their front hauf tae reach a leaf; she said "it's a wonder that the population keeps growing, if the ones I see are representative of the rest," an wi thon profound thocht in wur minds tae ponder, we said guidnicht and went intae wur ain hooses; ah did ma nightly ablutions an pit oan ma noo nichtie, an knelt by ma bed as ah've dun ever since ah wiz a wee chit o a lassie, but that nicht ah gied thanks tae the lord that ma boadie hus never hud tae mak contact wi either the Leanin Too'er o Pisa, or a hairy caterpillar, an wi that, pit oot ma licht an had the soondest sleep ah've hud fur a lang time; ah wonder if that burd's been in ma gairden afore wi that particular cock-robin, or ithers – she seemed tae ken her wey aboot it wi ower much familiarity, either she possesses prescience or experience – ah'll keep watch ower the next few nichts, just in case!
by Nancy Rathbone
Whate'er her faults maun be, though ah umny sae uncharitable or unchristian as tae draw attention tae the mote in ma neebour's ee wi'out haen tae suffer in return fur the beam in ma ain, she is liberal in ootlook as weell as politics an tolerance no being a noted feature o Morningside Ladies, it is worth while notin it as a credit in her character; naw, Madame Madeleine de Parmentier is nae fink, despite her means o earning hur livin, by rentin oot her boady tae men fur money – but that's an unspeakably crude wey o describin the transactions which she engages in, sae I'll say nae mair aboot them; efter a' we aye build oor ain castles in the air – aye even a serious rapporteur lik me hus dreams; oh but a wudny write them doon in the paper fur abdy tae read, guid heavens, ah'd be mortified if sumdy wha kent wha ah wis saw me in the butcher’s or the baker's and sed sumpn like: "oh, Miss Rathbone, that was a very interesting and intimate article in last week's paper, it's always a revelation tae ken whit folk ane kens dreams aboot!" they aye gie awa their roots, stert aff Pan Loaf an end up Scottish Plain! bit nane the less, ah'd hae tae retreat tae ma latebra – which hus naethin tae dae wi ma bosom, it's a wee octagonal summerhoos ah've got in the gairden, it's whaur ah get awa fae the phone an fowk knockin oan the door lookin fur munny! bit the hale thing wis, when thon Chief Constable o Police Scotland, Duncan Doubleday in the flesh, weel, he'd oan a durty raincoat an a flat bunnet like a working man micht wear, made that racket wi Madame's door-knocker on Auld Year's Nicht, or tae be exact, fower minnits intae Ne'erday itsel, weel, a boady hus tae be prepared an am no in the Neebourhood Watch fur nuthin, so ah saw it aw wi ma ain twa eyes and a handy pair o nicht=sicht binoculars ah goat at the new charity shop, an instead o a lump o coal, he gied her a wee knob o coke! it wudnae burn fur hauf an oor, an tae tap it aw, a slice o black bun fae Greggs, still in the shop poke! an the look she gied him wud hae curdled milk, so he turns tail an scarpers, an seein the awfy tired an worn-out look on her face, whit cood ah dae? ah invited her in fur a wee sherry and sum o main ain shortie and black bun, an we hud a rare oul time, laughin aboot the shortcomings o men!
Burds in ma Winter Gairden
By profession, Madame de Parmentier,
Could truthfully say "I'm a rentier,"
From tumultuous giggles,
To campestral idylls,
Ataraxy was clearly her metier!
He wis a numpty, a ba'heid, a joke;
His Ne'erday handsel a wee lump o coke!
Her Ne'erday resolve went up, puff, in smoke,
As he gied her a slice o black bun in a poke,
For her redimite beauty could mak his heart-broke!
So he went hame, turned taps oan, had a lang soapy soak,
An considered hissel wan gey lucky bloke!
Afterwards, while Natalie brushed out the tangles in her hair and Rodger repeated the promises he had made and assured her that he meant every word of them, she told him to fetch a package with his name on it, from the middle drawer of her desk; when she told him to open it, he found all that he had asked for, including names, addresses, home, work and mobile numbers, email and Twitter tags for all the contacts and, crucially from his point, passport or ID photographs of them, which meant he would be able to spot a face in a crowd and check whether it was being watched by anyone else before doing a brush past and slip details of a time and place to meet into a pocket or bag; Natalie knew that he had a past about which he volunteered nothing and she also knew better than to ask, but, despite her bimbo looks and scandalous public antics, she was no fool: a Double First at Oxford and top marks in her Bar exams, she had defended some of society's pariahs and – if the CPS hadn't built a solid enough case to put them where they belonged, behind bars – she got them off and only hoped that next time she wouldn't, but she fought every case tooth-and-nail; she knew that Rodger Dennis was a false identity and wondered who he really was, but so far as his NEP work was concerned, she had no doubts and trusted him implicitly; so what she had provided him with was Top Dollar and included another identity, as he had requested in a whisper just before they all left the restaurant, and from now on he would be operating as Aidan Lindisfarne-Mead, fabulist, and Natalie would be his only direct contact, or, as she rather liked to think, controller; indeed, she rather hoped that when the Big Job began, she would have the chance to sit on his right hand rather than having to operate at arms-length; she gave an involuntary wiggle at the thought and leaned towards him for a deep and parting kiss, perhaps lacking mistletoe but full of unspoken promise and commitment that harked back to auld lang syne; and when he left the office, she gave over a few minutes thought to wonder which actors would play them when the time came to have a movie made about this Great Adventure!
Natalie Rhombus MP was clearly in holiday mood when Rodger Dennis entered her office, the morning after his quingentenary, and took the indicated seat facing her at the old Partners Desk in front of the window; over her shoulders he had a fine view of Green Park: "it's a lovely place you've got here," he said: "perk of the job?"and she laughed: "oh, but I can go one better than that!" so, rising from her chair she led him through an adjoining door into a smaller room, one wall of which was a large window, with a long, cushioned window seat, on to which Miss Rhombus threw herself and gazed up at Dennis, through her fluttering lashes, supine, utterly obdurate, a wicked smile on her face and said: "as the Patriots Treasurer, I run the didlum, you know, the Christmas Savings Scheme we have for Members – well, while we diddle 'em, how's about you diddle me?" and knowing that she held the purse-strings and he depended upon her active co-operation if The Plan was to succeed, he needed no second invitation, but threw himself upon her and was soon diddling her as she'd never been diddled before!
But, despite their inebriation, they heard him out; they were impressed with the Gatwick Job, the oh so simple way his telephone calls had prompted others, until the number of claimed sightings of Drones had triggered panic among the authorities and closed the airport; obviously, it would have been better if there had actually been some Drones but – and there's always a BUT – they hadn't been needed, it was only the possibility that had been required, and the claimed sightings had become a whirlwind and that was enough! the eight-man Army Council – the three MPs plus a solicitor from Truro, a dustman from Wembley, a butcher, a baker, and a candle-stick maker from Yorkshire (the first two from Croydon and Middlesbrough respectively) held a quick discussion while Dennis went to the toilet – something he hadn't done for years, use a public loo, that is, and he suddenly realised the date and that this was his quingentenary, five years since going into a Gents! he loathed the places, knowing that they were frequently frequented by Queers, Homos, Nancy Boys, all of which he loathed with the loathing only a Closet Queen knows, but at least this one, was more like a domestic toilet, with just a lavatory pan and wash-hand basin, no stalls which always seemed to be employed by men with a bladder obstruction for they could stand and whistle and smile at newcomers as if they had all the time in the world, and he detested them all – and, on his return, congratulated him on his Mission, which was when Natalie Rhombus (AKA The Quartermaster – The New English Patriots don't give a fig for Political Correctness) asked him, in her canorous voice, what he needed for the Big Job: "Five Gold Rings," (code for foot soldiers, spread around the country and taking their orders only from him), "Four Calling Birds," (untraceable disposable phones), "Three French Hens," (foreign couriers who were entirely ignorant of their missions and ready to obey his orders without question), "Two Turtle Doves," (incendiary devices which he would deploy to give credence to the Plot), "and a Partridge in a Pear Tree," (being a Hostage, if the Mission required one, and Natalie had the perfect victim in mind), and, really, that was it – Rodger Dennis's Plan was approved and the NEP War Council went downstairs where their table was booked; despite his intense antipathy to anything but Good English Grub and if the choice had been his, the Pie and Mash Shop, Lou Farrow's in The Blue, Bermondsey, would have been top of the list, Dennis cleaned his plate in short order and belched appreciatively! "that hit the spot," his only comment! meanwhile, Sir Pompus as an entrée en matière told the old story of his esteemed grandfather, Sir Philosophus MacFarlane, who had served in the Second Boer War and being challenged to a coup count, by gaining admittance to the Presidential Palace and purloining the top hat of President Kruger without being caught, which, by his use of a Wormhole, he managed very successfully, and he stopped speaking, suddenly, very soberly, realising what he had said, but only Doubleday had noticed, the others having heard most of the story in slightly different forms over a number of years and so paid little attention – a narrow squeak! and on the conversation flowed, each speaker attempting to trump the others with tales of their own, or their ancestors' deeds of similar valour, but Dennis wasn't listening, his mind focussed on the work ahead: he didn't have much time, and would meet with Natalie tomorrow morning to collect on his Shopping List.
Quadrivial Quandary (QQ) is owned and operated by Rudi Seitz.
Sentences submitted to QQ are the property of their authors. See our page on Copyright Information for details.
Dictionary definitions are the property of their respective sources, presented here via public RSS feeds or otherwise with permission.
All other material is copyright 2015 by Rudi Seitz, all rights reserved.
Use of this site is governed by our terms of service.
Contact: rudi at quadrivialquandary dot com.