Quadrivial Quandary:  Logophiles, Rejoice!  Each day we give you four unusual words.  Can you fit them all in one illustrative sentence?

Quandary Resolutions by MissTeriWoman

  • #5875 submitted 06/09/2015: podunk, caisson, obtain, obsolescence

    1. As the chums staggered up from Johnstone Terrace towards the High Street, clinging to each other to obtain sufficient balance that they would not topple into the Park below, Bunty became aware that obsolescence had caught up with her shoes, she realized that the 6” heels had disintegrated, so she removed them and chucked them into a caisson in the nearby cemetery, at which point Grizzel and Lettice began to harmonise that song of the douce wee podunk in the West of the country, far, far from Edinburgh, and made famous by Will Fyffe, “I Belong To Glasgow”, and when Maude, Cecilia and Bunty joined in for the chorus, even the pigeons wheeling above them seemed to Hoot at the fun and frolics of the Famous Five below.

  • #5874 submitted 06/08/2015: antimacassar, oneironaut, youthquake, urbane

    Daphne looked at herself in the full-length mirror and what did she see – an urbane old woman, looking tired and rather frayed (if not actually afraid) – the days, and nights of her youth, when, a blonde bombshell, she could cause a youthquake in any Arab Bazaar, or Hotel popular with Foreign Correspondents and visiting Historians and Archaeologists alike, from Baghdad to Prague, Bucharest to Berlin, were firmly of her past; she had excelled at University, chosen to become an archaeologist like her father, Sir Donald Dumbiedykes, and followed on camels the route of the caravanserai across the North African Deserts, lodging in wayside taverns with muleteers and smugglers, at Foreign Legion Forts and in Bedouin or Berber tents; taken the Golden Road to Samarkand, and ridden on horseback across the Russian Steppes; travelled the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Orient Express in the days before tourists and Thomas Cook eliminated the hardships, romance and travail from Travel and packaged it into a bite-sized itinerary (one page each from Baedeker for France, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Balkans, Turkey, Greece, and The Holy Land - all in seven days, six nights, half-board; now, the most she could face was a day-trip to Gullane, or if feeling really adventurous, a weekend in Bearsden with her brother Daniel and his 'Happy Family' and an afternoon trailing round the Glasgow shops; earlier, Hamish had paid elaborate court to her, sworn that he had been smitten by her when they were both still at school, she at Marcia Blaine's, he at Fettes; he had loved her from afar and when their careers took different paths, followed reports of hers in both the public prints and academic journals; bought first editions of all of her published books - and read them all; and now had sworn undying fealty, all the while kissing her hands, her arms, her face, pressing his body against hers and exploring every access point to her soul, and more; oh, he was full of enthusiasm, his fingers seemed able to push half-a-dozen buttons at once, his tongue eagerly forced it's way wherever he wished; but, when push came to shove, when his manhood rose to it's full height, apparently invincible, his body let him down – he was no ardent, youthful lover, he was six months older than she and his prowess only a memory fed by too much alcohol, and wilting as soon as it was asked to perform; the whole experience felt like an oneironaut – one of those waking dreams when, like Alice Liddell, one finds the blend of past and present, reality and imagination, become a miasma, with no real clues as to what is Up and what Down, which is Here and which There, in or out; not that Daphne felt any true disappointment – the thought of him penetrating her body made her feel quite nauseous; she almost saw herself stained by her deception – she was no Mata Hari, she was a respected historian, an academic with her own standards and right now they did not bear scrutiny when she stared straight at her reflection; she already had the love of Maude, her own Dearest Maude, Maudie who adored and trusted her – and had she sought to betray that trust, all for a nugget of information promised by Hamish; it was a dangerous idea – born out of desperation to know the answer to a question that had dominated her, and informed all of her actions over the last fortnight and more; she now felt cheapened, looking as worthless as an old antimacassar, stained with brylcreem – and unmentionable bodily fluids; tomorrow was to be her Wedding Day – when she and Dearest Maude would have their union legally regularised, and spiritually blessed; the nugget she had received from Hamish certainly had its value, and it was assuredly unique, and other than Hamish, she truly believed that no other shared it's knowledge – but for the nonce it would have to be stored away in the vast warehouse of her mind, carefully catalogued and cross-indexed, and waiting to be accessed when the time was right; she locked eyes with her reflection, said “you're not really so bad looking, for an Auld Biddy – you've still got what it takes to turn some heads, but now it's time to shake a leg,” glanced across at the snoring former Dean, prostrate on the other sofa, gave a chuckle as much as to say, “well, old bean, I certainly aroused your ardour, but now I've got to Love You and Leave You,” so rising, slightly shaky, but still able to control her movements, she drew her cloak over her shoulders, paused at the door and looked back one more time, and as she left his Chambers, blew Hamish a kiss and bade him a fond farewell, with the sweet words: “Goodnight, Vienna.”

  • #5871 submitted 06/07/2015: mala fide, trendite, clandestine, aggrandize

    Dixie O'Hooligan, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and set her pint glass back on the table; sitting in the Jeanie Deans Tryste on St Leonards, just a stone's throw from the Commonwealth Pool – where as a schoolgirl she had briefly held the Scottish Junior Record for the 400 metres Breaststroke – Ha! that was a laugh, she'd not had her breasts stroked for more than a year – but now she was back, and this clandestine meeting with Jeannie Deans (she must ask why the chameleon-like woman had chosen to put a second 'n' in the middle of her first name, maybe it was simply that she had never read Scott's novel The Heart of Midlothian – certainly, Dixie couldn't recall it being on the curriculum at their school – and only encountered the name spoken, not read, or just a preference for that spelling) was the first stage in regaining her foot-hold in Auld Reekie – such a shame it doesn't smell the same, “nae mair reekin' Auld Reekie.” she said quietly, and then laughed at herself, talking to herself, and an old man at the bar turned to see what was so funny but, seeing only a slip of a girl, he turned back to his Black-and-Tan; now, two years had passed since Dixie left Edinburgh for good and yet here she was, back for good – well, maybe not – for the good of her health – well, maybe a yes to that, for this had been her home for longer than any other city – for the good of someone else – probably for Bunty, but definitely NOT for Elginbrod, that slimy, weaselly, self-aggrandising mala fide of an Advocate (or Advocaat as Angus always called him to his face (wankvocaat behind his back) owed her a lot, and she knew a lot; and as she started to sip her second pint of Caledonian 80/- Dixie, always a dedicated follower of fashion in her own ways, reflected on the quirks of personality which had made Bunty (Jeannie Deans' real name) such a trendite, always anticipating and taking advantage of changes in fashion of every kind – dress, music, art, business, recreational drugs, sexual proclivities; she could poise herself ready to exploit new and increasingly sophisticated demands, while she (Dixie) always seemed a heartbeat behind; today was a prime example – she had seen Angus Og outside the bar, looking in and had also spotted Bunty's swift head movement which had warned him off, she had then gone out of the door at the other end of the bar, along the passage to the toilets, she had whistled 'In The Hall of The Mountain King' to let Angus know of her presence and had then heard a thud, well, more a crack, then a grunt – she had looked in the gents, empty, and coming out had been shoved aside by someone in dark clothes coming out of the disabled toilet and so, on regaining her balance and looking in, she had seen Angus with a shoe impaled on his head; it was SHE who had screamed, a cry which drew Bunty and had given Dixie just enough time to slip her a note, before leaving by the emergency exit through which Angus must have entered; she knew from Bunty that her monitoring of the police radio networks was keeping her abreast of the investigation and that Angus was (hopefully) recovering in hospital after an emergency operation to remove the heel embedded in his brain, she prayed that he would recover (and though not a believer, it was a prayer from the heart) and she also vowed to find the person who had tried to kill him and, if she was first, her retribution would be the worst! 

  • #5869 submitted 06/06/2015: mala fide, enfranchise, noblesse oblige, telesthesia

    Shortly after the incident of the blackcurrant cordial and the Polar Bear, the two Brevitys sat side by side, facing Martin Elginbrod QC, and the images taken from CCTV cameras lay on the desk between him and them – signifying a vast gulf which had to be bridged from one side or the other;
    Elginbrod had pulled the wad of cotton-wool from his mouth and tossed it in a bin, all pretence of dental treatment gone, as he sat and stared at the images - the very incarnation of mala fide; Gordon Brevity knew that Martin Elginbrod could not be trusted to do or say anything which was not in his own, personal, interests; his statement, including some answers to questions put to him, was noted down by Goldy Brevity in her Moleskine book – a gift from her Aunt Maud for her last but one Birthday (she tried not to think of the years celebrated) and used only in significant cases: “well, of course I don't know her, not really, you see just a nodding acquaintance you might say; her name, well, I think it's Bunty, she's more a friend of a friend, well, of an acquaintance really, and actually, it was a mere coincidence that we both happened to be there this morning, so just sharing a few words over a quick drink, really, yes, that about sums it up,” and he beamed, looking and sounding more confident now he had had time to prepare himself; and he waited, and Gordon waited, and Goldy waited, and then Elginbrod carried on: “to be quite honest I can't really recall what we spoke about, just inconsequential stuff, you know, in a bar, passing the time of day, what does one talk about – the weather, rugby, golf, something in the news I suppose, I really don't remember;” and when Brevity asked why he had gone through to the back of the bar, so hurriedly, “he smiled and said “oh, I had just remembered that if I wanted to catch my dentist I'd have to leave, and didn't want to go without saying goodbye – even to someone one knows so very slightly, it would have been impolite, I feel; but she wasn't in sight, and I could hardly go into the Ladies, so had to accept the possibility of seeming rude, or giving offence, and I came back through and left the place – now I really don't know if there is anything I can add, officers, so, if you'll excuse me – I can pop along to your Station in the morning and sign the statement,” but the Sergeant wasn't finished – he asked Elginbrod if he remembered the girl, this 'Bunty' as he called her, talking about a soliciting charge for which she said she'd been arrested outside the First Minister's Residence, and he replied: “oh that, I can't say I was listening really, my tooth was causing a fair bit of pain and it wasn't easy to concentrate, especially on something which doesn't directly involve one,” and when the Sergeant suggested that several of the witnesses grouped around Elginbrod and Bunty had been journalists who recalled, independently of each other, that the girl had been asking the Advocate for his advice and he had advised her how she might wish to plead and when she'd said she wasn't going to be 'going down'– and here Goldy referred to a typed statement she had with several others, and advised Elginbrod that he had been heard to advise 'Bunty' to plead 'Not Guilty', to ask for the matter to be amended and forwarded, and await confirmation before offering evidence, now which part of that was his failure to concentrate because of the pain in his tooth, at which Elginbrod bridled and asked for substantiation of what was merely hearsay and inadmissible, and when Goldy produced a recorder, helpfully used by the journalist – a good friend of her cousin Jinty - who always kept it handy in his oxter, in a little pouch (in reporters' parlance, his hidden derringer) for just such an opportunity as this morning's, and she played a brief extract, in which the Advocate was clearly heard to say just exactly the words Goldy and quoted - Elginbrod tried to reign in his fury and become conciliatory: “well, you appreciate that an Advocate's consultations with a client are strictly confidential, quite often we are, you might say, enfranchised, to participate in some matter as a representative of a party who wishes to retain some distance between themselves and the business in hand (of course, that is often the role taken by Solicitors,” he said with a slight distaste, indicating the elevation he felt from such lower creatures. “ but nobless oblige is but one of the responsibilioties of attaining a high position in the world, and one does what one can to help those less fortunate,” and Goldy asked if the setting, a busy lunchtime pub, frequented by the press was normal for his confidential discussions with those 'less fortunate,' “it was her choice,” said Elginbrod, rather huffily, but enabling Gordon Brevity to say, quite softly but with chilling clarity, that he took that as an admission that the meeting between Elginbrod and Bunty was pre-arranged and his previous statements that there was nothing but a casual acquaintance between them was untrue, and Elginbrod said that he had better say nothing more until his solicitor (his younger brother, also Martin Elginbrod), was present – Goldy finished her notes, closed her book and she and her husband rose, and Gordon advised Martin Elginbrod that he would not be charged, at present, with being an accessory to the grievous bodily harm and attempted murder of Angus Ogilvy, or Og of the Bog, by Bunty – he asked what her surname was and Elginbrod said it was “Longformacus, but you didn't get that from me,” and after a few more words the two Sergeants left  for the drive back to the Grassmarket and Cowgate Community Policing Hub; in the car, Goldy turned to Gordon, her face a display of confusion, and she asked him why he hadn't charged Elginbrod today, and Gordon explained that it was a strange sensation in his heart and toes, quite unrelated to anything the Advocate had said - possibly a case of telesthesia - but it convinced him that, while Elginbrod was undoubtedly guilty of many things, one of them wasn't as accomplice to Bunty Longformacus in the vicious attack on Angus Og and he went on saying that it wasn't that girl who stuck her heel into Og's head, anyway - don't ask me who it was, I don't know, but it wasn't her, I'll stake my wife on it,” and Goldy stared at her husband as if he was mad!

  • #5865 submitted 06/05/2015: mala fide, vulgarian, frugal, holophrase

    “Oi, Ginger,” was the cry of the vulgarian, “goanie geeza nuvva juggy yon Untie Mapanties,” cried Cecilia, never frugal with alcohol, as Grizzel, who could not be be reproached as a mala fide, having honesty and grace as her middle names, held aloft an empty Asti Spumante bottle, to aid the barmaid's comprehension, and Cecilia bellowed the holophrase, which boomed through the bar like a lowing coo: “NOO!”

  • #5863 submitted 06/04/2015: stridulate, sexton, swan song, floccinaucinihilipilification

    By this time, Dearest Maudie, together with Cecilia, Lettice, Grizzel and Tuffy, was ensconced in the bar of the Lyceum Theatre, and all five friends were getting quite quietly inebriated; they had taken a taxi from the Copper Kettle Tearoom, having eaten their fill of scones and pastries and drunk enough tea and coffee to keep the scones and pastries well afloat in their tummies; now they were on their third bottle of Pinot Rigio and were celebrating Tuffy Ladywood's Birthday which had occurred just two months before, with toasts and cries of “for she's a jolly good fellow,” which none of them could deny; which was when, through a slight haze, or smearing of the lenses of her spectacles, Maude rather thought that she recognized one of the small knot of actors standing at the bar, drinking either whisky or Irn Bru – in this light, thought Maude, it was quite difficult to distinguish between the two; the actors appeared to be wearing their costumes for the current production of Gay's The Beggar's Opera, alternating with Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, performances of which Maude and Daphne had seen on consecutive nights just a week ago – oh, gosh, she reflected, so much has happened in the past week, it feels more like a month since we were last here, and she began to concentrate her attention on the one particular actor (or actress, the now non-pc appellation which, to be honest, came more readily to her mind and lips in the context of the theatre, than the non-sexist replacement, which she always felt more masculine in its tone) and tried to identify her familiar – and very strikingly attractive - face, and now reclining on the bar-counter, in a divine parody of dear Marlene Deitrich,  and lo! for some curious reason she could not identify, she recalled meeting lovely John Gielguid when she was a very young student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, before she realised that 'play-acting' (the pejorative her mother always applied to the stage) was actually, to be brutally frank with herself (not that she'd ever encountered a truly Brutal Frank deo gratia) was not quite her forte and devoted her energies and talents to History and a professional, as well as romantic, partnership with her beloved Darling Daphne, and she wondered where Daphne could be now, thinking that she will be disappointed to find she had missed this opportunity of an afternoon with some of their closest and dearest of friends; now why had Sir John popped into her head, as he had once popped into her bed – not for sex, she almost laughed out loud as he recalled the incident, quite like something out of a French farce, because the poor man wanted a Director to think he was straight and had come up with the proof of it, apparently seducing one of the pretty young girls from the Academy- when everyone knew that the boy, aged up by his make-up and wig, playing the Sexton in Hamlet (she gave an involuntary shiver as she remembered handling Yorick's skull backstage and having it whispered in her ear that it came from a murderer, hanged a few years earlier) was his true inamorato - but the Director never looked into the room and so the charade was all for naught, but still brought a smile to her lips and she remembered that the actress she had recognised was Bunty Longformacus, playing Polly Peachum in both productions and giving spirited, committed performances in each – they were the kind of roles Maude would have loved to play, if she had been talented enough, for she was, still, an extremely feminine woman, who loved to wear silks and satins, felt extremely comfortable in her afternoon Tea Dress, so different from her usual working clothes which, though not so rugged as those Daphne was obliged to affect – for how could one work on archaeological digs in a flowery print frock and sheer stockings – oh she rather liked the stridulation made when silk-legged thighs rubbed together as one walked, and how the sound could be increased in volume, just one of the many skills she had acquired at the RSAMD – were still chosen for practicality more than looks and style; Maude missed the backstage life, the wardrobe with its rack upon rack of costumes and clothes, shoes, boots, hats of every hue, suits of chain-mail (silvered string knitted by an army of out-workers) - which any dealer fingering the fabrics and paste jewellery, and giving not a whit for their place on the stage, in the people they clothed and the characters they helped create, would have valued them by sheer commercial floccinaucinihilipilification, as worth but a few sheckels a pound-weight, so sad, so sad – then the smell of greasepaint and all the wonders of modern make-up; was that it, she wondered and her eyes sought out the girl she had recognised earlier, found her and concentrated intently on her face- yes, she was sure, it was not really from the performances she had applauded last week that she recognised her – though that was still true - it was from the day that Daphne had been trapped in the oubliette far below the bustling High Street, when Maud had been sitting on a bench tackling a crossword; she remembered glancing up and noticing the girl – dressed very differently now, but with the same dramatic make-up, hurrying from the direction of the City Chambers, checking a wristwatch and then taking out from her handbag a mobile phone and answering a call; to Maude, she had seemed distracted, intent, and very determined – speaking quickly into her phone and then making another call, before turning on her heel and hurrying away in a slightly different direction from whence she had come; there was something in the little cameo that disturbed Maude, which had caused her to fold up her newspaper, replace it in her bag, and make her own way towards the door through which Daphne had entered the warren of store-rooms, closes, ancient dwellings and cells, down endless flights of stairs, in search of Daphne and desperately hoping all the while that she would be in time – she had encountered her niece Roxy Davidova and together they had followed a route which eventually led them to the trapdoor in the floor which was double bolted and, once opened, revealed her adored soul-mate - in what could, so easily have been her swan song, the very thought of which brought involuntary tears to Maude's eyes; so was this girl, Bunty Longformacus (that name, how strange, thought Maude) involved somehow; she closed her eyes briefly, opened them and scanned the group of actors and actresses, in vain – Bunty Lonformacus had gone!

  • #5861 submitted 06/03/2015: performative, guardian angel, adulate, cryptozoology

    Angus Og of The Bog lay in the Hospital Bed, in a private room, with a police guard placed just outside; his head was swathed in bandages, he was intubated, attached to a drip, heavily sedated, but somewhere deep inside his fertile brain, there was a film running – it was like Nosferatu, F W Murnau's early version of Dracula, crossed with M – Fritz Lang's chilling tale of a child murderer, influenced by the crimes of Peter Kurten, and cutting across this dark Germanic montage, the garish colours of a Hammer Horror, a slasher, the screen in his head awash with blood – but was it his own blood, he did not know, for he was too pre-occupied with identifying the one face from the kaleidoscope of images that flickered like a demented strobe, the one face he had recognised from his glance through the pub door – it wasn't Jeannie, his guardian angel, though he had made eye-contact with her, he probably loved her, even if she was involved in some real heavy stuff, but somehow kept all her different selves in their own boxes, whether she was being Bunty or Jessie, or Annie what did it matter if none of them were her real name, she was real to him, so, no, it was someone standing behind her, but how close it was impossible to say; he was sure he recognised the face, it was someone he knew, or had met, or had embarrassed in his act at the Komedy Klub – the Komedy Klub, where he lapped up the adulation of the crowd, that was where he had seen the face, but not the wee lassie who was with the Suzie Calmac lookalike, when he was looking for Robbie, though he did remember her, she was at the Klub, and the other one, he had met her before somewhere, with a really dishy bird, oh a stoater, he'd love to do his performative act on her, getting her to think what he wanted her to feel, using that technique he'd learned years ago 'I believe what I say when I hear myself say it' but he couldn't recall where, but the face, he wasn't sure if it was a boy or a girl, the faces were spinning like a roundabout, here we go round the mulberry bush on a cold and frosty morning, what was this all about what was happening - he remembered something hitting him on the head, oh that was a brain-crusher but after that, just this swirling place, he didn't know if he was standing or sitting or lying down or flying as the images swooped and swept past making him feel quite dizzy – Dizzy, was that it, Dizzy Gillespie, Diz Disley, Bix Beiderbeck, was it a musician, a jazz musician not Bix, Bing Crosby, Bing or Bix or Diz or Dix or Dixie – that was it – Dixie, Dixie Who? oh why was his mind so jumbled, it must have been the knock on his head it was like that time he was delivering mail in Dalmarnock and a slate fell off a roof and hit him on the head, he'd been knock out and woke up in Casualty, but this didn't look like Casualty, there weren't any nurses or doctors, among all these faces and it was strangely quiet, just Peter Lorre whistling  'In the Hall of the Mountain King' – yes, that's what he'd heard outside the door, or maybe inside, just before he felt his head explode in a shower of stars, like a Roman Candle he'd loved when he was a kid, not just the bangers his friends preferred, Roman Candles were his favourites and the whistling came just before the crack, like a banger in his head, but why isn't anyone helping him, he should call for help but he didn't seem to have any lips or tongue or mouth or face or anything just his eyes watching these faces why was he in this cinema anyway with all these faces spinning around and making him feel sick and dizzy, Dizzy, Dixie – if only he could remember, it was on the tip of his tongue, he tried to stick his tongue out, to touch it, but it seemed to have gone to sleep, maybe he was sleeping, after that crack on the head he felt that he needed a good sleep, and then maybe he'd remember who Dixie was, if he could just close his eyes and shut out all the faces but nothing seemed to be working, he remembered that book on cryptozoology he read when he wanted to be a philosopher, ha ha what a joke, he hadn't studied enough, too busy scraping money together for food and shelter, but he couldn't put the lights on or ask for help, he knew Dixie was there but how could he prove it if he couldn't even remember the last name, if you can't see or hear or touch someone, how do you find them if he couldn't even remember the last name in the book begins with a 'z' unless it's written backwards, was that wrong for him, he should ask someone but he was the only person here, except for the whistler – maybe it was Whistler's Mother, he seemed to have lost his voice but he could still hear the whistling, so his hearing was ok, and his eyesight, but he'd rather shut out all the swooping faces and get some sleep and then find Dixie tomorrow if he could only remember which was really quite daft because he had a great memory, he used it in his act, and he never forgot a face see, even that wee Calmac burd, he knew he'd met her if he could only mind where, this was getting silly, he tried to stand up but the seat seemed to be a recliner and he felt that he was lying down and so couldn't stand, maybe he'd been knocked down it couldn't have been a mugging, not in Deacon Brodies, it was a good pub, he'd never had any trouble there but something had hit hi, something to do with the whistling postman – hey, that was him, used to be him, that was what the folk on his round called him because he was always whistling was it him who was whistling 'In the Hall of the Mountain King', that was probably what it was and he'd maybe slipped and banged his head in the toilets, why was he in the toilets he hadn't even drunk his beer, he didn't have one, he'd seen Jeannie through the door with her big shot advocaat what a wanker, and she shook her head and he'd gone round to the back door and it was unlocked as it was supposed to be but he hadn't gone into the bar he'd gone into the disabled toilet and maybe it was the door that had hit his head, maybe someone trying to come in pushed it too hard but it was bright in the toilet all white tiles and basin and stuff but now the lights were out, except for the faces, how were they glowing with no lights on they must be back-lit or something and he felt himself take a deep breath and hold it and he thought no, not a good idea, not when I've had a crack on the head it might have concussed me, so I should keep breathing but he found it very hard to do anything and as he watched the faces seemed to recede and get smaller and the darkness seemed to get darker and the face right in front of him was Dixie and he could almost touch it if he had any arms because it was moving away again and it was fading like the others and getting smaller and smaller and further away and becoming just a tiny wee star in the blackness and he remembered of the night sky and it was Dixie and he suddenly remembered Dixie's surname just as that very last face went dark and now everything was black and

  • #5857 submitted 06/02/2015: pathography, superannuate, stalwart, oxter

    As cynical as any Police Officer can become, the stalwart Station Sergeant Goldy Brevity could write a pathography about any of the superannuated big fish of Edinburgh's small pond who, confronted by the march of progress, give a bleat of, “but it's aye been,” as they bury their faces in their own oxters!

  • #5853 submitted 06/01/2015: sinecure, progeny, phreaker, jiggery-pokery

    What a strange and remarkable co-incidence, if – unlike Detective Sergeant Gordon Brevity – one believes in such a chance occurrence, took place on the stairs leading to two quite separate sets of Advocates Chambers; coming down the stairs from the chambers occupied by Martin Elginbrod QC and his Elginbrod Faculty, were the two Sergeants Brevity, while coming up and about to take the passage leading to the chambers of Former Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Dr Hamish MacAlpine-Fandango QC, were the former Dean himself and, on his arm, Sergeant Goldy Brevity's aunt, Daphne Dumbiedykes; the former couple were frustrated at having wasted an hour waiting for their potential witness (or possibly an accessory to the attempted murder of Angus Ogilvy or Og of the Bog) only to be told eventually that he had made an unplanned trip to his dentist in Morningside and had then gone home, but he would be happy to see the two sergeants if they made their way to his home in the Braid Hills area; the latter pair seemed slightly tipsy and only able to climb the stairs and walk along the passageway by clinging to each other for support; indeed Goldy felt that her aunt's dress appeared somewhat disturbed and her eyes were definitely unfocussed, while the former Dean seemed to leer – not what the two police officers would ever have expected from so elevated a member of the justiciary, particularly in the company of Aunt Daphne; and after some stilted and rather embarrassed exchanges, the two parties went their separate ways; and firstly, if we follow the Brevitys, we will hear Gordon tell Goldy that the advocate Elginbrod was known to have been married three times – each wife was a Junior in his Chambers, each bore him a son, who was duly named Martin (though each had a different middle initial), and each marriage ended in divorce with a large settlement to the lady (including a sinecure as 'Consultant' with, I'm sure, off the books ex-gratia bonuses) and custody of the son to Elginbrod himself, and so his progeny all live together with their father and their domestic care is in the hands of an able Housekeeper and small staff of servants;  that Elginbrod kept two small establishments close to his chambers; one was occupied by a young lady, still in her teens, named Maggi May, the other by a young man, in his early twenties, named Jordan Jones; Elginbrod spent a regular amount of time at one or other of these two establishments on an almost daily basis; there was a possibility, not yet substantiated by evidence, that Elginbrod had made the acquaintance of the young woman and man, through a procuress called Jeannie Deans, although no actual proof of the involvement of Jeannie Deans (or even of her existence) had ever been turned up, although he was convinced that there was definitely jiggery-pokery in Elginbrod's relationship with her; at which point in his briefing of his wife, Sergeant Brevity opened the door of his car and the two officers climbed in for the short drive to the Braid Hills, during which and in answer yo an enquiry from Goldy, Gordon admitted that much of his information came from a Phreaker hacking in to Elginbrod's telephones, at which point Goldy put her hands over her ears to shut out further revelations, and just said “Isa,” at which her husband made no reply; and if we retrace our steps and hasten up the stairs to catch up with Hamish and Daphne, just in time to slip through the door behind them, before it swing shut automatically and the locks click into place, we are able to follow them into a small, comfortably furnished, sitting room, where Daphne sinks into a welcoming sofa and Hamish turns to a cocktail bar, to fill two glasses with generous amounts of Laphroaig Malt Whisky from the Isle of Islay, just off the eastern coast of Skye; he hands one glass to Daphne and joins her on the sofa – and joins is the only term, for the soft plumpness of the sofa tends to compel it's two sitters towards an intimate closeness, in which they seem almost to be sitting on each other's laps, with arms and legs entwined, hands going wherever they can and drinks balancing precariously on the arms of the sofa, indeed – so delicate and private is their conversation – their faces are fairly well pressed together, lips murmuring into ears and occasionally brushing across each other, so that it is not easy for us to catch much beyond a mention perhaps of 'Parlane', another of 'Eros', certainly 'Gaucho', and was that 'unfounded rumours' or could it have be 'remove my bloomers' but no, that means nothing in the context of this tale, we must have misheard, so, let us draw a veil of gossamer over this private tête-à-tête involving mature and consenting adults and rejoin Gordon and Sandy Brevity as they are shown into Martin Elginbrod QC's spacious sitting room by his Argentinian housekeeper, and a young Maid, possibly from Romania, asks the two officers whether they would like tea, coffee, cocoa or Irn Bru – Goldy requests Camomile Tea if that is possible and the maid nods, while Gordon opts for the more manly Irn Bru, always his preference; and just as the drinks arrive, the maid is followed into the room by Elginbrod himself, apparently a wad of cotton wool padded into his mouth, and he sits facing his visitors with an expression of completely bemused innocence on his face; until Detective Sergeant Brevity shows him the prints which the exemplary WPC Isa Urquhart has made of screen-shots from the Crime Scene and Elginbrod, seeing them, loses his composure and drops his glass of blackcurrant cordial to the floor, where it lands on a rug made from the complete pelt of a Polar Bear, staining it dark red as if it has just been shot dead by a trapper!

  • #5852 submitted 05/31/2015: laissez-aller, omnishambles, perseverate, moonbow

    And Daphne Dumbiedykes allowed the former Dean, Dr Hamish MacAlpine-Fandango to entertain her with his ready supply of quips and bons-mot, all spoken in the honeyed tones of an Advocate at the very peak of his powers of persuasion, but 'you won't get into my knickers, however hard you try, Sonny Jim,' thought Daphne to herself as she buttered another toasted teacake, added bramble jam for good measure and slipped it into her mouth, while fluttering her eye-lashes at the smitten Dean; and then asked him in a breathy tone, that he hadn’t yet touched upon his promised nugget apropos Sir Parlane MacFarlane – at which point the rubicund Advocate surreptitiously placed his left hand upon Daphne's knee, under cover of the snowy-white tablecloth, gave it an affectionate squeeze and said “I was saving that for afters, if you'd like to join me in my chambers for some fine old Port I've been hoarding towards a special occasion entre nous, but if you would rather I was bolder I'm sure I could put my hand on something which will delight you,” and Daphne tried furiously to affect a maidenly blush, but the feel of his hand was like having a wet haddock resting on her knee and struggling for breath, so she simply fluttered her lashes again and said that he could proceed at his peril, for this was surely a certain case of caveat emptor, and smiled warmly; as his hand began making a snail's pace ascent of her upper-leg, Daphne wondered to herself how could it be that certain types of women seemed to find the male gender in some strange way appealing – for she had no such vulnerability herself, and nor had her dearest love, her cousin Maude – and though it might have baffled actuarialists, the same variance also applied to the majority of their nieces – only Ginger Lyttleton and Goldy Dumbiedykes (she often found it difficult to recall their married names and blessed Scots Law for it's steadfast adherence to a woman's birth-name) had attached themselves to males and this thought brought her mind back to the hand which had moved a whole inch during her musings, and wondered – not for the first time in her long and adventurous life – what it would be like to permit this hand free access to the prize it sought; on a whim, she made eye-contact with Hamish, and began to listen, for she had tuned out his voice for a good twenty minutes, but the mention of “the site of Parlane MacFarlane's House stood on that very spot,” and dared a murmur of interest, which the former Dean took to be a double encouragement, for as his hand crept another quarter of an inch, he said, “it was believed to extend much further below the street level, as above it, with tunnels running down into fissures in the rock itself, and more than one oubliette for MacFarlane's enemies (or those who knew too much to be allowed their freedom) and former friends even  – it was not unlike Allan Ramsay's in appearance, but obviously more palatial, extending up and down the High Street under neighbouring properties, even to the extent, I understand, of his having secret access to several, including Longformacus House in fact and there are accounts extant of some nefarious rowdyism – nothing, I hasten to add, on a par with Gilles De Rais, for we Scots seem condemned to restraint in our debaucheries and, though Sir Parlane may well have been debaucher-in-chief, he was still only a dabbler by comparison with some of our continentals; oh, I grant, he was ruthless when he felt it necessary for his own purposes, but he seems to have derived his pleasures chiefly from the seductive arts and practised them with a vigour well into later life; I only wish I had his stamina,” he gave a little squeeze and moved his hand higher, and winked, a form of communication which Daphne herself was unable to reciprocate, for she was one of those unfortunates who can close both eyes simultaneously, but neither one alone; and Daphne heard herself say that the thought is father to the deed – and could not for the life of herself account for this appalling lapse into cliché – but Hamish seemed not to mind – indeed his hand moved further up her leg, his index finger, rather like a snail's antennae, probing further than the rest, and seeming to draw the remainder after it; Daphne surprised herself by acknowledging that this particular activity happening both under the table-cloth, and under the skirt of her tea-dress, was not as repugnant as she would have expected – particularly given her long acquaintance with Hamish – although she conceded that this was not the first time that a male hand had caressed her inner thigh, but the other occasions had happened in her innocent youth, when comparatively inexperienced, and in warmer climes, where lust is said to run molten through the loins of adolescents and young adults (she remembered the Sultan of Zanzibar, a muscular young warrior with jet black hair on his head, his face, and peeking out from the waistband of his billowing 'harem pants'; the Grand Mufti of Mesopotamia, a sweet-talking cleric with a passion for pale complexioned. blonde girls and women, particularly with the accents of Morningside and The Braid Hills; and, of course that Greek Apollo, working on the Dig on Crete, a body full of energy, strength and rippling masculinity of a sun-dappled kind rarely glimpsed in Edinburgh, for all it was called The Athens of The North, who, coming upon Daphne in a tunnel underground, where the air was musky with sweat from toiling archaeologists and their labourers, had pinned her against the wall, kissed her fiercely and with a sense of ownership burrowed his hand between her thighs – oh, Daphne still tingled at the thought of that Adonis, that Heracles, with that hand and it's determination and afterwards, above ground, his muscular body glowing by the light of a silvered moonbow, truly he was Eros incarnate  – she had never told Maude of the encounter, considering her Life Companion and Soul-Mate a little too delicate for such carnal details, and justified it to herself as being unsought and therefore unnecessary to broadcast; and all the while Hamish was growing bolder and he leaned closer, to speak confidentially (conspiratorially even) and this allowed his perseverating hand to reach that bit further up her thigh, so close that she could almost remember the Greek boy's thrusts and pressures and she looked Hamish full in the face and saw his paunchy cheeks, his puffy eyes, his balding head, his rather too-full lips, his bulbous nose, and the reverie evaporated like summer mist and –  to deflect an omnishambles of an unlikely seduction which could never hope to reach a satisfying conclusion for him and to spare Hamish any embarrassment, for she did feel an affection towards him, carried through the years since he was a rather under-weight schoolboy hanging around her school gate with a group of similar friends (boys with acne and grubby fingernails and socks that forever slumped around their stick-like ankles, who unconsciously demonstrate their immaturity in thinking the smart way to approach girls is to pull their pigtails and call them 'specky' or 'skinnymalinks', or 'ginger') when she and hers, but principally Maude, stepped into the Edinburgh afternoon – she grasped his wrist with a hand that had hewed rocks on Mount Ararat, hauled boulders on the shores of the Red Sea, and reigned in a stampeding Camel in the Sahara; Hamish winced; Daphne reminded him that he had promised her a nugget, which she took to refer to something she had never known before – old gossip was lacking in piquancy, old hands lacked the dexterity of youth; Hamish winced at the verbal jabs which hurt every bit as much as the nails which cut into his wrist; he coughed and had the grace to look a little shamefaced, then she saw a brief flash in his coal-black eyes – which reminded Daphne that the Fandango had reputedly been a Gaucho on the Pampas of The Argentine who had swooped on the lonely wife of the Reverend Archibald MacAlpine and swept her away from a sterile marriage with his calloused hands and nut-brown face, its coal-black eyes and flared nostrils – Hamish was the grandson of that elopement, divorce and marriage, which had cost his grandmother acknowledgement in Forres and a welcome in Edinburgh, but she outlived her detractors and established herself as a writer of romantic fiction for women, featuring rollicking seamen, proud gauchos, hirsute fur-trappers, daring explorers, nut-brown faces aplenty and, often as not, lonely wives of Presbyterian Missionaries and which earned her enough to support her gaucho and send her two boys to Fettes; Hamish was the son of the younger boy, a quarter Gaucho and as Daphne held his wrist she looked deep into his eyes and saw a spark of that ancestral spirit which had won the heart of the Minister's wife from Forres and she asked him, laissez-aller – believing that she had nothing to lose but all to gain from throwing caution to the winds and scattering clichés like rose petals in a boudoir (oh, how Maudie loves rose petals) quite, quite directly, if they had a deal, in which case he might receive a nougat for a nugget – at which Hamish nodded fiercely and, as she released her hold on him, slid his hand into the softness of her inner thighs, towards what Daphne – as a lifelong legacy of her days at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls – still thought of as, her Bloomers!

  • #5849 submitted 05/30/2015: laissez-aller, have Van Gogh's ear for music, metadata, extemporize

    Extemporizing wildly, the laissez-allerish WPC Isa Urquhart, tossed a sheaf of metadata she had just processed onto his desk and said to Gordon Brevity - “cop this lot, Sarge, I may have Van Gogh's ear for Music, but I don't have Milton's eye for Art,” chuckled to herself and left the door ajar!

  • #5848 submitted 05/29/2015: laissez-aller, apothegm, bodacious, agog

    Oh, fickle are the ways and fortunes of men, indeed, reflected Sergeant Brevity later, as he, Goldy and Isa sat in his office, drinking camomile tea and nibbling shortbread; before Gordon was the pile of statements taken from the DB or BNJ bar (Brevity found himself adopting Trixie Davidova's abbreviations) and he asked the others what they had noticed and it was the irrepressible WPC who said that it hadn't been Trixie's scream the barman heard, because she was adamant that she hadn't screamed, so it must have been the prostitute; “have we got any information about the shoe,” Brevity then asked; and Goldy said that it was from Schuh, black boot-shape and strappy, like a frame, with a 5” stiletto heel; to which Isa – a regular wearer of designer shoes and au fait with all recent trends – said that there was no way the young girl had been wearing it, she pointed out that  in the CCTV shots of her going through the rear doors her shoes were visible, and they were actually Cherry Deer 'Bambi' shoes from Irregular Choice, and her own pair cost her £75 in a charity shop, but new they were £125; and although it was possible she had another pair in her bag, which, briefly visible, was quite capacious, however, reflected the philosophical Constable, the one embedded in Angus Og's head was pretty large and the bag might not have managed to contain a pair; Gordon nodded although, he commented “if the shoe is a weapon, she might only carry one for that purpose, we have to keep an open mind,” and the rather risqué WPC retorted: like Angus Og, and got a frosty look from Goldy; Brevity then told them that DI Bruse had instructed him and Goldy to interview Martin Elginbrod that afternoon and find out what they could about the girl, and that after a few calls, Brevity knew that the Advocate was due in his Chambers by 3 o'clock, so he and Goldy would visit him there; “do you know the story about Elginbrod's family?” he asked, and both Goldy and Isa shook their heads and Goldy asked if they came from Elgin – a natural assumption – but “no,” replied Gordon, “they seem first to be from Huntly – at least so far as records exist, before that, who knows – they are descended from the famous Martin Elginbrod (famous, that is, for his epitaph, which he is believed to have written himself) and I bet you know the apophthegm, surely:
    'Here lies Martin Elginbrod,
    Hae pity on my Soul Lord God,
    As I would yours, if I were God,
    And you were Martin Elginbrod' -
    the family – lawyers from the year dot, got involved with printers during the reigns of James IV of Scotland and Henry VIII of England – they invested in Printworks, usually as unnamed sleeping partners, which gave them freedom and flexibility, and they represented printers charged with sedition, blasphemy, heresy, stealing other printers' work, publishing novels, plays, theologies, poetry, histories, ballad-sheets and a series of 'Last Words' uttered by the condemned immediately prior to their executions (by many and varied means) and sold for anything upwards of a Farthing to the spectators gathered to watch the execution, which made a handy souvenir to take home afterwards, and even for not paying the writers – and they also acted for writers, courts, guilds, churches, magistrates, bailiffs, executors, maligned injured parties, and the State – both Secular and Temporal – suing those same printers, taking briefs (and money) from both sides in civil actions, theological pursuits, and criminal cases – oh they were real shysters and made a great deal of wealth out if it, and The Act of Anne in 1710 and then the Copyright Act of 1842 helped them to consolidate, and the Martin Elginbrods (or should that be Martins Elginbrod – I'm never quite sure) of those times – I should say, there has always been a son, or a nephew, named Martin Elginbrod, so the line of inheritance is passed directly from one Martin to the next – were smart cookies, and one of the things they did was establish copyright of the Epitaph, in the name of 'Martin Elginbrod and his successors also named Martin Elginbrod without break in perpetuity' so as long as there is always another Martin living whenever one dies, so the copyright is retained by the family, a kind of laissez-aller, giving them freedom to print their own money – unlike everyone else, whose copyright only lasts for a period of years after the author's death – they got away with that for the epitaph and proceeded to acquire other, longer, more commercial writings which they also copyrighted in the family name, it sounds crooked – it certainly is – but somehow it's perfectly legal – so they've been milking the cow for generations; I really don't know why he bothers to practice at the bar, it can't be for the money, but the family, and they are all in the business, have wide interests in just about every aspect of life here in Scotland, and also internationally; so why was he in that pub, with a young streetwalker, who is now a suspect in the attempted murder of Angus Og – and who is the girl, I ask myself,” and the entranced Isa, slightly agog at the amount the Sergeant knew about everybody in Edinburgh, and wondering how much he also knew about her – and the private life she had out of uniform, then said that she had analysed shots and sequences showing the girl from different angles and noticed something she thought strange: in every image, every frame, the girl was holding an e-cigarette close to her right ear, she never took a puff, but the tip was glowing red all the time, and that bothered the redoubtable Isa, who had taken recourse to that form of nicotine replacement therapy in her effort to quit smoking and she had only ever seen that type of e-cigarette where the tip glows, usually red or blue, when you inhale, but in this case it was all the time, so she wondered if it was actually something else, and she had spoken to a friend of hers at the BBC and discovered that there is a small directional microphone, which could fit into an e-cigarette body, and which always glows red when it is switched on so that the presenters, or actors, know it is recording – her friend was sending one over to them; “so who was she recording,” wondered Gordon, “her Advocate,” but Isa shook her head, and said that she had checked all the lines and angles of intersection using some software from another friend, and it seems as if it was always pointing at one or other of her cousins, sitting in the booth quite nearby, they were who the girl was listening to, “but why, I wonder again, said Brevity, and Isa offered that, she had a strong feeling that the bodacious girl wasn't really a streetwalker with a grudge against Angus Og, but involved in something with much higher stakes than had initially appeared to them, “top marks to you, Isa, I think you're even righter than you know,” said Brevity, nodding to her, “oh, and by the by Isa – I know spell-check is a very handy thing, but, see when you write long, complicated sentences, with lots of conjunctions and parentheses and things, just mind that the closing bracket's the right way round and you dinny pit a staup whaur a comma's meant tae be – our Inspector Bruse is a stickler for that, and anagrams, of course – but don't take offence, hen,” he grinned – like a Cheshire Cat – and nodded, again,  “I can never work out the difference between a comma and a semi-colon, as the Guv'nor still casts up to me,” or the difference between scrambled eggs and an omelette, quipped Goldy, gathering up the tea things and indicating by a nod towards the clock that it was time for the two Sergeants to head off to Martin Elginbrod's chambers.

  • #5847 submitted 05/29/2015: laissez-aller, apothegm, bodacious, agog

    Oh, fickle are the ways and fortunes of men, indeed, reflected Sergeant Brevity later, as he, Goldy and Isa sat in his office, drinking camomile tea and nibbling shortbread; before Gordon was the pile of statements taken from the DB or BNJ bar (Brevity found himself adopting Trixie Davidova's abbreviations) and he asked the others what they had noticed and it was the irrepressible WPC who said that it hadn't been Trixie's scream the barman heard, because she was adamant that she hadn't screamed, so it must have been the prostitute; “have we got any information about the shoe,” Brevity then asked; and Goldy said that it was from Schuh, black boot-shape and strappy, like a frame, with a 5” stiletto heel; to which Isa – a regular wearer of designer shoes and au fait with all recent trends – said that there was no way the young girl had been wearing it, she pointed out that  in the CCTV shots of her going through the rear doors her shoes were visible, and they were actually Cherry Deer 'Bambi' shoes from Irregular Choice, and her own pair cost her £75 in a charity shop, but new they were £125; and although it was possible she had another pair in her bag, which, briefly visible, was quite capacious, however, reflected the philosophical Constable, the one embedded in Angus Og's head was pretty large and the bag might not have managed to contain a pair; Gordon nodded although, he commented “if the shoe is a weapon, she might only carry one for that purpose, we have to keep an open mind,” and the rather risqué WPC retorted: like Angus Og, and got a frosty look from Goldy; Brevity then told them that DI Bruse had instructed him and Goldy to interview Martin Elginbrod that afternoon and find out what they could about the girl, and that after a few calls, Brevity knew that the Advocate was due in his Chambers by 3 o'clock, so he and Goldy would visit him there; “do you know the story about Elginbrod's family?” he asked, and both Goldy and Isa shook their heads and Goldy asked if they came from Elgin – a natural assumption – but “no,” replied Gordon, “they seem first to be from Huntly – at least so far as records exist, before that, who knows – they are descended from the famous Martin Elginbrod (famous, that is, for his epitaph, which he is believed to have written himself) and I bet you know the apophthegm, surely:
    'Here lies Martin Elginbrod,
    Hae pity on my Soul Lord God,
    As I would yours, if I were God,
    And you were Martin Elginbrod' -
    the family – lawyers from the year dot, got involved with printers during the reigns of James IV of Scotland and Henry VIII of England – they invested in Printworks, usually as unnamed sleeping partners, which gave them freedom and flexibility, and they represented printers charged with sedition, blasphemy, heresy, stealing other printers' work, publishing novels, plays, theologies, poetry, histories, ballad-sheets and a series of 'Last Words' uttered by the condemned immediately prior to their executions (by many and varied means) and sold for anything upwards of a Farthing to the spectators gathered to watch the execution, which made a handy souvenir to take home afterwards, and even for not paying the writers – and they also acted for writers, courts, guilds, churches, magistrates, bailiffs, executors, maligned injured parties, and the State – both Secular and Temporal – suing those same printers, taking briefs (and money) from both sides in civil actions, theological pursuits, and criminal cases – oh they were real shysters and made a great deal of wealth out if it. The Act of Anne in 1710 and then the Copyright Act of 1842 helped them to consolidate, and the Martin Elginbrods (or should that be Martins Elginbrod – I'm never quite sure) of those times – I should say, there has always been a son, or a nephew, named Martin Elginbrod, so the line of inheritance is passed directly from one Martin to the next – were smart cookies, and one of the things they did was establish copyright of the Epitaph, in the name of 'Martin Elginbrod and his successors also named Martin Elginbrod without break in perpetuity' so as long as there is always another Martin living whenever one dies, so the copyright is retained by the family, a kind of laissez-aller, giving them freedom to print their own money – unlike everyone else, whose copyright only lasts for a period of years after the author's death – they got away with that for the epitaph and proceeded to acquire other, longer, more commercial writings which they also copyrighted in the family name, it sounds crooked – it certainly is – but somehow it's perfectly legal – so they've been milking the cow for generations; I really don't know why he bothers to practice at the bar, it can't be for the money, but the family, and they are all in the business, have wide interests in just about every aspect of life here in Scotland, and also internationally; so why was he in that pub, with a young streetwalker, who is now a suspect in the attempted murder of Angus Og – and who is the girl, I ask myself,” and the entranced Isa, slightly agog at the amount the Sergeant knew about everybody in Edinburgh, and wondering how much he also knew about her – and the private life she had out of uniform, then said that she had analysed shots and sequences showing the girl from different angles and noticed something she thought strange: in every image, every frame, the girl was holding an e-cigarette close to her right ear, she never took a puff, but the tip was glowing red all the time, and that bothered the redoubtable Isa, who had taken recourse to that form of nicotine replacement therapy in her effort to quit smoking and she had only ever seen that type of e-cigarette where the tip glows, usually red or blue, when you inhale, but in this case it was all the time, so she wondered if it was actually something else, and she had spoken to a friend of hers at the BBC and discovered that there is a small directional microphone, which could fit into an e-cigarette body, and which always glows red when it is switched on so that the presenters, or actors, know it is recording – her friend was sending one over to them; “so who was she recording,” wondered Gordon, “her Advocate,” but Isa shook her head, and said that she had checked all the lines and angles of intersection using some software from another friend, and it seems as if it was always pointing at one or other of her cousins, sitting in the booth quite nearby, they were who the girl was listening to, “but why, I wonder again, said Brevity, and Isa offered that, she had a strong feeling that the bodacious girl wasn't really a streetwalker with a grudge against Angus Og, but involved in something with much higher stakes than had initially appeared to them, “top marks to you, Isa, I think you're even righter than you know,” said Brevity, nodding to her, “oh, and by the by Isa – I know spell-check is a very handy thing, but, see when you write long, complicated sentences, with lots of conjunctions and parentheses and things, just mind that the closing bracket's the right way round – our Inspector Bruse is a stickler for that, and anagrams, of course – but don't take offence, hen,” he grinned – like a Cheshire Cat – and nodded, again,  “I can never work out the difference between a comma and a semi-colon, as the Guv'nor still casts up to me,” or the difference between scrambled eggs and an omelette, quipped Goldy, gathering up the tea things and indicating by a nod towards the clock that it was time for the two Sergeants to head off to Martin Elginbrod's chambers.
     

  • #5843 submitted 05/28/2015: soi-disant, crown molding, fictioneer, middling

    Sergeant Brevity noticed the soi-disant prostitute leave the bar in the direction of the toilets, then saw that she was followed by Trixie Davidova, at the same time as Teri Somerville came in from the Ladies and joined the party – all of whom were also her cousins too, for she was another niece of both Daphne and Maude (all of which Gordon Brevity knew because his own wife Goldy was also a niece of the two Historians and he had met all of them at family gatherings (indeed, the irreverent WPC Isa Urquhart was another such – not so surprising really in the small village of Edinburgh) which to him felt like upmarket Carry On comedies; but suddenly he snapped to attention for, though there was no sound, he seemed to be watching a Carry On movie, or something involving the Keystone Cops – penned by a fictioneer in the style of a Brian Rix farce, complete with double-takes, visual puns, tides of movement, and with degrees of emotion from puzzlement, confusion, wonder, excitement all the way to shock and horror, for he saw the Advocate, who he now recognised as Martin Elginbrod, a highly successful lawyer from an old and wealthy family, whose clients included underworld figures many of whom had never been convicted or done time, suddenly move, very quick on his toes for such a large man – he disappeared through the door towards the toilets and came back, almost instantly with perplexity written large on his face – along with a sheen of sweat not there before - and a middling amount of comprehension slowly dawning; he then left the pub at a run before Trixie re-appeared, crying and shouting; her cousins rose to their feet in concern; the barman reached up and pulled down the grills cutting off the bar, and began making a phone call on his mobile; Jinty and Roxy pushed through the doors while Trixie was speaking to Elvira, Teri and Leigh; the other customers saw or sensed that something was up and while several gathered near the bar, most of the others left quickly, distancing themselves from whatever had happened through in the back; Brevity called Isa to his desk and watched as Trixie dialled a number and held her phone to her ear, Isa's own phone rang and when she answered it was obvious to Brevity that it was she whom Trixie had called – just then Roxy and Jinty re-appeared, looking shocked, faces ashen, and Isa told him that Angus Og was in the ladies, with a shoe stuck in his head and blood everywhere – she then explained, a stiletto heel like an ice-pick in his head – and as they watched, they saw Trixie relaying what Roxy told her – Og was still alive, unconscious but still breathing; as Isa called for paramedics and uniform back-up, Brevity ran into the front office, collected Goldy and they headed out to his car for the short drive up to the High Street and Deacon Brodie's Pub – or The Baillie Nicol Jarvie as it was temporarily named; in the few minutes it took them, they found that the pub, on the top corner of The Mound, was already surrounded by uniformed officers, and an ambulance was just pulling up; the two sergeants made their way inside and found six of Goldy's many cousins in a state of shock – particularly Jint and Roxy, who had already, this morning, found a young man murdered in the oubliette under The Heart of Midlothian – the same place where their Aunt Daohne had been briefly incarcerated less than a week before; and it was they who had seen Angus Og recorded on video at the City Chambers, apparently directing the young man down Waird's Close on a path which had led him to his place of execution; as paramedics wheeled Og out of the pub, still with the woman's stiletto shoe impaled in his head, Brevity sat with the young cousins (while Goldy spoke with the bar staff) and asked them what had happened - “we'll do the formal interviews later, down at the Grassmarket, and we'll need some fingerprints for elimination, because Trixie and Teri both came through the doors leading to the toilets, and maybe others of you – the same applies to the bar staff and the guests at the reception upstairs; but just run through what you remember,” and they did, each taking up where another left off, and together with what he had already witnessed on CCTV it gave Brevity a good impression of the events in the bar – though it did not explain the presence of Martin Elginbrod, nor his young companion, who had not been seen, nor caught by any of the cameras attached to ti the walls below the crown moulding around the bar-room since going through to the ladies shortly before Trixie had found Og; Goldy learned from the barman that there was an emergency exit to the street, through a door and a short passage to an outer door, between the Ladies and Gents toilets; that area was not covered by CCTV; she had checked and, though both doors were shut, the outer door had a bar which was down, indicating that this was indeed the likely route the prostitute, and perhaps murderess, must have taken – she had sent several uniformed constables up to the Function Room, but it seemed unlikely that the girl had gone there, as she would have been trapped, with no other exit; “well,” said Brevity, “I'm getting on to DI Bruse right now – and I'll get Isa to send him copies of the CCTV footage, including Martin Elginbrod and his young lady, before we interview him, and forensics will dust the exit door for prints – and the girl's glass for possible DNA – oh, and Goldy,” he remembered what he hadn't done, “can you get someone over to the Royal, to guard Og and let us know when – if – he wakes up. They're probably operating soon, but after that we'll need to know anything he can tell us,” and Goldy grinned her Davidova/Dumbiedykes/Lyttleton etc grin, wider than the Firth of Forth, as she told him it was all arranged – the Uniformed Branch was on the job!
     

  • #5839 submitted 05/27/2015: de rigueur, antaphrodisiac, riot act, gainsay

    As Detective Sergeant Gordon Brevity sat in his office, his eyes gazing with rapt attention at scenes culled from every public and private CCTV system within the City – many of them surreptitiously hacked by that impudent WPC Isa Urquhart – he felt confident that he would see he whom he sought: viz the gaunt mysterious Angus Og of the Bog (aka Angus Ogilvy, pensioned off postie from Dalmarnock and now a rising star in the City's Komedy Klub Circuit); he paused one scene and called to Isa to let this one stay a moment – it was the exterior of a familiar Public House but it was emblazoned with a name he had never associated with it, so he asked Isa to take a look, but she was none the wiser, and suggested they have a look at the interior scenes; quickly she found and fed four  different angles to the Sergeant's screen and explained that Top Left is the bar from the entrance, Top Right is the same scene reversed, Bottom left is across the room looking towards the door to the toilets and the stairs to the Upper Function Room, and Bottom Right is that same scene reversed; Gordon pointed at one of the shots and told Isa that four of her cousins were there, right now; and near them a slutty-looking prostitute – identifiable by being dressed de rigueur for the streets, though to Gordon's taste a definite antaphrodisiac – was apparently having a case discussion with her Advocate (or simply propositioning the man, it was hard to tell with no audio), quite oblivious of the young cousins all talking at once in the privacy of their booth at the rear of the room, though Sergeant Brevity could not guess their subject; suddenly Trixie came into shot, from the double doors behind the booth: “what a Hoot,” said Trixie, returning from the Ladies to join her sister and cousins in the booth, and the four others turned their attention from the sluttish-looking girl at the bar to Trixie, expectant looks on their faces; “just met my friend Teri – the writer who's working with Daphne and Maude on their Memoirs – well, she's a guest at the Wedding Reception upstairs, that's where all the music and noise is coming from, or at least she thought she was a guest there, but she doesn't know anyone and I think I've worked out why;” and Roxy, cheekily asked – 'you' – as if nothing more surprising could be said; “yes me,” continued Trixie, “it seems she was invited to attend Georgie Corcoran and Felicity Dalwhinnie's Evening Reception in the Baillie Nicol Jarvie Inn and she came here, so I said this is Deacon Brodie's and she said she knew and I asked why she'd come here and she said she thought they'd made a mistake or rather a kind of a joke, and I asked who and she said Georgie and Felicity and I asked how and she said it was to do with Rob Roy apparently and I asked what did she mean and she said Georgie's been working on an adaptation of Rob Roy for BBC Scotland but when the Producer,” and Roxy asked who was the producer and Trixie said, “it's Mungo Macpherson of all people,” and they all laughed knowingly, and she continued, “well he wanted to set more of the action in Edinburgh so the character of Baillie Nicol Jarvie was to be moved here from Glasgow and become a Burglar and Thief in the night,” and Jinty asked if Mungo wasn't confusing him with Deacon Brodie and Trixie said, “yes, that's what Georgie said, but Mungo was adamant, he read them the riot act and became quite hysterical, saying it was for quote artistic unquote reasons – which really meant HIS reasons so now Rob Roy has Baillie Nicol Jarvie as an Edinburgh Councillor and thief in the night and Mungo wanted him to have this pub as his own, with the signs changed to say Baillie Nicol Jarvie instead of Deacon Brodie,” and Leigh asked if either Baillie Nicol Jarvie or Deacon Brodie had a pub and if so was this it, and Trixie gave her a look that said “No Comment” and continued, “so they had new signs made and erected for publicity shots and they're still up because shooting starts tomorrow, just on location scene setters, without the actors, and if we'd all been strangers instead of locals and regulars we'd have bothered to check that this was the right place, but as we didn't need to we didn't and nor did Teri, so none of us noticed the different name outside, gainsaying the true name of the place, but because of all the publicity shots around Felicity and Georgie's office or Writing Room, or whatever they call it, of this place, but with the name of BNJ, I only abbreviate to save time,” and everyone laughed because one thing Trixie never saved – or more accurately, one of the many things that Trixie never saved – was TIME, and they all shouted GO ON and she did, “so when the invitation came and she saw the picture of this pub with the BNJ signs up she assumed naturally that this was the venue, but as it's an entirely different couple upstairs, called Dusty and Rusty, or maybe one of them is Busty, and Teri didn't know a soul among the guests and none of them knew Georgie or Felicity, which is really quite surprising, but it seems they were all Rugby Bufters, so I suppose that's understandable, but anyway it seems that it's Teri who got it all wrong and now she's trying to cadge a lift to the real BNJ Hotel and Bar,” where's that, asked Elvira, reaching for her car keys, and Trixie said “Aberfoyle,” and Elvira dropped her car keys back on the table, and Trixie continued, “except that it's not, well it is and it isn't, if you see what I mean,” but no-one did, and she thought for a moment that the sluttish-looking girl at the bar with her Advocate was looking rather strangely at her, in the same way as Roxy and the others, almost as if she was following Trixie's account, but then Trixie dismissed this idea for, unless she was a lip-reader the girl was too far away and surrounded by so many men, that really, she couldn't have heard what Trixie was saying, so she re-focussed on her friends around the table and said “it's not a Hotel, it's been converted to luxury apartments – not flats – apartments, but it's called Baillie Nicol Jarvie Court and there's no way Georgie and Felicity could be having their Reception there, so obviously Teri came here, but she's now so confused, she can't tell a Baillie from a Deacon, or a Jarvie from a Brodie, and she says next thing she'll probably see Jeannie Deans walk in alive as you and me,” and the friends all hooted, and the sluttish-looking girl gulped down her vodka, touched her Advocate on the arm and hurried through the double doors towards the Ladies, and Trixie, rising, said, “excuse me, I think that girl's going to be sick,” and dashed through the doors after her, and almost simultaneously, Teri Somerville came through the doors and came over to the group and sat down where Trixie had been and said that she'd sorted it all out, that she'd simply got the day wrong, that Georgie and Felicity's nuptials are TOMORROW and the Evening Reception is here at 6pm and you know, she added, that she should have realised she'd got herself in a pickle because if it had been today, she'd have been 6 hours early instead of 30, and the friends all hooted and Teri joined in, and they were all laughing so happily and loudly that not one of them heard the scream that came from the direction of the Ladies, out by the rear of the pub!
     

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