Friday, June 06, 2008

Ms. Rose Arrives

Overcast. The Um stood soulfully on a sloshed bluff, gazing down at the cold, bleak plain as if it were a microcosm of all human endeavour. Wind-blasted bastard. Next to him, snapping a distant cliff, sat Mr. Brooke, a pale, bijou urbanite under a dense web of tan pig tails. Clicking a further two times, he slid his delicate rims back onto his nose and frowned. Not the right angle? I didn't much mind. A few yards across, Pub Sneer wandered in two-piece rag and bum-glove, looking lost and impotent. He winced at me weakly, seemingly trying to smile. I looked at him as one looks at a three-week-dead mouse circa lunchtime and continued narrating. (Myself, I hasten, clad in Brobdingnagian pants befitting his heightsake, amphibian features, capped, coated, restless; boyish.)

For the moment, that was it: a less-than-formidable four. We entertained plans of rafting to France to find our fifth, but that had more than a whiff of pipe about it, particularly in the mire of our present. I paced self-consciously, imagining the passage in a future history book. It scarcely seemed worthy of a footnote, let alone a passionate treatise. As if to illustrate my point, Sneer dry-retched himself into a ditch behind me, capping it off charmingly with an audibly exhaled orifice. A moment later, the distinct, lackadaisical scent of marijuana drifted up from the hole, ruining the carefully narrated atmosphere — the clot. The sky dimmed slightly. Then thunder. Panning across the Hm, Is It Raining?, I pretended to sigh. This was not the stuff of legend. This was not even the stuff of blogging. I slumped back on my deck chair, sighing for real. It began to rain proper. Amidst the downpour, what started as an almost imperceptible rhythm rose to a hoofed clatter, drawing intriguingly nearer until its source could (just) be made out. By this point, the non-pot-addled among us had gathered on the far side of the camp, peering attentively into the distant sheets. Obscured by rain and fog, it looked rather like a waddling town house.

The cart rolled to a stop. One of the horses snorted — sneezed? — and grumpily toyed with the mud at its feet. Silence. (Except the rain.) The purple carriage shook for a moment. A door, also purple, thudded open. After an excruciating delay, a leg stepped out, followed by a body, another leg, two arms and a head. The fetching whole was somehow even purpler than the carriage. Approaching swiftly, she smiled away the cold. In—
"Wait," she said.
Yes? I wondered.
"'Smiled away the cold'?"
Well, I—
"What am I supposed to be, a princess?"
I considered this.
"Yes," I said, quoting for emphasis. "Prince-ess. Princess! 'Prince' as in Prince, 'ess' as in... I dunno, 'dress' or something. Perfect."
"You're not calling me Princess."
"All right, how about... Ess?"
"Better."
— her hand she held one of those crass Melbourne Renaissance A4s I had sticky-taped to Flinders Street. The ink was running; I didn't blame it. Still, at least it wasn't Comic Sans or Skia. She kick-started a lantern and held it to her face.
"Hello," she beamed. She looked a little taken aback at our less-than-heroic shapes, but did a serviceable job of suppressing it.
We exchanged the same glance.

8 comments:

Kathryn said...

Nothing compares 2 a Hugh introduction.

However I'm (forgive me) a tad confused about the identities of Um, Mr. Brooke and Pub Sneer. Harry's bespectacled, but I also thought he was the "lackadaisical" Revolutionary.

P.S. Nice 3D pie.

P.P.S. Comic Sans deserves to burn in typographical hell.

Hugh said...

Harry was indeed the lackadaisical Revolutionary, and while he does have glasses, in this instance that particular characteristic was bestowed upon the also-now-bespectacled Tom (Mr. Brooke). Um was Ben. I was me, you were she.

Help yourself to a slice. One day, no doubt, I'll have bips and bobs extending all the way to the bottom.

Kathryn said...

Ah, of course.

Amphibian features?

Mmm, that purple slice looks delicious.

Hugh said...

It seems to be only me, but whenever I'm recently clean-shaven I think I look somewhat froggish in comparison.

Kathryn said...

Not sure about froggish, but you've certainly lost the "drug lord" look.

Hugh said...

That was a memorable four minutes.

Not Quite Yoda said...

Oh, I was Um? Thought I'd landed the part of the Sneer.

Hugh said...

Medium. Clever, eh? (That's the only reasoning I can remember; haven't a clue what spawned Mr. Brooke.)