Thursday, 16 February 2017

Cecily Looking for Love at Cyril's Creek Part Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fourteen
Several weeks later and the evening air was filled with candle smoke and gentle piano music. The walls in Josiah’s house flickered with golden light and a gentle hum of conversation made for a convivial atmosphere. If you were there, the amazing smell of the most delicious food would have whetted your appetite and made you hungry for the meal that Cecily was even now completing. Unfortunately, the delicious smell came from next door, who were having a barbecue. So even though you are missing out on the lovely smell, you have avoided the torture of the terrible meal that the hapless Cecily was ineptly preparing so count yourself lucky.
It was quite the gathering in the normally sterile and solitary atmosphere of Josiah’s lounge. He had even been coaxed into being upright and the right way up for the evening. The guests were fewer in number than the initial run of invitations had anticipated but it was still an amazing turnout for the otherwise anonymous household. Of course, those who weren’t there were busy behind their curtains and taking notes. But the Hendersons were there, as was Mrs Train, a frail looking old lady who didn’t get out much. She had no idea who anyone was but was just happy to be there. At the moment, she was describing her verrucas in loud and vivid detail. Also there were the Smigeons. They hadn’t spoken to anyone in their twelve years on the street and, judging by their pursed lips and sips of sherry, they weren’t about to start now. Lastly, there was Vlarg, a mighty orc warrior. He’d been feeling socially awkward since the dinner party had begun. Now, violence-filled quests, he reasoned to himself, you knew where you were with them. On the other hand, genteel bourgeois socialising? That was awkward. His club twitched but, with a supreme effort, he observed social niceties.
Cecily had carefully planned the whole evening. They would begin with drinks, which Josiah was largely in charge of, which would be mixed with fun and vivacious chat. Cecily would pop in and out with nibbles from the kitchen. Then, they would eat, at which time Hardy would be introduced to the neighbourhood. That was the plan and everyone in the household had been drilled in their role until they had forgotten the existence of salad cream.
That was all very well on a plan, in theory and on the drawing board. In reality, the conversation had been stilted and Vlarg had been clearly put out at the lack of drinking horns. Mr Henderson had been fond of the nibbles, well, at least, he was interested in the cheese straws and had asked how strong they were. As it was, they were pretty crunchy but he had seemed to want them to be baked longer and to be even tougher. He spent the next couple of minutes testing it out, swishing it against the palm of his hand. An uneasy feeling grew within Josiah; he was fairly sure that it would prove tough for the gathering to accept Hardy.
Clocks had serenaded him through the small hours for many weeks now as he lay awake in the dark of the night. Troubled thoughts ran, hopped and sometimes even cartwheeled through his brain, waiting for him to doze off before whispering darkly into his ear. It was so bad, this insomnia, that he taken up reading in order to quell the fears. Each night, The Moon peered in at the spine of his current book, always to discover disappointment. It turned out that the insomnia was not bad enough to drive Josiah to his book. The Moon muttered savagely to itself and began work on a musical about an agoraphobic mountain.
Obviously, the main worry Josiah had was about the flourishing relationship between his beloved Cecily and a talking heron. He was worried about how the stripes got in toothpaste too but the main worry was Cecily. The time he had spent with Hardy had shown him that the wader was eloquent, witty and adored Cecily. However, most people wouldn’t wait to get to know the heron. They would judge and judge harshly.
After a few desperate nights, he had come to the acceptance of the relationship and had decided to help them the best he could. In his nocturnal reading, books by romantic female authors encouraged him to let the young couple follow their hearts and live their dreams. Each morning, he would awaken and spread rose petals around the house. He captured some birds and trained them to sing when the couple were in earshot and tied bows around the necks of fluffy, wide-eyed cats which he placed on soft cushions. It turned out Cecily was allergic to roses and the cats ate the birds. But still, it was the thought that counted. In order to atone for his mistake, he agreed to the dinner party and delivered the invitations by hand. It had been a traumatic experience; his ankles were savaged by many pampered small dogs and once by a rather aggressive middle-aged man in a maroon tank top.
Now, sitting at the soiree, he had reservations. Then he remembered that this was no time to be thinking about his campsite business. He closed the laptop down just as Cecily came in and announced the starter was ready. The party slid into various places around the table. Picture that fine scene, the faces awaiting delicious food, their eyes shining with excitement and the voices chattering. No! You’ve got the seating plan wrong! Try again… I’m waiting… I can wait for the rest of the chapter if that is what it takes... Better.... but why would Mrs Train be wearing an AC/DC t-shirt? Come on, try harder… Nearly, although I don’t think I mentioned a fully working Spinning Jenny being present in the corner… Well done, it wasn’t that hard, was it?
Once the starter was served, a dubious soup that appeared to consist largely of thin strands of pondweed and a slimy meat that was reminiscent of frog, the atmosphere worsened. Only Vlarg appeared to enjoy it.
Trying to hide her disappointment, Cecily collected the still full soup bowls and went to collect the main courses.
“It’s gone quite brown and crusty on top, the one near my big toe,” Mrs Train burbled to no-one in particular.
“Mr Vlarg, do you know anything about knots?” Mr Henderson asked, brightly.
His wife’s cheeks reddened.
“Colin!” she hissed.
Without the warning sound of footsteps, Cecily was suddenly back in the room.
“I had an ulterior motive for inviting you here tonight!” she announced, her voice shaking with emotion.
“Ding dong!”
“Recently, someone very special has come into my life. A soul mate if you will. A gentle, good spirit and someone who cares for me so fully, so tenderly I can scarcely describe the feeling I get from being with him.” She paused and swallowed, obviously close to tears. “I’d like to present Hardy.”
She stepped aside and revealed the heron, tall and proud with a bow tie clinging to the long stringy neck.
There was a bemused and confused silence.
Then, with a guttural growl, Vlarg cried “Main course! Vlarg love heron!”
And, with that, he raised his club menacingly…

Cecily Looking for Love at Cyril's Creek Part Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen
The moon orbited. It had been orbiting for as long as it could remember. Sometimes, people came to visit it and it had the feeling of always being watched but otherwise it had been just basically orbiting. This had never really bothered The Moon; it had some fine craters and liked the shape the sunlight made on it. However, tonight it had a problem.
The Moon's memoirs had been out for a while now. When the memoirs had been completed and released under the title 'Let's Go Round Again: Loony Lunar Tales', The Moon had been delighted. It had dreamed of talk shows, TV rights and a major Hollywood movie. However, sales had been sluggish and the reviews had been cutting.
The Moon was therefore trying to think of ways of getting people to notice the book and to buy it in their droves. It had contacted its Literary Agent, who had feigned being unconsciousness following a nasty reaction to a Brussels Sprout to avoid speaking to him. It had tried to call in a few favours from songwriters and poets who now mysteriously could not remember its part in their success. It had tried to dye its North Pole in order to reveal an edgier side and to appear more three dimensional. It was a sign of its level of distraction that the Moon had chosen the dark side to dye. Of course, it was clear that attempting to go to a fashionable party in Walsall had been a huge and catastrophic mistake. It had left, ashamed and with a legal action for repairing a sea-water damaged carpet pending.
Still, it had no idea about how to make people buy the memoirs. Then-inspiration! It would publish it for free on a blog! No-one else had thought of that and international recognition and fame and fortune would surely follow just as night follows that dreadful light part of the diurnal period that no-one liked and The Moon refused to mention by name.
Thus, exalted and excited, The Moon sank below the horizon, already planning how to redesign his memoirs to be released as a blog. Behind it, in the gloomy remnants of the night, an owl shook its head pityingly. There was nothing you could tell the owl about publishing; it knew The Moon was doomed to failure. With a world-weary sigh, the owl returned to penning its own current writing project- a thriller about a family of voles stalked by a dangerous yet handsome killer.
Meanwhile, oblivious to all this natural literary activity, Josiah, Cecily and the heron stood in a silence that was so awkward it fell over its own feet. It blundered around some more, upsetting a small coffee table (that sobbed loudly all night) before leaving the room, jarring its shoulder nastily on the door frame.
"You're romantically attached to a...a...." Josiah's voice tailed off.
Shamefacedly, he bustled over to some bookshelves. There he flicked through the books, running his fingers along the spines and checking the titles. At last, he found a small book called 'The Misleading Bumper Book of Birds'. Leafing through, he found the entry he was after. He replaced the book with care in order to check the filing system remained pristine.
Having completed this research, he strode back to the centre of the room.
"You're romantically attached to a guillemot!" he blustered.
"Hardy is a heron," Cecily told him coolly. "You really need to get a new bird book. And re-read the last chapter. You identified it correctly then. Why do you bluster so? Are you shocked that I am in love with another? ”
“But he’s a bird!” Josiah hissed.
“He’s kind, he’s gentle, he’s generous. Maybe it doesn’t matter which species he is!”
“I think that legally it does. What do you mean generous?”
Cecily glowed with pride.
“I have a whole bucket full of plump frogs outside,” she boasted.
Josiah stepped towards her, taking her elbow firmly in his hand. The great grey bird stretched its neck up high and fluttered its feathers, fixing the man with a glaring and angry stare. Josiah took a nervous step backwards, narrowly avoiding a piece of cake I left there on the carpet so he would stand in it. But he hasn’t, so that was a waste of time.
Holding up his hands in a placatory manner, Josiah motioned awkwardly to the vexed wader that he just wanted a quiet word with Cecily. Leaving the bird behind, they went into the kitchen. Josiah strode angrily around the room whilst Cecily leaned against the sink, sulking inspecting her nails, anticipating a tirade.
“I just don’t get it,” he scolded her. “What on earth are you playing at, young lady?”
Cecily mumbled something in reply.
“It’s, it’s just a phase, that’s all,” he chuntered on.
Her eyes ablaze, her voice strident, Cecily stood tall and proud. Banging her fist on the table to emphasise the main points, she told him why it wasn’t a phase. It was like the attack from an extremely angry goldfish. Yeah, well, you’re just not imagining an angry enough goldfish. Try harder, you slackers. In the face of her tirade, Josiah wilted like a dandelion that had been picked 3 hours and 9 minutes ago. He reeled as she revealed; it certainly cheered him up to do a bit of Highland dancing. Her voice echoed as she told him of her frustration with him, her passion and her desire to be loved.
“But he’s a bird!” Josiah explained patiently. “People will talk!”
“Then they must talk,” she said, simply, “I have done nothing wrong.”
Josiah sighed and slumped onto a hard kitchen chair. It was the sigh of a defeated man; Josiah had won it from him in a game of cards. His life had seemed like it was getting better and that he would get a chance to be with the woman he had such deep feelings for. But, now that Hardy was on the scene, he realised that fulfilling his heart’s desire was as far away as ever. Something was nagging at him. Reaching over, with scarcely a conscious thought, he switched off the I-Nag that had come through the post in a brown paper parcel the week before. Impulse purchasing is a national crisis, folks. At the end of this chapter, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy the all-new DigiMiser, your electronic aid to thrift. Don’t delay, buy today! Ooh, nice irony, thanks to the IroBot for inserting that little beauty in there. They won’t call it a waste of money now!
The two people sat in a troubled silence. This was broken by a tap at the door. Hardy’s unmistakeably pointed beak poked through the gap and the door swung open just a little. Entering cautiously, Hardy blinked and cleared his throat.
“If I might just chip in, I think I could be of some help in sorting this mess out,” he said.