NaNoWriMo + @freewritehouse = #freewritemadness.
18 freewriters are gathering at the @freewritehouse to write 50000 words in one month! I am using @mariannewest’s #freewrite prompt (https://steemit.com/freewrite/@mariannewest/day-384-5-minute-freewrite-thursday-prompt-small-talk#) and @mydivathings’ #365daysofwriting picture prompt (https://steemit.com/fiction/@mydivathings/day-325-365-days-of-writing-challenge) to help write my story.
Today’s prompts are: small talk and a Photo by Micki Spollen on Unsplash
As usual I started with the freewrite prompt and used themostdangerouswritingapp.com to write the first five minutes:
The many torments of Tiny Earl - Chapter 9
Tiny sat in silence swirling the remains of his whisky around the bottom of the glass. He was irritated. Being stuck in this car with a woman he despised, and another he had no recollection of employing was starting to grate on his nerves. At least Eleanor had shut up. And the one good thing he could say about Clare, or whatever her name was, was she didn't find it necessary to fill the silence with small talk. Tiny couldn't abide small talk. Back in the day, he had had to be a master at small talk. It was seen as important for some reason. But as he progressed up the ladder and started making the rules, he found he could dispense with it. "Cut straight to the point!" he'd spat on more than one occasion. "Or I will cut out your fucking tongue." People who worked with him knew that they had to be straight. If you had something to say - say it. If you didn't - shut the fuck up.
“You need to play the game, darling,” Janet had told him, on so many occasions. “They expect you to ask certain things before moving on to business, act in a certain way before demanding they work with you. It’s like a dance, darling. To fit in you need to know the moves.”
“I hate dancing. You know that.”
“Not with me, darling. Not with me.”
It was true. With Janet, Tiny always danced perfectly. His feet - usually clumsy, self conscious - always seemed to know precisely where to step, when he was holding Janet in his arms.With her, when he danced he didn’t have to think about it, like walking. It was like she was the other half of his body.
They moved in perfect harmony together in all aspects of life, not just dancing. She was perfect for Tiny, she was his rhythm, she was his balance. Without her he would have rushed into all sorts of trouble, without her he would have died a very long time ago. She saved him from certain death on more than one occasion.
“Just stop and think!” she said to him, once, grabbing hold of his arm as he stormed towards the door, a large knife in his hand. The Relwelds, identical twin brothers, new to town - there seemed to be a lot of new folk around in recent years, but live and let live, Tiny always thought (unless they got in his way that is) - ran one of the rival organisations in town. It seemed they had intercepted a cartload of silk belonging to Tiny (well, it was at the time it was intercepted, anyway). They killed the driver, leaving no witnesses… but Tiny had people on the ground, and the Relwelds’ suddenly had a lot of silk they were trying to offload, quickly and cheaply. Not only had the Relwelds taken the cart, but - in Tiny’s mind - they had taken advantage of his good nature.
Well, no more.
“You have the upperhand, darling. If you go to them, you lose that. They will be waiting for you to make the first move: they will be expecting it. Do what they least expect. Let them make the first move: force them to make the first move.”
In the end he compromised. He sent two of his men to deal with the Relwelds. Their severed heads were returned to him, their balls, ripped from their bodies and stuffed into their mouths.
It had taken all of Janet’s skills to stop Tiny taking his best remaining men and storming into what was - as she pointed out - bound to be another trap.
“They expected your men,” she said. “They were probably disappointed it was not you. They are provoking you for a reason.They expect you to react as you always do. It is time to stop reacting. It’s time to act.”
“Then what do you suggest?”
Janet smiled. “We need to do something completely surprising,” she said. “Something they couldn’t possibly expect.”
Tiny looked at Janet, his eyes burning with angry energy.
“I’m all ears,” he said.
“You know that merchant by the docks. The new one, Bermond, his name is.”
Tiny nodded. “I remember him, alright. Strange man, speaks funny. Like he’s from these parts, but foreign at the same time. I met with him, like you suggested. But I didn’t like him. I didn’t trust him. I didn’t know what he was going on about most of the time. Tried to sell me that strange painting - the one that looked like frozen river with a straight line across it. What on earth would I do with a painting like that?”
“Hang it on your wall, and look at it, I expect,” Janet said. “Everyone thinks he is a little odd. But I have a feeling he might be useful to us. One thing I do know is he is no fan of the Relwelds. I am not sure of all the details but it seems they set him up. Played him for a fool. He lost a lot of gold, and half his stock. I do think you should consider meeting with him again. By all accounts, he has acquired some interesting items.”
“By all accounts? By whose accounts? How do you know all of this?”
“I make it my business to know things, darling,” Janet said, smiling. “Especially, if I think they might help - or harm - you.”
“Isn't it my job to look out for you?” Tiny had asked.
“We look out for each other, darling. We'll always look out for each other.”
The merchant worked out of a grubby little warehouse located in the east docks. Janet suggested instead of meeting the man at Tony's home, he would be better going to the warehouse.
“If the Relwelds are expecting you to make a move, they will be watching you closely. If they see Bermond coming here they'll ask why.”
“They won't be the only ones,” Tiny had said, still not sure how meeting with the odd man would help him get revenge on the Relwelds. What possible help could a merchant be?
“You'll need to slip out, unnoticed. If they see you leaving and follow you, they might make a move against you, there and then.”
“It sounds as if you've thought of everything.”
“I'm your wife, darling. It's my job, to think of everything.”
If the butcher was surprised by Janet's request when he arrived the next day for the usual weekly delivery he did not show it. He took the gold coins with a grin and immediately took Tiny out to his cart. Tiny stood by watching as the man rearranged the animal carcasses.
“Are you certain this is necessary,” he asked Janet.
“Positive,” she nodded.
Once the butcher had made room, Tiny lay on the floor of the cart, the straw thick with congealed blood. He grimaced as the carcasses were placed on top of him. It was a struggle to breath properly, not because of the smell of death in his nostrils, but rather the weight of the meat, heavy on his chest.
“If anyone asks,” Tiny heard Janet tell the butcher. “He refused the order because he fears being poisoned. You tell them, you thought he looked scared… and ill.” Despite Janet giving good reasons as to why this tale should be told, it made Tiny uncomfortable.
“It makes me look weak!” he'd protested.
“And that is precisely why it will work! When the Relwelds, and their men, are lying in pools of their own blood, everyone will know of your true strength. Until then, we let them think they have already won!”
He felt the cart move as the butcher climbed onto it, and he heard him give instructions to his horse, and the cart began to move.
It was one of the most uncomfortable hours of Tiny's life. He felt every cobble, every loose stone, every hole, jolt painfully into his spine, as if the wooden wheels were fused onto his back. Despite, being unable to see where he was he recognised the areas of the town from the sounds around him, the bustle of the market, the clang-clang-clang of the iron works and finally the call of seabirds mixed with the cries and corse language of sailors and dock workers as they arrived at their destination.
Tiny lay still as he heard the butcher talking to someone, the words muffled by the meat. It sounded as though an argument was in progress, and Tiny wondered what on earth the problem could be. He'd sent word he would be coming, although he'd not been precise about his method of transport. Just when he thought he might have to push his way out of his meaty prison, he heard the creak of a large door open and then the cart moved forward once more, before stopping again and the sound of the doors closing, shutting out the noise of the docks.
He felt the cart move as the butcher jumped down and a couple of seconds later the carcasses began to be lifted from him. He helped push the last one off and sat up. The butcher offered him a hand which Tiny accepted and stood up.
Bermond stood against the wall, a few paces away, clutching a kerchief to his nose. He looked pale, unwell.
“Are you ill?” Tiny said, reluctant to offer his hand if the man had some kind of plague.
“No, no,” Bermond said, through the kerchief. “I'm never ill. A pleasant side effect of my travels.”
“Side effect?” Tiny asked, thinking this was a mistake if the man was going to talk nonsense again.
“Sorry,” Bermond said, still into the kerchief, looking at Tiny as if he horrified or disgusted him. An unexpected consequence of my journey here.”
“Okay,” Tiny said, still unsure of what it was the man was trying to say. He took a step towards the merchant, holding out his hand in greeting. The man shied away from the blood covered hand, making a strange whimpering sound.
“Its just animal blood,” Tiny said, gesturing to the wagon of meat.
“I know that,” Bermond said. “But you see I'm a vegan.”
“A what now?”
“I don't eat meat. I don't really want it in my premises. I don’t want an animal to die unnecessarily, just to feed or clothe me.”
Tiny shrugged. The man was clearly insane.
“Do you want to do business, or not? My wife said you had something that might help me with a little disagreement I am having with the Relwelds.”
At the mention of the name, Tiny saw something change in the man’s demeanor. Something hardened. Tiny saw the familiar flicker of hate cross his face.
“Ah, yes. Yes, I do,” he glanced at the butcher, a look of disgust once more on his face. “You stay here,” he said. Then to Tiny, “Follow me, please.”
Tiny followed the man towards a heavy looking wooden door at the back of the room. Bermond fished a large key out of his pocket and unlocked the door. He threw a glance over Tiny’s shoulder - presumably to make sure the butcher was staying where he was told - and then opened the door and beckoned for Tiny to follow him.
The room on the other side of the door was dark, the only light a skylight high in the ceiling. Tiny stood there blinking whilst Bermond lit an oil lamp. There was a strange looking large metal box in one corner of the room, big enough to fit a man, maybe two. On the floor were wooden crates. Lots of wooden crates. It was to these that Bermond went. Placing the oil lamp carefully on the floor he levered off one of the lids of the crate and pulled out a strange stick-like thing.
“There you go,” Bermond said, passing it to Tiny. It was heavy. Tiny stared at it turning it over and over in his hands.
“What does it do?” he asked.
“It kills people, Mr Smyth,” Bermond said. “Where I come from - where I get my supplies - they call it a gun
“I thought you were against killing people.”
“Killing animals, Mr Smyth,” Bermond said, shrugging. “Most humans have it coming.”
“How does it work?”
Bermond took him through another door and demonstrated how this “gun” worked. Tiny bought the lot. It was the second best thing he ever did - the first being to marry Janet - and the Relwelds never saw him coming.
Yes, Tiny thought leaning back in the leather of the Rolls Royce, staring at the empty glass in his hand, Janet had saved his life so many times. It was a constant source of shame to him that the one time he had needed to save hers, he had failed.
Please support all the #freewritemadness folk:
Posted using Partiko Android