Thursday, September 16, 2010

Weekly Wordzzle Challenge #127

EGADS!!! It's only THURSDAY and I have posted this ahead of schedule. Guess I'll just leave it up since I'm not sure if I can just change the schedule. Can't believe I messed up the day!

It's week 127 of the Weekly (formerly known as "Saturday") Wordzzle Challenge.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.  My apologies - got unexpected company in the middle of working on these so I'm running a little late tonight.  I had kind of a good time with this batch of words. Hope you did too.  Please Don't Feed the Pixies has lost his blog for the moment, so I'm going to paste his story here below mine.

Words for this week's 10-word challenge were:  carrot soup, blind, polar bear, evidence, diary, devil, classic, balance, piano, bushy eyebrows  and for the mini:  debt, wind chimes, rake, shell, limbering-up

My mini: 

Jimmy Jones stood on his mother's front porch limbering up before he started raking the leaves on her lawn. He listened to the shells of her wind chimes clattering together and felt a rush of euphoria at these simple every-day things. He had paid his debt to society - actually he had paid his cousin's debt - but now it was behind him. It felt good to be free and chores he had once resented - like mowing the lawn or raking leaves - now felt like gifts from the Universe. He was happy to be free.

My 10-word:

The reviewers all said that the new cartoon was bound to become a classic. Watching it, Dennis Davidson wasn't sure where the evidence was that a piano playing blind polar bear with bushy eyebrows, a fondness for carrot soup and a poor sense of balance was really the stuff of greatness. But then he had made a name for himself as the fool who rejected the script for #1 hit, The Devil's Diary, so  he clearly didn't have his finger on the pulse of the public. 

My mega: 

Blind jazz piano player, Danny (the Devil) Polo was also known to some as The Polar Bear, though nobody could really explain why. Some said it had something to do with his bushy eyebrows, but most doubted that was the origin.  In any case there had been evidence from very early in his life that Dan Polo was a musical genius and his parents had gone into debt, shelling out their last  penny to get him training at Juliard School of Music in both modern and classical music. He was also a gifted composer whose music was seemed to embrace a balance between the two styles. He was profoundly innovative using a unique range of non instruments - everything from wind chimes to rakes to crystal glasses in his prolific works.  He was most famous for a piece called Carrot Soup. Years after his death, a student studying his diary discovered the answer to the great polar bear mystery. His wife, in the early days of their marriage, had apparently come across him limbering up before a concert and had laughingly called him her bear which she later amended into her Polo Bear which eventually became Polar Bear. And that's how it was.


OK – before I start I wanted to explain a bit about the idea behind this story.  A while ago there was a programme on TV where they took members of the public and they trained them to be spies, making them go through the type of exercises that a real spy (not the movie type of spy) would be expected to do.  Some of these exercises included: Taking on a false identity in a work place and slowly convincing someone to help you by little indiscretions (IE shared confidence in something or sneaky breaks) and slowly building up, following a close relative and leaving a message without being seen, obtaining evidence from a house via surveillance and so forth.

So the original idea of the story was: what would it be like to have to take on a different identity, maybe for years – just sending back reports and pretending to be someone you’re not.  I think after a while the lines would become blurred.  So I wanted to write a spy story that felt more realistic than the action/adventure of a James Bond/Jason Bourne adventure – I’m not entirely sure I succeeded, but the end result was interesting nonetheless.

Sleeper – part 8 (the final)

The waves crashed against the side of the boat bringing with them the salty smell of the sea.  The wind calmed for a second, allowing the two people at the stern of the boat a seconds respite from the spray.

Sir Keith Chegwin turned his head away from the water, his bushy eyebrows furrowing in thought.  If he listened carefully he could almost make out the tune playing on the piano in the first class lounge: something he felt he could almost name, but that kept slipping from his memory.

The person standing next to him shivered and pulled the huge jacket tighter around their frame but otherwise didn’t move.

‘It’s a shame’ Sir Keith muttered almost under his breath, ‘a real shame’

The figure nodded, saying nothing for the moment: so much work gone to waste, and for what?  

Sir Keith cleared his throat, still feeling the after-effect of the carrot soup he had eaten at midday on his breath.  They were half a mile from France now: no turning back now.  Operation Littlegirl was a failure – blown wide open by a classic case of over-enthusiasm.  He wondered if the careers of anyone involved would ever be the same.

It all went back fifteen years to 1995: five Russian operatives had gone missing under surveillance.  It was suspected that one of the agents watching them had defected – but so far there was no evidence of this.  Then they had found the diary.  No names, no dates – just an entry saying “The Facility”.  It had been enough for them to send an agent undercover within the Facility and from thereon in it was as if the Devil himself had decided to shuffle the cards of fate

Bomb threats, over-active imaginations and people too keen to get promotion at any cost: Divine had made a classic rookie mistake – joined the dots in a way that suited him and thrown the balance of the equation into overdrive.  He had wrongly assumed that either Sophie or Mark were the Russian agent and had first tried subtlety then out-and-out blackmail and lies.  In short his behaviour had been like a blind polar bear wading through a wall of fish, sending the tails of chaos flapping.
And yet…

If you throw a rock up in the air you’re bound to find someone guilty – or at least hit a spy if you were at the Facility.  The bomb had been entirely separate, some disgruntled employee entirely unconnected, but through the blundering of the resulting scare Operation Littlegirl had been blown apart – because once the finger of blame was pointed at someone it was no longer safe to keep them there.

The figure in the coat shivered again and held out a hand, ‘I’ll need a new passport’

Sir Keith nodded and handed over the documents, ‘Here.’  He cleared his throat again, ‘I thought you might like to know…’ he paused, wondering how to put it into words, ‘Trenchard from finance went missing shortly after the bomb scare – hasn’t been seen since.  It looks like he was the Russian…’

The figure threw back its head and laughed once, then shook it’s head, ‘Typical.  I never suspected Trenchard for a second’

There was a second’s hesitation as the small, almost frozen, hands prized open the passport and stared at the picture and the name.  Then Sophie pulled back the hood

‘Heather Green?’  She said distastefully, then shrugged: it was as good a name as any. 


Words for next week's 10-word challenge are: English, edible, eagerly, elves, eulogy, estimable, entrance, education, extra-special, Energizer Bunny

And for the mini: drab, dutiful, dusty, delicatessen, dart board

Thank you for playing! Newcomers can check here for some guidelines (and they are only guidelines, not rules) to make the process more fun.

Enjoy! See you next week!


Raven said...

So glad that Please Don't Feed the Pixies was able to find a way to join in even though his blog is gone. Great ending to his 8-part story.

Argent said...

Ah, the simple pleasures. I like how you put in a little hint of interest in you pieces - Jummy paying his cousin's debt, for instance. There's a story there, for sure.

What a neat and fun 10-worder! I imagine all those publishers who rejected Harry Potter feel much the same way as Dennis.

And your mega was lovely and clever, too! Your idea of Danny using non-instruments reminds me that a friend of mine went to a concert recently where all the 'instruments' were made from modified toys. Great reading this week!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hi Raven - thanks for helping out. I'm back on line and will try and play again next week

Raven said...

Glad to hear that you're back. Enjoyed your story this week... as always.

The Bug said...

I enjoyed your stories as always. You did a great job with the words.

It looks like I'm giving it a pass this week - but don't count me out just yet. I might get to it tomorrow if work isn't very busy. We'll see!