Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"Did you ever wonder how I got from a low-born demon to the exalted position of chaperone to the son of His Most High Foulness?"
"You mean Dad? No. How?"
"I had the ear of Marlowe," said Jasfoup. "Do you know how many people have signed contracts with us thinking they can find the loophole before they die?" He polished his nails on his lapel.
"No! Really? This was a all a plan?" Harold sat back. "I'm impressed."
Jasfoup smiled. "The fake Mephistopheles moustache tickled like a dancing girl's whiskers."
Image: Faustus and the Censor: The English Faust Book and Marlowe's
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
"So what makes you an assassin?" The young man lowered his gun, electing to spend a moments or two attaching the silencer.
"Finesse, m'boy," said the watchmaker. "Timing. Sophistication. Confidence. Reputation"
"I have all but the rep.." The young man raised the gun. "and killing you will give me that."
"The old man raised a hand. "Did I mention timing? It will be precisely mid-day in fifteen seconds. Can you wait that long?"
The old man nodded, impressed despite himself that the hand remained steady even when the counterweight for the Tower Chime crushed the youth's head into his torso.
Image: The English Assassin
Monday, September 28, 2009
"See you tomorrow?" Baz, her boyfriend of five weeks and three days, put his arms around her waist from behind and nuzzled into her neck.
"Unless there's a minor miracle and they cancel double geography." Julie reached behind her and touched his smooth cheek with her hand. "Give over. I'll miss the bus and there isn't another one."
"You'd have to stay with me." She could feel his grin against her neck.
"Yeah, right." Julie twisted to give him a peck on the cheek. "Your mum would put me in with your little sister and mine would ground me for a month. I'm not taking the risk, thanks." She pulled out of his grasp enough to put her hand out, relieved to see the bus indicate to pull into the stop.
"Time for me to go. If I'm not in bed by eleven Mum'll go spare."
"I can guarantee you'd be in bed faster than that." Bas grinned.
Julie laughed. "You're a right one, you are. No wonder they warned me about you."
"Who?" Baz held an umbrella over her as the grey bus pulled in. "What did they say?"
"That's for me to know and you to find out." Julie laughed and waved goodbye.
Image: Monochrome by Paula Rice Jackson
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Today's sermon was upon the evils of theft, since someone had stolen Father William's pushbike and he worked his way through the commandments trying to spot the guilty looks on the congregation's faces. He need not have worried, though. When he got to 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery' he remembered where he'd left it.
Image: Adultery for Beginners
Friday, September 18, 2009
It was only when their connection died that they realised a worm was eating through their hard drives, erasing every file until all they were left with was a system screen with a DOS application.
C: C: Run
Run C: Run
Image: Gray Hat Hacking, Second Edition: The Ethical Hacker's Handbook
Thursday, September 17, 2009
He peered up at Harold. "You do understand the engraving process, yes? But why would you? You're just a man in a bookshop. One can't be expected to know about these things if you work in a shop."
"We are closing..." Harold pointed to the door.
"What? Closing, eh? Well. I suppose I'll have to come back tomorrow and see if you've anything half way decent in the classics, what?"
"You were uncharacteristically patient," said Julie when Harold had locked the door and pulled the blinds down.
"He was wrong," said Harold. "It's the 1797 that has the reversed graving, since it was copied from the 1684 Malefic Malloreum." He paused, frowning. "What do you mean, ' uncharacteristically'?"
Image: Malefic 
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"Yes," said Harold, consulting the catalogue. "'Contents of Library shelf number three.' It looked the most interesting. There are a couple of old bibles and, I believe, a bound manuscript of 'Desperately Seeking Darcy'. Later renamed, of course."
"Of course." Jasfoup pulled out an old tin with a hinged lid. "What's this?"
"No idea." Harold frowned. "It's not in the picture. It must have been hidden by the wing-back chair. Open it and have a look"
"Biscuits!" Jasfoup sniffed one "McVities' Fudge Cookies, but they're very stale and slightly mouldy."
"I'm not surprised," said Harold. "They stopped making them in 1934. Still, the packet is in perfect condition. I'll list them on e-bay as a collector's item."
"As what? Stale Fudge Cookies?"
"No." Harold smiled. "Mint Fudge Cookies."
Image: Cookie Magic: Biscuits and Cookies with Big Attitude
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
"He's working," said the demon. "He was sat outside the careers office last week with a sign that said 'Will work for food'. It gave me an idea, I made a few phone calls and one visit in person and employed him an hour later."
"But he's so thin," Harold said, "And yet he seems to do nothing but eat."
"That's the beauty of it," said Jasfoup. "I made a deal with a well known American company. They send us all of their out-of-date cake bars and a large wad of cash, and we dispose of them. It's his job to eat them, but since they contain no nutritional value he's slowly starving to death."
Image: Twinky [DVD]
Monday, September 14, 2009
"I'm sorry," he said with a sigh. "It's a fake. A good one, but a fake nevertheless."
The old man frowned. "I paid £14,000 for that last year," he said. "How can you tell?"
Harold tapped his nose. "We like to keep these things quiet, sir, but just for you..." He opened the covers. "See this cardstock? It's darkened because of the industrial revolution threw so much smoke into the Drakwald Forest. The revolution didn't start until 1780, and to make this cardstock the trees would have been cut and seasoned before that."
"Well I never." The old man sagged. "How much is it worth then?"
Harold shrugged. "Twenty thousand to anyone you can convince it's genuine. A hundred quid to me."
"Thank you. You've been most kind." The old man wrapped the book back up in acid-free tissue paper, put it in his briefcase and shuffled out.
Jasfoup watched him go. "That was impressive," he said. "I've no idea you had so much knowledge of papermaking."
"I don't" Harold grinned. "I saw John's signature on the flyleaf. It was one of ours."
Image: Illuminated Letters: A Treasury of Decorative Calligraphy
Friday, September 11, 2009
He jigged the child on his knee and took two things out of his pocket. A small boiled sweet and a lump of gold the size of Lucy's fist. "Here," he said, handing her the sweet. "Butterscotch is a flavour, not a game. Hopscotch is played with a stone like this one --" he gave Lucy the lump of gold – "not with packets of butter from the kitchen."
Jasfoup watched as Lucy skipped away. "How much was that lump of gold worth?" he asked.
Harold shrugged. "Fourpence?" he said. "It was only gold paint. If she wants real gold she'll have to earn it. I was running a profitable Lego business by her age."
Image: Great Big Book of Children's Games: Over 450 Indoor and Outdoor Games for Kids
Thursday, September 10, 2009
"But their stock might not be," said Harold, picking up his pace and gathering up her tiny hand in his own. "One has to take note of the latest stock in the high street, else how can one keep abreast of fashion?"
"How indeed?" Lucy asked. "You've worn the same suit since before I was born."
"Quality never goes out of fashion, my love," said Harold.
"So when did dry-cleaning?"
Image: Suit Yourself: A Practical Guide to Men's Attire.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Until Ms du Point, of course, who took a partnership without so much as knowing how to draft a probate and had to learn the whole business at night school. Even if she wasn't born into the Isaacs family, she's a blood relative now.
Image: The Solicitor's Handbook 2009
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Dr. Rehani also maintains a separate client list Dr. Pullem knows nothing about. These are all private clients, since their NHS records are generally marked 'DECEASED'.
*as opposed to antisceptic, the aroma of most churches
**I kid you not
Image: Language Habits in Human Affairs
Monday, September 07, 2009
Until a Tuesday morning in September when he delivered a small package to Paper Street. It was too big to go through the letterbox, forcing him to knock on the old oak door of number 3; a door that was opened by a coffee-skinned woman who made his heart race.
"Yes?" If the brunette, who was of indeterminable age, had any idea of the effect she had on Joe she didn't show it.
"I have a package for Ms A Hewitt," said Joe. "It was too big for the letterbox."
"Thank you." The woman went to take the package but Joe didn't let go. She tugged twice before looking into Joe's face for the first time. Her breath caught in her throat.
"From the old country?" asked Joe, nodding to the package. "I saw the stamps."
"Yes," she said. "Locusts wrapped in melokiyah and deep fried." Her accent was perfect, with hardly a trace of her true nature behind the veneer of normality. "Would you like to try one?"
"I would, thank you." Joe smiled, just the hint of his forked tongue tasting the pheromones of this beautiful female lamia.
Image: Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St.Agnes and Other Poems
Friday, September 04, 2009
"So it's just you and your sister living here?" Meinwen settled herself in what she judged the cleanest seat in the garage. To be fair, the paint area of Winston's shop was cleaner than the mechanical side.
"An' her husband Sam, yeah." Winston stopped spraying to take a drag from his cigarette. "It used to be Mom an' Dad's place, you know."
Meinwen took a sip of tea. "You inherited it? There were no other family members?"
"No. Me Mother's brothers used to live here, but they moved back to the homeland."
Image: Old School Customs: Top Traditional Custom Car Builders
Thursday, September 03, 2009
"I thought I'd be working there my whole life," Alfred told the tall, black gentleman who bought him a pint of Mild in the 'Lion and Unicorn' on Wingate Road. "I never made a plan for retirement."
"There's always time for that," said the gentleman, draining his mojito.**** "I sell them myself, in fact, on a 'money for old soul' basis." He laughed.
Alfred laughed with him. "You're the most honest investment banker I've ever met," he said.
Jasfoup smiled. "Honest is my middle name," he lied.
*A different Cromwell Street. There were no patios.
**some of them, like Mrs. Harris who still dressed like a prostitute at the grand age of 74, very odd indeed.
***Twenty-six years worth. The year after they married and opened the shop they bought a dog and never went away again. The shop was only ever shut on Weekends and bank Holidays, Wednesday afternoons and alternate Tuesdays.
****despite them not being served at the establishment.
Image: The Cromwell Street Murders: The Detective's Story
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Happily, they also provide a 'layaway' service where for as little as £5 per week you can save up for that wedding dress (and matching accessories) of your dreams. Indeed, several mothers from the 'Tots and Toes' playgroup on Station Road have started their daughter's wedding funds already, hoping that twenty years will build enough of a balance to get that Fabrique or Juliana dress they wish their cheapskate fathers could have bought for them.
Image: Bridal Gowns: How to Make the Wedding Dress of Your Dreams
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Once out of sight he let the glamour fade, his stylish, if dated, clothes turning to rags on his bony frame. He dressed in the spoils, finishing with a Windsor knot in his new silk tie and sliding his feet into warm brogues. "Socks," he said, feeling the leather press into his calloused soles. "and a razor."
He picked up a piece of glass from the floor and angled it to catch his reflection. "And food."
He cast about on the floor, picking up the remains of a long-dead crow, a crisp packet, a scrap of cloth from his old rags; leaves, a piece of string, a bent nail. A handful of the long fronds of dry grass outside provided the means to tie these together into the semblance of a grotesque doll. Mud from the canal fleshed out the crow bones and heat from his foul breath dried it into flesh and sinew. "Uth var-a-nicht," he hissed as the figure squirmed in his hands. "Nas va penthe os ul veratu."
The fetterling dropped from his hands onto the ground, its plastic shirt crackling with each movement its beak opening and closing. "Go," said Jack. "Bring me food."