The butler did it!

The Butler did it by Chris Hall lunasonline
Blenheim Palace (Wikipedia)

The Queen gazed out of the window as a team of paramedics, flanked by dark-suited security men, slid the stretcher into the ambulance. Its occupant, whose face was covered, had been pronounced dead at the scene, slumped over his dinner at the top table in the Long Library. It had only been by great good fortune that the contents of the glass he’d been holding had missed her spangled evening gown. White silk was a devil to clean, apparently.

Standing by the back of her chair, her butler coughed discretely. The Queen turned to him and gave a conspiratorial wink. ‘Don’t worry, Watkins. You were only acting under orders.’ The Queen smiled serenely. ‘And I am monarch and above the law.’

‘Very good, ma-am.’

‘Worked a treat, didn’t it?’ she giggled. ‘Something Philip was given on a State visit. I knew it would come in handy one day.’

‘Indeed, ma-am. If I might be permitted to say, the poisoning was entirely justified. Not that one’s Royal Highness would need to.’

‘He might have been the Leader of the Free World, but in all my years as Queen, I have never, ever come across such an odious man.’

‘He actually asked for a Coca-Cola when Blenheim has such a wonderful wine cellar!’

They both glanced at the portrait hanging over the fireplace.  ‘I’m not sure what Mr Churchill would have made of him, or his own current successor.’

The Queen raised her glass to the portrait. ‘He’s a problem for another day.’


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #32

The challenge this week was dinner.

Forewarned

what do you see 15 by chris hall lunasonline

Kitty Katz stared intently into Marvin’s special StudioSpyScope. Two men were gazing at a wide screen monitor. On the desk in front of them was her publicity file which her agent had recently distributed to his industry contacts.

‘Pretty little thing,’ said the first man, licking his lips lasciviously.

‘She sure is,’ the second man agreed, stroking the photograph which pictured Kitty posing coyly on a pink chaise-longue.

‘She’s very young; good for a few years before the sparkle wears off.’ The first man leered at the monitor where Kitty’s first screen test was playing. ‘I wouldn’t mind giving her the once over.’

‘Or the twice over,’ said the second man rubbing his thigh.

Kitty cringed and snapped the petals of the StudioSpyScope closed. She looked up at Marvin, with horrified eyes.

‘Well, Kitty,’ said Marvin, scratching his ragged ear with his back leg, ‘that’s the movie industry for you. D’you still want to be a part of that?’

Kitty screwed up her eyes. ‘I do not.’

‘Good call, Kitty!’ Marvin smiled kindly at her.  ‘In any case, it’s not as if you don’t have other talents.’

Kitty’s cellphone beeped. Her whiskers twitched with excitement as she listened.

‘The news you were waiting for?’

Before Kitty had the chance to answer her cellphone beeped again. Marvin waited patiently for her to finish.

‘No, thank you, Jed, I don’t want to be a movie star. My publisher’s got me a large advance and a three book deal on my ‘Kitty Tails.’


Written in response to SadjeWhat Do You See #15 photo prompt.
Photo credit: Pinterest

That’s the second client that movie agent, Jed Talent’s lost already this year!
Read what happened in Casting Woes.

Burns Supper

Burns Night by Chris Hall lunasonline

People thronged around the marquee which had been erected on the tennis courts. Nobody knew why their little Lancashire village had been picked, but who’d question the Office of the US President?

The Women’s Institute had been tasked with preparing the celebratory supper. Mrs. Doubtworthy had suggested that they pop down to Asda for a brace of Hall’s haggises, but the other members of the WI were resolute. The haggis would be made from scratch.

Mr. Greenwood was ready with the requisite musical accompaniment. Everyone was familiar with his bagpiperly skills which he regularly practiced of a Saturday morning, when most civilized people were still abed.

At precisely 7pm, the motorcade swept into the village. Besuited security men shepherded their charge into the marquee, where the Mrs. Duckinworth, chair-lady of the Parish Council, bid him sit at the head of the table.

Mr. Greenwood’s pipes heralded the haggis which was laid before the President. Miss Lynch, the former language teacher, began the address.

The President prodded his haggis with a fork. ‘You Scottish people eat this stuff?’

Mrs. Duckinworth frowned. ‘Sir, we’re not Scottish. This is Lancashire.’

The President’s advisers muttered amongst themselves.

Mr Davies, the Geography teacher intervened. ‘Perhaps you’d intended to visit Lanarkshire?’

‘Whatever,’ growled the President. ‘I’m here now and I’m hungry.’ He stabbed a piece of haggis and thrust it into his mouth.

The room fell silent as he chewed.

‘Ugh! What is this?’ the President spluttered. ‘Forget my Scottish roots. Go get me a burger.’


Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #30

The challenge this week was tennis.

Author’s note: I strayed far from the word prompt, not wanting to pass up the opportunity of writing about something so topical and so appropriate to Susan’s proud Scottish heritage. Burns Night, 25th January.

I give you the ‘Address to a Haggis’ by Robert Burns:

The recipe for Haggis the WI ladies used

Hall’s haggis from British Supermarket, Asdano relation, by the way!

Sadly for you US and Canadian folks, haggis has been illegal in your countries since 1971.
I shall be popping into our local Spar for mine tomorrow.

For the Greater Good

For the Greater Good by Chris Hall lunasonline
Source

Great Being Five gazed up at the three Superior Beings in Interview Chamber 4. She didn’t have to be told why she was here.

She had contravened the non-interference protocol¹, deleted one of her planets² and banished a fellow Being to the furthest corner of the universe³.

There was silence in the Chamber.

Five reflected on her transgressions. She must justify her actions.

She flung out a mind-picture of how she’d saved her lovely blue Planet Earth. One US president accidentally falling from the top of his own building had prevented the outbreak a third world war. It had only been a tiny tweak.

She visualized the moment when, years later, she’d reluctantly activated the total destruction of Planet Earth. It had been for the Greater Good. Those wicked little humans were about to infect another planet.

As for the fate of the odious Great Being Nineteen: who’d missed him with his destructive ways? Probably someone he owed money to. If anyone had contravened…

ENOUGH!

The thought-wave almost knocked her out of her chair.

The room vibrated as the Supreme Beings mind-melded.

Five gripped the arms of her chair.

Great Being Five, we are filing a guilty verdict.

Five braced herself.

However, your justifications are accepted.

You are assigned to the Academy for Wisdom.

* * * * * * *

Five sat expectantly in the big red chair in her shiny new office. Her screen flashed.
Assignment:
Great Being Nineteen – Re-education. Take all the time you need.

Five smiled. This was going to be fun!


 

Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #29

The challenge this week was interview.

——————————
¹ Accident on Earth
² And Finally She’d Pulled the Plug
³ A New Dawn

 

Casting Woes

what do you see 12 by chris hall lunasonline

‘You’ve got me an audition for what?’ Freya stared at her agent in disbelief. ‘You are joking aren’t you?’ A neat curlicue of steam issued from her purple nostrils.

Jed Talent hurried across the room and flung open the office window. ‘Unikitty is big time, Freya.’

‘I’m a serious actress,’ Freya huffed. ‘I will not work in some Lego toy spin off.’ She raked a purple-painted talon across the arm of the capacious couch on which she was perched.

‘Sometimes we have to take what we can get, sweetie.’ Jed returned to his leather-upholstered armchair. ‘After your disastrous audition for G.O.T…’

Freya pouted. Her spiky tail began to twitch; the glass-topped coffee table in front of her rattled ominously.

‘Okay, okay.’ Jed held up his hands in surrender. ‘Not Unikitty.’

‘Well?’ Freya’s eyes smoldered. ‘What else have you for me?’

Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty?’

‘What’s with the unicorns, Jed? I’m a dragon!’ Freya snorted, issuing a shower of sparks from her nostrils.

Jed eyed the resulting scorch mark on his thick shag pile carpet.

‘You want me to dress up in drag?’

‘Unicorns are where the big-time is at, sweetie.’ Jed ran his fingers through his thinning hair.

‘If that’s the best you can do, I’m finding myself a new agent!’ Freya stood up and swept from the room, her tail overturning the coffee table as she went.

Jed sighed as he watched Freya fly off from his office window, her dazzling blue wings framed against the giant Hollywood letters.


Written in response to SadjeWhat Do You See #12 photo prompt.
Photo credit: Flickr

Read more about Freya’s story in The Audition