Friday, January 15, 2010

Main Street Competition

Haggerd the Haggard knew that patience was a virtue when it came to a good assassination. He had waited until he was certain his victim was close to finishing his business for the night and now Haggerd was ready for the confrontation. The clanging of bells caused him to hesitate for a split second as he pushed open the door and stepped inside.

His victim, clad in white and stood amongst his paraphernalia, offered him a wry smile. "Sorry about that, I was just closing up and had the alarm set." He motioned under his bench and the bells abated. "What can I do for you? I don't want to rush you but it's getting late."

Haggerd flipped the sign on the door from 'Open' to 'Closed' and pulled down the blind to cover the window panel. "You are the one known as 'Ryan Peabody'?" Haggerd asked. "The one that claims knowledge of the alchemical arts?"

"Yes, I'm the chemist," Peabody said. "A humble pharmacist, at your service. Do you have a prescription you need to get filled? It's just I have to be getting home or the wife will give me hell." He rolled his eyes at Haggerd.

“You won’t be going anywhere tonight, alchemist,” Haggerd said. He took a pace forward and planted his staff on the floor by his foot, daring Peabody to try anything.

The chemist looked dismayed. “Don’t tell me the roadworks are still holding the traffic up! At this time of night. Good Lord. I thought I’d seen the last of bumper to bumper traffic when I moved here.”

“You should have thought twice before moving to my domain, little man,” Haggerd said, ominously. “The village of Tiddling-on-the-Wold belongs to me and I will slay any other magic user that attempts to wrest it from me. I will have no aggravation from warlocks.”

“No 'what'?” Peabody asked.

“Warlock aggravation!” Haggerd shouted.

“Okay, steady on,” Peabody said. “I think I have an ointment for that.”

Haggerd took another pace forward and Peabody could see just how large and imposing a figure he was, wrapped about with ragged brown robes and steadfastly clutching a gnarled wooden staff in his hand. “Do not mock me, interloper,” Haggerd said, “there is the stench of thaumaturgical meddling about you.”

“I expect that will be the drains,” Peabody said, somewhat perturbed. “The Council were supposed to have all that sorted out.”

“Be warned, meddler,” Haggerd said, “for I have choked the life from many a neck in my time, and relish the opportunity to do so once again.”

Peabody looked at Haggerd blankly. “I see,” he said. “Is that a euphemism? I can’t sell you viagra without a prescription, but we do have some herbal remedies...”

“Enough of your lies,” Haggerd cried. “You are a rival magus intent upon usurping my dominion. Admit it!”

“Stop!” Peabody said. “I’m just a simple chemist. Look!” He grabbed a small brown bottle. “See? It’s just aspirin, for headaches. And this is toothpaste, for brushing your teeth.” He pulled a brown jar from under the counter. “This is... is...” Peabody pulled out his spectacles and read the label. “Ah, yes, knuckle bones from nosy hedge-wizards.”

Haggerd realised he couldn’t move a muscle, couldn’t even bat an eye-lid. Not even when Peabody produced the rusty old hacksaw.


  1. Lmao! I love the way your mind works, Honey. Too twisted. Kisses.


  2. Alchemy and humour...a great combination. Great job.

  3. most excellent, sir
    The Viagra bit worked very well!

  4. I am still chuckling. Really really clever. And damn funny.

  5. Hilarious throughout. I couldn't stop laughing, each new line was a fresh gag.

    Peabody is a fantastic character, and an inspired choice of name.

  6. Fantastic Anton. Some great lines. I'll have a smile on my face for a long time.
    Robbie Coltrane could play the role with ease ;-)

  7. This is hysterical, Anton. Second the viagra reference.

  8. I laughed throughout, delighted. What a clever one, that Peabody! And the name "Tiddling-on-the-Wold" is just too damn perfect a name! Bravo!

  9. You are clever. You are amusing. You wrote a wonderful piece.

    "I expect that will be the drains" is one of the many lines that brought laughter!

  10. That is funny! Great alchemy of horror and humor!

    Very clever! But with all those pharmaceuticals he has to use a saw? Ewww.

    by the way - I like the look of your new site!

  11. "by the way - I like the look of your new site!"

    ATL, you are the winner of this comments thread. I spent half of last Saturday working on the re-design after Mazzz went and bedazzled her new site.

  12. Grass, ass or critical opinion? I'll give you one thing I didn't like, but only balanced with the first thing I did like.

    "Haggerd the Haggard" was a great opening cluster of words and name. As someone who's had such trouble with "haggard" as a noun over the years, it tickled me.

    What I didn't like were some of the needless details. Sentences like " “You should have thought twice before moving to my domain, little man,” Haggerd said, ominously. " "ominously" is unnecessary; the statement is obviously ominous and it feels like you're stepping on my toes by telling me it was after I just read it in my head that way. A few times, like there, it felt like you were reaching for non-dialogue buffers. Things like Haggerd taking a pace somewhere aren't necessary and feel like they're getting in the way of the neat part. In this case, the neat part at the "pace" juncture was the exchange, because Haggerd's really entertaining (if creepy) in how he's talking there.

    If I may temper that with another thing I like, I really want to agree with Anne. The new site design looks great. I particularly like the two masks and the doll for the links on the lefthand side.

  13. Those pacing sentences were pure pre-meditated filler, and I guess it showed. I didn't think I had enough action going on. Hmm. "non-dialogue buffers"? Ye gods, that sounds dangerously like science.

    John, please come back and comment anytime. That's some of the most insightful commentary I've had yet.

  14. Clever, this one. I also like Peabody.

    Agree with John about needless adverbs tacked onto dialogue attribution. Stronger to describe the character's actions or just let it ride.

  15. Now that was bloody comical. The ominously struck me, too, ominously, but there are times when extra adverbs are welcome when one wishes to be purposely over-the-top, but it's an alchemical science I've yet to master so perhaps we should ask Peabody once he's done cleaning up.

  16. And I thought he was just clueless. Turns out he knew more than he let on. Great story! The end made me laugh out loud.

  17. Randal - I suspect Peabody will never be done cleaning up...

  18. Maybe you should ask Peabody if he has an ointment that will clear up those adverbs for you. I really enjoyed the humor in this one and it has a very nice twist.

  19. I liked this a lot. Don't mess with the pharmacist!

  20. This is great comedy, with a bit of danger lurking. I think it's terribly hard to be funny and you repeatedly scattered the fun throughout. Very enjoyable read - thank you!

    Criticism? Ummm. Okay, if I have to -
    "He had waited until he was certain his victim was close to finishing his business for the night and now Haggerd was ready for the confrontation."

    I stumbled over this sentence. Too wordy for what it's telling us, perhaps. Punctuation? I dunno.

  21. Bloody site. Fantastical. The story was cute and wicked at the same time. I like your style very much.

  22. Oh, that clever Peabody. He's one of those bad guys you gotta love.

    Straight From Hel