Wednesday June 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the henchman.

Fairly quiet morning at the bakery. Another new girl started today, after the last quit with no notice to take another job a couple weeks ago. It was her training shift so I had help for more of the day than usual, which is something I could get used to.

Made it through the day without getting more rain. So that was a nice change. Chillier than it has been though.

Kat's parents picked the last of the cherries today, so they're in the cooler waiting to be taken to Penticton on Saturday. Still up in the air as to whether or not we'll have the first few crates of apricots. Fingers crossed on that one.


"You called, sir?"

"Thank you for coming so quickly, Lester."

"Of course, sir. What do you need me to do?"

"That's one of the many things I like about you, Lester. Never why, just what."

"I like my job, sir. The work is enough. No further motivation is required."

"Indeed, indeed. I am so lucky to have found you, Lester."

"... what do you need from me today, sir?"

"My apologies, all of this sentimentality is clearly making you uncomfortable. Let us get down to the business of the task at hand, shall we?"

"I would very much like that, sir."

"Of course. You are familiar with a man named Gary McDonald?"

"You mean my brother, sir?"

"Yes, that's the one."

"What of him, sir?"

"I need him dead."


Greg said...

It is annoying that you're complaining about weather than I'd love to be having! Still, I'm off to Budapest again at the end of the month, so maybe it'll be cooler there. That would be nice!
Quitting with no notice seems a little rude to me, but perhaps the owner allows that? Still, if it got you a little extra help for a while I can see how that would be appreciated.
Well, I definitely like these people, though (as you can imagine) I did wonder if Henri has been hiring new staff. I don't think so... but that last line doesn't exactly allay my suspicions. I like the directness of your main character and their dispassionate observations about their emotional state that convey very clearly that it's all a lie. Very nice!

The henchman
The orchestra had finished warming up and the conductor was stepping up to the podium. The auditorium – a vast space with stalls, two circles, eighteen boxes, a Grand Gallery and the Gods – was velvety dark and just as warm. There was a subtle fragance of stale tobacco (all smoking had to be done outside, and with the first act taking an hour and nineteen minutes the audience had been storing up nicotine in readiness) and commingled aftershaves that made it feel a little like a second-rate perfumiers hall. The conductor rapped his baton on the stand to get the orchestra's attention, and the curtain began to rise.
"What box is this?" Bill leaned back in an ornate chair that creaked with age. It was padded and cushioned to the extent that he felt it was trying to push him off; it had claw feet, armrests fit for gorillas, and an assortment of trays and tables that folded out to allow him to be served a personal banquet.
"Montagu," said Ben, who was turning the pages of a brochure, a tiny black penlight held above and scanning over the pages. "Capulet is opposite."
"Theatre thing?"
"No." Ben looked up, suddenly interested. "The city has gone through several changes of monarchy over the centuries, and two families came to dominate the bloodlines. So one of them had the Montagu box built, and then eight years later the other had the Capulet box built. By unspoken accord they came to always and only use their own box when they came here. And then they started booby-trapping each other's boxes, usually when they were in power. There are a few newspaper reports from the last century where it's clear that what horror was happening up in one of these boxes was more interesting than the show."
Bill peered down at the stage where a woman dressed as a bag lady was alternately singing and throwing up into a vast pink handbag. Behind her a thin kid with badly done tattooes down his arms appeared to trying to drown kittens in a bucket of water.
"I think I can see why," he said.
"Don't touch too much," said Ben. "No-one knows if they've found all the traps yet."
Bill delicately pushed a silver tray aside and got out of the chair. He felt better standing up, ready to flee. "What are you looking at anyway?"
"Catalogue of henchmen," said Ben.
"They exist?"
"Henchmen or catalogues? But yes to both, it's a thriving black market."
"And what are we going to do with a henchman?"
Ben looked up again and smiled. "Use them to check for booby-traps," he said. "The furniture is here is worth a fortune if we can get it out safely."

Marc said...

Greg - hah, well, I hope you're getting weather that is more to your liking these days.

Well, I'm not sure 'allow' is the right word. I don't think there was much she could do about it, really.

Thanks for the kind words on mine :)

That line about the chair being so cushioned that it felt like it was trying to push him off is brilliant stuff. Also... that seems like a very good use of henchmen!