It was supposed to be a good day.* I was supposed to ring Kent again tonight.
And then Darkness could hardly get outdoors fast enough this morning for geysering purposes.** Oh gods. Chaos managed to hang on till we went out on our walk and then . . . squirt. Oh. Gods. ***
But even so. Usually when we have a spasm of spurting, it’s quite dramatic for the duration of one walk, and having shot the offending substance (?)† through the system, by next walk they’re solidifying back toward okay again.
Not today.† Waaaaaaaah. So I rang Niall and Colin that I wouldn’t be coming to the tower tonight to ring Kent or anything else. And then I slumped sullenly back to the mews†† and turned my computer on again. I had a new email in my nuraddin inbox, which I reproduce here almost in its entirety:
This might sound like demanding a sequel to Sunshine or Chalice or Hero and the Crown (as opposed to the Blue Sword) but it isn’t.
You say you know a lot about your characters but you haven’t a story yet. Please write down this information and arrange to have it published posthumously so we the readers can have some closure and we can’t bug you for more.
That noise you hear is my mind boggling.†††
* * *
* In at least one significant aspect it has been a good day. It’s been the best day on PEGASUS THE AT LEAST FOR A FEW HOURS NOT-A-COW I’ve had in weeks. She may fly yet.^
^ Even if my fingers are bleeding.
** Despairingly looking on the bright side: he did not get me up in the night/morning. And I did not get up early.^
^ I only get up early on Sundays.
*** What you don’t know is that we’ve been having off and on digestive peculiarities for a while now which have among other things resulted in an extreme build-up of Food Ritual till I was spending almost as much time feeding them as I was writing PEGASUS.^ So about three days ago I arbitrarily declared, okay: no more food rituals. You’re going to have to eat or starve to death. And then have been frantically lighting candles against the possibility that Chaos might take me up on this. A large part of the problem is that Chaos is the one who needs the rituals—there have been times when poor hypersensitive and overreactive Chaos was clearly afraid of food, and needed ritual to make eating safe—but Darkness is certainly not going to be left out of any interesting-looking games. Darkness has a point: why should Chaos get special treatment? But Chaos, always the worse eater, is the one who starts to look hollow-eyed and wasted after one missed meal, while Darkness is the creative thinker, drat him. So Food Rituals creep up on me.
But we seem to be coming through that. And I figure today’s manifestation is a kind of ‘ha ha ha you thought you’d got us, didn’t you? Ha ha ha ha.’
^ The two overlap, which is why I knew that feeding my hellhounds was taking almost as long as pursuing my career.
† In this case . . . siiiiiiiiigh . . . I think we’re talking about catsh*t, which they pick up at the cat latrine that is Third House’s garden. There is an answer to this. I’ll let you know when I find it.
†† We are now praying for tomorrow.
††† One of the other jolly current demonstrations of the displeasure of the gods is that Peter’s phone isn’t working. It just . . . isn’t. Broadband still works^ but there’s no phone.^^ And darling precious adorable British Telecom, last Friday, said, Oh? Well, we’ll get to it some time. Maybe next week. La la la la la la la.
This leads to incidents like the one today when Peter was having a nap and I was in the loo, peacefully doing a crossword puzzle, and the doorbell rang. FRELL ARRRGH $£%”#!!! I yelled, and answered the door. It had, you know, taken me about a minute to get there after the doorbell rang, and the young man on the other side was looking rather tentative. I did try to phone about a quarter hour ago, he said, but there was no answer.
The young man is the Rat Man. Have I, speaking of demonstrations of godly displeasure, mentioned that the mews is undergoing a Plague of Rats? And the young man’s efforts haven’t seemed to be having much effect, so one of the neighbours rang the town council and shouted, in the best overbearing posh British way^^^, and the mews was visited by a second Rat Man . . . who discovered that one of the neighbours has been feeding the frellers.
^ Or, trust me, Peter would be coming to the cottage whether he liked it or not.+
+ My own husband finds the cottage rather small and . . . crowded. I’ve said that when I get Third House habitable he can do some of the commuting. He still has my piano though.
^^ Yes, we both have mobiles but we don’t use them. They fry your brain, okay? Whether you think this is important information or not, it’s pretty well documented that a mobile phone next to your ear will raise the temperature of your brain fairly quickly. You have about a minute before your cells start crisping. So when Peter rang me Saturday night after bridge on his mobile, for example, to tell me that he’d got home safe+, the conversation went something like this:
Peter: Hi. I’m in and the door’s locked.
Me: Good. Get off the phone.
Peter: Have you had a good evening?
Me: Yes. Get off the phone.
Peter: We had amusing cards and played pretty well, I think.
Me: Good. Get off the phone.
+ This is a required ritual, speaking of rituals. Peter is 82~ and absent-minded, and I want to know he got home. Yes, it would be easier if we just lived together, but that’s not how it’s worked out.
~ Okay, he’s not 82 till December, like I’m not 57 till November. I start rounding up the summer before.
^^^ He’s a successful retired barrister, than which there is no more effective shouter. You non-Brits, do you know that lawyering is kind of divided up over here? Solicitors are the stay-at-home lawyers. If you need to take something to court, your solicitor will probably instruct a barrister. The barrister is the one goes at it hammer and tongs with judges, juries, etc.
‡ And the answer, just so that we can be perfectly clear about this, is no.
Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.