The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Four

I have been receiving some very positive feedback about this new serial so, for the moment at least, it will constitute most of my #fridayflash postings. Hello also to those of you who have found this via #TuesdaySerial. Thank you all for dropping by. Please carry on with comments on the series: all feedback is very welcome. If you are new to the series, you can start at Chapter One by clicking here. A Chapter list can be found at the top of the blog.

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Four

(In which Ms Pinky makes herself at home and the exchange receives some unwelcome company.)

 

Ms Pinky looked at herself in the mirror, bared her three rows of serrated teeth and smothered them in lipstick; she hoped ‘Diva Red’ had been the right choice for her first day as secretary at the Employment Exchange: it was quite garish, but as the charming sales assistant had said, rather nervously Ms Pinky thought, it went very well with her pink fur.

‘Ah, Ms Pinky, you came in early,’ said Fiona, dumping a pile of folders on the reception desk as her new employee came out of the ladies.

‘Good morning Fiona,’ chirped Ms Pinky, ‘yes, I wanted to go over the checklist Alice left for me and get myself settled in. I’ve brought a few things for my desk, I hope you don’t mind.’

‘Not at all,’ said Fiona, smiling, ‘make yourself at home. Sorry about all these,’ she continued, pointing to the pile of folders, ‘they’re the applications for the tree sprite positions. Alice managed to whittle them down to a few thousand, but I’m afraid there’s a lot to get through. You’d better ask Neil to help.’

Ms Pinky’s yellow eyes sparkled with excitement.

‘I’ll ask him as soon as he comes in,’ she said breathlessly.

‘Yes, you do that,’ said Fiona, wondering if Neil would be able to fend off the monster’s advances for long, ‘I’d better get on; with Alice in Norway hunting for The Kraken, there’s a lot to get through; and the Department for Efficiency and Downsizing are sending over some flunky later too.’ Fiona stared at Ms Pinky’s paws for a moment. ‘Have you cut yourself?’ she asked.

‘No,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘I dipped my paws in nail varnish. Do you like it?’

‘It’s lovely,’ said Fiona, ‘very, er, becoming. Better let it dry though before going through those applications.’

Ms Pinky quickly got to grips with the internal phone system and was just decorating the desk with her collection of Malibu Barbies when Neil arrived back from court.

‘How did it go?’ asked Ms Pinky, with a concerned look on her face.

‘Case adjourned,’ sighed Neil, ‘the Sasquatch never showed. Apparently no one’s seen him for ages. We’re giving evidence again on the fourteenth of March. Could you put it in the diary?’

‘Certainly Neil,’ cooed Ms Pinky, pawing her way through the red ledger Alice used as the office diary.

‘Right then,’ said Neil, looking at the pile of folders now underneath Barbie’s convertible, ‘let’s get started on these.’

‘Before we do,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘I think you missed a room out on our little tour of the office last night.’

‘Did I?’

‘It’s the room at the end of the corridor. The one with the locked door.’

‘Oh that!’ said Neil, rather flustered, ‘it’s just a store room, nothing in it. Not even sure where the key is.’ He picked up the first folder. ‘Shall we?’

At that moment, and much to Neil’s relief, a young, lanky-haired man walked in. He reached inside his polyester jacket, producing a dirty i.d card. He went to hand it to Ms Pinky, thought better of it, and turned to Neil.

‘I’m the L.I.C.E from D.E.A.D,’ he announced, ‘I’ve an appointment with Alice Finchley.’

Neil scrutinised the card.

‘Well, Mr Licensed Innovation Control Executive,’ said Neil, smirking, ‘I’m afraid Alice is away on business; the boss will see you instead. Ms Pinky, will you show Mr….’

‘Tooting, Mr Berty Tooting.’

‘Will you show Berty in to Fiona’s office please?’

‘Certainly,’ said Ms Pinky, smiling sweetly, displaying her first row of teeth, ‘this way please.’

Fiona tried to talk about everything Alice had listed for her: the increase in overheads, the cost of mandatory blood tests for vampires; she even remembered to mention the compensation they had been forced to pay to the families whose children had been turned to stone at the ‘Magical Medusa Birthday Bonanza’.

‘We told them to look away,’ explained Fiona, ‘but they turned a blind eye I’m afraid. So Berty, you see, with that and the added costs we’ve incurred since we were forced to incorporate monsters into our remit, we really can’t afford to take any of your proposed cuts.’

‘Miss MaCalister,’ said Berty, firmly, ‘you must identify at least fifteen percent savings before I leave. Everyone has to make a contribution. The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange is no exception; with or without added monsters.’

Fiona thought for a moment before rising and heading for the door.

‘As you wish,’ she said, ‘but if you don’t mind, I’ll leave you to thrash this out with our new associate.’

Fiona stepped into Reception.

‘Ms Pinky, this young man would like to discuss cuts to our budget with us. Would you mind taking over please?’

‘Certainly Fiona,’ said the monster, winking, ‘glad to be of assistance.’

‘That poor boy,’ said Neil, ‘rather him than me.’

‘Do you think she’s vegetarian?’ asked Fiona nervously.

‘No idea,’ said Neil, ‘she won’t actually hurt him will she? He was quite cute under the grease.’

‘Neil!’

‘Talking of cute,’ continued Neil, spying another visitor lurking at the entrance, ‘who’s this?’

‘Leave him to me and get on with those applications please,’ said Fiona, ‘I want them done by lunchtime.’

‘Ok,’ said Neil, whose ears had started twitching uncontrollably, ‘but that guy seems terribly familiar; I can’t put my finger on it, but he’s giving me the heebie- jeebies.’

Neil watched from his office as Fiona dealt quickly with the new visitor.

‘Well?’ said Neil, when they were alone again.

‘That was very odd,’ said Fiona, ‘he claimed he was Alice’s cousin and wanted to know where he could find her.’

‘And?’

‘I told him she was on holiday. In Australia.’

‘Good,’ said Neil, ‘because you’ve just been talking to a werewolf.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Of course,’ said Neil seriously, ‘it takes one to know one, doesn’t it?

 

© flyingscribbler 2010

 

 

 

 

 

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17 comments on “The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Four

  1. laradunning says:

    Love the line at the end! This is such a fun story!

  2. John Wiswell says:

    It’s the casual, low-drama and office-politics approach to monsters that really makes this pop for me.

  3. Sam Adamson says:

    Another wonderfully humourous episode, it reminds me a little of some of the places I have worked only our Miss Pinky didn’t have fur…

    • Thanks Sam. I’ve never worked in an office, just the office in the sky for me. Glad to hear that it resembles the real thing. That’s what I was hoping for. Hope I can get office politics right.

  4. “the Sasquatch never showed. Apparently no one’s seen him for ages” – haha!
    Funpiece. Shame the Exchange has also been hit by the Con-Dem government austerity measures too 😀

  5. dannigrrl says:

    I’m really loving these characters. Like John said, the way you’ve built such an absurdly mundane world is fabulous. The kids turning to stone had me cracking me up. Another great installment.

  6. Jason Coggins says:

    This would work so well as a comic book. I wish I could draw the Ms Pinky I see in my head and see how she compares to everyone else’s version. Neat work.

  7. juliorvarela says:

    Justin, I agree with the others: turning mundane task and playing with that is really nice, and the dialogue is witty. The last line was cool and a nice twist.

    The one thing as a reader that I would love to see more of are descriptions of the office. What is their environment like? Office supplies, etc. I think you could have fun expanding the description of the place.

  8. Steve Green says:

    Well, Ms Pinky seems to be settling in nicely, and still has the eye for Neil (chuckle chuckle)

    I am finding this an easy-going entertaining series, there is good, and witty dialogue, and there is so much going on, and every episode adds more creatures, and potential plotlines.

  9. adampb says:

    I can so see this as a series with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop creating the creatures.
    The dialogue and characterisation are great.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  10. Stephen says:

    Like Laura, I found the last line to be priceless. Why wouldn’t a werewolf recognize another werewolf? Good stuff.

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