After a one week hiatus, Ms Pinky and friends return in the next episode of my serial. To read the story from the very start you will find a chapter index by clicking here.
The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange
(In which Ms Pinky settles in and Alice has a Norwegian encounter)
Ms Pinky began to cheer up considerably with her giant, triple chocolate chip cookie and cinnamon-spiced double-fat latte which Fiona had fetched from Gino’s coffee shop upstairs. She poured a glug of brandy into the cup from a silver hip flask before spinning herself across the room on her posturepedic chair.
‘Feeling better Ms Pinky?’ asked Fiona, poking her head around her office door.
‘Yes thank you Fiona,’ said Ms Pinky, wiping milky foam from her furry pink face, ‘and thanks for the latte. It’s delicious.’ The monster tried unsuccessfully to silence a boozy burp, which Fiona ignored.
‘No problem, and if there’s anything else you want Ms Pinky, to make you feel more comfortable, just ask.’
Ms Pinky thought about this for a moment, biting her bottom lip; blood suddenly gushed from the wound made by her razor sharp teeth and she dabbed at the blood with a small yellow hanky.
‘Oops,’ she mumbled, ‘I keep forgetting I just had them sharpened.’ She looked around the reception area briefly. ‘I was thinking I could rearrange a few things in here; you know, make it a bit brighter.’
‘Good idea,’ said Fiona, ‘why not. Oh, and I’ve just been on to the Employment Ministry and made an application to change our name. I think we need something to recognise that we now deal with monsters as well as myths.’
Ms Pinky beamed with delight, all three rows of teeth gleaming with blood.
Within an hour, Ms Pinky had moved the wooden coat stand away from the door, tidied up the wilting aspidistra and given its leaves a polish, and removed the posters from the glass panelled entrance to allow in as much light as possible from the street upstairs. She was just combing the hair on one of her Malibu Barbies when she heard Neil coming back in through the fire exit at the end of the corridor.
‘How are the reindeer?’ she asked.
‘Happier now they’ve had their carrots, but Lord knows what we’re going to do with them. Turns out, none of them actually has a valid flying license, so it looks like they’re staying.’ Neil picked at some straw stuck to his jacket.
‘Watch what you’re doing please Neil,’ said Ms Pinky, bending down to pick up the reindeer bedding, ‘I’ve just tidied up. Do you like it?’
‘Very nice,’ said Neil looking round the reception. ‘Is that a picture of me on the wall?’
‘Yes,’ said Ms Pinky, beaming, ‘it’s our new Employee of the Month Hall of Fame. I thought it would be good for office morale.’
‘And I see that I’m the first inductee,’ said Neil cautiously, ‘chosen by….?’
‘Yours truly!’ gushed Ms Pinky.
Neil forced a polite smile.
‘I see. Thank you, Ms Pinky. Now if you’ll excuse me,’ he said hastily, ‘I must find some temporary accommodation for those animals.’
Before phoning round the local stables, Neil checked his e-mails: there was one from his friend at the Ratings Office which he scanned briefly. Seconds later Neil burst into Fiona’s office.
‘You were right,’ he said.
‘Come in why don’t you,’ said Fiona.
‘Sorry, but you need to hear this.’
‘That friend of mine from the Ratings Office.’
‘The one you had a fling with?’
‘Well, one of them, yes.’
Fiona raised her eyebrows in mock surprise.
‘Anyway, he said someone else was sniffing around for a list of Cephalopod communicators and thought we should know.’
Fiona was silent for a moment.
‘We need to get Alice back from Norway,’ she said, ‘that someone is definitely after her, and if it’s the werewolf who was here earlier, she’s not safe.’
‘Agreed,’ said Neil, ‘I’ll try and call her again.’
Across the North Sea, in Bremen, Alice was perched at the bar of a cosy little café. She was trying to work out if she could afford another gin and tonic: most of her Krona had gone on bribing the fishing boat to take her out to sea to find the Kraken, and she wasn’t sure if she had enough left; having lost her mobile phone overboard earlier on, she didn’t even have use of a calculator.
The weather had been pretty horrendous, but at least she had found what she was looking for, or rather she hadn’t. The Kraken, it turned out, was not the Kraken at all but a very poor substitute squid, who had been paid a large sum of herring to imitate the real sea monster. This, at least, explained the discrepancy in its paperwork, and Alice had wasted no time in faxing the Norwegian Employment Minister with her discovery. However, despite her proficiency in cephalopod sentence structure and irregular declensions, Alice had not been able to work out whether the stooge squid knew what had happened to the real Kraken; she was in no doubt though that something fishy was going on.
‘I’d better phone the office,’ thought Alice, ‘they’ve probably been trying to get hold of me.’
She rummaged in her bag for some coins and looked around for a pay phone. At the other end of the bar she noticed a young man standing alone. He’s dishy, thought Alice, as he nodded a greeting to her. She raised her glass in return and he walked over.
‘Good evening,’ he said, ‘may I buy you a drink?’
Alice rubbed the coins together in her hand and decided the call could wait for a few minutes.
‘That would be lovely, thank you. My name’s Alice.’
‘That’s a beautiful name, Alice,’ said the man, holding out his hand, ‘I’m Peter.’
‘Are you visiting too?’ asked Alice, ‘you’re obviously not from here.’
‘Yes, just visiting,’ said Peter.
‘It’s a beautiful place, isn’t it?’
‘Absolutely,’ agreed Peter.
‘Especially pretty in the moonlight, I think,’ continued Alice, ‘with the snow. Must be a full moon, don’t you think?’
The young man’s eyes widened as he smiled.
‘Not tonight,’ he said, pausing to smell the air, ‘not until next Thursday.’
© flyingscribbler 2011