Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. We have now reached chapter fifteen and it looks like a rescue plan is begining to take shape.
Apologies to those of you who come to the series via #fridayflash: I forgot to place last week’s episode on the collector, which is why I have listed two this week instead. It did, however, make the #tuesdayserial list!
If you are joining in the fun for the first time this week, Ms Pinky and friends wish you a warm welcome (actually, Ms Pinky says “where the hell have you been?”). Please click here to go back to the start, or here for a complete chapter listing.
I hope you enjoy this week’s shenanigans.
The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange
(In which Ms Pinky models the latest in combat chic)
There was a noticeable buzz in the air at the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange.
‘I’ve never seen this many people in here before,’ said Neil as he handed out information sheets to a couple of zombies, ‘it’s very exciting.’
‘Exciting it may be,’ said Fiona, stepping aside to avoid ruffling the feathers of a large griffin, ‘but let’s not forget that we’re here to rescue Alice.’
‘And I’m as worried about her as you are,’ said Neil, ‘but you have to admit, this beats interviewing talentless vampires for mini-series extra work.’
Fiona regarded the noisy collection of zombies, harpies, furies, oddly-shaped monsters and assorted mythical animals; she had to agree: it was going to be an interesting few days.
She approached the griffin who had taken a seat in the front row.
‘Cecil, could you move to the back, dear, some of the others are having trouble seeing past your wings.’
‘Thank you!’ said a disgruntled voice from an empty seat in the row behind, ‘you might be able to see through me, Beaky-Boy, but it doesn’t work the other way you know.’
‘Barry!’ said Fiona, looking into the space she hoped the voice came from, ‘how are you?’
‘I’d be better if those bloody snake heads stopped trying to sit on me. Who are they anyway?’
‘They’re the Furies,’ said Fiona, ‘let me introduce you. Ladies, could you stop screaming for a moment? Thank you. This is Barry Dodsworth, our lead poltergeist for the mission; Barry, these are the Furies, Sasha, Sheba and Shelly. I’m sure you will all get on very well.’
The Furies turned as one, their snakes sniffing the empty seat with forked tongues.
‘Pleasssed to meet you, ssssir.’
‘Now, if you’ll excuse me,’ said Fiona, ‘we had better get started.’
Fiona joined Neil at the front of Reception and called for quiet, but couldn’t make herself heard above the wails of the Harpies who were zooming around overhead; she was about to try again when Ms Pinky arrived with a tray of coffee.
‘Sorry I’m late,’ said the monster, out of breath, ‘there was a huge queue.’
‘What on earth are you wearing?’ said Neil.
Ms Pinky looked down at her military- issue, camouflage flak jacket and matching combat trousers
‘It’s my rescue mission outfit,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘does it go with my pink fur?’
Fiona smiled at the receptionist.
‘Ten out of ten for effort Ms Pinky,’ she said, ‘but we’ll all be wearing black on the night. In fact, I’m having a black body stocking made especially for you.’
Ms Pinky looked downcast.
‘But your outfit is perfect for our training session,’ said Fiona, ‘and you can start by getting this lot to shut the hell up.’
Ms Pinky put down the tray, took a deep breath and opened her tooth-filled mouth.
‘QUIET!’ she roared, spraying large globs of spit on the unfortunate creatures seated at the front.
The three unruly Harpies instantly gave up their cacophonous air-borne chase and landed in a row of seats next to the Furies, who looked distinctly uncomfortable.
‘Thank you, Ms Pinky,’ said Fiona before turning to address the room. ‘Welcome, everyone, to “Operation Tooth and Claw”. You have each been handed details of which team you are in and your particular role in the mission.’ She paused for a second whilst one of the zombies in the front row searched blindly for its eye, which had fallen out and rolled across the floor. ‘Basically, we will be boarding the ship at dusk, locating Alice, the Kraken, and the other prisoners, rescue them and return them safely to their respective homes.’
Mildred, the spiky flesh monster, who was today in human form, raised a timid hand.
‘How will we get to the ship? It’s hundreds of miles away.’
‘That’s a very good question,’ said Fiona, ‘Neil, would you like to answer this one?’
‘Certainly,’ said Neil, rising to his feet. ‘The Griffin and Harpies will make their own way to the rendezvous; the rest of us will fly in a specially fitted caravan pulled by our crack team of renegade reindeer.’ He paused briefly for effect, giving Fiona time to raise a cautioning eyebrow. ‘The reindeer are at this moment being put through their paces by my associate Bertie. Boarding will commence at midday tomorrow. Do not be late.’
‘Thank you, Neil. Now,’ continued Fiona, ‘once at the ship, an aerial diversion will be created by the Harpies; the Furies will do likewise on board and we have an international team of mermaids who will attempt to lure as many of the ship’s personnel overboard as possible.’
Ms Pinky now got to her feet and placed her paws on her hips.
‘Zombies and monsters, you will locate and detain anyone, or thing, which tries to escape, apart from Mildred, who will go with Fiona to find the ship’s captain.’
‘Meanwhile,’ said Neil, ‘I will take a team to track down the werewolf known as Amadeus; hopefully before the moon rises.’
Ms Pinky gasped.
‘Won’t that be terribly dangerous for you?’
Fiona sighed with exasperation.
‘You haven’t told her, have you?’
‘Told me what?’ said Ms Pinky.
‘You said you were going to tell her,’ insisted Fiona.
Ms Pinky became very excited and started jumping up and down.
‘Tell me what? Go on Neil, I want to know.’
Neil looked sheepishly at the monster.
‘I’m a werewolf,’ he said in a whisper.
‘You’re a what?’
‘Where were you?’
‘I’m a werewolf! OK?’ shouted Neil.
Instant pandemonium broke out across the reception: the Harpies rose from their seats, screeching “death to the werewolf!” and the Furies began hissing and spitting as they span into a wild vortex; meanwhile, Mildred had turned herself inside out, almost spearing the Griffin through a leg with one of her spikes, whilst most of the zombies had taken cover under their seats.
Fiona held her head in her hands.
‘What were we thinking?’ she moaned, ‘this is a disaster.’