Welcome back to my comedy/fantasy web series. This week, the employees of the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange take to the air in their bid to rescue Alice from the claws (and jaw) of the werewolf Amadeus, the Kraken from its fate as star attraction at the Nautilus World theme park, and Njord and Lisbeth from a watery grave. Will they succeed? Who knows? I haven’t written the final chapter yet!
I’ve been writing this as part of the brilliant #fridayflash and #tuesdayserial hashtag communities over at twitter. Check them out if you haven’t already. On that note, I didn’t get the chance to list on #tuesdayserial this week and so as not to get out of sync with #fridayflash, chapter seventeen will not appear on the #tuesdayserial site. If you are visiting from there, and so you don’t skip a chapter, click here for chapter seventeen.
Comments, as always, are encouraged.
The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange
(In which ‘Operation Tooth and Claw’ takes to the skies)
Just as Alice was contemplating her imminent demise at the hands of Amadeus, the eager participants of “Operation Tooth and Claw” were assembling in the Exchange’s car park.
Bertie had just arrived with his team of six reindeer and was busy trying to harness them to the battered old caravan Neil had ‘borrowed’ from his Granny.
‘How are you getting on?’ said Fiona. She peered inside the caravan thinking how it was going to be a bit of a squeeze to get everyone inside.
‘Just about ready,’ said Bertie.
‘Which one’s Blitzen? That was always my favourite,’ said Fiona, stroking the animal nearest to her.
‘None of them; they’re not allowed to use the real reindeer’s names, so I took the liberty of naming them after gay icons; they don’t seem to mind. Bette and Barbra are up front, that’s Cher and Kylie in the middle and these two are Judy and Liza. I was going to name them after famous dictators, but Pinochet and Stalin don’t have the same ring to them.’
‘What is that unicorn doing between Cher and Kylie?’
‘Ah,’ said Bertie, ‘I didn’t know what to do with him. He has a personality disorder and is convinced he’s Pegasus; he insists on flying with the reindeer.’
‘Well, as long as he doesn’t get in the way, I suppose he might be useful. Did you remember to bring your sat nav?
Bertie patted his top pocket and saluted.
‘Present and correct, Ma’am.’
Meanwhile, Neil and Ms Pinky were checking names off their list.
‘The Furies are on, as is Mildred, the other monsters and most of the zombies,’ said Neil, ‘but that poltergeist hasn’t turned up yet.’
‘Yes I have!’
‘Sorry, Barry,’ said Neil, ‘didn’t see you. Did you manage to rustle up some of your pals?’
‘Yes,’ shouted the poltergeist, ‘ten of them.’
‘Excellent; are they, er, here yet?’
‘We’re in the toilet!’ shouted Barry’s friends.
‘Hope no-one needs to use it,’ laughed Ms Pinky, ‘or they’ll get a nasty surprise.’
Fiona walked over to the Griffin and the Harpies who were consulting the shipping forecast before departure.
‘How’s the weather looking?’
‘There’s a slight headwind which shouldn’t slow the ladies up too much,’ said Cecil, ‘although I might struggle a bit.’
‘I’m sure you’ll be fine Cecil. Right, Harpies, as soon as you have them I’ll need the ship’s coordinates so I can text them to Jenny Greenteeth. Rendezvous is six o’clock. Got it?’
The Harpies wailed ‘yes’ and shot off into the clouds.
‘Everything alright Cecil?’ said Fiona, ‘you seem a bit subdued.’
The griffin looked down and pushed some grit around with his paw.
‘I’m too old for this caper,’ he said, ‘I’ll be no use to you at all.’
‘Nonsense,’ said Fiona, ‘you’re essential to the mission’s success; we need aerial surveillance in case they try to escape; and who else is going to carry the Kraken back?’
On hearing this, Cecil plumped up his feathers and raised his beak into the air proudly.
‘Really. Now, off you go.’
Fiona watched as the griffin rose majestically into the air and flew away towards the west.
‘Everyone’s on board, Fiona,’ said Neil, ‘shall I lock up?’
‘There’s no need; The Green Man is staying behind. He’s worried about turning to compost with all the water. Right, let’s get going. I’m travelling up front with Bertie; you two can look after that lot in the caravan.’ Fiona smiled at her Exchange employees. ‘I’m very proud of you all; thank you.’
‘Thank us when we have Alice back, safe and sound,’ said Neil.
‘In which case, break a leg!’
‘Any leg?’ said Ms Pinky.
‘Always the joker,’ said Fiona, smiling at her receptionist ‘and I said no luggage, Ms Pinky.’
‘It’s just a few essentials: muffins and bin bags.’
‘In case I get sick. Shall we Neil?’
Neil climbed inside and turned to give Ms Pinky a hand.
‘I’m stuck,’ she announced, trying to force herself through the door.
Neil climbed out through a window and started pushing Ms Pinky from behind, whilst two zombies pulled her paws from inside.
‘Watch my fur, you clumsy half-deads!’
‘Everyone ready back there?’ shouted Fiona from her saddle on top of Barbra.
‘Yes!’ cried Ms Pinky, tumbling into the caravan.
‘Ready!’ said Neil, closing the door.
‘Right then, over to you, Bertie!’
Bertie clambered into position on Bette and got out a megaphone.
‘Ladies, Gentlemen, and Things; our flight time today will be approximately four hours as the reindeer flies and we will be cruising at an altitude of approximately five thousand feet. Please now listen to the safety briefing given by your caravan crew.’
‘Thank you, Bertie,’ said Fiona ‘very professional.’
Inside the caravan, Neil and Ms Pinky were struggling to maintain control. The Furies were hissing at everyone and the zombies wouldn’t sit still for more than ten seconds. Mildred and a couple of her monster friends were huddled together on a banquette looking terrified, and the poltergeists were squabbling inside the toilet cabinet.
‘Quiet!’ yelled Ms Pinky.
‘Thank you, everyone,’ said Neil, ‘we would like to remind you to stay seated at all times in case of turbulence; there is no smoking allowed on board; and if it should be necessary to make an emergency landing on water, please try not to drown. In the meantime, sit back, relax and try not to pull the zombies’ legs off-they’ll need them later.’
On top of her reindeer, Fiona zipped her fleece up to her neck.
‘These animals can actually fly, can’t they?’
‘I think so,’ said Bertie, ‘we’ll soon find out.’
Fiona rolled her eyes.
‘I was a boring old civil servant a week ago, now I’m sitting on a reindeer about to rescue a giant squid and save Alice from a werewolf.’
‘Fun, isn’t it?’
‘Yes, it is.’ She grabbed a rein and shouted back to the caravan. ‘Hold on everyone, Operation Tooth and Claw is underway!’
© flyingscribbler 2011