Homepage / Flash Fiction / Write Now! Prompt 22 February 2013: Better Late
Slipstreaming to an Executive Lunch Joys and Sorrows Hey, Lady — Need Some Relief? Floating Be The Bigger Mouse Who You Wit? Purge and Put the Kettle On Sleepy-Eyed Sister Sort of Monday When Being Called Normal becomes a Compliment, Or, Relationship Advice from the Street Tug-of-War, or, When a Story is Only Interesting to You Weather Pains How Love Works Probably Legally Insane Don’t Call Me Late When Business Communication Goes Pffft! Or, How I’ve Been Insane for Two Months and Counting Don’t Eat That! or, Life as a Pet Parent In Dreams It’s the End of … Almost Like the Real Thing Plus a Lesson in Sacred Spaces What Goes Down Must Come Up Dreams Do Come True Gains and Losses Need to Invest? I’ve Got the Perfect Thing … Very Super-suspicious, Pt. 2 – One Day’s Journey Very Super-suspicious, Pt. 1 – A Dr. Seuss Epiphany Life Is Hard Sometimes #TBT: These Days, I am Only Part Throw-Back Has Anyone Told You Lately … Life’s New Groove I Don’t Share  Purging Past and Current Pains Demolishing ‘Beatriz at Dinner’ The Hump is Hell Book Review: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart Disaster Averted or How My Blog Imploded For a Minute Negative much? Tides of Winter: Book Three (The Felix Chronicles) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Amazon … Research about the US Presidential Election: Invite and Share! It’s a Birthday and More, 2017 And the Winner Is … On the Upcoming US Presidential Inauguration Contest time! A (Potentially Lengthy) Missive on a Problem with Today’s Christian Church Pros and Cons of Working from Home Cozy Comforts How You Doin’, 2017? Deblog 31: Change Deblog 30: My Way Deblog 29: Hip City Life Revisited Deblog 28: A Moment of Clarity Deblog 27: The Future Deblog 26: Grammar the Day After Deblog 25: Christmas Get-Down Deblog 24: Christmas Hippo! Deblog 23: The Worst Job in the World Deblog 22: Dark Spaces Deblog 21: Real-Life Parenting at Christmas Deblog 20: It Came In the Wind Deblog 19: Do Me a Solid Deblog 18: Another Un-Birthday Deblog 17: Differences Deblog 16: On Giving Deblog 15: A Good Time Deblog 14: Happy Feelin’s. No, Really. Deblog 13: About Relationships, or Why No One is a Plow Horse Deblog 12: About Practical Girls, or Why I Cried While Watching ‘Through the Looking Glass’ Deblog 11: About Girlie Girl Princesses, or Why They Can Never Be Queens Deblog 10: Leadership Deblog 9: What Is Love, Anyway? Deblog 8: Happy Deblog 7: Thing’s Internet Deblog 6: Heaven Deblog 5: Change Deblog 4: Nick Hood’s Story Deblog 3: Jeeves Deblog 2: Exile Island Deblog 1: December is Full of Blogidays Plovember 30: And There You Have It Plovember 29: Citizens United Plovember 28: Another Brilliant Idea Plovember 27: Revolt Plovember 26: Outrageous Plovember 25: Figment Plovember 24: All Over Again Plovember 23: Quantum Argument Plovember 22: Every Kind of People Plovember 21: I Look Fear in the Face and Say … Plovember 20: What ‘Unfriend’ Means Plovember 19: Irregular Woman Plovember 18: My Reality Plovember 17: When the Monsters Inside Your Head are Real Plovember 16: Wild Heartbreak Plovember 15: I Nearly Quit Plovember 14: Nerd Life Plovember 13: It Was A Day Unlike Any … Wait A Minute. Plovember 12: It’s A Matter of Faith Plovember 11: Simply Wild Plovember Extra, Day Two! The Alien Hour, Part Two! Plovember 10: Look at California

Flash Fiction, Writing

Write Now! Prompt 22 February 2013: Better Late

Hey, guess what? It’s Friday! The great prompt-creators over at Today’s Author gave this as inspiration this fine day:

He was always late, but tonight he arrived early.

I was feeling a bit silly after reading this morning’s Calvin and Hobbes over at gocomics, and thought I’d incorporate it into my offering for today, which I call “Better Late:”

Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau

Bertram was not suited to this business; his poor eyesight and slight paunch made it difficult for him to be stealthy. At the times when he needed to be absolutely silent, he invariably sneezed; when cat-like precision was necessary, he tripped; when Bond-like poise was required, he ultimately spilled the hot tea into the lap of the debutante. He’d told his father that he hadn’t wanted to be a spy but rather would have preferred to study botany; Rubbish! the old man had bellowed, his voice echoing up and down the halls of the manor estate. The men in the McGowan family are all known for their work for the Agency and you shall be no different! And with that pronouncement, the tutors were forbidden to teach him anything related to biology, chemistry, or any other science, unless it dealt more with the development of the proper molecular sequence leading to the creation of a proper drink additive (such as one that would render its drinker unable to keep secrets). The tutors privately commiserated on how terribly Bertram was at his studies, having had minimal success at bomb-making, safe-cracking, or clandestine movement-making.

Nonetheless he found himself on his way to what was meant to be his third (and hopefully final) challenge. He’d done relatively poorly on the previous two, and secretly hoped that a failure on this one would finally convince his father that he did not have the stuff to continue the long line of family spies. After all, he reasoned, Monty is cut out for this sort of thing. Monty, the younger of the two most recent McGowan’s, had the mannerisms and physique for the spy’s life: he was ruggedly handsome, quick on his feet, and able to subdue even the most gorilla-sized opponent. Bertram bargained that since Monty had already garnered the admiration of his father, uncles, and the full constabulary down at the Agency, his own inability to live up to the McGowan history should come as no surprise. As he walked to the bus stop, he again sneezed against the cold winter drizzle and unfolded a small paper: he was to go to 72398 Mulberry Square and deliver a particularly unsavory experience upon the identified male resident therein. Lost in thought, he wrinkled his nose as he read the detail of what he was to do, not noticing that his bus had just pulled off from the stop just 300 feet away. Upon hearing the exhaust of its departure, Bertram broke into a terrible trot but was unable to signal the driver. With slumped shoulders he crumpled to the bench seat at the bus stop and from another pocket produced the bus route schedule; what sort of spy takes public transportation? he pondered angrily, noting that that next bus would be along in 12 minutes and would get him to his destination seven minutes later than planned. However, from what he’d read about his victim there would be no problem; the fellow was always late and Bertram was to rendezvous with the man at this address. He figured he had at least a 10-minute window of surprise. With that, Bertram pulled up the collar of his overcoat and tucked both papers away in his pockets to await the bus.

One short bus ride later and Bertram stepped out onto Mulberry Square. The drizzle was coming down harder here, causing him to squint to read the house numbers. As he counted down–72412, 72406, 72404, 7239…–he heard a resounding “Gotcha!” from the mist ahead; his victim had somehow learned of his approach and had used those seven extra minutes to the advantage; Bertram heard a whizzing sound and with a thud hit the ground, having been thoroughly whacked by something planted in the path ahead. As he passed out, he smiled wistfully, realizing that the surprise had instead been delivered to him by his victim: he was always late but tonight he arrived early! He saw a shadowy presence above him through the fog of his fading mind and the heavy mist still falling and prayed not for death from this unknown foe but merely for expulsion from the Agency.

Copyright: Watterson

4 Comments

  1. Rob Diaz February 23, 2013 12:20 am

    I love Calvin and Hobbes — and especially the ones with the snowmen in it.

    I love what you did with this prompt. All through it I expected that it would be Bertram who was arriving early. Nicely done!

    • AR Neal February 23, 2013 12:41 am

      Thank you, Rob! Oh, yes–Calvin’s snowmen are the best!! And yes, I was inspired to go for the twist with this one 🙂

  2. indytony February 24, 2013 10:13 pm

    Nicely done. I love the line – “what sort of spy takes public transportation?” Indeed!

    • AR Neal February 25, 2013 12:05 am

      Thank you sir! Sometimes such lines are funny to me when I write them and it is always good to know that someone else got it too 🙂

%d bloggers like this: