Trouble Is My Business

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Dog Named Bob.”

I skimmed the skin off a cold cup of coffee that had been sitting on my desk since Tuesday, and took a sip while I tried to recall what day it was. In return, my stomach sent word that it wasn’t accepting any more of Tuesday’s cold coffee. I figured it must be about Thursday. I couldn’t remember anything about last night, but judging by the way I was feeling it must have involved either a lot of alcohol, or contracting a deadly disease that was now invading my brain and stomach.

My notebook was under a plate with half a jam donut on it. An entire colony of ants had died in an attempt to swim through the syrup oozing out of the donut, but if I wiped them off, it would do for breakfast. According to townhall clock I could see from my office window, it was 3.15pm.

I flipped open my notebook and reviewed my notes on the case so far, in an attempt to get my brain to kick into gear. There had to be something I’d missed. The mysterious message I’d received 2 days ago led me to a mailbox, containing a note written in old-fashioned pen and ink. The note led me to a mansion out in the hills, where an elderly dame lived with a pack of birds – of the feathered variety. The old dame, a Mrs Fennessey, had more money than she knew what to do with. She was particularly fond of a bluejay that basically had its own apartment. I could have put my office inside the bird’s apartment and built a nice little house for my retirement in the space that was left over.

Mrs Fennessey also had a butler, a maid, a dog, an aquarium full of fish, a room for her jewellery, and a story that was so weak that if I had poked it with a feather it would have fallen over. I didn’t poke it just then though. Something was up with the bird lady, but I wanted to find out more before I quizzed her any further.

I put down my notebook and rifled for a cigarette. My head was aching like I’d used a cement block for a pillow last night and wound up in a pillow fight with a chum. The 2-day old coffee was making my stomach join in on the fun.

I glanced out the window as I patted my pockets for matches. The weedy guy who runs the laundromat below my office was across the road buying the paper, and on the footpath next to the newspaper stand, a dog was sitting, waiting for its owner. It was untethered, just sitting there looking like it had all the time in the world to wait for whoever it was waiting for. I knew that dog. His name was Bob, and he belonged to the bird lady, Mrs Fennessey. Not too many brown dogs have large white patches on both ears, but more to the point, not too many dogs that head out to do the shopping without accompaniment wear a collar that’s worth about 50k. What was he doing here, in a crummy suburb, miles away from his mansion in the hills? Who was he waiting for? Was he keeping an eye on me?

I felt way too crappy to care what the answers to those questions were, but I knew that I’d have to find out.

*

**I cheated!! This is a response to a Wordpress Daily Prompt (Link at top of page), but part of this particular challenge was to write the piece in 20 mins. When my timer went off, I had the basic 4 paragraphs that make this “story” written but was having so much fun I didn’t want to stop. So I’ve spent about another 20 mins changing bits here and there, embellishing and tidying it up. So total time was 40 minutes, with no pre-planning (I start writing and then think!). I’ve stopped here in order to honour the idea of having a time limit, but also because I’m really not sure how Bob, or the bluejay, were going to bring the case to a close. I’d like to say “Stay tuned…” but I’m sorry to say that there may never be any satisfactory conclusion to this story.

Advertisements
Previous Post
Leave a comment

10 Comments

  1. Twenty minutes is a bit tight and I think you did well even for 40 minutes, especially in view of the fact that you “made it up as you went”. Maybe you should consider turning Trouble is my Business into a short story or novella. It’s easy to overdo parody but you have stayed on the right side of the line while maintaining the humour and the interest of the reader. We want to know what Bob does next!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thank you very much Silver Tiger! Maybe I should make it into a serial. That could be fun! Parodying detective noir is a lot of fun and it’s my “go-to” genre to parody when doing a writing exercise. I’m particularly fond of the post I wrote combining Detective Noir with Romantic poetry in response to another Daily Post Prompt – if you’re interested, click on the “Raymond Chandler” tag to find the post called “Wordsworth v Chandler”.

      Like

      Reply
      • I think it was Jonathan Swift who said (don’t ask me where) that having ideas was not enough and that you also needed the words. You seem to have both, so it may be worth giving it a try.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Silver Tiger – actually, I peered at the Daily Prompt on WordPress today because I was feeling uninspired and short on ideas! It’s good when a writing prompt does inspire a new idea! I tend to think that the act of writing will help ideas to flow, and that usually works for me. Having a time limit was an interesting restriction though. If it wasn’t for that I would have spent a lot more time reworking it and trying to think up a more satisfactory ending. Excercises like that are quite stimulating!

        Like

  2. I think it was Baudelaire who said somewhere that the finest art was made from the hardest materials. Challenges can sometimes help us surpass ourselves. I once took part in a competition to write a short story in 500 words. A whole story, 500 words. If you are interested in the result, take a peek at this page.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • I was interested, and did read it. 500 words is not much to convey a story in, but you’ve written a great little story. It’s all the more interesting to read that it’s based on a person you knew of.

      Like

      Reply
  3. I really thought I was reading part of your book, not post. I agree turn it into your novella.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Thanks! No, I don’t have a book, not even in my head. (Well, not a hardboiled fiction novel anyway.) Maybe I will start a hardboiled detective series…..

      Like

      Reply
  4. weebluebirdie

     /  June 13, 2015

    A brilliant little piece of Chandleresque :-)) I do like the idea of little snippet instalments.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Blather away!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: