Howdy, guys. Here's another little short story, this one's actually short I promise. Not a lot to say about this. I kinda sorta got the idea a little while back when I read Wolfy's two cents on the whole cursing thing. I thought: "Well what does she want us to do? Write drug dealers and thugs strolling about all posh and proper?" Just a little joke before anyone gets antsy, I get how rules work and why they're there. It just put that little thought into my head. And no, I didn't write this just to be a smartass and be cheeky. Well, maybe just a touch. =P The basic idea here was to create a story so dedicated to being prim and proper hilarity ensues where no hilarity is. An upend of society and its niceties Maybe I succeeded, maybe I didn't. You guys tell me.
If I had to nail down a theme and paint the picture for you I'd pick ignorance and inconsistency and the quantity that these two things issue forth in response to the changing times. Something like that. Anyway, reads. Oh, and there's also an incredibly obvious reference. Try and guess!
A Gentleman Beyond Reproach
So it was, perhaps a fortnight or so hence, I donned my finest fineries and decided to avail myself a stroll around my immediate environs. While it was certainly truthful that my family and myself have lived amongst this lovely township for generations (Brendelshires of Gilded Cummerbund avenue just off West Frobinchester Abbey, you've heard the name, I am sure) I still found it held some secrets available to those with fresh air in their lungs and perceptible eyes.
I whistled a jaunty and joyful tune to myself, though I was more than willing to increase my volume to the apparent delight of passerby. The tune, so I am told, is something of an anthem for the Brendelshire clan and was taught to me by my father, Crafton Draynard Brendelshire the Third. For those of you who lack or otherwise not committed to utilize gifts of cognition, I am Crafton Draynard Brendelshire the Fourth. A strong name awarded to men of only the noblest of bearing. Though I'd feel remised not to exercise my humility and inform you, that while our bearings and roots are quite incomparable, I would never be so bold as to presume nobility. That judgment I will leave to others.
In my youth I was known as CD, a moniker I may not have enjoyed as much as others, but now that my father has passed (an infection of the lungs, a business so nasty I feel the adjective may be quite inadequate) I have fully inherited my name. Though out of respect for him I will go by Draynard of simply Doctor Brendelshire the Fourth of Gilded Cummerbund Ave. when I delve into business or discussion with my venerable father's associates and acquaintances. Oh, and please do hold your condolences. It has been some years since his passing and his ascension was hardly a surprise. The writing on the wall, as it were, for months on.
I do admit to some difficulty recalling the third bar of my family anthem as I turned the corner where my lovely avenue met the aforementioned adjoining abbey. My nonexistent audience was hardly unforgiving and more than courteous enough to allow me to reassemble to the musings. Forgive my humorings, I can be a cheeky sort when the mood does strike. Though now I will inform that whilst I enjoyed my strollings, I had encountered very few other exercise and architecture enthusiasts.
Truth be told the only individual I had encountered on this outing was the former Mrs. Calderwood-Von Leeds, the creature blithe and vivacious in my experience though she was getting along in her years and mourning her hairs. That night, however, she hardly spared me the pleasantry of a nod in passing. Verily, she scooted on across the sidewalk in a manner I would be inclined to akin to a rodent had the relation between her family's and mine not been what it was.
It would be an offense worthy of condemnation if I did not mention that this anomalous occurrence gave me pause. I reach for the pocket watch my father had given to me as his father him as his father him as his father him and so on. It was a solid gold machination yes, indeed, no plating or tricksy paints for the Family Brendelshire. Though I am not surprised to hear you doubt its value, you are not the first. I find the inlaid sapphires to be the most pleasing to the eye, despite how miniscule they may have been.
It was still several minutes shy of nine o'clock though darkness had most decidedly fallen upon the municipality. It was hardly the hour for a gentleman such as myself to be wandering about. I shuddered to think of someone considering my travels to be cavorting in nature. The Brendelshire men have never cavorted or otherwise conveyed themselves in a manner that could be considered anything less than scrupulous. Moreover, what cavorter dressed in such a dapper and well appointed manner?
I decided to continue my stroll if only to convince myself and any peering eyes that I most certainly had no intentions of cavorting this night. With no one to enact discourse toward and my powers of recollection failing in telling me how the family tune went (my great-great uncle Tobias Callerbrent Brendelshire, our clan's sole musical entrant and composer of the music which I now fail to hum tonight undoubtedly rolled in his grave and cursed my larynx) I decided to occupy my mind with matters related to work.
I realize the contrariety of considering work and all the puzzlements therein whist enjoying a walk meant to relax my mind and I am archetypically a servant of congruity but the point of this relaxation was that it would jostle free some strands of inspiration that I may then apply to my study. So I am hardly defeating my own purpose. Now I'm sure some of you noticed an earlier comment in this tale I am unfolding in which I revealed my status as a Doctor. I shall make it clear now that I am no medical doctor but, rather, my doctorate was achieved in the biological studies. My purview mainly focusing on how the body and its cells react to stimuli rather than providing any solutions or deterrents for these interactions.
I am currently embedded and enjoying my tenure in a university so prestigious that I needn't share its name with you as you are already profoundly aware, I'm sure, and it would serve no purpose other than to bore you and caress my ego. Which is already well and truly stroked I assure you. Oh, forgive my tedious attempts at wit if you could summon the kindness. I could blame my uncle for instilling the dogma of making one's self laugh but I would never be so slothful as to shirk my shortcomings on the next gentleman.
My latest project presented to me by the university was an extensive study most bold and unusual. I was to work along with a team of scientists similarly educated and reared in assessing and, in some cases, recreating the events of the Bible. Why, yes, that Bible. There was much talk about Dr. Brendelshire IV as I'm sure you yourself took part in it when this news came to light. Citizens, allow me to make my intention clear. I do not wish to, I scoff at the notion even as I write, disprove any of the events depicted in this most holiest of texts. Though I know as a certainty many of my colleagues endeavor to do precisely that. We work to the same goal nonetheless.
Rather, I intend to gather irrefutable evidence, or at least evidence that cannot be so handily refuted, that our Lord's hand touches this world on more occasions than one. My true endeavor and goal here, as bold as it may sound, is to bridge this gap that the ignorant masses have created between science and Godliness. Help the people to realize that these sciences are merely our, humanity's that is, simple attempt to define the tools that God uses in his workings. Now these words are clearly not the words of a blasphemer.
Now I shall take a step out of my head and return you to West Frobinchester Abbey where I have made a discovery most unwholesome. Ungodly may be a better term but I wouldn't dare pontificate any such a curse on any portion of my city, regardless of how vile it may appear. I recall walking down this very street countless times in my youth, arms hooked through the arms of my parents, giggling and skipping hither and thither with the promise of ice cream forcing a grin on my face. Or roaming about with my brothers, doing the most menial of tasks in exchange for pocket change that we spent on travails I cannot precisely recollect here.
Now derelict and forlorn automobiles were unceremoniously abandoned upon the curbs or constricted in the most miniscule of alleyways. There seemed to be only the one functional street lamp on either side of the street. Everywhere one may care to look, and I shall not attempt mistruth by failing to inform you that I looked in every direction with a sort of listless fascination, there were shattered windows and graffiti of a nature so foul that my memory reels away from the thought of repeating them here. Several filthy and misshapen faces (this may have been my own mind altering my perceptions, distorting the gentry to suit their environs) stared at me from darkness.
Not wishing rudeness on anyone but having grown most decidedly uncomfortable and unkempt, I made haste in announcing parting pleasantries to these people and spun on my heel, eager to return whence I had come. It had been far too long since I'd set foot on Frobinchester, this thought I scarcely even considered previously. For years now I've been fairly conscripted into my study and otherwise socially obligated. I was driven home on a more direct route that bypassed West Frobinchester Abbey completely. I had heard people complain about the ghastly states of affairs in that particular district of my humble town but never heeded the words. I never imagined in even my wildest fantasies that such a sickening evolution could occur in such a number of years.
My most beloved Gilded Cummerbund Ave was in view (I must confess many distressing thoughts wondering how long my avenue had before it joined the abbey) when four gentlemen stepped from around the corner. They were all younger gentlemen as I recall dressed in finery, point of fact. Silk and embroidery, well-fitted leggings and strapped shoes. Though I couldn't help but deduce from the way these lads carried themselves that their manner of dress was meant to be perceived as purely ironic in nature. Even so, I bowed my chest and waved at them with my top-hat.
"Salutations, my young masters." I said. "And how does this wondrous night find you? Are the stars and the crisp air to your liking?" I'll admit to a mild and pleasant annoyance at their response. It was laughter not unlike the noises that could be heard issuing from the jaws of hyenas or other such scavenging mammals.
"Ohn wazis mah dingly-winglies?" One young fellow, walking a step or so in front of his other compatriots asked. "Look ta mes dat this honor-warner biz a footing so 'way from homey-sweet, dunnit?"
"Yah!" Said another fellow, far louder than what I'd deem necessary. He was quite the large young lad I will confess. I couldn't but notice that, rather than a belt, he had made do utilizing a length of chain fairly stuffed into his belt loops. Most peculiar. The other two lads joined the chorus of affirmation.
"Why, yes, good sir, your presumption is not unfounded." I said. "I am Doctor Crafton Draynard Brendelshire the Fourth of Gilded Cummerbund Avenue. I was actually on my way homeward but I would never deny the opportunity for scintillating conversation. Who might you all be?"
"Ooie-oho-oh! A bonesawer izzitzen?" These lads apparently found my status to be quite amusing. I, on the opposite end of the spectrum, did not find any aspect of these lads' behavior, their degradive attempts at speech particularly, amusing. "Bez yuz a ritprop womb-tomb boom-doom, wizwaz, yah?"
"Begging your pardon?" I pleaded, hoping I had misheard this man's allegations that I was some many of unchaste sycophant.
"Ay, alz not. Cal mah Allen. Ese dingwings be Terrence ohn Mavlin. Dingliest of winglist, prop terrear har yuz cal Rot."
"Nothing short of an absolute pleasure, lads, and what, if I may be so bold to inquire, brings you gentlemen out into this street at so late an hour? Surely classes will be in session in the morning?"
"Cert thisso." Said either Terrence or Mavlin. I don't want to appear inconsiderate but I honestly couldn't say which was which. The haste of the introductions, coupled with the fact that the pair could have very well been brothers doomed such a distinction from the start. Rot was an easy one to spot, no doubt. "Buz wez paingain employ, rit?"
"Truthfully?" I said. "Oh, how honestly and truly pleasant it is to come into contact with a group of lads such as yourself. Choosing employment over your own childish wants. an act truly commendable." Terrence and Mavlin chuckled like hucksters at my statement.
"Mah dings ohn mez out fa lil ole righty-footy, lefty-footy, alzat." Said Allen. I couldn't help but notice that he'd slipped a hand into his pocket and had yet to recover it. He was also eying my father's walking stick (a rare blend of snakewood and ivory, thank you as much) along with the chain to his watch most direly.
"Wonderful night for an exercise and spot of an adventure, isn't it just?" I turned my gaze heavenward to enjoy the celestial sights. When I turned back to my young conversationalists they had all moved some steps closer. "Alas, as pleasant as the night air and the chatting has been, I simply must return home this minute. I pray none of you will take offense."
"Aye, wut a willy-silly noshe yuv thar. Mah dingly-winglies'n'is nar speck sorrisome or mornworn." Allen said, smiling. "Dose wez consid kindful yuz spare time?"
"Oh but of course, gentlemen." I presented my pocketwatch and checked the time. "Looks to be nine forty-seven, my fellows." I had just closed the device when Allen's hand lashed out and seized it. "What is the meaning of this behavior, I implore you?!" I exclaimed my grievances even as I wrestled with the lad's grip.
Rot and Terrence stepped forward and pushed me back. The chain came undone and the Brendelshire family watch slipped from my grasp. As if that wasn't horrific a reality as it stood, I heard the seamings of my jacket tear in a most upsetting manner. These lads were far from done. Allen admired the small spherical wonderment in his hand before stowing it in favor of brandishing a knife with serrated edgings. Rot had begun slipping his chains free of his trousers, the other lads reached into their pants but I paid them little mind.
It became fully apparent to me then that these young gents intended to make off with my belongings and possibly even cause my bodily self to sustain no small measure of bodily harm. So I reached into my pocket, retrieved my father's service sidearm and preceded to shoot them right in there well manicured vestments, what. Two holes sprang up in Allen's chest and he fell into a heap. Terrence took one in the dead center of his chest, around and about the diaphragm if I had to guess. Mavlin and Rot had decided to run but the larger fellow had tossed the other back behind him. Mavlin caught the round in his skull. Do not fear, I shot Rot three times in the back as well. I must have hit a lung, simply must have.
With that I returned the firearm to my pocket and retrieved my gilded watch. Terrence was still wheezing onto life when I maneuvered him away from Allen's body. He made sounds not unlike pleading as I recovered my watch from his friend's pockets. I paid him no heed, he'd be well and truly dead sooner than soon enough. Thus it was that I strolled the remainder of the way to my property unmolested. I had just had something of a breakthrough about an apparent inconsistency in a tale involving our Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul.