Thursday, June 6, 2013

Prompt: 18 Obsolete Words (part 2): Beef-witted, Bookwright, California widow, Curglaff, Englishable, Groak, Jirble, Lunting, Pussyvan, Queerplungers, Resistentialism, Snoutfair, Soda-squirt, Spermologer, Tyromancy, With squirrel, Wonder-wench, Zafty

Thanks again to Jay Zastrow for pointing me to Carmel Lobella at Death and Taxes for the hilarious prompt!

Continued from yesterday ...

Brugham stopped outside a pub at the top of the hill. He stared in the window for such a long time, James wondered if he should leave. He finally asked, “I say, are you going to groat out here all night, or are you meeting someone for a pint?”

Brugham laughed. “Oh, no, I wasn’t hoping for an invite. I was watching that wonder-wench unwrap the cheese wheel.”

James peered through the window and saw a very pregnant woman in a staff apron pulling the red rind off a large wheel of cheese. “The one with squirrel? Is it her or the cheese you fancy?”

Brugham laughed again. “She’s my sister-in-law. My brother’s made her a California widow while he runs photography safaris in Kenya during the winter months. She’s never going to let him live it down if he misses the baby’s birth. That’s my cheese, actually. I’m a tyromancer, and I want to see what the marks on the cheese can tell me about the baby. Excuse me…”

Brugham pushed open the pub door, and the lady looked up and smiled, waving him over. James watched through the window as they hugged, and Brugham traced his finger over the outer skin of the cheese, then looked into the open rind.

James started to turn away, but curiosity got the better of him, and he pushed into the pub and made his way through the tables to the bar, where Brugham and his sister-in-law were still chatting. She was tiredly sliding glasses onto the shelves from a large plastic dishwasher rack, when a waitress asked her to make a drink. James saw how she jirbled the bottles, and he leaned against the bar. “Hi there. I met your beef-witted brother-in-law outside, and I can see he’s no use to you behind the bar. I was a soda-squirt of some renown back home. Perhaps I could help you out?” He reached over the counter and picked up a towel to start drying the glasses in the next dishwasher rack on the bar.

She looked up in surprise and laughed aloud, throwing her head back and resting her hand on her round belly. “Don’t make me laugh so! I’ll have to go pee. Between the baby and the determined resistentialism of every damn thing in this pub, I can barely draw a pint or make a proper gin and bitters these days. What’s your name, love? Daniel doesn’t usually bring me useful strays.”

She shot a sidelong glance to Brugham, who was still intently examining the cheese rind. He lifted a hand and waved it dismissively. “They’re not really trying to foil you, Bitsa,” he said without looking up.

James held out his hand. “James St. John.”

“Elizabeth Brugham. Well, Mr. Saint John,” she said, and James found he missed hearing “sinjin”. “I am short-staffed tonight. Put on an apron and show us what you can do.”

She tossed an apron to James, and he tied it on as he ducked under the bar counter. The same waitress reappeared with a drink order, which he quickly dispatched. Elizabeth nodded approvingly. “Mr. Saint John, will you take as good care of my money as you do my alcohol?” James nodded. Still examining the cheese rind, Brugham piped up, “Don’t know as you should trust him with money or alcohol. He’s a writer, after all.”

Elizabeth eyed James dubiously. “You’re not a spermologer, are you?”

“No ma’am, I write books, not a gossip column.”

“Oh, anything I’d know?”

“He writes science fiction,” Brugham, chimed in again.

“Oh,” Elizabeth said with disappointment. “A bookwright then.” She brightened. “Well, perhaps you’ll be able to write something Englishable about our little pub.”

Dogs in house:

Time writing:
~45 minutes

June word count:


  1. (Part 2)

    The woman in the lilac suit took the Scot's hand as she vanished. The pen dropped to the floor. The man in the top hat lifted it. It was perhaps cruel to have pressed her, but her story was more about cramming as many of them in as possible than true wordcraft. It appeared she was not unsatisfied with the result, and he was now free to control their fate.

    "Where did she go?" asked the pregnant woman timidly.

    "Where everyone wants to," said the tan woman.

    "Can I?" asked the pregnant woman.

    "It looks like he'll decide," said the wet man.

    The man in the top hat settled at the roll-top desk which appeared for him and pulled a pad close. He clasped his hands. "It may take some time to do this proper--" He vanished.

    The remaining two men and three women looked behind them. A young man with spiky hair strode toward them. He dropped a paper on the desk, shuffled the roll up and down, and shrugged. "What this group needs," he said, grinning, "is a good spermolonger."

    Just because something is Englishable doesn't mean it should be.

    Time writing: 30 minutes

    1. Didn't get all the actual words in, but all they appear as characters at least... if mine is making any sense at all. I hadn't actually meant to continue, but the idea struck me. High time I head to bed now.

  2. I do think you've got a lot of context here. It would be interested to see how someone who didn't read the word blog first made sense of things. My absolute favourite phrase is: "the determined resistentialism of every damn thing in this pub".

    1. Thanks - that was the very last (stubborn) word! :)