Wednesday, June 5, 2013

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

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

James turned up his collar as he left the bookstore, wishing he had enough tobacco left for a pipe. A brisk autumn breeze blew off the river across the street, and he also wished for a warmer jacket as he pushed his hands down in the pockets.

Looking down the street, he saw a tall snoutfair of a fellow lunting towards him and held up his hand in a friendly wave. Thinking he looked zafty enough, James called out, “I say, do you have a spot of tobacco? A fellow sure would appreciate a pipe to ward off the chill this afternoon.”

Sure enough, the handsome man stopped and fished in his coat pocket with his left hand, pulling out a small pouch, which he held to James with a smile. “Here ‘tis. Enough for one more, and you’re welcome to it.”

James snagged the bag and shook the man’s hand with relish. As he pulled his own pipe out of his pocket, he turned to walk with his benefactor. “James St. John, at your service.”

“Daniel Brugham, likewise.” As they walked on, he asked, “So what brings you to Whitby, St. John?”

James was still amused to hear his name pronounced “sinjin”. He replied, “I’m a writer, and I’m here doing a little research.”

“Excellent! What have you written? Anything I would know?”

“Do you read science fiction?”

“Ah, a bookwright then. No, not my cuppa tea, I’m afraid. Though that’s all that seems to be playing in the movie houses these days.”

James shrugged, used to the response, and they continued in silence for another block. He was about to make his goodbye when he spotted a young man climbing up onto the railing of the bridge at the top of the hill. He grabbed his companion’s arm in alarm. “Look! Is that fellow about to jump?”

Brugham looked alarmed for a moment, then laughed. “Oh, no need for a pussyvan. See the fellow down on the other bank? This one’s a queerplunger, and that’s his ‘savior’.”

James looked across the river and saw another young man standing at the water’s edge. “I don’t—”

“Oh, the fellow on the bridge plans to jump in, and the other one will pull him out and take him up to the Oddfellows Home, where he’ll get a reward for saving the jumper, and the jumper will get a guinea to help him get back on his feet, so to speak.”

James gaped at Brugham. “He’s going to jump in the river for a guinea?” He exclaimed in disbelief. “Of all the beef-witted—”

Brugham laughed and pointed. “Look, there he goes. I bet he’s used to the curglaff by now, but I always think the shock of the cold water must be the worst part of the jump.”

They watched as the young man launched himself away from the bridge and plunged feet first into the water. Brugham would have walked on, but James was rooted to the spot, waiting anxiously to see the man surface. He did, and floated on his back toward the far shore. His accomplice was already wading in to retrieve him. Brugham had paused, waiting for James, and he clapped slowly, dripping sarcasm. James shook his head and turned to continue up the hill with Brugham.

At the top of the hill, Brugham stopped outside a pub James had eaten dinner the night before. He held out his hand and James shook it. “Thanks again for the tobacco.”

Continued tomorrow ...

Dogs in house:

John Fahey, “In Christ There Is No East or West”

Time writing:
~45 minutes

June word count:


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

    The snoutfair lunted by while I jirbled out the whey. I was afraid he might fly into a pussyvan as I splashed his immaculate trousers, but instead he dangled his pipe and groaked.

    I scowled. _I'm not going to eat the curds, beef-wit,_ I thought. _I'm a practitioner of tyromancy._ But my unsteady hand was my downfall. What had that soda-squirt served me? I'd been distracted by the wonder-wench's chattering--

    "No, no. _California widow_," said the tan woman with the dark bun.

    "_Queerplunger_!" yelled the dripping man in a tattered waistcoat.

    "_Zafty_," said the short woman in an apron, clasping her hands eagerly.

    A burley man in a kilt and T-shirt shouldered his way through the crowd. "_Curglaff_!" he cried in a fetching brogue.

    The woman in the lilac suit lowered her pen. "Correct part of speech, at least, this time. But I'm looking for a type of person."

    The kilted man winked. "_Curglaff_ can be a type of person for the right lass."

    The woman in the lilac suit blushed despite herself. She lifted her pen again. "I'm sorry. I can't take suggestions. Everyone has to wait their turn."

    The short man wearing a coat covered in broken watches scowled. "What about your turn?"

    The woman in the lilac suit put down the pen. "My turn?" Her voice wavered.

    "Did you think you had none?" asked the man in a top hat.

    "I thought..." The woman in the lilac suit fought the rage. She did so much for them, yet they never cared.

    "Don't be bothered by him, lass," said the kilted man, resting a hand on her elbow. "I know." He smiled, his wide face creasing.

    The woman in the lilac suit kneaded her writing hand. The rage faded, leaving just exhaustion.

    "_Curglaff_," the kilted man whispered.

    The woman in the lilac suit lifted the pen and grinned.

    Giving it up as a lost cause, I let the bowl of curds drop to the floor and ran to the cliff's edge. ["Leave the lass be!"] I braced myself and leapt into the water. I rose to the surface and smiled at the face peering over the grassy verge. I called out, "Beware the curglaff, bookwright!"

    Time writing: ~40 minutes

  2. I like how you give the meanings of the words in context. I sense mine probably doesn't make sense -- I know what I was trying to do, but I don't think it quite worked.

    1. I don't think I could guess them, or all of them, but it's quite a fun romp!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Judy! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll check out some more. :)

  4. Nice pants. Can I test the zipper? Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)