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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Apr 07, 2022 8:09 pm

An Unexpected Move

Prologue

Morning broke, bright, cheerful, blue skied and had the birds in the green forest that sloped down towards Needlehole at the heart of Forumshire greeting it with joyous song. It was the sort of morning that put a smile on your face, warmed your skin and heart and made you feel good about the world. It was the sort of morning where you'd find yourself unexpectedly whistling and greeting everyone you meet with a cheery and heartfelt hello, even Odo Banks.

The happy confident young sun had made it far enough above the distant horizon now that its light had passed the top of the very tallest, thickest and greenest pines that clustered darkly over a buckie barrel in a glade far above the cheerful inhabitants of Needlehole below.

This was no normal buckie barrel however, as the suns shafts finally struck its curved wooden roof its scale was apparent, even by Scothobbit standards it was a large barrel of buckie. So large one could, if they so loved buckie that living within walls embedded with its distinctive paint stripping smell was a boon and not a curse, one could even make a home. And install a jacuzzi. With hot and cold buckie on tap.

And so Petty had done just that.

And the reason it was here, among the thickest of the densest pine - a tree which made Petty very crabbit indeed and which among a notable list of trees which made him crabbit, was the very worst one - was that no one came here. No one sensible at least. Or for that matter cheerful.
The thing about Petty, what many noticed about him in fact after the initial shock of his red and blotchy bearded face with is wild red hair, the shocking stench of buckie he carried everywhere with him, the fact he was always in one state of drunkenness or the other, or the that the tartan on his kilt which at first seemed quite vibrant and unique was only so because its original tartan pattern was buried beneath a collection of long spilled, dropped or forgotten foods and drinks, and of course buckie that it no longer so much as swayed as clunked, creaked and cracked as he walked, was that he could get very crabbit indeed about some things. Most things in fact. Ok then, almost everything.

The ludicrous oversized buckie barrel that sat far from other people, hidden till a minimum of 11am from the intruding light of sun lest it disrupt Petty's sleep, if it could somehow navigate the three layer deep pitch black curtains Petty had installed just in case the sun ever tried such a ruse, and then the several layers of comforting buckie he had drunk before bed, that meant he slept in a deep slumber so deep it was just a ball's hair this side of actual death, this barrel was the almost to Petty's crabbit.
The one exception to Petty's otherwise persistent crabbit at the world. Here and here alone could one find Petty at ease, at peace, with buckie bottle in hand breathing deeply the buckie infused air seeping from the very walls without a shred of crabbit in him.

And inversely, like a perverse law of science it was also the one place you were guaranteed to always find him crabbit. The reason being that one of the things very near the top of his list of things which were guaranteed to make him especially crabbit indeed, was someone turning up unexpectedly, or indeed expectedly, at his barrel door when he was having a lovely crabbit free time alone with his buckie. In fact the only possible way he could be made more crabbit was if the unexpected visitor turned out to be Peter Jackson.

And so as the sun continued to creep higher above the trees, finally bathing the little glade and barrel at its heart with warm and friendly sunshine the barrel unexpectedly exploded. Outward, expanding and curving in all directions, its wooden rings and carefully carved planks whizzing apart faster than the speed of sound, which tried to make up for lost time with intensity when it did arrive. Booming out over Forumshire like the dying beat played on a massive drum forged in the heart of the Dark Planet.

Oh, and then there were tentacles everywhere and a fridge, white, solid built and scarred, moist and mouldy down one side where once it had been pressed up against a cabinet, never moved again, and definitely never ever cleaned again, before the fridge and the cabinet had departed company below at rapid speed a mere moment before, it now flew high above the explosion of home and barrel its door blown off by great force, from within.  

It would have been a very bad day for Petty had he been at home, so it was a great pity for him that he was in fact at home when his home no longer became one but rather a flying collection of matchsticks, appliances, his beloved jacuzzi going skyward in several million different directions at once fountaining precious buckie as it went, and worst of all his entire buckie bottle collection which had accumulated over years into a small mountain which took up the far half of the barrels main room all the way to its pinnacle at the curved ceiling beams high above and of which Petty had been particularly proud. He put lights on it at Erumas time.

This is the story of how Petty's barrel exploded, and what happened next. With the added peculiarity for this NotP scribe to this tale that its conclusion, is as of yet unknown.
Whether a happy ending or a tragic one awaits this scribe will record, time in this case will be its own teller of the tale.

Lets hope if it turns out to be one of tragedy that its at least funny and tragic, like a clown coming home from work to their one true love, only to find they are sleeping with the mime artist, but its all right they explain because they don't actually have sex they just mime it at each other.

Stay tuned for sporadic updates and the next instalment engagingly and alluringly entitled, 'The Thing in the Fridge!'




This narrative is the property of Pure Publications, used under license through the NotP news group and has authorisation from Ambassador and Grand High Supreme Her Most Magnificence Amarie to publish live content. Plus we bunged the Ambassadors Memorial  Library and Tower that will definitely be bigger than Eldy's or Elthir's Towers Benevolence Fund a large sum. Did we say bunged? Typo, we meant donated to chartable causes. Definitely that one. Is the Duck 'n' Muck open yet? I'm gasping for a duckie...those don't count they were at work!

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Post by halfwise Thu Apr 07, 2022 10:11 pm

Petty! cheers

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Post by Mrs Figg Thu Apr 07, 2022 11:52 pm

cheers bounce bounce  Huzzah hurrah Its Petty! arriving like a very crabbit wizard, just when it was the right time to do so. Cool
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Post by Mrs Figg Fri Apr 08, 2022 12:58 am

Agent Nora and the Exploding Buckie Barrel.

Agent Nora stuck her tongue out and tasted the air. She could do that. It was one of her many detectiving skills. The fact that the steaming reek of unmentionable smells didn't make her immediately honk up her lunch was a testament to her Viking heritage. Vikings ate weird shit, like stuff you only see squished under Japanese fishermens' wellies. But I digress, Agent Nora thwacked on a pair of rubber gloves and gingerly picked up a mangled piece of barrel wood betwixt finger and thumb, this she elegantly waved under her left nostril as if it was some delightful French perfume not the ghastly relic of drunken Scottish debauchery.
"what the blazes are you doing Agent Nora?" intoned Chief Detective Lance.
"I am sniffing, what the fuck does it look like? Sir"
"Well keep to police procedure Missy, I keep a tight and monosyllabic outfit in this Ribena-free Scottish hellhole"
"yessur, but this smell reminds me of another case, you remember sir, the infamous chimney scatter-gun-shitter...
"If you mean it smells like warm poo-poo, I agree, it does" nodded Inspector Lance
A sudden wind caught Agent Nora's sample bags and sent them skittering over the boggy land where the barrel used to rest.
Slowly and silently a pair of small flappy feet in purple velvet pumps, followed by a flowing hippy style paisley dress lowered themselves between the two detectives. They both looked up and clocked the broom and grinning ginger cat sitting nonchalantly on the tail end.
"oh hi guys" said the apparition in purple. "whotcher doing sniffing Petty's barrel?"
Inspector Lance cocked an eyebrow and looked enquiringly at Agent Nora.
"this is Agent Az", explained Nora, "she is from the Flying Squad, but yeah literally I shit you not"
"This is highly irregular, they taught us to beat up unusual looking people in purple at the Met when we had an actual poison dwarf commissioner, but now its not allowed, I am confused, what's the drill with airborne hippies?"
"just chill the fuck out" said Agent Nora, "if we want to solve the case of the exploding barrel we need to work together".
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Post by halfwise Fri Apr 08, 2022 2:59 am

Ooo - Dueling stories! bounce

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Post by Amarië Fri Apr 08, 2022 7:01 am

Oooooooooo! cheers cheers cheers gonna save this for later to really enjoy it.

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Post by Forest Shepherd Fri Apr 08, 2022 4:03 pm

Excellent, forsooth

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Post by Amarië Sat Apr 09, 2022 1:12 pm

Enjoyed it I did! Nod It may have been a stinky barrel but it was also a home and a piece of Paradise. Sad

Agent Nora is always a treat, great to have a detective X-files type of story along side Petty's quest to find a new home.

This is Shirefiction at it's best, makes me very happy.

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Post by azriel Sat Apr 09, 2022 1:25 pm

Its like days of old when there was always a good story waiting to be read Smile We've missed so much talent !

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Apr 29, 2022 12:11 am

{{
1.

The Thing in the Fridge or How We Got Here

Vegetables. That Petty considered, as he flew upwards high above his exploding home with his kilt flapping against his ears and his emergency buckie bottles sewn into it occasionally thumping against his head, was where it had all gone wrong. It was the vegetables.

Like most Scotshobbits Petty had been born with a natural aversion to fruit and vegetables, not seeing the point of them in a diet that consisted of haggis and buckie and anything you could catch, batter in both senses of the word and deep fry. Vegetables didn't really come into it.

Its not that Petty was adverse to seeing a bit of lettuce greenery or whatever the other different coloured sorts of vegetables were called, sitting on his plate alongside the actual meal. It gave the meal a bit of colour. But eating the stuff?

Petty firmly believed the whole idea was an abomination against Eru. After all had Eru not made the cows of the field to eat the horrid tasteless green stuff and so turn it into tasty steak and beef burgers, which you could fry. It was the way of Eru, wise and in this case also tasty. Why would anyone want to go against it? And so Petty and vegetables had never met. Until his last medical check-up.

Petty did not like Doctors which is why it had been forty five years since he last seen one and he was only seeing one this time as he had no choice. Admin Amarie in her infinite wisdom and absolute power had decreed that all of Foumshire's inhabitants, in light of the ongoing kilt lurgy pandemic should get an official medical examination. Petty personally believed it was a secret plan to implant tiny palantirs in everyone's skull so Amarie could see everyone's thoughts.

Petty's time at the Doctor had gone something like this-

Doctor- You say you smoke? How many would you hazard you smoked a day?

Petty- Aw o' them.

Doctor: And how many is all of them?

Petty- Wull, thurs wan yi need when yi wake up, tae kick aff yer day, and wan fur whun yur cooking breakfast, and the wan after yu've eaten breakfast, oh aye, thut's the best want o' the morning. Thun theres wan oan the way tae toon, and...

Doctor- I think I am getting the picture. And how much alcohol would you say you consume?

Petty- Ah wull yi've nought tae fret aboot there Doctor, A aye maik sure A git plenty aw that.

Doctor- I see. And how much would plenty be?

Petty- Wull, thur's wan yi need when yi wake up tae go wi the fag an kick aff yer day, an wan fur whun yer cooking breakfast an' the wan thut goes intae the breakfast yir cooking, and then thur's the wan fur ….

Doctr- Yes, I think I'm forming a clear enough picture. Now diet? What would you say was your regular diet?

Petty - Porridge, haggis, deep fried battered pizza an' buckie and fags o' course.

Doctor- Of course. Well given your current lifestyle Mr Tyrant I forsee a very short future for you unless you change your ways dramatically. You will have to do these three things. Firstly cut down and eventually quit smoking altogether, I will recommend a course of patches..

Petty - Cun yi smoke um?

Doctor- No. Secondly you must stop drinking, at once given your current blood alcohol levels.

Petty- Bit high ur thuy?

Doctor - If I extracted a blood sample and bottled it to sell I'd be breaking the law on legal alcohol limits allowed in a beverage. Your blood could make people blind. My medical opinion is you should be dead already, and probably are but are just so pickled the knowledge has yet to penetrate as far as your brain. So no more buckie.
And the third thing is to have a better diet. I suggest more vegetables would be a good start, get some greenery into you.

And so Petty, faced with the prospect of no smoking, no drinking and eating vegetables had, like a drowning man grabbing for a life preserver, grasped onto the concept of changing his diet. Eating vegetables might sound bad, but stopping smoking and drinking would be worse, and in fact to Petty largely incomprehensible notions of such scale and horror they were positively Lovecraftian ideas in his mind, full off the promise of unseen eldritch horrors. So vegetables it was.

It was here though this simple plan to eat more vegetables ran into another of Petty's Scotshobbit inbuilt traits. Scotshobbit's were often mistakenly by others thought of as being tight with their money, lacking in generosity. This could in fact not be further from truth. A Scotshobit would help anyone who seemed in need, even a Sassenach, without question, favour or expectation of reward. As one of the odd things about Scotshobbit society was that trust was not earned, it was automatically given, it was the duty of the person given trust to prove they are worth it, and their breaking of a trust the worse offence in Scotshobbit society.
But there was another aspect, covered by the Scotshobbit word 'canny' which meant more than smart, more than clever, more than sly, and it applied particularity to Scotshobbit's being canny with money. They didn't give money away without good cause or need, they looked down on frivolous expenditure of wealth when there were real things that make folk crabbit every day that could be fixed by it. But being canny with your money meant not only being careful on what you spent it on but also never giving it away needlessly.

Vegetables were quite high up Petty's list of needless expenditure. Especially when almost every night he walked home from the Muck 'n' Duck passed Dave's Farm and fields. Well walked is perhaps a generous description, more accurately he staggered, weaved, fell often face down, and used Dave's fields as a convenient midway point to offload  some of the several barrels of buckie he had consumed that night in what he optimistically thought of as 'helping out on the farm with fertilisation'. Dave unsurprisingly had a very different view of it and often attempted to get Petty in the view of his double barrelled crossbow sights.

And on his nightly excursions to relieve himself among the crops Petty had noticed Dave's vegetables. In all honesty is was very hard not to notice Dave's vegetables, they were famous, or at least infamous, for their shapeliness and particularly prized among ladies of a certain age and procured surreptitiously via Mrs Figg Emporium for Discreete Ladies of A Certain Age. But the best thing about Dave's vegetable patch to Petty's canny thinking was that they were free and there for the taking. Double barrelled crossbows permitting.
All he had to do next time he was on his way by, weaving home through the fields, was grab a few vegetables on route. It couldn't have been easier.

It was a great shame therefore that in his usual drunken state he overshot Dave's main vegetable patch and instead stole the vegetables from the experimental patch. The abandoned experimental patch. Where the vegetables were known to get up and switch beds to see which was comfier and even Figg's pussy had learnt to stay away lest the vegetables reach out and bite back.

Petty didn't notice the reaching tendrils against his solid hob-nailed boots, or the angry hissing sounds as his own body was making plenty of its own louder and more cantankerous sounds to drown it out, he didn't see through bloodshot eyes the scuttling and rustling of loose stones and dirt as experimental plants squirmed out the way of his erratic plodding passage through their patch, and he didn't notice anything peculiar about the ones he stuffed into his sporran save that he had to pull his hand rather firmly back out as if something was trying to hold onto it. But in his drunken reverie he gave it no other thought but continued his bleary eyed journey home to the safety comfort and familiar odours of his barrel.

This was his second mistake.

His third had been the fridge.  

Petty had been talked into buying it one drunken night in the Duck 'n' Muck by a travelling Dwarven entrepreneur whose patter had been so good he had convinced Petty the fridge would be ideal for the storing of his buckie at the optimal drinking temperature and Petty was halfway home, lugging a heavy fridge with him, before he realised the prefect optimal temperature for him to drink buckie at was whatever temperature it happened to be at whenever he had a buckie in his hand. He had no reason for a fridge.

Still he had paid for it and in keeping with his Scotshobbit sensibilities that meant he was going to get some use of it come hell or high water. So he had taken it the rest of the way home with him and put it into his barrel, and having nothing much else to put in it he had put his buckie into it . Badly, and without screwing the top back on so it slowly dripped its contents from the top shelf to the bottom. And he shoved in the bottom a plate of porridge he had half eaten and left several days ago and which was going green and had a skin forming on it thicker than a rhinoceros hide, still it was better than having to wash it up. 'Out of sight out of mind', was a motto Petty had long lived by. It was one of the reasons he refused to have mirrors in his barrel.

Then there had been the issue with the light. The little light that was supposed to come on when you opened the door. It wasn't. Petty had attempted to remedy this with the same level of knowledge and skill at repairing anything as a slug has playing a piano concerto. The result was he broke the fitting and blew himself across the barrel where he lay while his heart tried to re-calibrate, with what hair remained on his head standing on end and all the fibres of his kilt erect. He looked like a ginger hedgehog who just just narrowly escaped being run over but had then unexpectedly seen the ghost of his dead grandmother.

After this incident any time Petty attempted to reach into the fridge for a bottle of buckie a blue snapping arc of electricity would crackle from the broken light socket and throw him again across the barrel and crashing into the far curving wall. So it was about this time he shut the fridge door and forgot about it. Right up till the vegetables.

This was mistake four.
Deciding the fridge was a good place to keep the vegetables.

He had never removed the porridge, or the dripping buckie bottles, or fixed the light. But as his plan involved opening the door, throwing the vegetables in and slamming it shut again he was not too concerned as he prised open the door which had become sticky. It pulled apart with a wet sucking noise. Inside the long left porridge had gained a second, more hairy life and colonised the bottom of the fridge and was making brave expeditions up the sides, the buckie bottles sat at top continuing to drip slowly onto the mould utopia below. It was into this dank interior of festering things Petty quickly thrust the stolen vegetables, snappily pulling his hand out and laughing triumphantly as the arc of blue sparks missed his hand and instead earthed itself into the newcomers deep among the vegetables. Petty put their wriggling reaction to it down to the jolt of electricity, nothing more and shut the fridge door for the second last time.

Having got the vegetables and got them into his fridge Petty could now indulge in another of his particular traits- he had 'made an effort'. He attempted to change his diet, he had decided to do it, he had prepared a plan to acquire vegetables and he had succeeded in enacting it, he had 'done his best' and 'tried his hardest' 'and now he could comfortably forget all about it or actually doing anything remotely resembling actually changing his diet and instead get drunk and smoke a roll up.

So he did that instead and he kept on doing that until the fridge and its contents were a distant memory. So much so he eventually decided having it plugged in was a waste of power and not a canny use of his finances when there was buckie to be bought. So he had unplugged it too. And it had started to warm up inside, and the buckie dripped on the special vegetables and the mould colonised ever further and randomly blue arcs of light from the broken light socket made the interior glow. But Petty had long ceased to notice. Right up until the noises started.

It had started with random thumps and bangs. And then Petty would notice that occasionally the fridge rocked on its base or scrapped against the cabinet it was pressed against. Then late at night when he was slumped in his chair and half passed out he fancied he could hear a chorus of tiny voices. Pressing his ear to the fridge door he was sure he could discern, as one can in the tumults of a distant babbling stream, the sounds of voices. Not clear but present, many many voices many hundreds of tiny voices all talking at once like a town hall.

Which in fact it was.

Much had been going on within the mysterious interior of the fridge. Life had met life, electricity had sparked growth and development, the vegetables, which had come from a defunct line of experimental vegetables focused around carrots Dave had felt best left till more stable- as they were engineered to grow spontaneously larger in length and girth when placed somewhere warm and moist- like the interior of Petty's fridge were particualrly active and adventurous.

And the mould, which had by now been through several thousand generations and developed a quite enlightened civilisation in which the blue arcing light was worshipped as a God had climbed high enough towards their heaven to have met Dave's expanding, moving vegetables. It was a meeting that would change the future of both their species, and the interior of Petty's barrel forever.
Once the Joining had happened growth was afterwards exponential.

It was not long after this Petty had approached the fridge with an empty pot on his head for protection and a golf club in his hands to find out why it was rocking backwards and forwards. If he had not been so focused on the door handle as he approached he might have noticed how the sides of the fridge were beginning to stretch and bulge outwards as if under intense and immense pressure. But he didn't instead he reached out a hand to open his fridge door for the very last time as something several tons in size that had been crammed into a space only a few feet square exploded from within. The door, Petty, the walls of his barrel went flying outwards as the Thing in his fridge expanded out with incredible speed to fill all the available space and more. A writhing mass of tentacles and blobby bits covered in a hairy mould where it wasn't wet and glistening.

As Petty flew head over heels skywards, his life and his home shattered all around him the Thing grabbed him with a snapping tentacle and saved him, though Petty considered probably not for very long as he was pulled downwards towards it

And this Petty considered was exactly why you didn't defy the law of Eru. Odo had always said something like this would happen to him for not following the ways of Eru closely enough, and sure enough he had attempted to upset the natural order by eating vegetables and look where it had gotten him- a destroyed home and a tentacled nightmare from beyond the gaping jaws of hell.

He wasn't sure which made him more crabbit, having his life destroyed by a tentacled monstrosity or Odo being right.

Well never again. That was it he was sworn off vegetables for good. Not that there was much chance of there being an ever to never again in.

And that was how Petty got here, above his exploding barrel, homeless and probably about to be eaten by a huge Thing from his Fridge.

Stay tuned to the next exciting instalment- House Hunting in Forumshire!....really, that's what it's called? Sure that's not the estate agent supplemental or something?... Um fine, if you say so... so stay tuned for the next random but exciting instalment of Petty's misery milked for all its worth for commercial gain by your NotP live coverage service. }}


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 29, 2022 5:11 pm; edited 2 times in total

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A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
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the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
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Post by halfwise Fri Apr 29, 2022 3:30 am

An origin story!! I quite enjoyed that. Though I'd like to find how the Thing got beaten into a more manageable size inhabiting the back of the fridge. Quite a bit of history there. Treaties and such. Nod

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Apr 29, 2022 7:41 am

{Indeed I suspect the thumps and rocking were the results of misunderstandings and first contact wars- with the moulds splitting into two groups- one who believed the vegetables were an evil spirit preventing the moulds from reaching God in the light socket and must be defeated at all costs, and those who felt the vegetables had been placed there by God to prevent the moulds from over ambition and from trying to reach the Socket Heaven before their time (but when I realised the NotP had already done 6 pages worth on the matter of my exploding barrel I felt it was unnecessary information to add to the length and best left to speculation. Also the pub had opened. }}

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Post by azriel Sat Apr 30, 2022 2:39 pm

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sat May 14, 2022 12:07 am

2 . Pointless FHARTS

The Forumshire Housing Association Rehousing Tradition, or as it was more commonly known FHART, was as gloomy a place as its acronym suggested, and wasn't a whole lot more pleasant smelling.
This was in part due to the occupants sitting in the grey tank like waiting room, with its walls plastered in helpful pamphlets with slogans like “Want help in quitting buckie?” and “How to dig your way out of a 'hole lot of debt” which Petty, who was one of the rooms occupants adding to the odour of the place, considered a corporate pun too far.

The other three occupants were a troll who had lost his bridge to some scheming goats and was squatting in a corner seemingly asleep and took up a quarter of the rooms space, and two sneering orc types who were staring at a small palantir one of them held. They were snorting loudly and obnoxiously at the images parading upon it in a manner that clearly indicated no thought whatsoever for the rooms other occupants.

Outside, somewhere, the sun would be just creeping over the pines of his glade, where by all rights he should be curled up in a buckie induced stupor in happy warm sleep. Not sat in this thankless room his fate in the balance of others and time, age and the risk of sobriety ever closing down on him. All he owned he was wearing on his back. Which wasn't quite as bad as it might sound given what he was wearing was a full kilt which hung in huge loops around his waist and over one shoulder before ending in his much abused kilt of worn tartan, mould and infinite spillages. You could store a lot in the copious folds of such a kilt, and were all Petty had stashed in it taken out and neatly placed in boxes his possessions would fill maybe as many as half a dozen. It might not be much to show for a lifetime but it was something. True however 5 out of 6 of those boxes in this case would be full of buckie which was mainly what he had left in his possession, being all he had on him when the eldritch horror from his fridge had made its explosive move for freedom. The 6th box would be for the empties.

The door to the tank like room swung open and a small bespectacled man with a tired face and a clipboard peered in, “Mr Ugnash?” he said in an equally tired voice.
One of the two orc like types got up from his seat and made to follow the little man who was already retreating from the room, his friend left waiting shouted after him, “If it's a bird ask her if she's got a nice little hole for you?” and exploded into an over loud and grating laugh that seemed to emanate from his nostrils more than his mouth. Petty's head sank to his chest, he missed his barrel, he missed his buckie jacuzzi, he missed most of all right now never having to see or hear other people.

His eyes closed in despair and if to taunt him further his mind conjured up a memory of the day he had first set eyes upon the barrel that was to be his home. It had been in the early years of Forumshire, when the first Admin Ady had thought it might be a good idea to promote local business with a Festival of Enterprise.

It was held on a small hilltop where tall pine trees grew that had been cut back in a huge circle to form a glade.
The Bankses had been there of course, Odo with his latest innovations in jelly processing which made jelly that was half as expensive for the producer to make and twice as expensive for the customer to buy, and his cousin Biffo who was showing of his great dark hole to any who dared peer into its depths. Dave had a fabulous, but closed door and by invite only, display of his latest range of vegetables, which had left many an eye watering. And there had been, greatest of all in Petty's younger eyes, the Buckie Brewing Wizards Expose. They had been working in secret somewhere on the little travelled Fringes of Forumshire, concocting and perfecting in secret a buckie good enough for royalty, commissioned by Queen Tinuviel herself.
And it had to be rasberry flavoured.

Tales of the experimenting, the mishaps, the tragedies and the bravery that went into the brewing of such a buckie were legendary and, by any right minded thinking person, considered myths at best and outright ridiculous lies at worse. But perfect it they had, and in triumph their display at the Festival was to be by far greater than any other. They had made the largest barrel of buckie ever seen in any Forumland anywhere, ever. As big as a house in fact. And filled it with their brand new, royal patronage, rasberry buckie. It was to be the Wonder of the Show, dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Tinuviel at the opening ceremony with all the big Nobs in Attendance.

Their one big mistake in it all had been in hiring Petty to guard it overnight till the Festival began.

There were recriminations of course. Petty had been dragged, or rather rolled off, to the Lockholes the following morning upon discovery of the now empty Worlds Largest Barrel, and Queen Tinuviel had been so furious she's had immediately called the entire Festival off and gone in a strop back to Valinor where she had taken her fury out on a perfectly innocent golf course.

The trappings of the Festival were left abandoned where they stood, the grove grew narrower in width as new saplings over the years colonised the empty spaces left behind, closing in on the massive, forgotten barrel at its centre.

And having served a term in the Lockholes Petty was released and in a stroke of genius that came to him, as these things do to the Scotshobbit mind, three quarters of the way down his twelfth buckie at precisely 4.02AM, between a thought abut the pressing need to urinate and whether or not to make a square sausage and brown sauce roll dripping in fat, he successfully hired Angmar and Sons to sue the Buckie Brewing Wizards of Forumshire for reckless endangerment of his life in hiring him, a known buckie addict, to guard a barrel of buckie in the first place. And got a sworn recognised Boffin to testify that Petty had in fact been dead most of the night from alcohol poisoning but was fortunately too drunk to notice and that the charge should in-fact be corporate manslaughter.
In the end the Wizards settled the case out of court and along with a lifetime supply of buckie, which the wizards would come to rue agreeing to when they realised just how much buckie Petty could consume when he wasn't having to pay for it, they conceded to Petty's demand that the now useless to the Wizards anyway Worlds Largest Buckie Barrel be given over to him, literally lock, stock and barrel.

From the first moment he cut a crude round door into the barrel and stepped inside to its curved, cathedral like magnificence and inhaled deeply its buckie imbued walls till his eyes watered and reddened he knew he was home. And now it had exploded. He really should have cleaned the fridge much sooner he reflected.

“Mr Petty Tyrant”

Petty stirred from the warmth of memory and home to the stark reality of the tired voice calling his name in the grey leaflet strewn room. With a sigh he got up and followed the man down a long equally grey and tired looking corridor with long strip lighting that seemed to cast a yellow light that made everything somehow murkier than without them. Eventually he was led to a counter with a metal grill over it behind the grill to Petty's surprise was Blue.

“I didnae ken yi worked in Hoosing?”

“I work everywhere,” Blue said beads of sweat on his forehead trickled down to his chin, sacks of paper surrounded him and a cup of coffee, long since cold sat at his elbow waiting to be absent mindedly knocked over and cursed at, “Admin says an intelligent mind should have busy hands, so the mind doesn't have time to think. I'm not sure I like the sound of that but I haven't had the time to think about it I'm that busy. Now I've got your paper work here,” he rummaged about among a teetering stack of papers, “somewhere, I really should get these properly filed, if I had the time... ah ah!” with the experience of an expert he whipped a single sheet out of the middle of a stack so fast it didn't so much as a ruffle another, “Now there does seem to be some issues with your housing claim.”

“Oh aye?” Petty sighed.

“Under 'reason for move' you appear to have written, “Eldritch horror, brackets, exploding fridge, close brackets.”

“Aye, whit aboot it?”

“Not the sort of thing we usually get. Do you have any proof of this eldritch horror or exploding fridge?”

“Di yi noo read the papers?”

Blue goggled at him and indicated the teetering towering stacks of paper all around him, “Read the papers? I don't do anything else but read papers!” he almost yelled, and more sweat formed on is  overworked face.

“Naw, noo thae papers, the newpapers, the News o' the Pure?”

“What? No I don't have time for reading the local gutter press?”

“I'd be careful whit yi say aboot them,” Petty warned ominously, “haud on a mite,” he scanned around till he spotted a bin in the corner and rummaged about in it until with a snort of triumph he produced a crumpled up newspaper, “Here yi go, git yersel up tae speed oan why um here.”

Blue was a fast reader and he soon had digested the gist of Petty's unfortunate and unwanted be-tentacled eviction from the crumpled papers of the press. But he was also a lawyer. So he had questions. Actually he had quite a lot of questions.

“How exactly did you escape from the tentacled Thing in your fridge, it doesn't say?” Blue enquired tapping the report.

“Ah cannae tell yi.”

“Why not?”

“The reporters want tae keep it as a sort aw cliffhanger tae be revealed later sort o' thing.”

“But they already left it on a cliffhanger,” Blue said puzzled.

“Wull its an extended cliffhanger, like an extended hangover.”

“It says here its a live report? So this is going out live? Now?” Blue asked slightly alarmed at the prospect and looking around for hidden palantir.

“Wull sort o', noo exactly, they huv tae write it doon an' the fine reporters of the NotP streamline and reshape the narrative to more effectively convey the true meaning behind the so called facts, you can trust your NotP.”

“Pardon?” Blue said, slightly taken aback by this fulsome endorsement,”You sounded a bit, odd there.”

“A probably didnae say that, they probably jist wrote thut in later tae maik thumsels sound gud,” Petty reassured. It was not an idea Blue found at all reassuring.

“But you did say it. I heard you say it?”

“Did yi?” Petty asked arching a bushy ginger eyebrow at him, “or did they oanly write yi jist said that?”

“But I did just say it, I remember saying it and hearing it, you heard me say it? Didn't you?”

“If they say A did,” Petty smirked rather enjoying getting to be cruel to bureaucracy for once rather than it to him.

“Look,” Blue said dabbing his forehead with a handkerchief, “I refuse to believe things we are saying now are only because that is what someone in the future is writing that's what we are saying. Its an abominable idea,” he considered a moment, “doubly so when the person is a reporter for the News of the Pure.”

“Kin wi git tae it?” Petty said impatiently, “noo yi've goat yir proof um hameless, whit can yi dae aboot it?”

Blue was actually relieved for the conversation to turn back to the mundane paperwork of housing, “Yes, of course. First I should tell you there is a chronic shortage of housing within Forumshire.”

“Why?”

“Well long ago the Admin of the time Ady decided it would be a good idea to allow those who were renting homes from the State to purchase them and be home owners, bring them up in the world. And the longer you had lived and rented a home, the cheaper you could buy it for. Meanwhile the State would continue to build new homes to replace those sold off,” Blue explained.

“So why is thur a shortage o' hoosing then?” Petty asked puzzled.

“Well the plan was only partly successful in the end.”

“Which part?”

“The first part mainly, lots of people bought their rented home for far below their market value. Unfortunately most of them then sold them on immediately at the full value to slum landlords who snapped them up.”

“Odo Banks,” Petty nodded knowingly, “That still disnae explain yon shortage,” he frowned at Blue.

“I was coming to that. You see there was a slight issue with the implementation of phase two of the proposed plan. The replacing of sold housing stock. Admin Ady, and in fact all subsequent Admins, due to budgetary constraints, or personal island tax havens, never quite matched the numbers being sold with the numbers needed to replace them.”

Petty groaned, “Is thur an idiot version o' this yi culd gie us?”

Blue groaned back at the need to simplify detail, “We haven't built as many houses as we sold.”

“How muny did yi sell exactly?”

“Well we sold 1498 before Admin Amarie, in her infinite wisdom and great Darkness finally stopped the scheme.”

“And how muny huv yi built?”

“Two.”

“Twa? Twa thoosand? Twa hunner?”

“No, just two. And if we can find you a home, which isn't frankly all that likely, it will most likely be in the Fringes.”

“Aw noo!” Petty lamented, “I'm noo living thur, wi wee orc faced neds and numpties like the wan thuts in here afore me.”

“The only possible housing available is in the Fringes, its one of those rather worrying more abstract spaces of Forumshire which technically has infinite space, making it perfect for solving the housing crisis in Forumshire proper,” Blue insisted.

“But naebody whose ainbody goes thur, and naebudy frae thur leaves it. It's whur the Lurkers live! I cannie live thur. A'm a man aboot toon! Awright A'm a drunk man aboot toon but the important bit is 'aboot toon'.”

“Look, lets just see how many points you have shall we?”

“Whit points?”

“Housing is allocated on a points based system you get given points for your circumstances, the more points you have the higher up the list you are and the greater the priority and the better chance you have of being allocated a home quickly,” Blue explained.

“Whitever,” Petty said wearily, “git oan wi it.”

“Right, well you do get  points for actually being homeless, so that's a good start,” Blue said encouragingly.

“Oh aye, its brilliant,” Petty commented ruefully.

“Now, I'm afraid there isn't a category for eldritch horror exploding from a fridge, had it been an Act of Eru I could have helped you out there, are you by any chance an ethnic group of any sort? Or is that all dirt?”

“I'm white wi red un blue blotchy bits ethnic,” Petty said stubbornly.

“I'm afraid that doesn't count.”

“How noo?”

“Look, up till very recently you lived in a large residence in the heart of Forumshire. You are one of the very privileged.”

“Oh aye A feel it. Whit aboot being a Scotshobbit?”

“Ah yes, of course, there is that, I'm afraid that loses you points.”

“Whit!”

“Now you aren't pregnant are you?”

“It's buckie,” Petty fumed at him.

“Are you dependant upon any drugs or in any rehabilitation schemes for drugs?”

“Buckie?” Petty ventured again.

“No, sorry, that's a legal drug. It only applies to illegal drugs, then as a compassionate society we could have helped you there.”

“Yi wunt me tae go oot an' start sniffing somebodies crack tae git a hoose?”

“Probably best not too, just for some points eh?” Blue counselled, “Are you from a persecuted group?”

“Um beginning tae wonder,” Petty growled, “an aye A um, an eldritch horror frae the bowels o' ma fridge tired tae kill me an' destroyed ma hame!”

“It doesn't exactly count as a war zone, or a place where you can't return to.”

“Except thurs nuthing there left fur me yi mean.”

“That excepted. “

“Dae A git any points fur being a local?”

“Um no, in fact quite the opposite you get more points for not being local. The further away you hail from the better really.”

“Aye, o' course,” Petty sighed again getting the distinct feeling something had gone very amiss somewhere in a world of good intentions.

“So there we go, that's your points worked out.”

“How muny did A git?”

“Oh I can't tell you that?”

“Well how muny is it oot o'?”

“Oh I can't tell you that either.”

“So A've goat an unknown amoont o' points, oot o'an unknown possible total?”

“Exactly,” Blue beamed at him through the grill.

“Yi mae as wull huv jist telt me A've got ten coo's bollocks fur aw the context thut gies me.”

“Well be assured your points tally will go towards your chances of getting a home in, let me just tally up the points versus the waiting list, in...”, he scratched out feverish numbers on a pad.

“Wull? How lang?”

“Roughly, between six months and 30 years, maybe.”

Petty blinked stunned at him.

“Well it could be longer.”

“Longer!?” Petty exclaimed.

“Well anyone who gets more points than you will of course automatically go above you on the list, as being of greater need.”

“Obviously,” Petty replied through gritted teeth, “so basically If A wiz a junkie drug addled nae hoper frae sumwhur far awa', fleeing a war zone and ethnically persecuted, A'd huv a hoose by noo? Yi dae realise Aam hameless daen't yi? A mean actually, truly, really, nae hame, at all, shop daerways time, eyeing up bridges tae see if the trolls wull let yi kip near thum fur a night, wee scabby dugs on a string, thut sort of hameless?”

“Well of course I realise,” Blue said, “otherwise you wouldn't have come here.”

“And yi ur suppased tae be helping me.”

“I am. That was me doing it there.”

“Maybe I dozed aff an' missed it. Whit help hus this been?”

“You're on the list!”

“Oh goodie, A'm oan the list! Listen tae me, cun yi actually help or noo? Truthfully Blue. A need sum useful advice frae yi at least.”

“You want my honest, of the record advice? Go find a homeless charity and look on the private market, you wait on us you'll be under a bridge for a very long time.”

Petty stalked out of the housing department in despondent mood. He blinked in the harsh white light of day as he emerged from the sullen corridors only to be greeted by the two orc types who were conversing at the door.

“Straight up got it man,” one was saying to the other, “nice wee place in the Fringes. We can totally get up to some serious Lurking out there.”

Of course the orcish sort had got allocated somewhere, even if it was in the Fringes. Petty somehow felt robbed of something he wasn't even sure he was due. But it all felt off.

He pulled one of his remaining buckies from the recesses of his kilt and took a heartfelt slug. He had nowhere to go and for a moment he felt completely lost, disoriented in a land he knew so well, on paths and streets familiar by years yet in which he no longer had a root. Then the resolve of the recently slugged buckie began to kick in, he would just have to see what the Forumshire private rent market had to offer. And there was something else he was going to have to do, something far worse and that he had been putting to the back of his mind it filled him with such a sense of dread.

He was going to have to ask someone for help, to rely on the charity and goodwill of others for a time, to be dependant.

At his age.

And with such a small supply of buckie to get through it and help bury the sheer shame of it as well. Small or not he took another slug, put the bottle safely back in the folds of tartan and with one setback at FHART now behind him he determinedly marched into Forumshire in pursuit of somewhere to live in the private market.



Stay tuned for the next instalment when Petty uncovers the perils and horrors of the private rented market! ….Hey Bert that should be a good one, it'll probably have that Odo Banks in it, he cracks me up with that big long head of his. And the things he can do with jelly would make a Sister of Eru  blush...is this palantir off?....

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A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

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Post by halfwise Sat May 14, 2022 1:01 pm

Wowser.

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Post by azriel Sat May 14, 2022 10:21 pm

you've hit the nail on the head there Petty Very Happy Ive got a hedgehog house you could rent ? Smile Just move Spikey Fred from his bed and you'll be ok Smile

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun May 22, 2022 2:18 am

3.

Option A

'One bedroom hole. Outer Fringes. 10 Dodgy Row. Lurkers Welcome. 9.30am Monday Viewing. Angmar and Sons Real Estate.'

Petty rarely visited the Fringes of Forumshire, none of the regular residents did. Oh, you passed through on your way into and out of Forumshire proper, it was a place seen in transit, but you never stopped in the Fringes. What would be the point? No one in the Fringes spoke to Residents, they presumably took interest in Forumshire affairs through their various palantirs; watching, observing, hating or enjoying, but who really knew? They never said what they thought of Forumshire goings on, they never voted in her elections, no Mayor of Forumshire ever hailed from the Fringes, no one from the Fringes ever aspired to be Admin. They formed the largest portion of viewers of the now occasional Forumshire Awards, but they never got nominated and they never cast a vote. They never had anything to say and they never did anything. They just Lurked. Out here in the Fringes. It was a bit odd really, and Petty was not at all sure he would fit in here. Still it was better than sleeping under a troll infested bridge again.

In fact fitting in was rather on his mind, he was feeling rather more, well solid than usual. As that was another thing about the Fringes - it was only sort of there. The lane he was walking along to its junction with 10 Dodgy Row was real enough. The odd mismatched and misshaped holes and dilapidated cottages that lined it a distance back from the roads edge behind tumbled down and overgrown gardens were definitely there, but at the same time everything felt somehow insubstantial. It was not that things were transparent or you could pass a hand through solid objects or anything like that, but at the same time it was very hard to properly focus in detail on anything, as if the world were slightly and annoyingly out of focus. Petty of course thanks to his voluminous buckie consumption was perfectly used to the world being out of focus but the trouble here was he was not. He felt very three dimensional, very solid and THERE in comparison to his surroundings. He was used to feeling physically solid in most locations, though neither muscled nor tall, nor particularly broad he was stout and short legged which meant he had a habit of planting himself when he stood still and his kilt was as solid as a shield which afforded him a sense of unassailability, his belly, swollen to a rounded perfection by buckie consumption could deflect most things coming head on and his face, due to all his internalised crabbit was held in a perpetual dark scowl of anger and at need could deliver a headbutt like a jack-hammer. And just for good measure his odour- which tended to turn up a minute or so before him to torment people - could make a pack of mad dogs turn tale at twenty yards and run of madly howling instead with their noses on fire. But this was the wrong sort of solid, he was beginning to feel that if the world got any more insubstantial feeling and he any more solid feeling he might poke a hole in what passed for reality in the Fringes and fall right out of existence. It was not a cheery thought, about as cheery as Dodgy Row when he found it, though he considered it could be worse as the next street along according to its tattered street plaque read “Up Shit Creek'. With the way life was going Petty considered he probably already was.

It took him a little while to locate 10 Dodgy Row as Dodgy Row halfway along its length turned into what looked like a gravel quarry at number 8. No. 9 was hidden behind a crumbling dry stone wall that sprouted a small forest from its many cracks and fallen parts, but what Petty could see of it appeared to be boarded up with old rotting planks of wood.
He in fact only knew he was at no. 10 because the agent from Angmar and Sons was waiting for him before what was laughingly to be called its front door. I was a badly disguised and painted wheel scavenged from a large wagon crudely shoved in place over the holes entrance. There were as far as Petty could tell no windows in no.10. Its garden, if it could be called that consisted of various debris and rubble; bits of old masonry, a set of ancient pram wheels, a tyre, half a crumbling couch that was quietly mouldering into the ground and a variety of general rubbish strewn higgledy-piggledy around the faded yellow grass, where there was grass. The holes roof sagged as if from subsidence and appeared water logged. It was the most singularly depressing thing Petty had seen since The Hobbit films.

The agent who was of course an employee of Angmar and Sons and was therefore an orc, or possibly half-orc. It was difficult to tell as he had been squeezed into a dark suit and strangling tie in which he looked about as comfortable as an Oliphaunt in a bikini. He smiled the sort of smile at Petty that spoke of hours in training and as he was an orc was also all yellow fangs and drool, “Welcome,” the agent said “to your new home” he added as if reading the line from off the inside of his head. Petty, looking about himself, considered  it a very optimistic outlook.

The Agent approached the wheel door and rather than open  it he just rolled it aside, it didn't appear to be physically attached to anything. The orc ducked into the hole's dark interior and with some reluctance Petty followed.

The interior was, well basic would be one way of describing it, if it didn't have a pretend door over its entrance Petty would have walked right by thinking it to be no more than a shallow scoop in the cliff-face. They were standing in a room in which Petty, who was not the tallest in Forumshire by a long way, had to stoop his neck, the taller orc was hunched over. The room was maybe 10 foot at most in length and no more than four wide, curved as if a giant ice cream scoop had just carved it out in one simple go, completely bare, windowless and without so much as a fireplace to heat it.

“Let me show you around,”the Agent said and then looked momentarily about the room, Petty did like wise there was not much to see, “And this is it,” the orc finally said.

“Thus is it?” Petty asked incredulously, “Aw o' it? Yir advert said wan bedroom, thus,” Petty tried to wave his arm expansively to take in the squalid room but hit the wall, “thus isnae wan bedroom, its jist wan room, if it even counts as wan! An' whur dae yi sleep?”

“Ah!” said the Agent pointing to a lever on the wall beside Petty, “the latest in Angmar and Sons space saving bedrooms,” the Agent stepped over to the lever, pulled it sharply and a four poster bed unfolded from the wall.

At least Petty assumed it was meant to unfold from the wall, the main base easing down flat from its upright position in a graceful ballet of moving parts.
What actually happened was as soon as the Agent pulled on the lever the bed came out of the wall in much the same way a mouse trap springs, with sudden ferociousness. Straight onto the Agent's head. It neatly squashed and flattened the orc who disappeared under it with a yelp. The bed filled the entire cramped room.

Petty leaned down and shouted underneath it, “A thunk A might jist keep looking fir now thanks.” There were muffled pained groans from somewhere beneath the springs and metal frame and Petty having seen enough turned and left, swearing he would rather go live under a troll infested bridge than in the Fringes after all.





Stay tuned for the further exciting exploits of Forumshire real estate with your special NotP almost as good as Live Broadcasts!....Hey I thought Odo was supposed to be in this one?...Nah, they are splitting this in two parts, option A and B, Odo's in the next one I hear.. What they do that for?.. Well either its to spin it out for more editions, or 'cause there's a Happy Hour on in the Duck 'n' Muck with half price Duckie.... Is there? What the hell are we still doing at work then?....


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Sun May 22, 2022 3:10 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by halfwise Sun May 22, 2022 3:08 am

At least it's a step up in charm from the bridge.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun May 22, 2022 3:11 am

{{ Maybe sideways}}

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed May 25, 2022 3:49 pm

"It was the most singularly depressing thing Petty had seen since The Hobbit films."

Shocked wowzer, that bad?
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Post by azriel Wed May 25, 2022 6:32 pm

Ive seen bedsits that rats have begged me not to go in because they were so bad, and this sounds just like it Sad

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Jun 29, 2022 2:34 pm

4.

'Option B'

'Luxurious hole in desirable location in Forumshire. Unique water features. 4 Rushock Bog. No Lurkers, Residents only! Eru and Jelly Worshippers Welcome. Viewing Wednesday 2pm. Odo Banks Esq. Caution may contain witches.'


Petty sighed as he read the only other entry in the NotP Holes for rent section. On the plus side it was in Forumshire proper not out in the Fringes. On the downside it was one of Odo Bank's holes. He suspected he could guess that where Odo said 'unique water features' he should expect to need a snorkel to reach the bedroom.
The last bit about witches was slightly interesting at least, if also vaguely concerning. The wording at least was explainable by Odo being primarily a purveyor of jelly products, and sold his holes only as a secondary back-up business. And it showed.

Rushock Bog sort of crept up on you. The gentle woodland, narrow lanes and tall hedges that led out of Needlehole and towards the lower lands beyond that Petty meandered through almost imperceptibly began to change, grass gave way little by little to reeds, the hedges slowly dwindled and faded away replaced by trees that got step by step more ancient, hoarier, more gnarled and started to grow bushy beards of green moss and sprout shelves of flat white mushrooms, the familiar countryside tweeting and bursts of song in the hedgerows were replaced by the buzz of insects, the croaking of frogs and unknown things that hooted and honked sadly in the distance, and the hard packed gravel of the road became increasingly earthen, then muddy then just squelchy underfoot.

And then there was the sign.

It stood at the road junction in a small sunken pool that flies buzzed round and then got eaten by unhappy looking frogs. It simply read : Caution- Witch.
A frog ribbited mournfully at him and plopped into the pool at the sign's base in a swirl of bubbles.

“Ah” Petty thought stopping to consider the sign, “Azriel!”

Petty rather liked Azriel, with the due caution that was reserved for someone who could turn you into a frog. He had forgotten her hole was here in the bog. 'A witch fir a neighbour,' he considered as he turned off down the rambling wet side lane that led to 4 Rushock Bog. Well it could have plus points, like she would probably be handy for hangover cures. On the other-hand some of Petty's more drunken and unsociable behaviour could cause some issues. His habit for example of relieving himself wherever was convenient, with that being wherever he happened to be at the time- he wasn't sure what happened to you if you urinated in a witches herb garden but he suspected it would be worse than frogs.

4 Rushock Bog stood alone on the edge of the bog. Well not so much on the edge as in the bog, as though there was a garden in the sense a bit of the bog was fenced off and there was a garden gate, there was also no difference between the wet muddy pools and tall bushes of reeds that grew outside the garden, and the wet muddy pools and tall bushes of reeds that grew inside the garden and indeed right up to the hole.

Well there was one difference, it was only in the garden, hiding badly behind a bush of reeds, that Petty could see a familiar long tall head bobbing suspiciously up and down and occasionally peering out.

“Pssst!” said Odo from behind his reed bush.

“Aye, thanks,” Petty responded unable to resist an old joke and because it was also true, “whit are yi daeing back thur?”

Odo's tall head leaned sideways out of the reeds, hurriedly looking right and left before saying, “Nothing. Just making sure all is right and respectable in the garden for you. Eru made man in a garden you know, to grow potatoes for him.”

“Aye stull honoured in Scotshobitland in the Festival o' the Great Fry Up!” Petty added wistfully, “but nae Eru lectures frae yi, aw richt? Jist show me yi're hole,” he said and immediately regretted the phrasing as he swung open the garden gate and splashed his way up the path, “bit, damp, fir a gairden,” he noted crabbitly.

“Ideal for a wide variety of local plants and flowers to grow in abundance,” Odo said swiftly, “let me show you in.”

With several hurried glances about himself Odo strode quickly up to the round front door unlocked it with a large iron key and swung the door open. A torrent of water poured out round his feet, “just a little damp from having been left empty, soon clear up once your in,” he said without missing a beat and splashed is way into the hole doing a brilliant job of ignoring the stream that whirled about his feet.

Petty followed but without surprise, he hadn't expected much better from anything Odo sold that didn't wobble.
Inside the main hall was dimly lit, and as Odo stuck a light in an old lamp that stood on a shaky table in the corner it became clear that the source of the water was in fact a small waterfall that poured down the far wall and down the hall towards them.

“By Eru it's beautiful isn't it?” Odo enthused and before Petty could say what he actually thought Odo swiftly went on, “A unique water feature that many would have to pay thousands to have installed in their homes, and here you get it as a mere curtsey, free of charge. A Banks Business is a Respectable Business,” he enthused in defiance of all the evidence.

There was a rustling sound as of dirt or something similar falling to the ground in the main living room off to their left.

“Did you hear something?” Odo demanded with a panicked look in his eyes.

“Aye, probably jist the ceiling falling in,” Petty said and strode into the living room to see. Behind him Odo peered round the doorway, revealing just the top of his large head and his eyes behind his tiny glasses.

“A cannae see nuthing,” Petty commented, this was particularly true as though there was a round window in the outer wall here it was blocked by a bush of tall reeds, “stoap hiding back thur an' bring yon lamp in.”

“How dare you!” Odo said in a mortified tone, “I am not hiding! I am checking the door frame for wood worm. And happy to tell you it has plenty, free of charge to you but I should be charging them rent.”

He came into the living room his lamp casting a yellow glare over the wide empty space. There was a large fireplace in one wall, with a mantel over it and a stone hearth of broken flag stones,its grate sat cold and damp beneath a large wide chimney that was black with ancient soot.

For some reason Odo suddenly leapt towards the fireplace, ducked down and peered up the black shaft.

“Whit are yi daeing?” Petty asked surprised.

“Oh nothing to worry about,” Odo said straightening up, “Health and Safety, checking for the risk of a chimney fire.”

“And is thur a risk aw wan?”

“Oh yes, I should think so, but will do it good. It'll burn out all the plants and mushrooms growing up there,” He turned from the chimney and as he did so a small cloud of soot showered down into the grate but Odo seemed not to notice it as he was pulling a contract from his breast-pocket. It was covered in microscopic writing.

Petty had been ready for this, he knew Odo well enough to know not to trust anything you signed with him before you had read it, he pulled from beneath his kilt an empty buckie bottle, its thick glass bottom with its characteristic interior bulge made for an excellent magnifying glass. He took the contract and placed it on the window sill, trying to get it into what little light fought its way in through the reeds, and peered into the top of the bottle like a scientist at a microscope. There was a lot of writing, this was going to take a while.

“Is it really necessary to read it all?” Odo said anxiously peering over Petty's shoulder.

“Wi' yi? Aye, yir damn richt it is,” Petty replied firmly, “'In the event of extreme flooding the tenant is liable to an increase in rent without notice to cover the expenditure of extra water use,'” he read aloud in disbelief.

“Just all the usual caveats, nothing out the ordinary,” Odo responded, then he suddenly darted over to the living room door and peered out into the hall, “perhaps you'd prefer to take it away with you and peruse it in private?”

“Naw,” Petty said negatively, “A've oanly yon troll bridge ta go back tae, even this place is better than thur.”

Odo darted back across the room again to Petty's side and managed to give the impression he was impatiently tapping his fingers on something when he wasn't in fact doing anything. Eventually it got to Petty, having Odo looming over him in what felt like a state of increasing anxiety.

Finally he turned his eye from his home-made microscope and gave his gaze to Odo, “Whit is the matter wi yi the day?”

And the room exploded. This time at least it did not involve tentacles or fridges, but it did involve a sudden and blinding flash of light that erupted out of the chimney followed by a cloud of smoke and then within it a shape, ominous, tall, dark and threatening, “Odo!” a terrible voice intoned as Odo's long face drained white from the top down, then the effect was rather ruined by a lot of coughing, “Bloody hell I didn't expect...so..much...soot,” the more normal voice of Azriel said from within the slowly dispensing cloud of soot which was revealing as it faded the black cloaked and pointed hatted witch of Rushock Bog.

“Ah A,Azriel,” Odo stammered, “I was meaning to come and see you.”

“I bet you were. You promised me you'd fix the roof and sort out the unpleasant problem with the plumbing three months ago!”

“Ah well, it been quite difficult to acquire the parts needed at respectable prices,” Odo excused.

“No!” Azriel shouted firmly and absolutely and pulled a short wand from the brim of her traditional tall and pointy hat, “I've heard every excuse under the moon from you Odo, and I've had it.”

“If you'd only let me explain,” Odo pleaded.

“Talk your way out of it again you mean,” Azriel replied crossly, “I warned you, fix it or face the consequences,” she rolled up her sleeves as Odo whimpered and said a prayer to Eru under his breath, “here come the consequences!”

There was a second flash of light, a squeal from Odo that got infinitely distant and when Petty reopened his eyes he and Azriel were alone in the room.

“Would you like a brew?” Azriel said sweetly to Petty, “I've got a cauldron on.”

“Um, naw, thut's vury kind o' yi, Azriel,” Petty said slowly sidling round the room to the door, “A best git back or the trolls wull huv hogged aw the best bits o' the bridge,” he backed out the door and bolted for the exterior.

Scratch another option he thought as he walked back up the lane towards the junction and passed the sign that read 'Caution Witch'.
At the pool at its base a frog with a particularly long head and down turned mouth sat gloomily by the edge and made a mournful ribbiting.



Stay tuned for the unexpected conclusion in the next edition of your NotP Live!
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'Sort of as in not live at all?' '
'Just shut up and get on with your job, and switch that bloody thing off!'

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Post by halfwise Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:15 pm

Best one yet! and it advances Forumshire lore considerably to boot.

I'm eyeing up a new place that actually has a balcony!
Drawbacks:
- I have to move and all my friends are busy on that date, so I'll have to hire some help. Mad
- it will cost more each month Mad
- my upcoming source of salary will be delayed for an unspecified amount of time. Mad Mad
- Last year I put all my savings into stocks, then failed to pull them out before it dropped. Mad

So this will set me back a fair piece, and I'm battling over whether a beautiful balcony is worth it. When you are surrounded by brick but this balcony looks out over trees, It's a damn close call, I'm telling you!

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Jun 29, 2022 10:21 pm

Go for the trees. Nod Trees talk to you, they tell you about the seasons and house squirrels for free.
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Post by halfwise Thu Jun 30, 2022 12:19 am

ergh. My landlord told me I'd either have to find someone to take over my lease (it's a damn good deal, but how do I find them?) or pay until my lease expires. March. urf. I don't see this happening. But it's the electronic age and new york is starved for deals like I got 15 years ago (rent only allowed to increase 3%/year). We'll see if I can swing it.

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