Sunday, June 18, 2006

Finknottle Returns, Denies Everything

Welle, my little figgyies, It is I, your cherish'd Finknottle. News of my various deaths have been widely reported. And theye are all true. As true, thate is, as my Editore's usual headlines! He claims that I absconded with the company letter of credit, and implied that I have spent the week at the opium market stalls. Why, that murderous... welle he has not yet actually murdered, and to say so woulde be slander. Let us accuse him of being a well-known Vegetarian and Philanderer.

He also let the implication across that he 'won me' in a poker game. This denigrates us bothe so I must set this lie in print so I may refute it:

Before I came to Liverputty, I was bought by the War Department. My editor, in a shrewde moment he has not matched since, made a deal with those in power. Theye desired a war in a far-off opium colony. My Editore told them, "Give me the pictures and I'll give youe a war." They did, and he did, and they refused to pay.

Apparently, the war ravaged an opium-colony in a thorough-going and sincere manner, but in the wrong Hemisphere. The War Department stopped payment. My Editore whined like a little girl, and a Compromise was reached. I was despatched, apparently one Finknottle can be redeemed, at current market rates, for one war.

The real story of this past week is obscured in a haze of claims and counter-claims, and a rich foamy opium-hangover. But what follows is what I have pieced together:

We open our scene in a ditch, the party-of-the-first-parte (Self), face downe in the muck. Enter, ditch-left, an Urchin. It speaks. What he said did not register, as I was watching a steadey trickle of silvery bits dropping from his mouth. On inspection, they turned out to be shiny new quarters. Rhode Island issue. The commemerative ones. Although I saw the quarters dripping out of his mouth, he didn't seem to notice, so I scooped a couple of handfulls into my pockets. (This parte maye have been the opium wearing off, as I later discover'd my pockets fulle to overflowing with common gravel.)

"Mister Finkfottle, Sir, is that you?" He poked me with a stick, as if testing my corporeality. "Sir, you're filthy!"

"I am not," I said.

"Filth adheres to you in six areas which I shall enumerate.." he said.

"Can't talk, little boy, coming down," I mumbled.

"You're that advice bloke from the Liverputty, aren't you?" He screeched.

"You recognize me from that ink smear next to my byline?" I said, amazed. "My Editore has never managed to spend the money on a proper press to repoduce a worthy likeness of Self."

"I'm sure your Editore does his best.." he began.

"My Editore walks on four legs!" I screamed, so loudly I hurt my spleen.

"My Dad says your talent evaporated along with your brain a long time ago." He retorted.

I raised myself up, not without some effort, onto an elbow. "Your Father is made of daub-and-wattle," I croaked, and don't you know I meant it to sting. He seemed non-plussed so I waved a hand airily and said "I've seen
his cross-section. He's a clockwork-driven Automaton. He was designed by Christopher Wren."

"That's as may be," the Urchin continued, "but I didn't recognize you from your byline, as you haven't published in many an age. I recognize you by your demeanor, your dress, your periwig, your distinctive smell and your photo in Tax Cheats Monthly."

I was slightly mollified. "Now that's a reputable periodical. I wishe I worked for them." I let a sigh escape. "So I suppose youe want a job, eh?"

"I have a job, Mr. Finknottle, I'm your assistante."

The news stunned me. You could have knocked Finknottle over with an f., had I been vertical.

"I'm here to ressusutate youe and get youe back to worke."

He held out a goat-bladder full of liquid and indicated turning it upside down with a 'bottoms-up' gesture. I opened the Gullet and doused the Larynx good and thoroughly. I immediately coffed and spat. "What do I have the pleasure of drinking...?" I trailed off, not really wanting an answer.

"It's your recipie, Mr. F, for a restorative tonic. It's made from four parts gin and three parts gin."

"Ahh! A Riverboat Gambler, fine drinke, fine indeed." I made the good effort and downed the rest in one go. Feeling refreshed, I was not exactly ready to tackle the current set-up, (read: Self and my ongoing tennancy in a ditch), but I did need some pertinent intelligence vis-a-vis recent history.

"What am I doing, not to put too fine a point on it, in a ditch?" I enquired of My Assistant.

Before he could reply, I felt a sharpness in between the ribs, and reached down to discover a dagger, ornate and perhaps Mideval, in my belt.

"Holy Mother of Dungeness Crabs!" I shouted. "I am armed! What does this mean? Think, Finknottle, think! I must have finally snapped and plotted murder against some vile nemesis. But what could it be, and have I succeeded? Am I on the lam?" I suddenly remembered the Urchin, a fixture there in the ditch with Self.

"Am I a foul common criminal, one necessarily more dashing than most, but still guilty of some dark deed?"

"No, sir, you fell out of the window, after sleeping one off in your writing chair."

He indicated a third-floor opening.

"What do you mean 'sleeping one off'? And what sort of gelatinous tone is that to take with me? How do you explain this dagger?"

I knew I had him. A man with my limited dexterity does not fight with handheld weapons, he uses barrels of ink to drowne his opponents. So this must indicate extreme circ's.

"In the first place," he began, sounding tired, "that's not a dagger. It is a book."

I was amused by this inspired lie, so I inspected the dagger again. It was indeed a book, a long, narrow one. The opium haze had tricked me again. I looked closely at the cover and saw it was one of my own, 'A Children's First Finknottle Omnibus'.

"This is still no justification for speaking to me in that rather drippy manner. I am a celebrated author!"

"You are a broken down old man," he said matter-of-factly.

"Opinions differ on that," I allowed gallantly.

He rolled his eyes. What does he know of the adult world? Sometimes, for reasons obscure even to himself, a man must lie in filth, stoned to the gills, absent from his job, penniless and stinking of gin with pocketfulls of gravel. Children! What do they know?

"Well, don't just stand there like a mute horse, get me out of this muck. I can't be seen like this! I am the famous Inventore of bi-focused lenses!"

"You are confuseing yourself withe the American, Benjamin Franklin again, sir."

"I concieved and flew a system of wax wings to a record-breaking height," I retorted haughtily.

"That was the mythical Icarus, sir."

I blanched.

"Enough of this pleasant give-and-take, young man. Let us away, my many legions of fans have waited long enough to hear the silvery tongue of Yours Truly. I have Admirers from the firste column I wrote who have remained loyal to me and I must not let them downe."

"Your last loyal reader died of Syphillis in 1754." He said.

I must have seemed unconvinced, for he added, "We held a small gathering and mourned his passing."

I shrugged.

"You spoke for three and a half hours in the rain."

"Not possible."

He threwe up his hands. "I have called a carriage, and when it arrives we can away to youre office."

"And by 'my office' you mean...."

For a tense moment I thought he meant the Liverputty Editorial chambers.

"Sister Lucy's Home for Wayward Girls and Grill," he replied.

"Lead on, MacDuff," I said cheerfully, "lead on!"


1 comment:

Editor said...

Sassy Wench said...

Oh, Finkie. You can pretend it's all a blur and that you were "sleeping one off". But I know the truth. And those past 3 (4? 12?) days and (even better) nights are none that I'll regret. Come on Finkie, don't you remember any of the fun we had most recently? You called me beautiful and ran your fingers through my mass of thick red hair. Or perhaps you're protecting my virtue (ha!) by pretending to remember nothing of our adventures. Ah, but I remember, my sweet, talented Finkie. I remember...

Until next time (when you can scrape another 27 pence together to enjoy my company - but hurry, rates are going up!),
your Sassy Wench

9:22 PM
Blogger Charlie Parsley said...

Afore that crazy Finknottle wound up in his ditch I was a chasin him out my cow barn, kickin hay around everywheres and spookin the cows. Keep that dude in the nineteenth century and out of my chicken coops.

12:18 PM
Anonymous one who knows said...

Beware! sassy wench, for he will only cleave your heart in twain. You are hardly the first delectable strumpet that Gussie has sampled, and I daresay you won't be the last. Add to this that sometimes his need for ink and snuff outweighs his need to be in a position of repose, savoring the kind affections of the fairer sex. Sassy wench, you must decide now if Finknottle's attentions are worth a broken heart.

3:03 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cleave your heart in twain?

Forsooth...he is soe large?

10:52 PM
Anonymous sassy wench said...

A broken heart? Heck, I was just hoping for a few good romps! And what's this about sampling delectable strumpets? Is that like a truffle? I LOVE those! If he has samples, I want some.

Besides, I think he's kinda cute. So to you, One who Knows, I say, Be Gone! I need no warnings from you. But if you have any of those strumpets handy, pass 'em over here, I'm feeling a wee bit peckish!

2:33 PM