Friday, January 29, 2010

Made You Look

Title: Made You Look
Authors: Rolf and Ranger

The Beast was in his lair with the door shut.


Which left me imprisoned in the castle- again- without so much as an enchanted clock for light relief. 


I hate that door. It stays shut in such a provocative manner.


Kick me, it says. It stands there, looking smugly solid, filling the gap with enthusiasm without a crack or friendly peephole to keep an eye on the Beast with. It demands assault, just through being a solid, oak door. I walked past it several times, not looking at it to lull it into a false sense of security.  It didn't care. I managed a discreet kick on my next stroll past, and then rapidly got out of range. It failed at all attempts at retaliation. Encouraged, I pretended to walk towards the kitchen, then got in a second, much harder kick at the lower panel when it wasn't looking.


"Would you excuse me for just a minute?" A voice said from the other side of the door.


ABOUT time.


The Beast came quietly out, closed the door and put his hands on his hips.


I dug my hands in my pockets and glared back.


Positions taken for round one.


"I told you I would be gone for ONE hour." The Beast said as an opening move, glancing at one furry wrist for his watch. "There is another fifty three minutes of that hour still to go, and no matter how much noise you make-"


"I'm BORED." I interrupted. The Beast shook his head.


"Boring you is not actually a criminal offence."


That's ridiculous. It has to come under civil rights somewhere. Thou Shalt Not Bore.


"Yes it is." I said flatly.


The Beast sighed. "Gabriel. We've gone through this, we talked about it a lot. I have to start picking up my workload again. I won't take on much yet, but I HAVE to start taking a few clients each week, and you're just going to have to manage while I do."


"I can't!" I informed him in tones which suggested he had major cognitive difficulties. "I need you!"


"So does this client."


"I need you more."


DEEPER sigh.


"Ok." The Beast said, folding his arms. "I haven't got time to let this run it's natural course. Suppose you tell me whether this is going to have a happy ending or not and we'll just cut straight to it?"


"It's going to be happy." I informed him. "You're going to ditch the client-"


"Gabriel. No matter what sort of a fuss you make this afternoon, you are going to understand that I DO have to work and you are NOT going to break into every client consultation. I can help you figure that out by the hard or the easy way. Your choice."


Allright, what happened to round two - Pleading And Negotiation- and round three where he Tries To Find Compromises that I MIGHT agree on in round five???

No. Typical Beast tactics. Straight to round four. Logic And Threats.


"But I don't know what to doooooo….." I said, shaken. The Beast unfolded his arms and tousled my hair.


"Watch television. Play on the computer. Read. Fifty minutes, that's all."


"I can't!" I wailed, starting to panic as he put his hand back on the door of his lair.


"Go and try."


It was the tone of Utter Finality. Another Beast tactic.

"I'm going to go down the village and betray you to the peasants." I informed him. "They'll come up here with torches and barbecue forks."


"Good, just do it quietly."


He went into his lair and shut the oak door again, partitioning us on either side of it.


Which is just unacceptably, unfairly and completely WRONG.


For a minute I considered kicking the door until he re emerged and then demanding to know how I was supposed to betray him to the villagers when I wasn't allowed to talk to strangers. Then I thought better of it.


When the villagers DID arrive, the first thing that was getting burnt was the door.


Go and play.


I don’t want to.


I dug my hands deeper in my pockets and stamped up the first three steps of the wooden staircase, turned around and stamped down again. Just taking a little exercise and minding my own business. The noise echoed nicely in the hallway. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. I kept a wary eye on the door for signs of an enraged Beast emerging, but he declined to appear. I tried it a few times a little louder, just to be absolutely sure he could hear me, and then sat down on the bottom step. He clearly hadn't read the contract. He was supposed to respond when I annoyed him.


He didn't emerge in response to whistling or singing either.


Which left one sure fire way left to get him out from behind that door, and he was going to have to face the fact that he'd driven me to it. I headed for the end of the hallway, checked my distance and took a short run up.


The series of seven, perfect handsprings brought me up against the door of his Lair with a thump.


The door flew open and the Beast exploded out into the hallway, fangs dripping.


"GABRIEL, GO OUTSIDE. NOW."


Uh oh.


That was the BIG voice.


I stared at him, tears pricking my eyes. The Beast pointed at the door. I took my jacket off the peg and went outside.




*********




The garden was cold, wet and horrible. And naturally, being the garden of the castle, it was surrounded by four high walls. I mooched for a while, hating the grass and the trees and the walls too when I got bored with the grass. According to my watch there was forty minutes left of this purgatory.


Go outside and do WHAT?


You can have no fun with a flowerbed. There are limits as to what you can do with a bird bath.


Deprived of all other occupation, I climbed up the apple tree and got onto the top of the wall. About eight feet high with a good, solid top to it. I walked right the way around the garden on it, taking the opportunity to peer at the window of the Beast as I passed. He was hard at work with his client and took no notice whatsoever of me. For variety I flipped over and walked the entire length of the wall on my hands. I made it to about level with the greenhouse before my shoulders started to show signs of giving way, and it was only by a twist and grab that nearly dropped me off the wall, that I prevented myself putting a foot through the greenhouse roof. I sat down on the wall and worked my shoulders, swearing. I might have broken my neck up here, and did the Beast care? No, he hadn't even noticed. Just to prove to him that I was perfectly capable of risking life and limb whether he bothered to watch or not, I got up on my hands again and walked on them directly past his window. This time he looked up and I caught a definite look of irritation, but he didn't turn away from his client. He did however turn his back on the rest of my display.


Drat.


Really fed up now, I got down off the wall, carefully putting my foot through a panel of the greenhouse as I did so. I peered hopefully at his window, but he still didn't turn even at the sound of breaking glass.


He had SO asked for this.


I headed across the lawn and paused on the edge of the large fishpond. Considering it was mid March, the water was likely to be cold. I bent and felt it and it was undoubtedly icy. However, I did not grudge a little personal discomfort in order to teach The Beast a useful and educational lesson.


Just in case he was watching, I made it a fairly convincing fall.


The pond wasn't just cold it was bloody freezing. I hauled myself out, teeth chattering, and approached The Beast's open window with victorious satisfaction.


He was writing notes at the table, and his client was resting on the mat covered floor area.


"I just fell in the pond." I announced through the open window.

"
You'd probably better have a shower then." The Beast said without looking around.


I gaped at him through the window. When it reached five minutes and he'd STILL paid no further attention despite my dripping, shivering and growing steadily more pathetic, the cold drove me indoors. I trailed upstairs, dropping pond water and tears in more or less equal quantities, and got into the hottest bath I could stand.


THAT helped.


Who needs mean Beasts when there is bubble bath? I got myself warm, toweled off and pulled a robe off the radiator, snuggling in it's warmth. It was too comfortable to take off in order to dress. Instead, I pulled a book off the bedside table, curled up around the cushions on the bed and lay down to read.


I was mostly asleep when the Beast's paw interceded between nose and book holding a glass of milk. He is completely neurotic about milk. It's part of his same fixation that being nine stone is somehow a problem for a grown man.


I took the glass and blinked at him, stretching luxuriously.


"Hi."


"Hello." The Beast leaned over and kissed me. "It's no good laying there looking cute, I've got a bone to pick with you."


"I AM cute." I corrected him.


"That's debatable." The Beast said sternly.


"I didn't interrupt your consultation! I only told you I'd fallen in the pond." I sat up to drink the milk which hopefully might calm him a little, pulling the robe a little tighter around me.


"And your performance on the wall?"


"I'm a trained gymnast." I said simply. "I competed at professional level and I know what I'm doing, you've seen me perform-"


"And I know for a fact you never competed on garden walls without any safety equipment or even anyone with you." The Beast cut me off. "What did I tell you about interrupting me when I'm working?"


"Not to," I said in a small voice, cringing at his tone, "But I didn't-"


"Doing everything you can think of to bring me running isn't trying to interrupt?"


"But you ignored me!" I said indignantly before he could put all the blame on me.


"Yes." The Beast agreed. "And I will whatever you do when I have a client with me. But I swear, every time I hear or see you do anything to attract my attention out of my office, you are going to end up with an extremely sore bottom."


No one should be allowed to make inhumane and uncomfortable comments like that.


"I don't WANT you to leave me!" I explained for the umpteenth time, wondering why he had such difficulty with this.


"I know and I don't want to leave you either, but I HAVE to work, Gabriel!"


"WHY?" I demanded.


I got the look which means he isn't about to play any further.


"And I HAVE told you about taking silly risks when you're alone and without proper equipment."


Ouch.


I looked hurt at him, sliding off the bed and heading for the door. He caught me before I made my escape, pulled me back to him and held both my hands, not letting me escape.


"And you know."


"It isn't a risk for me."


He didn't answer, just looked at me. I had a try at wrenching my hands out of his.


"Why don't you just say it straight out? That I'm too old, unfit and too fat-"


"If you're fat, Kate Moss is obese." The Beast interrupted. "And twenty eight isn't old."


For a gymnast, it's ancient.


I went limp, hoping he'd let me go. Instead he pulled me closer, folding his arms around my waist.


"You're going to survive. There is life beyond competition."


Yeah, right. He'd been saying that daily for three months now. But his cuddles have a way of being incredibly convincing. Unwillingly I buckled and let him draw me down into his lap to get closer. His arms wrapped around me, and one hand mapped out my spine, moving from shoulder to shoulder, then from neck to tail, cataloguing each bone with professional deftness.


"I need you with me." I said again into his chest.


"I know. But you have got to learn how to occupy yourself for an hour or two. And without interrupting me when I'm working."


"I'm sorry." I said into his chest.


Beasts apparently come with in built insincerity radar.


"Rubbish." He said succinctly.  "You might not agree with the idea of leaving me alone to work my boy, but I'm going to give you a very good reason not to interrupt me again."


"Noooo…" I got both arms more firmly around his neck, tucking my head deeper under his chin. "This was the first time you've had a client, I won't do it again."


"If you'd stopped at kicking the door, you'd have got away with that." The Beast prised my hands away from his neck and stood me on my feet. "Take the robe off."


"It's freezing in here."


"Then put a t shirt on."


As slowly as I possibly could, I found and put on a t shirt and sweater as well, and put a clean pair of boxers on, although I didn't really hold out much hope of keeping them on for long. The Beast sat patiently while I found a pair of socks and put them on for good measure, but he won. There came a point where I was dressed and all I could do was look up at him. He held out a hand to me.


"I promise." I said hopefully. "I won't bug you again."


"Until I've ignored you for at least three minutes." The Beast leaned over, snagged my wrist and pulled me to him. "Come on sunshine."


I leaned over his lap and settled down unhappily, flashing the Bambi eyes over my shoulder. It made him laugh, but it didn't help. He lifted my hips without hesitation and pulled the newly donned boxers down.


"Stamping up and down stairs- acrobatics in the hall OR garden- and throwing yourself in the pond-"


"I fell." I insisted. The Beast's arm snagged around my waist and pulled me close.


"FALLING in the pond, are all unacceptable behaviours- two of them are downright dangerous. And they're all a pure attempt at getting your own way."


I frowned at the floor. Yes. Obviously. So what was his point?


His hand smacked down hard. I shut my eyes and teeth, bracing myself. Six or eight of those hard smacks, distributed evenly over both cheeks, and my eyes were stinging. Unfortunately I had known The Beast long enough to understand that things weren't about to get any better at this point. I did the only thing I could do with any sort of dignity: held my breath and concentrated on silent swearing as his large hand continued to swat solidly and briskly, moving in groups from zone to zone. The second or third time his hand landed on the undercurve by my thigh I couldn't stop the flinch or wriggle. I held onto the quilt, turned my face into the crook of my arm and pinned my hopes on the villagers battering down the front door.


It was unlikely, the village here was nothing short of apathetic. They couldn't care less about a Beast savaging people behind the walls of his castle. They still hadn't arrived by the time I'd lost any illusion of this not bothering me too much and was sobbing in between extremely sincere promises that I would never interrupt him at work again. Ever. Under any circumstances. It took some time to convince him that I meant it, by which time my backside was blazing.


Never, under any circumstances, live with a physiotherapist. They know far too much about the human body and how it works.





*********





The corner of the downstairs hall was not an inspiring view. Still wearing boxers- I had refused to put my jeans back on- I glared at the paintwork and risked a quick look around before I rubbed at my burning bottom.


"Hands down." The Beast said from his lair.


"I'm NOT." I said indignantly, putting both hands down quickly.


"I can hear you moving." The Beast said without heat.


"Then let me come in there and you can WATCH me."


"No thank you, I like you in the hall and being quiet."


Subtlety is not a Beast trait.


I stood and gazed at paint for another eternity. What I was supposed to gain from this experience defeated me. It engendered nothing but extreme hatred of this particular space of wall.


"Allright." The Beast said eventually from the doorway. "Come here."


I detached myself from my corner and buried myself in his arms, climbing up as far as I could until he lifted me the rest of the way. Some days I felt a hundred and eight. He could make me feel about three. Now he was actually holding me, I swallowed on a few more tears and reflected bitterly on the evils of garden ponds. And shut doors.


The Beast kissed my hair and put me down, keeping his arms around me.


"I've got an hour now and the room is set up for you to do some work on those shoulders…"


"I need to tape something on tv-" I said, retreating towards the stairs. The Beast gave me a sinister smile and drew me with him into his lair.


"Oh no, sweetie. You wanted my undivided attention."


"I don't even HAVE an injury anymore-"


"Because we keep working on it." The Beast shut the door firmly.


I was still on the wrong side of it.

~The End~
Copyright Rolf and Ranger 2010




5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love these stories - and am so glad I don't have to deal with a "Gabriel".

Anonymous said...

Gabriel is a nightmare! poor Beast!!

Marsha said...

Gabriel is a terror! Oh my goodness! Enjoying the stories though!

Lady in Red said...

I like Gabriel :-)

Nancy Cozier said...

The Beast should be canonized as a saint!

Most of the artwork on the blog is by Canadian artist Steve Walker.

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