Notes: So there was this thing called ds_match that happened (again). Part of the pre-Match warm ups was an exchange of anonymous ficlet bombs between teams Whimsy and Reality. I perpetrated several whimsy!bombs, collected here in order to demonstrate (in part--very small part) just why my imagination can't bring all the crack to the yard (it's smoked it already).
Written for Nos4a2no9.
Two steps to the left and about six feet up.
That’s the patch of air that Fraser keeps his imaginary friend in. I mean: there’s the wolf, which lip reads, gets fur all over the back seat of my GTO and seems to think it’s his role in life to hit me up for junk food, but there’s also Fraser’s imaginary friend.
It’s freaky how quickly I got used to it—along with the endless Inuit stories and the politeness—got used to Fraser and that patch of air, two steps to the left and about six feet up.
He’s the only person I know, though, that has an imaginary friend that makes his life more difficult. He has arguments with that air. Real, pissy arguments, like nothing I’ve ever seen him do with any real person (Dief doesn’t count). That patch of air also gets more of those eyebrow rubs and disappointed-confused looks than I get most weeks, and that’s quite a lot.
When I was seven, I had an imaginary dragon called George. He was the reason for everything from broken cookie jars to why both my knees were skinned from jumping from the top of the tree in the back garden.
Now, I have less beer than I used to and a freak of a Mountie for a partner. He completely fills the queerness requirement in my life.
Fraser? He has his patch of air.
One day, maybe I’ll tell him about George.
Written for JS_Cavalcante.
“So, let me get this straight.” Welsh leaned back in his chair, pinching the bridge of his nose in a vain attempt to stave of the headache that was being brought on by both the presence and smell of Detective Kowalski and Constable Fraser. “You thought it was a good idea to follow the two bank robbers on foot?”
Kowalski slouched further forwards—much further and his hunched shoulders would be higher than his hair—and scowled at the front of Welsh’s desk.
“Yes, Lieutenant.” Fraser ran one finger around the inside of the collar of his uniform. “They had, after all, just made off with well over fifty thousand dollars in bonds and property deeds.”
I’m not disagreeing with that, gentlemen, I’m disagreeing with your exact methods.”
“Indeed, Constable. Would either of you care to make a stab at explaining this to me?”
A mournful whine, followed by a bark drifted up from the general direction of Fraser’s feet.
“No, of course not, Diefenbaker. Don’t be ridiculous.”
Welsh pinched the bridge of his nose harder. The Canadian talking to his dog wasn’t the problem: it was, in all reality, something approaching normal. Disturbingly, it was the most normal part of the tableau in front of him at the moment.
“Super Mountie there ran after them,” Kowalski informed the floor in front of his feet in a tone of voice that indicated that the next person in the bullpen to comment on his appearance could well be taking their teeth home in a bucket. “Me and the wolf followed them. We chased them into the warehouse and they ambushed us by knocking a pile of boxes over on us.”
“Unfortunately the miscreants then escaped,” Fraser added. “We were, I’m afraid to say, rather distracted.” Fraser licked his lower lip and indicated both himself and Kowalski in an apologetic fashion.
“I can’t think why.” Welsh sighed and actually looked at the two men in front of him for a moment. They were, separately, at least seven different colours, ranging from an eyebrow raising chartreuse right the way through to a green that actually looked hazardous to the health. They also sparkled.
“Well, when the boxes of pigments burst open the resulting clouds of dust—while being non-toxic, if rather pungent—were not conducive to seeing particularly far. The glitter was also rather slippery, as Diefenbaker and Detective Kowalski unfortunately found out.”
Fraser’s explanatory gestures sent a faint lemon cloud eddying around himself, billowing more of the harsh chemical smell of pigment in Welsh’s direction.
Welsh looked from the scowling face of Kowalski to the earnest one of Fraser and restrained himself from laughing with an effort of will that he wasn’t aware he still possessed. “Just—go home. Go home, get cleaned up and don’t come back until at least twelve hours have elapsed.”
Fraser said thank you, Kowalski growled something and the dog bounded out the door as soon as it was opened. Welsh looked at the drifting of glitter now over every surface in his office then out the windows into the bullpen beyond, at the retreating trio that looked like Picasso had done the lines and gotten Matisse to do the coloring in, and, very slowly and carefully lowered his head into his hands.
Written for qe2, and in response to this reality!bomb.
“Dief, I need you to bring me the knife in the left pocket of my wool overcoat.”
Diefenbaker stares at Fraser with supreme disinterest. It seems like his human and Ray (who Dief is considering adopting as a second human, even if he does have a dependant in the form of the Slow Thing) spend all of their not-work time trying to find inventive ways to tie each other up to a wide assortment of furniture. Why should this be any different?
Why? Dief asks curiously. This looks like the natural progression of what you were doing two days ago on the couch. You are warping my fragile mind.
“Dief! This is no time to be insolent. Listen to me: I need for you to bring me my knife.”
And if you’re warping my mind, I hate to think what you are doing to Ray’s Slow Thing. I doubt that it ever knew that living things could bend in that way.
Dief lolls his tongue out, assured that Ray’s interruption, and his and Fraser’s subsequent not-quite argument have at least delayed the talking to that Fraser is sure to give him on the subject of lending a hand where needed—even if you do not actually possess hands. Being around Ray appears to be eroding away Fraser’s logic (and his ability—at times—to produce coherent sentences).
Around about the time that Ray makes the mistake about his parentage, and he and Fraser start with the human things, Dief rapidly loses interest and elects to investigate the rest of the warehouse in the hopes of food.
There is absolutely nothing in the way of food so Dief finds himself sitting to one side of the main entrance to the warehouse, watching the approaching strobe lights that signal the police with some interest. The half-wolf gives a moment’s thought to warning Fraser so that he and Ray can cut short any human things they may be up to, but pulls himself up short at the memory of both Ray’s recent slur on his parentage and the cruel and unusual way that Fraser prevented him sharing Ray’s breakfast pastries this morning.
Dief hopes that this will maybe make them retreat back to the bedroom when it comes to human things, for the sake of the poor Slow Thing if nothing else, but he isn’t holding out too much hope.
Written for Omphale23.
I stared glumly down at the paperwork threatening to obscure my desk. Last week JurisFiction had finally cracked a ring of illegal participle smugglers and everybody from Text Grand Central down to the independents in Vanity Publishing wanted to weigh in on the matter—and to do that, they all needed reports. I was seriously considering volunteering for this afternoon’s grammasite hunting party in the Well of Lost Plots.
Thankfully, I was saved from an afternoon of singing Jerusalem by Commander Bradshaw. The Commander was the star of his own series of colonial-period boy’s own adventures, and his outfit—from pith helmet to boots that a hyena would have difficulty chewing—bore this out. He was also the only person to take a second term of office as the Bellman, after my own resignation from the position.
“Ah, Thursday, old girl,” he said genially, as soon as he saw that he had my attention. “What do you know about hypercubes?”
I leaned back in my chair and gave him a curious look. “They’re things that are bigger on the inside. They’re also more the preserve of the upper echelons of Non-Fiction, aren’t they?”
“Yes, exactly. I’m sure that you know that most obvious example of a hypercube is a book?” Bradshaw waited for my nod of acquiescence before continuing. “Well, through the use of textual sieves and assorted filters that those clever chaps over at R & D designed, the vast majority of books are closed hypercubes. That is to say: unless you’ve got a TravelBook or—even more rarely—that certain something, they are simply books.”
I thought briefly of Mrs. Nakajima. “Where exactly are you going with this, Commander?”
Bradshaw coughed. “Well, it appears that some of the more… mischievous characters in the Hard Sci-Fi/Non-Fiction borderlands thought that loosing a flock of Tessaracts would be a jolly good joke.”
“The Tessaracts them were read-locked into the ‘whi-’ pages of the Oxford English Dictionary as soon as TGC realised that they had escaped. However, it does appear that there were some instances of unauthorized BookJumping, both transfictional and from the real worlds.” Bradshaw glossed over those last few words, as if he was hoping that I would miss them.
“What do you mean ‘worlds’?”
“There were some parallel world issues as well,” Bradshaw admitted. “Most of the BookJumps happened into the storycode engine hall. The fictives are being sent home over the Text Sea and we’ve managed to convince the non-fictional visitors that they’re having a really good dream brought on by either the cheese they ate at dinner, or the sci-fi film they saw last week, and get them back to where they belong without too much difficulty.”
“You said ‘most’,” I observed, crossing my arms in front of my chest.
“Yes, well, old girl. I wondered if you’d mind giving the Cat a hand?”
Given that it wouldn’t involve any of the paperwork in front of me, I quickly agreed and soon found myself leaving the bucolic pages of Norland Park for the endless hardwood corridors of the Library.
Shaking my head to rid myself of the slight dizziness that BookJumping caused, I walked from ‘A’ to ‘D’ floors, in the direction of the dictionary annex. While dictionaries are non-fiction, the Cheshire Cat had deemed it wise to have a complete selection of English dictionaries in the fictional half of the Library to minimize the chances of a mispeling vyrus outbreak.
The dictionary annex was also where the Cat had taken to keeping various mementoes and knick-knacks. It was next to one of those—the cantaloupe scented skylark from the UltraWord fiasco—that I found him sitting as he glumly surveyed his visitors.
There were two of them: a man in a bright red uniform of some description, mathematically positioned hat on his head, and a silver and white dog that looked entirely too much like a wolf. The man was examining the shelves with every evidence of interest and the wolf was scratching the side of his head on the corner of a broken harpsichord.
“Hello, Thursday. Aren’t they perfectly terrible?”
“They don’t seem to be doing any damage.”
“That’s just the point, really. Could have done with an excuse to rearrange things about a bit, but no—He’s just reading things and talking to the dog.”
The man was indeed carrying on a running commentary of what he was looking at, and it did seem to be directed at his dog.
“The dog talks?” I gave the creature a considering look as it yawned and flopped to the floor.
“No, it doesn’t,” the Cat said. “He seems to think it does, though. He was also asking after the ghost of his father, wondering if his father was in turn being haunted by his parents—explaining, apparently—all the books. He also expressed surprise that we didn’t have any tundra.”
I looked sideways at the Cat. He seemed utterly deflated and was being a lot less cryptic and tangential than usual. Clearly, the visitors were having an adverse affect on him.
I took a second look at the man. He had dark hair, was tall and well proportioned, and I caught a glimpse of blue eyes as he finally noticed that I was here. He was also handsome to an almost ridiculous degree.
“Ah, hello!” The man advanced on me, one hand held out to shake. “Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I’m assuming that you, like Mr. Cat, are acquainted with my father, Robert Fraser, formerly of the RCMP?”
I shook Constable Fraser’s hand and then took a step back. Devastatingly handsome and charmingly polite? He had to be fictional.
“Thursday Next,” I introduced myself. “Are you from Historical or Epic Romance?”
The Constable stared at me blankly.
“Look—you’re obviously a fictive—and it’s equally obvious that you’ve not got a trans-genre BookJumping license. I need to get you back to your book and your dog—”
“Oh, he’s a wolf. Well, half-wolf, actually. There’s a rather interesting story about how we met—”
From the Cat’s pained expression, I gathered that he had already heard this story and that I had better cut it short before Benton Fraser got into his stride.
“Wolf, then. I doubt he’s from Natural History, so he’s either Allegorical or Metaphorical, in which case we need to get him back before he’s missed.”
“I’m afraid I don’t quite understand, Miss Next.”
The Cat coughed and we both looked at him. With an expression of distaste he pointed at the UltraWord bird. “Would you say there’s something strange about this?”
Constable Fraser’s expression became even more baffled, but he still replied. “Well, of course: both Diefenbaker and myself are sure that it smells distinctly of melons. Cantaloupes, to be precise.”
“You’re real?” I asked incredulously. No wonder the Cat was looking so sick. It looked like my day was about to get an awful lot more complicated.