Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash

hp01

 

Ron’s Ron shirt was just as bad as Ron himself.

 

If you haven’t yet encountered “The Handsome One” – a short computer-generated chapter of an imaginary Harry Potter book entitled Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash – you owe it to yourself to give it a quick read.  One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while!

 

Bene scribete.

Advertisements

Dincton Flatt and the Heavy Taco

I’m going to be honest – this is not worth reading.


 

Taco

Dincton Flatt shuffled ponderously down Bendstrom avenue, eyes darting suspiciously at everyone he passed by.

“It’s far too small a day for bacon,” he muttered.

“I wouldn’t know,” said Featherby, trotting alongside him.  And he wouldn’t, for in addition to being a coyote, he was a robot, and could not eat bacon in the slightest.

Flatt stopped a short, round man coming from the opposite direction, placing his hands to his shoulders and leering into his beady eyes.  “You.”

“Me?” the man sputtered.

“Yes, you.  The very one I am accosting.  How long have you had that hat?”

The man reached up and grabbed at his driving cap.  “This one?”

“Yes, that one.  Out with it, man.”

“Er–a couple years, I imagine.”

“And how long have you been wearing it?”

“All day – what is the meaning of this?”

Flatt sighed and released him, waving him off.  The man gave a distrustful glance, but went on his way.

“Sir,” offered Featherby, “perhaps you shouldn’t be attempting to track down our hatleaver on an empty stomach.”

Flatt wiped a hand down his face.  “Yes, I suppose you’re right.  But what could possibly satisfy my hunger for justice?”

“There’s a newspaper-and-taco stand just over there.”

“Why on Earth is there a newspaper-and-taco stand on Bendstrom?”

“A question for the ages, sir.”

“Never mind.  It’ll do in a pinch.”  Flatt made his way over to the stand and got the attention of its attendant – an oily teenager with lank brown hair in his eyes (which could only serve to obscure his taco-related perceptive capabilities).

“Good afternoon, sir,” said the vendor.  “Would you like a taco?”

“As it happens, I would.”  Flatt looked the boy up and down.  “I see you’re not wearing a hat.”  He narrowed his eyes.  “Have you murdered anyone lately?”

The vendor got to work on the taco.  “I don’t think so.  I’m not really one for murderin’.  Mum would be none too pleased with that.”

Something on the front of the day’s paper caught Flatt’s attention, and he snatched up a copy.  Depicted in the side column was an all-too-familiar face.

“Cleben Render.”  A fart of a man if ever there was one, and there was one, and his name was Cleben Render.  His fiery red hair and leaf-green suit said it all.

Featherby nosed at another copy.  “What do you imagine he is doing back in Danesbury?”

“Who could say?”

“Likely the story written about him in the very paper you’re holding, sir.”

“There’s no time for that, Featherby!”  He slammed the paper back into the stand, and in the following moment, was handed a fresh, sizzling taco.

It smelled appetizing enough, but as he tested it out in his hand, he noticed an unusually generous heft.

“This taco is rather heavy, isn’t it?  Is the shell made of solid gold?”

The vendor shrugged.  “I think that would be cost-prohibitive, sir.”

“How much is it?”

“Two quid.”

“Lead in the beef, then?”

“Maybe if the cow was shot to death.”  The boy fired off a pair of finger-guns.

Flatt bit into the taco.  The flavor was loud, and it hit his gut as though his esophagus were punching him in the stomach. His colon began to rumble, and his eyes reached out in desperation for the nearest establishment with plumbing.  “Pay the man, Featherby.”  He began to backpedal.

“Sir?  You have given me no funding.”

Flatt turned and broke out into a sprint, calling back, “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir!”


 

Bene scribete.

Dincton Flatt and the Crime Scene Place

Time for some more nonsense?


 

Is a crimes

 

Dincton Flatt strode handsomely through the quaint French doors of 29 Cherry Grove Street, his robot coyote trotting alongside him.  He adjusted his collar and surveyed the scene, expression insisting on his own importance.

“Heaven’s grace, Flatt!” blurted Abberson Watley, one of his top agents.  “It’s been three hours – where on Earth were you?”

“He felt the need to take a detour for a spot of chair shopping,” Featherby offered.

Flatt raised an eyebrow at his coyote.  “A man must see to the needs of his posterior, you’ll agree.”

“Mr. Flatt, I’m glad you could join us at last,” a familiar voice floated in from another room.

Flatt nodded in greeting as the other approached.  “Constable Billiardsman.  What precisely are we looking at?”  Jeborah Billiardsman was one of the more competent officers he had worked with, but his attire sported a preposterous amount of buttons.

“It’s Detective Inspector, Mr. Flatt, as I’ve told you many times.”  He gestured toward the middle-aged woman who lay motionless in the center of the sitting room.  “Hiddia Ribbenstern, forty-three years of age, found at 10:30 this morning with her body cut off.”

“Her entire body?”  Flatt grimaced, eyes sweeping over the woman’s corpse.

“I’m afraid so.”

Flatt shook his head.  “Savages.”  He knelt over the body.  “Do we have any leads?”

“None yet,” Watley sighed.  “Who would commit such a heinous act in such a well-kept and well-priced little chalet?  To so wantonly devalue it is the real crime, if you ask me.  Have you seen the kitchen?  Real marble tops and new, stainless steel appliances.  Solid maple floors throughout.  And such a short distance from the station.”

These last comments were directed toward Billiardsman, who held up a hand.  “I’m not here to house-hunt, Mr. Watley.  Merely to investigate a murder.”

“Yes.  Yes, of course…”

“And on the topic of said murder: how much do you know about the owners, Mr. Flatt?  Why are they selling?  Any financial difficulties?”

“The Hollyrakers?  I don’t believe so.  She’s expecting, and they purchased a larger property last month.”

“One represented by Flatt’s Flats, of course,” Watley added.

“Naturally.”  Flatt smiled at his reflection in the metal clasps of the deceased’s handbag, running a hand over his short, impossibly blond hair.  “No, I doubt they were involved in this.  Perhaps the culprit was incensed by the victim’s fashion.”  He stood up, gesturing to the bowler that lay askew on the floor, a half meter from the woman’s head.  “That bag with that cap?  No, madame, I fear not.”

“I hardly think–” Billiardsman began.

“Did anyone notice her mobile?” Featherby chimed in.  He had been nosing around the woman’s body, and was fishing the device out from under her frame with a paw.

Watley retrieved the phone and looked through it.  His eyes widened.  “My god!”

Flatt stepped over.  “Watley?”  Watley showed him the screen.  Ms. Ribbenstern had written a note to herself, and Flatt read it aloud for the officer’s sake: “I am not wearing a hat today.”

Billiardsman blinked.  “No hat?  You’re certain?  Then, that means…”

“That our killer must be some–some sort of hatleaver.”  Flatt frowned.  “Watley – call Ms. Franklin and have her cancel my dentist appointment for this afternoon.”

“You do not have a dentist appointment today, sir,” reminded Featherby.

“Ah, yes.  Watley – call Ms. Franklin and have her schedule an appointment with Dr. Clamb for 5:00.”

Watley’s features contorted.  “But, Flatt, we–”

“And then have her cancel it.”

Watley was silent a moment before asking,  “Whyever for?”

“We haven’t the time to indulge in the luxuries of oral hygiene, Watley; we have a murder to solve.”  Flatt turned to Billiardsman, who had scooped up the cap and was turning it over studiously.  “Have that checked for hair and prints, Constable.  Meanwhile, we’ll start looking for anyone who appears to have recently parted ways with a hat.  And committed homicide.”

“Detective Inspector,” the officer sighed.  “And I assure you, Mr. Flatt, that the CID is quite capable of handling this investigation.  You are merely here as a courtesy and character witness–”

“Nonsense, my good man.”  Flatt clapped him on the shoulder.  “I’ll have this dastardly hatleaver brought in forthwith.  And this property will sell in no time at all.”  He turned and beckoned to Watley and Featherby.  “Come, gentlemen; let us get to work.”

“Mr. Flatt, that isn’t how–” Billiardsman was calling after him, but Flatt stopped listening.  He was too busy playing at a bicuspid with the tip of his tongue.  Alas, there were signs of a chip.

“Watley – ring Ms. Franklin, if you would  I think I’ll keep that appointment after all.”


 

Bene scribete.

10 Minute Story: Dincton Flatt and the Perfect Chair

Here’s another one of these, I guess, why not.

WHY NOT.


 

A chair

 

“No, that simply will not do,” muttered Dincton Flatt, dismissing yet another chair as he wandered down the expansive aisles of the Sitting King Emporium.

“You can’t be too picky, sir,” offered his robot coyote, trotting alongside him.  “Surely there must be something here you fancy.  It is, after all, the premiere shop in Danesbury for all your sitting needs.”

“My needs are precise, Featherby.  I must be comfortable as a mouse who is – well, you must know, extremely comfortable.  And it must make me look important – but not as though I’m trying to look important.  It’s a delicate balance, you realize.”

“If you say so, sir.”  Featherby trotted up and sniffed at another seat – a wide, over-padded avocado-green affair.  “What of this one, then?  I’d say it would do your bum a service.”

“Heavens, Featherby.”  Flatt put a hand to his chest, eyes rolling over the thing in mortification.  “It is a punishment to behold.”

“Certainly unpretentious, yes?  Yet only someone of obvious importance would dare let himself be seen perched on such a seat.  And it looks quite comfortable, you must admit.”

“I shall admit to nothing.  Surely it must be as far from delivering a pleasant sitting experience as one might imagine would be a pair of large and unforgiving needles protruding haphazardly and expectantly from the earth.”

“That is startling imagery, sir.  Nevertheless, you will not know unless you give it a try.”  Featherby hopped up onto it and bounced up and down a little.

Flatt narrowed his gaze, then turned and continued walking.  “Remind me to have your reasoning algorithms refined.”

The coyote sighed and jumped back down to follow.

“Can I help you find something?” a friendly but businesslike voice reached Flatt’s ear.  A sharply dressed middle-aged woman approached him from a couple aisles away, navigating awkwardly between the tightly packed rows of chairs to get to him.  She was carrying a clipboard.  It was always clipboards.

“You’re likely to be of more help than him, I suppose.”  Flatt nodded toward Featherby.

The attendant let out a small gasp on noticing the coyote.  “What?  Er, sir, I don’t think you’re allowed–”

“Hold the cream,” Flatt interrupted, eyes landing on a tall, ruddy-brown wingback the next row over, elegantly stitched and expertly beaded.  He squeezed through a pair of plush recliners to reach it, nearly tripping over them and falling on his face, but no, gravity would not best him on this day.

“Sir?” the attendant called after him.

“This one.”  He stroked the perfect chair in admiration.  “Yes.  This is the one.  Have it prepared for me, will you?”

The attendant scanned her clipboard, offering a sympathetic smile.  “I do apologize, but that item has already been claimed.”

Flatt grew pale in horror.  “What?  No, you must be–by whom?”  He searched the chair in a desperate fit, hands landing upon a small blue tag.  Across it was written one word – a word which Flatt whispered in despondency: “Cheverly.”  He slumped miserably down into it, becoming only more distraught as it greeted his posterior with immaculate support.

Featherby hopped up onto his master’s lap and nosed his face.  “Take heart, sir.  There is still the green one.”

Flatt leaned his head back, frown threatening to unravel his features.  “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir.”


 

Bene scribete.

10-Minute Story: Dincton Flatt and the Cherry Grove Fiasco

Time for some more spontaneous nonsense, I suppose.

(Though I may not be feeling quite punchy enough today.)


 

House of No

 

Dincton Flatt sat cross-legged on the floor of one of his empty properties, shuffling through a deck of cards and frowning.

The sound of padding on the carpet and the soft voice of his robot coyote broke his trance.  “What’s wrong, sir?”

Flatt turned at the prompt and raised an eyebrow.  “I’m missing some cards, Featherby.”

The coyote tilted his head.  “Are you trying to say that you’re not playing with a full deck, sir?”

Flatt narrowed his eyes.

“Which cards are you missing?”

“The diamonds, of course.  It’s always the diamonds…”  He shoved the rest of the deck between Featherby’s jaws.  “Go fetch a new deck, will you?”

“I’ll see what I can find, sir,” was the coyote’s muffled response as he trotted away.

A buzzing rumble shook Flatt’s trousers, and he reached in to fetch his mobile.  “Flatt’s Flats – this is Mr. Flatt.”

A husky voice answered on the other end of the line.  “It’s Watley.”  Abberson Watley, one of his top agents.

“What is it, Watley?  News on the Clumpsworth listing?”

“No, Flatt, I’m afraid not.  There’s been a murder.”

“A murder?”  Flatt shot to his feet, eyes squinting at the horizon he could not see beyond the wall in front of him.  “A murder most foul, you say?”

Watley sighed.  “Most foul, I fear.  At the Cherry Grove property.”

“Cherry Grove?  Damnation, Watley, it’s only been two days on the market!”

“It seems people are literally dying to get into your suites, Flatt.”

“Yes, well, they could do us the courtesy of popping their clogs on the way there, now, couldn’t they?”  He wiped his free hand down his face.  “Very well.  I’ll be right over.”

Only a moment after he hung up, Flatt’s phone buzzed again.  “Yes, Watley – what now?”

The voice that answered this time was not Watley’s, however, but one which heavily implied the perfection of its owner’s immaculate white suit.  “Abberson Watley?  Come, now, Flatt, you mistake me for someone who cares as little about his closure rate as he does his attire.”

“Cheverly,” Flatt grumbled.  “I’m sure you’re looking splendid this afternoon.”

“Mm, yes, quite.  I hear there’s been a murder.”

Flatt glowered at nothing, nearly crushing the phone in his hand.  “If fact, there has.”  His voice grew low and sharp.  “Was it you?”

“Don’t be daft, Flatt.  It’s unbecoming.  You must understand, however, that a murder would never happen at one of my properties.  No, I imagine this will not be good for business.”

“Imagine what you will, Cheverly – we’ll see how things play out.”  He hung up as forcefully as modern technology would allow.

A moment or two later, he dialed Mr. Cheverly back, but only reached his answering service.

“Good,” he spoke into the recording, “is how things will play out.  Because I shall solve the murder with wit and good manners and make the property worth double.”  He hung up again and dropped the phone back into his pocket as Featherby returned with a much slimmer stack of cards in his maw.

“I’ve found the diamonds, sir,” he said, dropping them.

“Excellent work, Featherby.  But,” he began, then continued, without stopping, “where are the others?”

The coyote’s gaze wandered the room.  “I haven’t the slightest idea.”

Flatt crossed his arms and shook his head.  “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir.”


 

Bene scribete.

10-Minute Story: Dincton Flatt and the Goat that he Found

Good afternoon, those who may or may not be reading this in the afternoon.

Time for another “story” blast-written in ten minutes without forethought, I suppose.

And I call myself a writographer. Or, wait, no I don’t.


 

Goats are places

 

“Sir?” came Featherby’s voice from another room.

Dincton Flatt ignored him, absently clicking through tabs on his browser.  The immaculately dressed Mr. Cheverly had posted a photograph of his newest suit on Facebook.  It was perfect.  Flatt glowered.

“Sir?” Featherby called again.

Flatt sighed.  “What is it, Featherby?”  He looked over his shoulder, and saw his robot coyote trot into the room.

“I think you ought to see this, sir,” the coyote answered.

“Not now, Featherby, I’m quite in the middle of something.”

“Sir, even if I believed that, I would still feel pressed to tell you that there is a goat on your lawn.”

“A goat, Featherby?”

“Yes, sir, a goat.”

“Heavens, that shouldn’t be.”  Flatt pulled up an MSPaint process he always had open, filled in all black so he could look at his reflection on the computer monitor.  He was handsome as you please and blond as anything, just as he intended.  He smiled dashingly at himself and minimized the window, then stood and crossed his arms.  “Very well, then, show this goat to me.”

Featherby led him out to his front yard, where a goat indeed stood munching on the grass.

“You.  Goat,” Flatt warned.  “You mustn’t be here.  Not in the slightest.  This is simply not the place for goats.”

The goat looked up, staring blankly, then goatnoised.

“Hmm.  Quite rude.  What should we do, Featherby?”

“Perhaps we should call the goat store, sir.  Maybe it escaped and only needs to be returned.”

“No, Featherby, I do not think such a place exists.”  Flatt twisted up his mouth in consideration.  “Although, that might not be a bad thing to have around here.  Perhaps we should start one.”  Flatt approached the goat carefully.  “Well, there, fellow – how would you like to be the first in a line of magnificent goats – Flatt’s Goats?  We could sell your ilk all over Danesbury, perhaps as a complimentary add-on to our properties.”

The goat goatnoised.

Flatt frowned.

“Sir,” Featherby cautioned, “I do not mean to rain on your parade, but it might be said that this idea is not a good one.  The real-estate business is enough to manage on its own without adding livestock to your inventory.”

Flatt shook his head.  “You may be right, Featherby, but people do like goats, do they not?  And Cheverly does not have goats.”  Flatt eyed the robot.  “Does he?”

Featherby tilted his head.  “I don’t believe so, sir.”

“There.  You see?”  Flatt turned to grab the goat, but the goat backed away, causing Flatt to overreach and fall on his face.  “Mmph.”

“Sir, this is the second time you’ve fallen down this week.  People may start saying things.”

Flatt rolled over onto his back and stared up into the afternoon sky.  “I didn’t plan on any goats, now, did I?.”  He looked around, but now could not see the creature.  “Where did it go?”

“I am not certain, Sir.  Perhaps it was never here at all.”

Flatt sighed extensively.  “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir.”


 

Bene scribete.

10-Minute Story: Dincton Flatt at the Market

I have been neglectful of general writing as of late.

Thus, as penance, I shall sit down and write whatever un-premeditated nonsense comes into my head, without stopping, for ten minutes straight, and then share my shame with the world.

Apologies in advance.


 

Cart

 

Dincton Flatt strolled ponderously through the aisles of the market, eyes darting left and right in agitation.

“What is it, sir?” asked Featherby, his robot coyote.

“I need to find the pickles, of course,” Flatt responded.  He looked down at Featherby.  “Get out of the basket, would you?  Ridiculous.”

Featherby lowered his gaze in disappointment, but obliged him with a hop to the floor.  “I think the pickles would be in the back, sir, wouldn’t you?  Because of the vinegar and all.”

“I haven’t the slightest, Featherby.  But, yes, let us check there.”

The two made their way to the back of the store, and Flatt approached a woman behind the deli counter.  “Pardon, me, madame”  When she looked up, he flashed the smile of a thousand winners, the shine of his teeth alone solving the energy crisis in three small countries.

“Oh,” the woman stammered, then put on a pair of gloves.  “What can I get for you, sir?”

“Some pickles, I should think.  And some strawberry good-goods.”

“Some what, sir?”

“He means bon-bons,” Featherby offered.

“I don’t speak French when I can avoid it,” Flatt muttered.

The marketess smiled uncertainly, but got his items together for him.

Flatt looked around the market and took a deep breath.  “You know, Featherby, I like it here.  It has food, and I like food.”

“Yes, sir, I imagine you do.”  Featherby, being a robot, could not eat food, though he probably wanted to.

Flatt stroked his chin and turned around, but immediately slipped upon a puddle of grease and fell to the ground.

Featherby yipped in surprise, then nosed his face.

“I’m all right,” Flatt grumbled.  A hand reached out for him from the corner of his vision, and he drew his up to it in acceptance.  As the other hand pulled him up, his eyes set upon its owner – the immaculately dressed Mr. Cheverly.

Flatt frowned extensively, but allowed himself to be helped up, nonetheless.  “Mr. Cheverly,” he mumbled.  “You are looking rather dapper today.”

“Mm, yes, quite,” Cheverly concurred.  “Do be more careful, Flatt – there are enough dangers in this world that you needn’t add a market floor to their lot.”

“It was intentional, I assure you,” Flatt lied, brushing himself off.  “I needed to test out gravity.  You know how it is.”

The corner of Cheverly’s mouth turned down in a subtle but earth-darkening frown.  “Ah, yes, Flatt.  I’m quite certain of that.”  He strolled away in his perfect white suit.

Flatt grimaced, taking the pickles from the marketess and dropping them into his basket.  “I wonder what that dastardly fellow has in store for Danesbury.”

“Who can say?” asked Featherby.  “Perhaps he means only to torment those who fall down at markets, when they clearly shouldn’t.”

Flatt shook his head.  “Oh, Featherby, why did I build you?”

“For good times, sir.”


 

Bene scribete.