Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the spotless bicycle, chapter 3: threatening skies

by rhoda penmarq

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

in the morning

iphelia and her friends were served an old fashioned breakfast of ham, bacon, eggs, sausage, grits, flapjacks, oysters, rattlesnake steaks, strawberry and blackberry jam, biscuits, gravy, home fries, chicken wings, frogs legs, pork rinds, fried possum, greens, okra, coffee, orange juice, buttermilk, corn muffins, apple fritters and much else besides

but the pleasure of this repast was somewhat offset by the ill grace with which it was served

as they were taking coffee on the wide verandah,

iphelia was asked somewhat tartly when, but not how, they expected to take their leave

iphelia inquired politely as to the possibility of a stagecoach coming by

but was answered only with a laugh from mrs crunch

iphelia looked up at the sky and allowed that they might walk home ....

no sooner had she uttered these words than the skies began to darken ominously

just then mister moseby appeared with his pipe

he allowed as how he would be going to town on the next day and could give iphelia and her friends a ride through the swamp on his buckboard

the housekeeper made little attempt to hide her disgust at the prospect of her guests staying another day and night

iphelia, who had been brought up to regard graciousness and hospitality as the twin pillars of civilization

was somewhat embarrassed on her account

but attempted to mollify her by offering her and her friends services in whatever capacity mrs crunch would like to use them

although she well knew how scandalized her cousins would be if they knew she was volunteering to act as little more than a servant

and that they might well disown her if word ever reached them

mrs crunch accepted the offer with alacrity

but they remained on the verandah sipping their coffee as the morning wore on

and the skies continued to darken

time seemed to stand still

a phenomenon iphelia was thoroughly familiar with

mister moseby noticed a zombie on the outskirts of the clearing

chapter 4: a sobering misadventure


Dan Leo said...

What? No scrapple for breakfast?

Nevertheless I wish I could stop at this house for a brief sojourn, if only for a year or two, sitting on the verandah through much of the day and reading Sir Walter Scott...

human being said...

ah... the intrigue increases! and the questions which had aroused on the previous section are not answered... you should wait more... and when will the questions on this section be answered? god knows!
this is a very fascinating technic you usually use...

well the reader is trapped already...

thanks for this beautiful story...

i also loved the pictures a lot!

rhoda said...

glad you continue to like it. i originally thought of it as 2 or 3 episodes, but it may grow out of control... it does take place in a swamp...

i think st ronans well would be a good choice for oprah's book club. of course that's after they get through with sir charles grandison, and the caxtons, by bulwer-lytton.

Peter Greene said...

Oh, this is so good. i want more! The swamp and its inhabitants are becoming dear to me. This piece did at first remind me of Edward Gorey, to whom it was somewhat dedicated, but has been feeling like a Cordwainer Smith story for some time too now. It must be the wise and civil bears and the intergalactic empire trash. But this has zombies, too. And urglauts! Oh, what will become of the urglaut!

Man, oh, man - the suspense!

Great story and art, rhoda - thanks so much for it.