Pearl Barley And The Conundrum Of The Missing Roof #flashfiction #writephoto

Pearl Barley, newly qualified exorcist checked the address. She looked at the mist shrouded house. Suitably isolated but not your usual spectral squat. She approached the tall man with the thousand mile sigh. ‘Mr…?’


‘Right. Mr. Trenprin.. Tenpedr…’

‘Call me Martin, Ms..?’

‘Barley. I’m from Spirits Release. You called.’

‘I told your colleague. My roof’s gone.’

‘Yes. Yes I can see. But surely a builder, or loss adjuster would be more use.’

‘Well, that would be true if it had been destroyed.’

‘What happened?’

‘Ms Bar… do you have another name?’


‘Really? Has anyone ever…?’

‘Yes. Take it from the top. Well, the beginning.’

‘I rent this place out. It’s isolated, see. Stag dos, film sets, band practice. But the last lot were beyond belief.’

‘Who was it?’

‘The Banshees?’

‘Is that a band?’

Mr Trependium looked askance. ‘You are an exorcist, aren’t you? You do know what a banshee is? I’ve hosted Thrash Metal and believe me these buggers make them seem like a bunch of mime artists. They weren’t even amplified and my ears leaked like a packet of chocolate condoms.’

‘Yes, yes, I do see. It’s just… what happened to your roof.’

‘It did what you’d do in the circumstances. It buggered off.’

‘They raised the roof?’

‘Ha, bloody ha. If that’s the best…’

‘No, sorry but with your classic indoor banshee howling the roof might go up but it will come straight back down.’

‘Well it didn’t. It’s over there. By the woods. Sulking.’

‘Have you spoken…?’

‘It’s a bloody roof. Of course I haven’t spoken to it. The lead banshee told me. Said I needed you because it had caught some new affliction that’s going the rounds.’

‘Oh, really, did he say?’ Pearl did a little jump then stopped.

‘What is it with you? This isn’t some exciting new test case, you know. It’s my livelihood sitting over there like some teen whose channelling his inner simian. If I was a doctor and told you you had some exciting new type of cancer how would you feel if I came over all excited.’


‘It’s ok. It’s been a bad few hours. What is it?’

‘I’m pretty sure it has been infected. With a Yurt Curse.’

‘You what?’

‘It’s all this globalisation. It’s been gradually making its way across Europe since it was first isolated in Mongolia back in the late 90s. Roofs  are essentially homing structures. They don’t often take flight. Not like doors. Doors want to escape and but for hinges…’ Pearl saw his expression and hurried on. ‘Anyway, roofs are inherently duo-dimensional  – they want to hold their original shape, be it flat or pitched or curved. But yurts, as you probably know are always being dismantled, flat-packed and then rebuilt. It seems a Mongolian alchemist, who was at a conference on The Gengis Incantation in Ulan Bator got into a slanging match with a ghoul diviner from Utter Pradesh and they had a spell-off. The upshot was the ghoul diviner put a curse on the Yurt just at the same moment the alchemist incantated on the diviner’s caravan. The Yurt took flight and ever since has been caught in a trap where it wants it be both erect and flat at the same time. So it’s ok when it’s in one state or the other but woe betide you trying to change it by dismantling or re erecting it. It just flies away.’

‘What happened to the caravan?’

‘Oh it just reverted to its natural state.’

‘Which is?’

‘It moves slowly in the middle of the road ensuring nothing can go past it. Haven’t you seen the TV pictures of the Chinese traffic jams?’

‘I’m impressed. Did you learn this at Exorcist school or something.’

Pearl giggled. ‘No silly. Like everyone else I looked it up in Wizipedia.’

‘Can you fix it?’

‘No. You need a builder. Once it’s back in place it’ll be fine. Just don’t blow it off again.’

‘It’ll still be cursed though?’

‘True. But do you know how much it will cost to exorcise a whole roof, one tile at a time?’


‘Let’s just say it’ll send you bills through the roof. Now, what I really want to do it find those Banshees. They’ve been winding you up. Mind you that’s what Banshees do, after all. Any chance of a cuppa while I see if I can track them down?’

This is in response to Sue Vincent’s latest #writephoto prompt


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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38 Responses to Pearl Barley And The Conundrum Of The Missing Roof #flashfiction #writephoto

  1. Ritu says:

    Very funny! Pearl Barley strikes again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene says:

    This is very funny!! What an imagination you have, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. floridaborne says:

    That was so much fun to read. What you do with cliche’s is hilarious. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great stuff Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 😀 “chocolate condoms,” “inner simian…” I can’t match you for terribly on-point descriptions.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow–don’t know if I’ll ever get that condoms image out of my head!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. willowdot21 says:

    Love these posts Geoff and this one is no exception 💜💜
    Well this Pearl Barley woman is really using her house to make money … Shame about the banshees! I like her could you let me know where she did her training I could do with a new career! There are quite a people I would quite like to Hex Vex or Annoy.😁💜💜


  8. I got terribly excited when I read the first two words of the title of this post. It’s been too long! And I love how you took globalisation, applied it to building structures and roofs and – voila!! I begin to see your imagination operating like one of those robotic perennial cleaning machines – hoovering up any little tidbit that falls your way, giving it a good shake and letting it recycle again in a whole new platform…….. It’s just amazing to observe! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Erika Kind says:

    Haha, good take, Geoff!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A great one, Geoff. 🙂 I should have figured if anyone could manage a humorous piece with this week’s photo, it’d be you.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Now, a Wizipedia could come in real handy in dealing with wizards running amok across Middle-Earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Nice one!! 😉
    Cracked me up!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. JT Twissel says:

    Flying yurts and exorcists named Pearl Barley – oh my! Hope there aren’t any banshees in your tea!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. janmalique says:

    Be still my racing heart! My favourite exorcist is back. This deserves to be shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Charli Mills says:

    Your spirited tales pack levitated writing: “It seems a Mongolian alchemist, who was at a conference on The Gengis Incantation in Ulan Bator got into a slanging match with a ghoul diviner from Utter Pradesh and they had a spell-off.” Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Pearl Barley And The Conundrum Of The Missing Roof #flashfiction #writephoto — TanGental « strangegoingsonintheshed

  17. Sue Vincent says:

    Sort of a pantile dysfunction then…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up: Spectral #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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