Oil And Troubled Waters #writephoto #flashfiction

Eric Semibreve goggled at the scene that presented itself. The reception at Great Meldrop police station wasn’t small but it could barely contain the two constables and the enormous woman standing between them. She dripped puddles of dark liquid onto his blue ‘summer lust’ carpet and held his gaze with two huge yellow eyes that did not suggest she had come either willingly or quietly.

The younger policeman glanced nervously at the woman and bent his head to his notebook, as if checking the story.

Semibreve sighed. ‘What have you done, Vivienne? It’s not time for an appearance, is it?’

‘Do you know her, Sarge?’

‘Everyone knows Viv, don’t we? Every so often she puts on a little show and…’


‘A spectacular, then. What did she do? Behead the mayor? Demand fealty with egregious consequences if disobeyed?’

The constable kept checking his notes, all the time shaking his head.

‘This isn’t about Lover Boy, is it?’

‘She did say something about a man…’


The other constable frowned at the Sergeant. ‘Has she really beheaded the mayor?’

‘Not recently. We’ve discouraged decapitations. You know what with the surge in knife crimes. Are your carrying?’

The Woman took her time and then put her hand inside her cloak, pulling out an enormous sword.

Both constables lurched back, the younger with the notebook reaching for his pepper spray.

Semibreve stepped forward, hands raised. ‘Hold the sauce, constable. Viv, what did we agree?’

Slowly the sword disappeared.

‘Sarge we can’t let her keep that.’

‘Oh, I think we can.’

‘But… but it’s a Samurai sword, a zombie knife…’

‘It’s bloody Excalibur you muppet. You go taking that off the Lady from the Lake and paying fealty will be the least of your worries…’

‘What’s fealty, Sarge?’

‘It’s like a mortgage only the interest payments are less financial and more organic…’


‘As in they involve organs, the donation thereof. Look, Viv, what’s got you dander up? Merlin being at the spells again?’

Notebook constable blinked. ‘Merlin, as in the wizard…’


‘Got it Viv. Yes that Merlin. Just don’t call him mythical.’

A hard reached for the cloak again.

Semibreve spread his hands. ‘Lads, Viv is a bit of a regular. Been here since before we had police and it’s taken a while to find an accommodation…’

Notebook glanced up, bright eyed. ‘She refused to give her address, Sarge. I told her she had to.’

‘Look, we know where she lives… broadly. And she’s not really one to worry about details like postcodes, ok.’

‘But Sarge, there are rules.’

Semibreve wanted nothing so much as to get rid of the irritating chump. ‘You’ve seen her bloody swo…’


‘…caliber, yes, right. Why don’t you pop off and get us a couple of brews, and I’ll sort this out.’

‘Don’t you want to know what she did?’

‘Must we?’ He looked at the goddess, who, if he didn’t know better was smirking. ‘Oh go on, give me a laugh.’

Notebook coughed. ‘We apprehended the, Er, Her Ladyship,’ that got him a small but significant tilt of her head, ‘by the Lake side apparently creating a fire.’

‘When you say ‘creating’…?’

‘Waving her arms and making a bit of a fuss, after which this metal basket caught fire.’

‘Why Viv? You’re not a fire spirit? What did the big man do?’

Notebook hadn’t gone for the teas. He said, ‘That’ll be Merlin?’

The female goddess rose to the summit of her magnificence and then, imperceptibly at first but with increasing speed shrank until she was no bigger than Semibreve’s Auntie Flo but with more leather armour and less support hose. ‘He’s been dabbling. Again.’ The voice had also lost its thunderous timbre. ‘Wanted to thwart the Frackers?’

‘Does she mean Fuc…’

‘NO. I MEAN…’ she stopped herself. ‘I mean those exploiters who want to ruin the countryside. Shake it to bits, they will. It’s just he couldn’t stop them so he had a cunning plan.’

‘Oh dear.’

‘Exactly Sergeant. He decided, rather than stop them drilling he’d simply take the oil and keep it. So he filled the Lake.’

Semibreve looked at the puddle by her feet. ‘That oil, is it?’ He’d never explain to Doris about the stains.

‘I told him not to, How it’d be a disaster but oh no, He’s a Supreme Priest, isn’t he? He knows best. Do you know how hard it is to stand in water and hold this bloody symbol aloft?’ She tapped her cloak and the three policemen instantly stepped back. ‘In oil it’s impossible. You just slip to the bottom. He said it would keep the blade free of rust, like it’s made of cheap iron. So I said I’d get rid of it and he said how and I was just about to show him when Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber turned up. Stopped me in my tracks they did.’

‘Probably a good thing, the Lake being surrounded by woods and all.’

‘I suppose. But I’ve still got a Lake full of oil.’

‘Can’t Merlin, you know, change it into something?’

‘Like water into wine, you mean?’

‘Or maybe something more prosaic, like oil into cash?’

‘And what would I do with millions of pounds, Sergeant?’

Semibreve smiled and pushed open the door to his office. ‘Now I think I can help you there, Viv. Why don’t you pop into my room. Constable, haven’t you got those teas yet?’

This post was written in response to Sue Vincent’s #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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16 Responses to Oil And Troubled Waters #writephoto #flashfiction

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    If only it were that simple…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb answer to all our problems, bring back the ancient magic!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JT Twissel says:

    That lake full of oil isn’t very good for those poor purple trees!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Losing the Plot says:

    This is fab, like a blend of Tom Sharpe and Terry Pratchett. It’s crying out to be part of a bigger story though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Put that fag out! …
    No not in the water.
    You really didn’t aughta. 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

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

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