Pettifore And The Duster Of Doom #writephoto

Pettifore Ptarmigan entered adulthood on the 27th February via a set of steps and a badly painted door. He knew he was finally a grown up because the crowd in the small poorly lit room – which oddly smelt of cardamom and his Grandfather after his annual deforestation – merely made space for him to sit and then ignored him. Before this moment, the usual reception on his entering a strange room was either ‘what do you want, kid?’ Or ‘put the pizzas over there’.

No, Pettifore was now an adult, he just knew it; after all wasn’t being treated with indifference by strangers and being able to drink tea without sugar the two badges of his much awaited and much delayed maturation?

The reason why Pettifore had chanced into this throng was to hear Dr (self-styled) Robinia Bellibrace discuss her latest theories on the existence of a previously undiscovered race of two dimensional beings she had dubbed the Flatians with a depressing lack of imagination. Flatians, so the good Doctor posited were able to avoid detection by turning sideways on being disturbed thus rendering themselves virtually invisible to the unquestioning eyes of mankind. The crowd murmured its apparent approval at this explanation for the centuries old ignorance of the Flatians’ arrival and colonisation of a small and rather moist suburb of what later became Ruislip. Pettifore who was still slightly stunned about his accession to the land of men missed the start of the sparse applause and, in an effort to catch up, did what he wanted to avoid: brought the room’s attention to his presence by an over vigorous clapping.

Dr Bellibrace leant across the lectern and peered at him with a predatory glint in her eye. ‘Yes, exactly. We need such obvious enthusiasm if we are to obtain compelling evidence of the Flatians existence. Let’s follow this young man’s lead.’

Pettifore concentrated on the ‘man’ rather that the ‘young’ and nodded hard.

‘Who will join me,’ Robinia intoned, ‘in setting a trap for a Flatian?’

Pettifore, new and naive as he was shot his hand in the air sure that he would be one in a sea of limbs. It took him several moments to realise he was alone and the crowd about him had begun to ease away from his seat. An elderly man sporting MacDonald spats and a octagonal squint sighed. ‘Brave, but really?’

Robinia could barely contain her excitement. She jabbed her finger at various parts of the crowd. ‘You will see. We will have our proof.’

When Pettifore and Robinia arrived at 27 The Pleasants, Pettifore’s home, Mrs Ptarmigan answered the door, apparently quite flustered. She had her hair held in a knotted scarf and wore rubber gloves that came up to her armpits. ‘I’m trying to unblock your grandfather, dear. He’s superannuated his grublings again. You make yourselves comfy in the sitting room while I make tea.’

While Pettifore sat nervously on a novelty canon, Robinia prowled the small room. Finally she announced, ‘This place is perfect. I’ll set up a trap.’

Before Pettifore had a chance to conjugate amo, his default calming chant, Robinia had triangulated the chesterfield and armoured her strobing kaleidoscope. As Pettifore watched, entranced, gradually the reflection of a vibrant scene of shimmering ephemeral figures in dazzling primary colours appeared on the glass of the French doors. A beautiful woman with hair to spare offered a bowl of succour to an unseen underling.

Pettifore gasped as Robinia smiled. ‘With the two of us,’ she said, ‘we can capture this image and consign the cynics and nay-sayers to the pit of humiliation. Come, boy and hold the trap.’

To Pettifore the trap appeared to be a plastic sleeve but he was too polite and, in truth a bit narked at being called a boy to much care.

He stepped forward and together with Robinia he leant towards the glass.

‘Right ho, who takes milk?’ Mrs Ptarmigan bustled in and stopped. She took in the unlikely scene of two people apparently rapt, gazing at one pane of glass. She came to a hasty conclusion, pulled a duster from the pocket of her pinafore and pushed past Pettifore. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she apologised to a startled Robinia, ‘but grandfather does tend to leave residues in the most unexpected places.’

With a swift and decisive rub she decimated the small colony of Flatians and set back intergalactic anthropology several minutes. ‘Tea?’

Robinia nodded, her energy levels dropping.

‘And maybe a chocolate hobnob. You look like you need a sugar boost.’ She held out the plate.

This was written in response to the latest #writephoto prompt

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. 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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