Stump And The Miasmic Earl #writephoto

This week’s writephoto is this piccy

‘Stump? Stump? Where the hell are you?’ Lino Dimpledchin, the Fifteenth Earl of Old Scrotum peered into the gloom and wondered if his pacemaker was up to the stress. If he died then he’d come back and haunt that bloody tenant farmer and, boy, would he haunt. You didn’t inherit a genetically enfeebling bloodline without knowing how to haunt with both gusto and precision.

Agricola Stump heard his landlord and sighed. What did the young shaver want now? Stump had farmed the land around the Keep at Old Scrotum since he was old enough to monogram his own mattock and had become more than a little irritated that his Lordship thought he knew more about the land than he did. Still, centuries of deference to the inbreeding of the upper classes had left him with an instinctive forelock tugging. He hurried towards the increasingly peevish landowner.

‘You bellowed, My Lord.’

‘Ah there you are Stump.’ To be fair to the Peer, the visibility was increasingly deteriorating so the only reason why he knew he was addressing his employee and not an unexpectedly mobile boulder was the head bob as Stump tugged at his fringe. ‘Are you burning stubble? Because Her Ladyship has in one of her diaphanous funks, and you know how she hates to be rendered invisible when she’s about to give me a right old ticking off.’

‘No sir. We don’t burn stubble in January.’

‘Well, what is it man? I can’t see a bloody thing.’

‘I think sir, unless I’m much mistaken, it’s the Twelth Earl. He is due to become miasmic this year.’

‘Good god, are we really at that point in the cycle? Do we have what we need?’

‘I gave your Steward the dry silage last week and the distillers should have provided enough raw spirit to act as an accelerant.’

Lino peered closely at Stump. ‘Is it me, or do you look nervous, Stump?’

‘A touch apprehensive, sir.’

‘My father told me that if at any point a Stump looks anything other than phlegmatic I should take the family pistol, lock myself in the tower and be prepared to do the Decent Thing. Are we at that point, Stump?’

‘Not exactly sir. Your ancestor is on the early side when it comes to apparitional appearances, but that might be due to the coincidence of La Niña causing a widdershins gyre in the Pacific coupled with Jupiter dominating Saturn.’


‘No, sir. I was trying to make you feel better.’

‘Very kind, Stump but we both know the prophecy. Every one hundred years there needs to be a pointless sacrifice or the castle will fall into rack and ruin. It’s just a bugger that I have to be that pointless sacrifice.’

‘Well, sir that assumes the conflagration doesn’t send the old boy packing. Super heated silage and copious alcohol has done the trick in the past. Shall I ask the fires be lit?’

‘Might as well, though her ladyship won’t like it. She’s been howling like a banshee all morning.’

Stump rubbed his chin. ‘Howling, you say?’

‘A veritable tsunami of octaves, Stump. Why?’

‘It’s just that I’ve been led to understand the Twelve Earl isn’t one for excessively enhanced consonants. I think the sort of aural ablation that her ladyship is capable of afflicting might be more effective than any sort of superheated silage.’

‘What say you, Stump? We allow a sort of joust between my long dead ancestor and the shining light of my existence?’

‘Who sir?’

‘Her ladyship, Stump.’

‘I wondered if you meant your horse sir.’

‘Good god, Stump, things would have to have reached a pretty pass for me to put Scrotal Sack at risk. Her ladyship is well capable to rendering any poltergeist corporeal for the day. How shall we manage this?’

‘Well, sir. I’ll encourage the Twelfth Earl to gather in the hollow by the gazunder pit, if you’d do what you can to keep her ladyship just a couple of crochets short of exploding until she’s joined him. Then, well, let the reins go as it were.’

‘Fancy a small bet, Stump?’

‘Probably not wise, since we are trying to save you from the Decent Thing and I doubt we want to test my loyalty, do we, sir?’

‘Suppose not. Did you get a rise last year?’

‘You reheeled my work boots sir.’

‘Did we? Splendid. Right, I’ll go and tell the old Amplifier that her bingowings have grown, er, wings and we’ll meet by the hollow.’

‘Understood, sir.’

‘And Stump.’

‘Sir?’ The old retainer waited while his Lordship studied his face carefully.

‘You feeling phlegmatic, Stump?’

‘As a Ptarmigan, sir.’

‘Marvellous. En marche!’

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.
This entry was posted in #writephoto, creative writing, humour, miscellany and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Stump And The Miasmic Earl #writephoto

  1. Being January the ptarmigan would be all white. That should help!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. L.K. Latham says:

    I”m laughing so much, I’m crying. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: #Writephoto Round-Up – Approach – New2Writing

Comments are closed.