Thursday, June 16, 2011

Off the Books

 Another installement of Merle's Escapades. It seems like dealing with Arthur is actually less fun than paperwork. :)

Arthur was grumpy, even more so than usual I thought.

We'd been riding the train in silence ever since I brought up Magda. His face had a disgusting expression, as if he were having some sort of guttural dilemma. "Is it Gwen?" I asked, looking him in the eye.
"Hm?" The question had snapped him back into the present and his expression softened slightly.
"Gwen again? Still sorting out issues?" The subject of wives was a touchy one. He never understood why I married Magda; I never understood why he put up with Gwen. Even after acknowleding this to one another, we still talk about them. Out of a sense of comraderie I suppose.
"Yeah- Gwen's been going out a lot again. It's hard to keep her home."
"Hm." I nodded, "Are you home more now? Maybe she feels like you're gone too much."
"I've been home far more this year than I ever have been. She's not happy if I'm home, and she's not happy if I'm gone."
"That's a shame. Hard to win the battle if you don't know the rules."
 "True. You're right I suppose." He smiled weakly, trying to get me to change the subject.
"Well it will all sort itself out. Now, onto this new fellow you're sticking me with. Just how off the books am I allowed to be?"
"It's nothing but off the books with this, Merle. No one in the Ministry knows about it, and I want to keep it that way."
"Good. Then you won't mind if I take him to meet Magda and the girls."
"WHAT?" He shrieked so loud that the other passengers took full notice of us.
"Jeeper's Crow, Arthur! Keep it down. Shouting will not keep this off the books." He swallowed hard while collecting his wits. What few he had.
"It's just, well, you never took me to meet Magda or any of her trainees." I could see the child in him coming back out. The predictable sign that I know our meeting is about to end.
"You were on the books. I had to teach you according to the ways and regulations of the Ministry. Honestly I didn't like it any more than you did. Which is why I tried to show you a few tricks none of them big wigs would ever be able to figure out. No need to get all jealous. You're still my star pupil." That seemed to satisfy, and pacify, him for now.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. You taught me about how to use the parishes and places of ill repute. They've come in handy." His smug possum grin spread across his face. I'm sure he like the places of ill repute best of all.

"Glad to hear that."
"Of course."

"Liar" Magda's voice echoed inside my head as the we came to a screeching halt.


  1. Ahhh Arthur is getting a bit testy is he not.
    I like Merle.
    Moskeeto Jack

  2. I've got to say that Arthur is starting to grow on me; he's sort of endearing, a little like Frank Burns.

    But Merle is still my favorite.