Author Topic: Challenge 33 (Laird Story) Entries 1 & 2 of four)  (Read 1956 times)

Offline Gyppo

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Challenge 33 (Laird Story) Entries 1 & 2 of four)
« on: September 25, 2007, 05:52:17 PM »
          Here are the first two contenders for Challenge 33, which had to end with the line 'And that's how We/They/I/etc finally got rid of The Laird Of Camster.'  Four very different tales despite leading to the same conclusion.

   There is a link to the poll at the bottom of each post.


Contender One:  1030 words

The Laird of Camster

“The Laird of Camster’s Dead,” I said.

“What do you mean dead?” she asked.

Why do women do that? Surely by the age of 52 she knew what the word dead meant. “What do you mean, what do you mean dead?” I said obtusely.

She replied with a glare and I took a step back so that I was just out of slapping range.

“I took his breakfast down to the shed as usual and found him dead,” I said.

“Are you sure?”

“Well he’s not breathing. And he’s stiff - his hands are clenched tighter than the clasp on your handbag,” I said.

She gave me another glare, “This is no time for jokes.”

“Well you better call the police,” I said.

“How are we going to explain that we have, I mean had, a Scottish Laird living in our shed?”

“Well you should have thought of that before you invited him to stay,” I said with glee as I imagined her being grilled by the local constabulary.

So, I guess by now you are wondering why we had a laird living in our shed. Well he wasn’t really a laird. No that’s not true he was a laird, but what I mean is, he wasn’t born into the landed gentry.  Let me explain.

One morning a couple of years ago, Maggie, that’s my razor-tongued wife, went into the shed to get her pink wellies and found a tramp asleep on the shed floor. Instead of oiking him out like any normal suburban housewife would have done, she gave him a plate of bread and milk. Her argument being that she would have done at least that for a lost hedgehog so surely said tramp deserved similar consideration.

Anyway, Maggie said he could stay for a couple of days and I was given the job of delivering his breakfast. Why do wives do that? As soon as you get within shouting range they feel obliged to give you a little task. And it’s always something crap like taking rubbish to the tip or feeding the tramp; things they could just as easily do themselves.

Well as it happens Gilbert was a jolly decent bloke and was actually quite good company once you got used to the smell. As these things tend to do, a couple of nights turned into a couple of weeks and before I knew it he was a permanent fixture.

It turned out that Gilbert was an ex high court judge that had had his life ruined by a series of failed marriages. Eventually he gave up trying to understand women and took to the bottle (I can understand that). After years on the booze, life’s slippery slope eventually deposited him on our shed floor. Poor bugger!

Maggie thought she might be a force for good in Gilbert’s life and she was very happy when she eventually weaned him off the meths. When I told her that he had only stopped drinking meths because he was siphoning the unleaded out of our mower and drinking that instead, she seemed to think this was somehow my fault for leaving temptation in his way. I have to admit I was sometimes tempted to bugger off and go and live in some other sod’s shed just to get away from the old bat.

Over time Gilbert and I became quite good friends. I would often nip into the shed when Maggie was out and give him a few schooners of her favourite amontillado. The booze loosened his tongue and he would tell me about his days sleeping in the high court or chasing the female clerks around the Old Bailey. It seems that most of all he missed all the wigs and dressing up. It’s a funny old world!

I have to confess, the laird thing was my idea. I just though it would cheer him up a bit. I saw it on eBay - Lairdship of Camster, opening bid $10. So I put in a bid in Gilbert’s name, and would you believe it, he won the auction. When I told him, he was chuffed to bits. Apparently he had some long lost jock ancestry and had always hankered after wearing a kilt. He never wore trousers from that day on. Of course he didn’t wear a kilt either but Maggie gave him one of her old floaty skirts and he was as happy as a Laird in a shed.

From that point on Gilbert took his lairdship very seriously and refused to answer to the name of Gilbert and insisted on being called the Laird of Camster or His Lairdship. If you ever called him Gilbert he just pouted and refused to eat his bread and milk.

Old Gilbert was certainly a home bird. He never left our garden and rarely left the shed. Once a year he would have his annual wash in the fishpond and bar that he just sat on some old sacking reading the papers we saved for the recycling. I was a bit concerned about his, well you know ablutions, and so I tried to train him to hop over the fence into Miserable Bernard’s garden when he needed a crap. The truth though, was that he never seemed to need to go. Maybe that’s what killed him in the end; it just built up inside him and crushed his heart.

And so here we are then. Maggie is panicking that she might be picked up by the fuzz (try not to hold that image) and I’ve lost a close friend; but on the other hand I’ve also gained the cost of 2 gallons of unleaded a week.

After torturing Maggie for a few more hours - Transvestite Tramp Tragedy headlines the Humbridge Chronicle – that kind of thing, I eventually decided to put her out of her misery. I bundled old Gilbert into his favourite sack (having first removed Maggie’s floaty) and then dumped him over the fence onto Miserable Bernard’s compost heap.

And that was how we finally got rid of The Laird of Camster.


Contender Two:  1190

   Dear Joan,

   Now I know I have not written to you for a while and I know this is going to sound daft, but  do you remember 'The Laird of Camster'.  Well would you believe that after thirty years of trying we have finally banished him?

   Let me tell you, it was no easy feat.  After all the first thing we had to do was, discover just what and who he was.  I am sure you can recall all those midnight discussions about him being a ghost or a Bogart, nonsense stuff.  The ideas of our childish imaginations, or so we thought.  However, no, the Laird, it turned out was indeed a Bogart.

   I do not know if you are aware of just what a Bogart is, so let me explain.  A Bogart is an evil sprite, it can shape shift.  One minute it looks like one of the barn kittens and the next it looks like a pot of geraniums.  How then could we catch the little beggar out and evict him from our ancestral home?

   We decided that to catch him, we had to know more about him.  Where he came from and why he set up residence in our home.  What attracted Bogarts and what repelled them.  Our research took us to strange and quite frightening places.  In addition, I confess to you now that I have gained much knowledge that the good vicar of St Anne's would find heretical.
   Nevertheless, the research was needed; the Bogart had become a terrible problem.
   Arthur, knowing we needed funds for major repairs hatched a plan to open the gardens to the public.  The Bogart, our dreadful Laird of Camster, hatched his own plans to scotch all our fund raising efforts.

   As a trial, Arthur and I let the vicar hold the annual fete on the west lawn.  People came from all over the district.  They put up their stalls with cakes and homemade jams, tombolas, and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the summer fete.  The sun shone and we hoped that for once nothing disastrous would befall our efforts.  We hoped in vein, the Laird had his own evil ideas.

   The main marquee, a fantastical contraption, with ropes and poles scattered randomly both inside and out, held the annual flower and vegetable growers prize efforts.  Had our Bogart chosen to target one of the smaller stands, then people would have smiled and agreed that accidents do happen.  However, he picked on the marquee.  Ropes loosened themselves causing poles to fall and destroy the prized entries of Colonel Bragg; you know what an old windbag he is, and that awful newcomer Mrs Smythe Richards.

   One rope tightened itself, so swear the twins, just as they were entering the marquee with two full watering cans.  The president of the Camster growers received both loads of water all over his best suit.  All minor things, but they began to add up, especially dearest Joan when the final act of the Bogart on that terrible day, was to knock the centre pole down just as the Chief Constable handed out the prizes.  Arthur and I were mortified.

   Both the growers association and the vicar declared that out beautiful grounds were highly unsuited for any more fetes.  Some of the younger members of the village agreed that they had not had so much fun in ages, but really, their opinion hardly counts.

   Drastic action was needed, that is when we began our research.  At first, Arthur was highly sceptical, you know what a pragmatic soul he is, but even he admitted that we could not allow the mischief to carry on.

 Nevertheless, how my dearest sister, do you discover a way to rid yourselves of an evil sprite?  Well much to my amazement Arthur knew the answer.
   While at university one of his fellows studied ancient Norse and Celtic mythology.  Did you know that it is possible to obtain a degree in the subject?  I most certainly did not know, but that is beside the point.

   Arthur contacted his old friend and invited him to stay at the manor house with us.  He explained in his invitation about the 'accidents' and the multitude of 'annoyances' we had been suffering.  Bless him; George Logan flew up from London the next day.

   George was so excited; within an hour of his arrival, he declared our problem to be a Bogart.  It seems he had spent over five years digging into local fairy tales all over the country and compiling a list of where certain types of sprites lived.
   Well, I must admit to a great deal of scepticism, Bogarts were the stuff of childhood, not the realm of well-educated adults, but I am proved wrong.  The Laird of Camster is a most malicious Bogart.  So what must we do then to rid ourselves of him?

   'Oh! Says George, it is quite easy, all you have to do is capture him'.  For all the world like you would capture a rabid dog.

   Capturing a Bogart entails a great deal of hard work and knowledge.  Knowledge that Arthur and I did not then have at our disposal, nor unfortunately did George Logan.  He knew what a Bogart was, and he had an impressive database of where they were sited, but he is not a practical soul.  We thanked him for his assistance and said our goodbyes, then went back to wondering just what we had to do to rid ourselves of the evil sprite.

 Arthur suggested the local library might hold some answers, but as I am sure, you can understand I was reluctant to go there and let all the villagers know of our problems.  So instead, we turned to the internet.  Do you know how much information of the most bizarre sorts the internet contains?

   We found more than one 'site' dedicated to myths about Bogarts, but none of them knew how to rid yourself of one.  We had drawn a blank and by now as I am sure, you will understand we were becoming quite desperate.

   Arthur once again telephoned George to ask whether he had found an answer to our dilemma, but he had forgotten all about it.  That is what happens when you ask an academic for help.  His suggestion that we ask a local chapter of Druids, we hardly felt appropriate, but in the end, it was they who knew the answer.

   A Druid Priest, named Bedeviere, arrived at the manor with a beautiful box made out of yew.  Inside the box, we had to place an object valuable to us and to the Bogart.  We put the deeds, or I should say a copy of the deeds, to the house inside.

 The greedy Bogart could not resist he jumped into the box.  With the 'Laird' interred, we then transported the box to the beach.  Begging a lift from old Malcolm, we took the Bogart in his box out to sea and consigned him to Davy Jones Locker.

   And that my dearest sister was how we finally got rid of the Laird of Camster.

   Your loving sister



Here's a link to the poll.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2007, 06:03:58 PM by Gyppo »
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