Friday, May 09, 2008

New Beginning 497

Why There Are Moles in the Bathing Chamber

While Bradamante relaxed in the bathing pool, the pile of moles slumbered in the corner, except for the half-grown pup left on sentinel duty. Suddenly he spotted an eye peering through the keyhole and squealed an alarm: "Eyedropper alert! Eyedropper alert!"

The moles sprang to their feet and assumed a well-practiced formation. To their leader's cry of "Hup! Hup! Hup!" they formed a cheerleader-style pyramid. Kiku, the mole who had chosen to companion Sun-Tzu, she with the black belt in Py Thon Do, swarmed to the top of the pyramid, hooked a forepaw around the doorknob, and thrust her stiffened, fully extended vibrissae through the keyhole.

There was a scream from the other side of the door, and the sound of stumbling footsteps fleeing down the stairs....

After a round of high-fiving each other, the moles resumed their slumber...but not before the senior mole had explained to the young sentry that the correct term was either "Peeping Tom” or "Eavesdropper."

Why There Are Coyotes in the Bidet

The moles were curled up into a ball, with Sun-Tzu compacted into the center. Bradamante snored lightly; Kiku covered her ears and tried to doze. Then the sentry called out: "Doggie alert! Doggie alert!"

With much giggling, the moles anticipated a nuzzling from a wet canine nose, an affectionate game that brought respite from their duties.

There was a scream from the leading edge of the mole mass as sharp incisors sliced into juicy mole flesh. The defenseless creatures were savaged brutally, but not before Sun-Tzu turned to the young sentry and explained that the correct term was either "Run! Coyotes!" or "We're about to be eaten by coyotes!"

Opening: Tal.....Continuation: Mignon


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Unfortunately for the young sentry, he had become the boy who cried wolf. Days later, when the fake Tom CAt worms dropped through the keyhole and slipped under the door, Kiku, Shi-Tzu, Mungo and Wilfred all the host of moles assumed the worst and consumed them. So did Muzzy, Buffy, Hillary and Flossie. Within a few minutes of the banquet, the moles lay dead with the half-grown pup Bradamante, eloped with the nearest groundhog.

--Dave F.

The young sentinel dutifully saluted, all the while keeping his furry back to Bradamante. Young Sentinel did not want senior Mole, she who was now widowed and reaching out to companion Young Sentinel, to notice.

The odor of Bradamante's bathing, the feel of his mutton chops, the sound of his editor's pen at work even amid the bubbles, always aroused Young Sentinel. The soap suds crusting Bradamante's torso would leave a delicate scent that Young Sentinel found irresistible.

Young Sentinel could only be grateful that Moles do not have eyes, for surely Bradamante's splendor would be too much to endure.

--Saipan Writer

How I Fashioned a Story from the Movie, Willard

While taking the time mulling over a new story idea, I decided to watch Willard . Upon seeing how the strange man bonded with those despicable vermin, the rats, it came to me.

I sprang to me feet an shouted "Moles!" To my eyes, they were similar enough to rats but diffent enough so as not to be compared. Better still, mine shall be a comedy, and my rats--er--moles shall talk.


Evil Editor said...

Very nice. My only problem is with the first sentence. I'm not sure I'd say the pile of moles slumbered. And even if I did, is the pup on sentinel duty part of the pile? If not, it wouldn't be accurate to say the pile slumbered except for the sentinel because everyone in the pile is slumbering. If the sentinel is on the pile in the corner, how could he spot an eye peering through the keyhole, even of a mole-sized door? (We'll ignore the fact that moles tend not to spot much of anything, as these moles seem to have evolved20/20 vision.)

writtenwyrdd said...

I liked this, but it did feel like a chapter opening to me. Is it?

Anyhow, it's got a light and humorous voice. I'd have read on.

I pictured the door as human sized, seeing as a human was bathing. (I thought Bradamante was human, anyhow, in the face of nothing to say otherwise.) I still don't know why she's got moles guarding her, but hope to find out soon.

Bernita said...

Tal, this is totally delightful.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading this when it was first posted (knew it was Tal) but I couldn't think of a cont. EE chose a good one.


Dave Fragments said...

This is cute with anthropomorphic moles. Like Ratatouille for soldiers instead of cooking.

I have a problem with too many clauses in one sentence: Kiku, the mole who had chosen to companion Sun-Tzu, she with the black belt in Py Thon Do, swarmed to the top of the pyramid, ...

Why do we need to know she's companion to "Sun-Tzu" and does "one" mole count as a swarm? These are kinda picky and they aren't story killers.

I also wonder if all the moles are named after oriental personages?

And do moles really have 4 or 5 inch vibrissae? I had to look that up since I'm not knowledgeable about mole anatomy. I missed the day in biology class they discussed moles. I did however extensively study Mols and Avagadro's, not to mention the Mohs hardness scale that ends in diamonds. And I know the difference between Molar and Normal solutions.

But not vibrissae.

Scott from Oregon said...

My dogs dig up moles in the yard and toss them in the air for fun.

The horror... the horror...

Anonymous said...

EE, you should wait to issue your verdict until after at least some minions weigh in. I think you're stifling the critique since everybody likes to agree with you!

Bernita said...

Anon, I resent the suggestion that my opinion of this or any piece is influenced by EE.

Bonnie said...

Py Thon Do. Snerk.

I couldn't figure out who Bradamante was -- another mole? A person being spied upon?

Since these are anthropomorphic moles, I think I'd be willing to make allowances for moles living in a corner instead of a nice underground nest, and having good eyesight. But by the end of the passage, I'm pretty close to the end of my allowances.

Whirlochre said...

Tal — your moles have been growing on me for some time now. I wake in the night imagining I've turned into a pair of velvet curtains.

One gripe — line 2 para 2 assumes the form of line 1 para 2.

As for EE's analyses — it's his blog and he can put 'em where he likes. If they weren't any good, no-one would be here.

writtenwyrdd said...

EE gets people agreeing with him just as much as other commenters do. I'm sure most, if not all, of us try to come up with something besides "ditto what EE said" but sometimes it's just the only really pertinent thing to pick at.

Or maybe I'm in a hurry.

But last I checked? Not a lemming. And brown-nosing on this site doesn't pay well.

Which reminds me. A discussiona t work today about a certain person who is a real suck up and disliked by all. "He's not just a brown noser. He's got ring around the collar." Mmmm-kay.

Wonderwood said...

The Minions don't all agree with EE all the time. The fact that he's got a pretty good eye, though, might account for us agreeing with him a lot of the time. When someone doesn't agree, he's pretty good about explaining his stance, and that's good info, too. So, anonymous, I think your perception is misconceived, and probably a few will take exception to your generalization.

talpianna said...

Great continuations--if somewhat painful from a mole's-eye view!

Incidentally, Bradamante (princess of Venetia) and Sun-Tzu (ronin) are human. The creator of Sun-Tzu and I wrote some scenes together for him and Kiku (it's short for a Japanese word meaning "chrysanthemum blossom") and his rather archaic formal language rubbed off on me (and Kiku).

This was really a freestanding scene; at the time there wasn't an ongoing story line I wanted to get involved in.

The moles usually are described as "strewn like leaves in Vallombrosa" when they sleep. Do you like that better, EE?

I see what you mean about the geography of the room. I was thinking of the pup sitting in the middle of the room, rather than being part of the pile.

The vision is indeed 20/20 when needed, and the vibrissae (they're like cat's whiskers) longer and stronger at need. Such are the resources of fiction.

Why do we need to know she's companion to "Sun-Tzu" and does "one" mole count as a swarm?

The allusion to Sun-Tzu is meant to remind us that she is trained in the martial arts (he's her sensei now) and "swarm" refers to a type of movement: ": to climb with the hands and feet ; specifically : SHIN [swarm up a pole]
transitive senses : to climb up : MOUNT"

They don't all have oriental names, most of them have plant names, like the ones in DUNCTON WOOD.

And they don't live in the bathroom! They are simply making themselves useful by guarding the privacy of a lady. Why nobody thought of simply leaving the key in the keyhole is another matter...

You haven't seen them doing the minuet yet.

Incidentally, this is the first of these excerpts that has not been cut up to meet length requirements; it stands more or less as written. And it seems to be well liked. I shall indeed post the full versions of the other passages (and perhaps some others) on my blog.

Mignon, I'm sure that Fluffy, the faithful eldritch horror, would not have allowed coyotes to get into the bidet. It has dealt with problems in the plumbing before...

Dave Fragments said...

"Venetia" is the name of a tiny town (like a couple square miles) about 3 miles from my house. I used to tell people them made blinds for windows and wait for the frown. It's also NorthEast Italy.

Curiously, it's best known watering hole was "Little Dick's Tavern." and it Logo was a short loser looking down his pants. Hey, I wouldn't lie about that.

Vallombrosa is located in Tuscany. I have to ask. Is there a special way that leaves strew in Vallombrosa? I let the fallen leaves strewn all over my yard here in mundane Western PA. Do leaves in Tuscany have a flair for the dramatic? How about leaves strewn on the forest floor. Or alternately, they slept piled like leaves waiting for a child to leap into their midst,

As for who and what sex is Bradamante - this is almost a one word fix.
This While Bradamante relaxed in the bathing pool, could be While Bradamante relaxed in her bathing pool,.
And if you really want to sex it up, bathing pool can be bubble bath or a pool strewn (that word is on my mind).

I only mentioned the oriental names because after the name Bradamante, you used Kiku, Sunt-Tzu, and Py Thon Do. Perfectly good names, but they clash with the ethnicity of Bradamante. There are only four names in this excerpt. It's a cute scene. I like it. But the elements need cohesion. Perhaps you can find/invent Marco Polo's Italianized names.

talpianna said...

Dave, this is from a multiparty continuing serial, and characters are introduced from all sorts of ethnicities, including some that don't even exist.

Bradamante is named after the heroine of Ariosto's ORLANDO FURIOSO, and is not my character. Her Venetia is a fictional version of Venice.

And if you really want to sex it up, bathing pool can be bubble bath or a pool strewn (that word is on my mind).

It never occurred to ME that a pool strewn with moles could be sexy. Dave, you never cease to surprise me.

I didn't get specific about Bradamante, because you've all met her before, in the death scene exercise, where she appeared in a scanty towel and discovered a body just outside the door.

As for not knowing about Vallombrosan leaves, I'm shocked. SHOCKED!
Nathless he so endur'd, till on the Beach
Of that inflamed Sea, he stood and call'd
His Legions, Angel Forms, who lay intrans't
Thick as Autumnal Leaves that strow the Brooks
In VALLOMBROSA, where th' ETRURIAN shades
High overarch't imbowr;


Julie Weathers said...

Kiku, the mole who had chosen to companion Sun-Tzu, she with the black belt in Py Thon Do, swarmed to the top of the pyramid, hooked a forepaw around the doorknob, and thrust her stiffened, fully extended vibrissae through the keyhole.~~

I tripped up a bit on this. I assumed companioned would be similar to taking a mate, but they are both females so that doesn't work.

Other than that, and pondering "vibrissae" it was an enjoyable adventure

Dave Fragments said...

I've read Paradise Lost, however moles didn't remind me of Milton. This piece is too light to haul in Milton. I know Vallombrossa because I know a little about Italy (I have relatives back there).

And I used "sex it up" in the sense of "dress it up" ... I just thought making the bath a bit more colorful would help.

Robin S. said...

And we asked him and asked him (EE) to comment before he finally started. I remember, as I was in on the asking/begging.

I don't have a problem disagreeing, or asking questions.
I really think if there a suck-up amongst us, it will sort itself quickly. As in - they'll be teased to death.

tal, this was really cute. I don't really know what's happening, but I figure you do.

Good continuation.

Julie Weathers said...

Oooooh, Robin has a new avatar!

In reading this again, I rather like the pile of moles in the corner. Litter animals do tend to sleep in a wad. It might be good to mention where the sentry is, though.

Wait? No sucking up?

*Tosses Ode To Evil Editor 159 on the stack of finished poems.*

What am I going to do with these? It took me all morning to write them.

talpianna said...


JULIE: I really screwed up that sentence. "She with the black belt in Py Thon Do" modifies KIKU, not Sun-Tzu (who is male). "Companion" here refers to the fact that she usually rides around on his shoulder when she's not practicing, taking lessons, teaching Py Thon Do to the other moles, tidying up the dojo, or rescuing her dingbat twin sister Su-Shi.

DAVE: Don't you remember Housman's famous lines: "Moles do more than Milton can | To justify God's ways to man"?

Sarah Laurenson said...

Another fun mole story.

Loved Py Thon Do.