Sue: Holy Smoke

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Sue: Holy Smoke

Post by Sue Beasley on Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:44 am

Holy Smoke
‘Just look at that cloud.’
‘What cloud?’
‘Behind you. It’s amazing.’
The man glanced over his shoulder, eyes half-closed against the sun. ‘It’s just a cloud. It’s not going to rain.’
‘Never said it was. Do look properly. It’s like a fat old geezer on a cushion.’
‘For God’s sake save your fancies for later and let me get on with this. They’ll be here any minute.’
The woman snorted and flounced off.
High on his cloud, Thor eased himself into a more comfortable position and pulled the folds of vapour more closely round his shoulders. The situation was developing nicely.
Below him, the man, or high priest as Thor supposed, returned his attention to lighting the fire. The priestess was preparing the altar, covering it with a spotless white cloth. Thor was pleased by that: he appreciated such niceties.
The worshippers were beginning to arrive, some bearing offerings, which they placed on the altar. Soon the high priest was surrounded by a bevy of admiring acolytes as he tended his fire.
‘What the hell!’ Something cannoned into Thor’s cloud, shunting it forward. Thor turned sharply to discover Loki on his supercharged Cumulus 500, grinning foolishly.
‘Sorry, old fruit.’ Loki unravelled his enormous frame and stepped onto Thor’s cloud. ‘Temporarily distracted by the maidens.’ He leered at the group below. ‘This your sacrifice?’
‘I imagine so. It is my day.’
‘Your day?’ Loki’s eyebrows shot up. ‘How come?’
‘Thurs…day, imbecile. Thor’s day – got it?’
‘Whatever.’ Loki lost interest and transferred his attention to the altar. ‘Is that all you’re getting? Green stuff! Don’t tell me they’re sacrificing lettuce these days.’
‘The sacrifice has still to come. They’ve only just started.’
As Thor spoke, the priestess come out of the building carrying a tray of something purplish that glistened wetly in the sunlight.
‘See!’ Thor pointed. ‘They’ll have done the sacrificing in the temple.’
‘No screaming?’ Loki was not impressed.
‘Not nowadays. They’ll make up for it with the burning, though.’
The priest was about to begin. With a flourish of tongs, he raised a piece of flesh aloft and consigned it to the fire. More followed to the accompaniment of spitting, sizzling and the reek of burning fat. ‘Told you so.’ Thor sniffed appreciatively. ‘I’m popular at this time of year.’
‘What do they want?’
‘I’ll show you.’ Thor put his cloud in gear and began to edge forward. I reckon they’ve done enough and I like to get away before the dancing starts.’
Once over the ceremonial area, Thor raised an arm and with a flourish equal only to that of the priest below, plunged his hand into the cloud. When he brought it out again, he was holding a plug. ‘Nothing like a good rain-making ceremony,’ he observed as the cloud delivered its burden to the ground below. ‘I’ll give you a tow back to base if you like,’ he added, as he set course for Asgard.

Sue Beasley

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Re: Sue: Holy Smoke

Post by Graham on Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:51 am

This is a satisfying, complete little piece. I have heard or read it before, haven’t I? It makes me think of a four-panel comic, very visual. Your dialogue is always realistic but I usually hear it in the same voice, rather polite home counties. Would it be worth experimenting?

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Re: Sue: Holy Smoke

Post by Sue Beasley on Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:23 am

My God, you're right Graham. I must be losing my marbles. It's something I've been obsessing over recently in an attempt to improve it, but it might have been a good plan to check first before I posted it. Is there any way of removing it? If not, please everyone ignore it. Hopefully, there will be something new forthcoming.

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