Albert and Jarvis part 28

a tale in weekly parts

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This story is open for suggested continuations. I will publish here, with links to your own blog, all I receive. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) the next episode of this collaborative tale.

You can see the full story so far at this link.

Episode 28

“Was it like this last time you came here, son?” Xander’s father asked, holding one hand out to feel the torrential rain on his palm.

“Ooh, you people,” Jarvis said, “The slightest drop of rain, and you’re all a-dither. Come in and shut the door, dear.”

“Did he just call me dear?”

“Yes, Dad. It’s just his way. Do as he says, though,” Xander replied.

“Is he a bit—”

Albert said, “Mr Grahamson—”

“I don’t think we have to be formal, Albert. Call me Aloysius. That is my name, you know; Aloysius Cuthbert Cornelius Grahamson.”

“I know,” Albert said, laughing fit to bust. He wasn’t alone in that, either. His wife had know it for some time, but was happy to have the name problem directed at her husband and not at herself (her parents had named her Magdalene, and insisted it be pronounced like the name of the college at Cambridge University. She was much bullied at school, where they called her “maudlin Magdalene”. She now prefers Madge). Xander had no idea what his father’s first name was, and physically collapsed on the floor, unable to control his laughter.

After a couple of minutes, during which the subject of this mirth became ever more angered, Albert said, “I’m sorry. Can we just call you Al?”

“Only if I can call you Betty,” he replied sourly, causing Jarvis to burst into song.

“He is, isn’t he?” Al (we can call him that, now) suggested.

“Who is what?” Xander asked, having completely forgotten the conversation that was just starting when the name thing raised its head above the parapet and was promptly shot at.

“Jarvis. A bit… you know.”

“Aloysius Cuthbert Cornelius Grahamson,” Albert intoned in the manner of a High Court judge, “We, Jarvis and I, are bitek. We have no sexuality. In your terms, we are androgynous. I have always chosen to take male human form because, historically, I could do more as a man than as a woman. Things are different now; better, much better; but we travel in time a lot and in earlier periods of this planet’s history, male is definitely the way to go. We are also ageless. One of the results of agelessness is that we retain the fun-loving aspects of youth alongside the seriousness that comes with age.”

“You don’t have to talk to me about youthfulness,” Al said, “I like harmless fun along with the best of them. I know how to have a good time, and I laugh a lot.”

Madge looked on, wide-eyed in disbelief at this revelation of a side of her husband’s character she had no recollection of seeing before.

“When did you do that, Dad?” Xander asked. “We must have missed it.”

Al stepped forward and wrapped his hands around Xander’s throat. “Why, you little—” he said.

Xander shimmered and ended up half a metre away from his start point and free of his father’s vice-like grip.

“DON’T BLOODY SHIMMER!” Al yelled, his face contorting with rage and achieving shades of purple previously unknown to science.

“Calm down, sweetie,” Jarvis said.

“I am not your sweetie,” Al screamed, “now open this bloody door and let’s get out. I don’t care how wet it is.”

“You may not care, but I do. I bought new shoes for this holiday, and I don’t want them getting wet.” his wife retorted, adding “not that you care.”

“How dare you?” Al said, fuming. “How dare you suggest I don’t care. Why, I—”

Before he could say another word, Kr’veth’neq’is appeared in front of him and as she did, a wave of peace and well-being enveloped Al. For that moment, he felt more secure, cared-for and loved, than he had ever felt before.

Chav started barking furiously at the new arrival, but stopped in mid-yap, curled up on the floor and fell into a peaceful sleep, no doubt dreaming about chasing rabbits.

“Cool. It works on dogs, too,” she said. “Hello Dad, Mum, Xander, Albert, Chav,” then, as something of an after-thought, “and hello, Jarvis, too.”

“You came,” Al said.

“You noticed,” Kr’veth’neq’is replied.

“I did.”

“And how are you feeling now?” Kr’veth’neq’is asked.

“Better.”

“Calmer?”

“Calmer.”

Madge and Xander each breathed a sigh of relief.

“Let’s go look at Rocamadour,” Kr’veth’neq’is suggested. Jarvis opened the door. It was still raining heavily, but they were now on solid ground, inside the ruins of an ancient building.

“Won’t Jarvis be seen here?” Xander asked.

“Don’t worry, lad,” Albert replied, “we’ve erected a field around us so people won’t be aware we are here.”

“Like one of those cloaking devices they use in the science fiction stories?” Al asked, ever so calmly.

“Kind of,” Albert replied, “but this works more on a psychological level. We’re not actually invisible, people just don’t notice us.”

“Unless they glimpse us in their peripheral vision,” Jarvis added, “but when they do, they then look straight at us and don’t see us, so dismiss their earlier sighting as a trick of the light.”

“But what if they then flick their eyes around and see us again?” Xander wanted to know.

“What are they going to do?” Albert asked, “tell somebody? Who? No-one would believe them and immediately declare them delusional and recommend they seek professional help.”

“Let’s go,” Kr’veth’neq’is said, at which they all trooped out of Jarvis and into the middle of the ancient city.


This story remains open for suggested continuations. All I receive will be published here, with links to your own blog. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) episode 29 of this collaborative tale.


This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.