Albert and Jarvis part 44

a tale in weekly parts

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 44

Alexander Grahamson awoke in his own bed. Wrestling himself free of the covers that had tangled about him during his fitful night’s sleep, he hauled himself to his feet and padded across the bedroom carpet to the window. He pulled open the heavy, velvet blackout curtains and immediately screwed his eyes against the light, taking a step back to acclimatise. It was a glorious summer morning, of the bright, fresh and beautiful kind that only the south of England can produce; or so the residents of that area will insist, ignoring the fact that everyone believes that their country, or even their region, enjoys the best sunrises, sunsets and farm produce. But that’s not important right now. What is important is that when Xander managed to return to the window and look outside, the sight of the bright sun, high in the sky, produced in his mind a flash-back to the supernova that he had witnessed only hours before; and it started him wondering how he could have looked at that without being rendered immeasurably more uncomfortable than he had been, following the simple act of opening his bedroom curtains.

Once his mild discomfort had passed, Xander flung open his bedroom window and took a deep breath, his nose savouring the fresh, floral smells of summer even as his eyes enjoyed the sights and his ears the birdsong, the chirruping of the crickets in the field and the distant roar of a jet airliner high overhead, to say nothing of the buzzin’ of the bees in the sycamore trees. The reverie into which he had allowed himself to fall was rudely interrupted by his mother’s high-pitched call.

“Alexander Garahamson,” she yelled, “are you coming down for breakfast today? It’s half past blooming ten here!”

“Funny, that,” Xander thought to himself, “it is here, too.” But he didn’t give voice to that thought. Instead, he simply shouted, “On my way, Number One.”

He quickly dressed and made his way downstairs, where he found his mother rolling on the ground, play-fighting with Chav; the latter baring his teeth, curling his top lip and making the most frightful snarling noises. Madge was totally unconcerned by this, knowing that it was all a game to the little terrier, as was evidenced by the speed at which his tail was wagging. His mother looked up from her doggy-play and said, breathlessly, “In the oven. Turn it off when you take it out.” She then proceeded to howl like a wolf, which stared Chav off, and in no time they were vying with each other for pitch, volume and duration of howls.

Xander put on an oven glove and retrieved the plate on which his breakfast was keeping warm. “How long has it been in the oven, Mum?” he asked.

“Owwwwwwwwwwww, ow, ow, owwwwwwwwwwwww, about five minutes, owwwwwwwwwwwww,” she replied.

Xander ate his breakfast with relish, which surprised his mother; she had never known him to use anything other than brown sauce on his breakfast (HP or Daddies. Other brown sauces are available, though not in the Grahamson household).

While his mother was still recumbent on the floor, the dog crawling all over her and licking her furiously, seemingly trying to inject some more life into her supine form, Xander poured himself a coffee. “Coffee, Mum?” he asked.

“Please,” she just about managed to say without ending up with a mouthful of dog tongue. She pushed Chav off her, which resulted in him immediately leaping up onto Xander’s lap. She struggled briefly to conquer the powerful combination of gravity and the exhaustion produced by her bout with the family pet, and plonked herself on a chair across the table from her son.

“Didn’t hear you come in last night, son,” she said, “What time did you get to bed?”

Xander knew that his parents were always in bed by eleven o’clock, so he said, “Dunno exactly; a bit after twelve, I think.”

“Good job it’s not a school day today, that’s all. What were you doing all that time?”

“You know what it’s like, Mum. Once I get talking with Albert, time runs away from me.”

“Albert now, is it? Not Uncle Albert?”

“His idea, Mum. He insisted on it; said he wants to treat me like an equal, a friend, not just some kid.”

“That’s nice of him. What were you talking about?”

“We were looking at the Crab Nebula, and he was telling me how it was formed.”

“And how was it formed?”

“It’s the dust and debris of a supernova, illuminated by the pulsar that’s all that’s left of the original star.”

“Best tell your father about it when he gets home; he’ll understand. All this talk of super-thingies and pulses goes right over my head.”

“Where is Dad?”

“He’s out training t’ whippet—”


“Don’t blame me, son; I don’t write this stuff.”

“Where is he; really?”

“He said he had some business to attend to; didn’t say what or where or with whom.”

Xander sent a mindspeak request to the others, “Where’s my Dad, and what’s he up to?”

The reply came back almost immediately from Kr’veth’neq’is, “I have eyes on him. You’d better prepare yourself, Xander. You aren’t going to like this.”

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