A collection of untitled shorter pieces.


Merriman Lyon corrects an undergraduate's essay. (Comment-fic, written 25 April 2007)
Prompted by a LiveJournal discussion on undergraduate essays that open with something akin to the phrase 'Since the dawn of time':

***

There was really only one topic of conversation that night in the JCR.

' -- and so I heard that Lyon just cut him dead in mid-sentence -- '

' -- mid-word, you mean, you know that look he's got -- '

' -- and he says, "Since the dawn of time, I have had to listen to undergraduates begin essays with those exact words" -- '

' -- probably telling the truth, too -- '

' -- the old bastard kept going, must've spent ten minutes just lacing into him -- '

' -- and of course, by that point the poor sod was about ready to off himself with one of those ceremonial daggers that Lyon had on display -- '

' -- he got out alive, but I heard he went straight to the pub -- '

' -- only five words in, there's got to be some kind of record in that -- '

' -- d'you think if we asked him, we could get the essay and frame it?'


*****


Bran Davies receives a unexpected gift from a devoted constituent. (Ficlet, written 28 October 2008)

An untitled PlaidCymru!Bran Davies ficlet, more of a long-ish scene than anything else. Why do I persist in writing these awkward little moments? (To give some idea of the artwork in question: Michael Heseltine, campaigning for a seat in the 1964 General Election.)

***

'We-ell,' Will said diplomatically, searching for a tactful response, 'it seems to be a decent likeness of Michael Heseltine, but I honestly can't say it's at all reminiscent of you.'

'Marvellous.' Bran kicked half-heartedly at the ocean of brown wrapping paper that separated the two of them from the exceedingly large picture frame propped against the wall. 'You are the third person to say as much.'

'You mean you actually showed this to other people?'

'It took two deliverymen to get it up the stairs.' Bran sighed. 'What on earth am I going to do with it? Even if I had the faintest interest in keeping it, I have nowhere to hang it -- or hide it.'

'Don't hide it here. You're hardly Dorian Gray, but all the same....' Will pursed his lips, thinking. 'You aren't expected to hang it anywhere public, are you?'

'I have no intention of letting this anywhere near Cardiff, if that is what you mean,' Bran said thinly. 'And the artist is something of a local celebrity, so I can't exactly send it back to her.'

'You could send it to Michael Heseltine.'

'I could drop it down a passing mineshaft just as easily.'

'Mm.' Will took a step back to study the painting from a different angle. 'Then what about somewhere local? Is there a museum in the area that might be interested in it? Local artist, local politician -- you could present it as a "long-term loan" to the museum's collections and let them figure out what to do with it. And then possibly leave it to the collections in your will.'

Bran stared at him, momentarily at a loss, and then let out a snort.

'Duw. How utterly sensible of you.' He shook his head. 'Not that I should ever expect anything else from Will Stanton, really. I'll have someone phone them on Monday -- and phone the artist, to let her know. I doubt that she would dream of objecting to the sort of "long-term loan" you describe.'

Will nodded absently, only half-listening.

'You know,' he said, after a long pause, 'it's true that she didn't get the face right, but I think she's nailed the way you stand.' He waved a hand at the painting, sketching a vague, slightly diagonal line in the air. 'It's in the shoulders, and the angle of your head there. It's hard to put into words, but -- no, I think she definitely captured that much.'

Now it was Bran's turn to study the painting more closely, his eyes narrowing with the effort of concentration required to follow Will's train of thought. He tilted his head to one side, and then the other, and then back again.

'If you say so.' He shrugged. 'I wouldn't know. For all that anyone says about me, I seldom take the time to look so carefully at myself.' He bent over, getting down on the floor to collect the discarded wrapping paper. 'Although when I was in school, one of my classmates once asked me if mirrors shattered when I looked in them.'

Will stiffened. 'You never told me about that.'

'Oh, this was ages ago, in primary school.' The paper crinkled gently as Bran flattened and folded and smoothed it. 'I could not have been much more than seven or eight at the time, if that. You know the sorts of things children say -- nothing original or even particularly clever.' He sat back on his heels, his hands full of paper. 'I don't even know why I still remember it.'

'It's not the sort of thing I'd tend to forget, if someone said it to me,' Will muttered.

Bran glanced up. From his position on the floor, he was at a perfect angle to notice the tightness in Will's jaw, the only sign of tension in an otherwise neutral expression.

'Nothing original,' he repeated quietly, not taking his eyes off Will. 'Or even particularly clever.'

The repetition had the intended effect. After a moment, Will's shoulders dropped (a fraction of an inch, but still noticeable) and the tightness left his jaw. He looked down at Bran, and there was an unspoken apology in the way he held out a hand to help his friend off the floor.

'Thank you.' No need to apologise, Bran's tone of voice declared, and once he was on his feet he brushed the dust off his trousers with a brisk efficiency that seemed to whisk away the entire incident. 'Now, I didn't invite you for the weekend to marvel over the depths of my constituents' appreciation for my services. We can have an early dinner, and afterwards you can help me find something slightly less distracting to put over this thing for the time being. A shower curtain should do it...possibly in a nice floral print?'

Will smiled, perhaps in spite of himself. 'I don't think they make nice floral prints. You may have to settle for a not-so-nice floral print.'

'I don't imagine he will be likely to complain about my choice of shower curtain.' Bran jerked his head in the direction of the painting. 'Though considering the Right Honourable Lord's fondness for gardens, he might feel rather at home being wrapped up in one.'

'A not-so-nice floral print it is, then,' Will agreed.

*****

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rymenhild: Manuscript page from British Library MS Harley 913 (Default)

From: [personal profile] rymenhild


Also, I'm glad you posted that commentfic publicly. I can't unlock the post -- too many pieces of personal information -- but I keep needing to link it to people! :D
gramarye1971: Old Ways (TDIR: Old Ways)

From: [personal profile] gramarye1971


Glad to do so! (I totally understand about the personal information, which was why I hoped it would be okay to post it here.)
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