|The Lunatic of Westerly City
Author: Linguistic PM
The criminal Hodger Barns is a master of disguise, but he is not very bright. When he is hired to free the 'Lady Lunatic' (the craziest woman in the country) from her Asylum, he finds himself reluctantly caught up in a rebellion against the perfectly nice old king of Westerly.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Crime - Chapters: 3 - Words: 3,456 - Reviews: 8 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-27-13 - Published: 01-25-13 - id: 3095359
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 3- The Preparations
The first place Hodger went to was his apartment. The thing he needed right now was his smart sentences book. The less you said, the more people suspected you knew. That was the golden rule of the disguise artist. Hodger had devoted himself to this rule so entirely, that even some of his friends who had known him for years thought him a closet-intellectual and a self-taught genius. But sometimes, you needed to say things. And when those times came, Hodger wanted to be prepared. His smart sentences book was like his cheat sheet. It had been his mother's idea. It was a record of every smart thought he had ever had, and every word he had ever heard used, written down in his own careful handwriting. Thanks to it, that he had managed to get through school without being teased.
He found the book on his desk, amid a pile of paper, quills, and ink. Though he used them very rarely, Hodger found that writing things down usually helped him think. He opened his smart sentences book, and flipped through it slowly, until he found the section that said 'Being a Guard'. The sentences here were simple enough. He had spent a sunny afternoon outside the Guard's West Station, and he had recorded every bit of slang he had heard them use more than once. Words like 'rat' for a snitch, 'booger' for a criminal, and 'monkeyman' for a lunatic. He memorized them all dutifully. He would forget them when the job was done. That was just how his mind worked.
He went to his cabinet, and looked over his gear with a critical eye. He passed over his makeup and hair growth solution, and chose instead a bottle of Elf tears (like a fountain of youth, elf tears could be used to make oneself much younger looking, but the effects wore off quickly and they were very expensive), goblin toenails (to make himself ugly), dwarf bear hair (for masculinity), ignoring a whole host of other magical ingredients. He stowed them in the folds of his robe.
He had already decided the character he would be playing: a young guard, freshly recruited, on his first mission. He would be tough, ugly, and manly (as most guards were) but also inexperienced, and prone to slip-ups. This would excuse him if anything went wrong.
He left the apartment through the other door. He didn't want people to see him coming and going. His next stop to prepare for the job was the barber's. He always switched shops between jobs, to keep them from getting suspicious. Right now, he wanted a complete, military shave of his head. He found a suitable place (Muck's Cuts) on the corner of Ravendale street, and went inside.
The barber was short, clean man with a handlebar mustache. He politely inquired if Hodger was going to be paying straight away this time, or if he would be sending a request back to the Abbey. At this point, Hodger was still dressed like a Red Monk.
"The abbey'll handle it for me." He told the man. "Just jot down my name- have you got a pen? There's a good man. It's Karkafur the Crimson- yes, that's spelled with a K." When the man had sorted everything out, Hodger collapsed into his chair and relaxed. It did not occur to him at the time, but impersonating a priest of the Red God for something as petty as a free haircut was probably a stupid idea.
The cut was quick, smooth, and professional. Hodger left the shop will a smile on his face. He walked a few blocks, and then quickly slipped into an old forge, run by a man known to be friendly with criminals. He purchased a smooth magical draught at the front, and, for a small fee, he took a private room in the back to himself. There, he disrobed. He pulled on a white long sleeved shirt, a black best, and a pair of dark trousers. This was the uniform of Westerly City's guard. He uncorked his flask of elf tears, and rubbed them into his skin, while he chewed and swallowed the goblin toenails and dwarf hair. He washed it down with the magical draught.
The change was very obvious. He was no longer Karkafur the Crimson- now, he was Jamie Lipperskin, the fresh-faced, ugly child of a butcher. He dumped his old Red robes into the trash on the way out. It would have been too suspicious to carry them around the city with him.
He glanced up at the sky. It was getting dark, but there were still a few hours before his meeting with Thomas. To pass the time, Hodger decided to spend awhile walking around the city and interacting with people as Jamie. His mastery of the character was not yet absolute (though to an amateur, it would have appeared that way) and as it said in his book of smart sentences, practice makes perfect.
"Hi there!" He said to a young couple, who were in the midst of an intense kissing session. Upon seeing his uniform, they immediately broke apart. This continued for a few hours, and, by the end of the day, Hodger was exhausted. Tormenting honest citizens was very fun. Especially when were secretly a criminal.
He finally met Thomas outside the Asylum. He was many good yards off, hiding behind a large mural, peeking out like a small animal might peek out a its burrow. He wore white pajamas (standard issue at the Asylum) and a dark cloak, which he shed when he saw Hodger.
"Those are not going to work." Hodger pointed out awkwardly. "The pyjamas are given to inmates after they're asleep in their cells." Part of disguising yourself was knowing what not to wear. This was something Thomas evidently did not understand. In this field, Hodger was always right.
Thomas shrugged. "The guards aren't great intellectuals. Just tell them I was dressed in advance, or something." He sounded annoyed. "We'll figure it out. Let's just get inside."
Grabbing Thomas by the arm (theatrically, not aggressively) Hodger slipped into character. "Alright, Convict... White. Shut yer mouth and come with me."