So it finally comes to this.
The moment you have been waiting for.
An extract from my book ‘The Fall of Ethan Quayle (Evil Scientist)’.
Well…thing is…this isn’t going to be in the book.
I know. I know. Stop yelling.
What happened was this:
The chapter falls at 21 of the 46 chapters (excluding the Interludes, the Prologue and the Epilogue).
When I was writing it, I was getting tired and was getting to the hump point. Do I break through the wall or just quit?
So I wrote a completely zany and pointless chapter. No plot, no characterisation, just a random interlude in Ethan’s life.
Now, this still happened in the story. It’s just not in the book. Consider this an episode of Quayle: Between the Lines. (Don’t. Tabz would sue me for taking the name. She would do so very nicely but still I would lose.)
Another way I kept myself sane was by creating cameos in the book. Sarah and Mark I went to school with. (Sarah just might make an army if given the chance.)
Roy is on my Performance Course.
So sit back, get some hot chocolate and enjoy.
Chapter 21- In Which I Have One of the Strangest Days of my Life
I was sitting in a coffee bar watching a couple slowly kiss. Not that I went to coffee bars for that sort of thing. It was just that they were making such a spectacle of themselves I couldn’t help but watch. I turned away from them to admire the view outside. People walking back and forth in the street. Fascinating.
I was about to turn back to the couple when I spotted something move out of the corner of my eye. It looked like a black dome walking past the window. People in the street were stopping and looking amazed at the dome. Getting to my feet I went outside to investigate.
It was a penguin. The location, the temperature, the pure improbability? What were the chances? Many things were amazing about all of this. But here it was. There was a penguin in the middle of the street.
Around me I heard the cars slow down and the click of camera phones.
“Has it escaped from the zoo?” a business woman asked.
“Why is there a penguin?” a school kid questioned.
“SATAN! EVIL! SPAWN” screamed the homeless guy who had been panhandling before something more interesting distracted his potential benefactors from his craziness.
“Should we call the police or something?” a builder inquired.
“AND SHRIMP!” the homeless man contributed.
“Do not fear my penguin” came a voice from above us.
The crowd looked up at the roof of the coffee shop. A woman was standing there, her arms on her hips in the traditional heroic manner. She even had a costume consisting of a large cloak of black and white feathers. This was over her rather disappointingly pedestrian jeans and t-shirt combination. Seeing that we were looking at her, she smiled a cocky smile.
“Don’t be scared. My army of penguins have taken this city with their waddling powers.”
She pointed dramatically at the shop window across the road. All of a sudden, four penguins waddled from the alleyway. They looked up at her and when she gave the nod they leapt at the window. It shattered and the crowd gasped.
“PRUNES!” the homeless guy yelled.
We were all relieved when all four popped back up, unharmed. Because who cares about property damage if some cute birds are hurt?
“My feathered horde,” the woman looked confused for a moment as she scanned the crowd, until her eyes settled on the businesswoman and she commanded “take that woman’s purse.”
The businesswoman held her bag to her chest and looked irritated. She began to kick at the birds that were vainly trying to get to the bag by jumping and flapping. Their lack of flight was clearly hindering their mugging abilities.
We booed as she got in a hard kick on the face of one of the shortest penguins. It fell over and landed on its bum. A small girl hurried over and took the bird in her arms.
“You meanie,” she whined at the businesswoman, who look incensed that the crowd was turning against her.
“Does no one care I’m being robbed?” she asked.
“No,” I said.
She snarled at me. I shrugged unapologetically.
“It’s true. They care much more about the tiny little birds than your purse.”
“Sarah?” came a voice from the back of the crowd.
The crowd parted to reveal the speaker. He was a bearded student who appeared to be holding a bag of clothes.
“Mark?” the woman called.
“What you doing on the roof?” Mark asked, hands cupped to his mouth.
“I’m leading my penguin forces to ensure the downfall of the Western World.” Sarah pointed to a bin that one of the penguins had kicked over.
“You are teaching them to litter?” Mark asked, confused.
Sarah looked around embarrassed.
“I used that to prove a point.”
“You’re stupid,” Mark said, bluntly.
Sarah nodded at this and smiled.
“Are you coming down?” Mark asked as he righted the bin. The penguin kicked it over again.
Sarah just pointed at the businesswoman who was leapt on by the birds. With a scream the woman disappeared in the pile. Within seconds, one of the birds popped up with the purse in its beak.
A young man with long hair stepped out of the crowd.
“I can help,” he said quietly.
Mark looked at him and nodded.
“Roy,” the man said as they shook hands.
Slipping his backpack off, he walked down the road and stopped in front of one of the buildings. He checked the wall for handholds and began to climb.
“What is going on down there?” Sarah yelled.
“We’re standing down here being amazed by the awesomeness of your birds.” Mark called.
“My Spheniscidae Soldiers,” she corrected.
“Sure,” Mark said.
As we watched, Roy climbed up onto the roof. We held our collective breaths as he crept up behind the woman. With a yell, he leapt and ripped her cloak off.
Sarah let out a gasp of surprise.
“Why did you that?”
He threw the cloak over the side of the building.
Sarah watched it fall into the garbage water below.
“Why did you do THAT?” she asked.
She looked around.
The penguins climbed off the squished businesswoman and began to try get up to the roof. They gave up after a while. No flight or opposable thumbs.
“I thought the cloak was the source of your power,” Roy said amazed.
Sarah just pushed him off the roof.
“Not cool Sarah,” Mark yelled as we hurried for to see if the climber was okay.
“I panicked.” She seemed to be truly upset. I can attest to the annoyance of your plans being hindered by pesky passers-by.
Roy was lying on the cloak.
“I’m alright,” he murmured.
“Your arm’s broken,” I said. I just knew. I’m that good. That and the shiny white gleam visible through his shirt.
“It’s ok-“ he let out a small moan as he tried to move it “I’m okay. I do Parquor. I’ve done worse.”
“Par-what? I never heard of it” said the homeless guy whose insanity had been overwhelmed by events.
“Parquor. It means he climbs buildings for kicks,” one of the coffeeshop workers said.
“You want me to fix it?” I asked.
“Can you?” he replied.
Ripping up his shirt, I succeeded in making a sling for him. He thanked me and with the help of some of the crowd was taken to see a doctor.
“Is he okay?” Sarah called.
“How did you get up there in the first place?” Mark asked.
“That ladder,” she said pointing to the corner of the roof.
There was a scuffle as some uniformed police burst from the crowd and headed for the ladder.
Sarah gaped at this turn of events.
With a whistle, she ran for the edge of the roof and swandived. The birds caught up below her perfectly and she landed on their backs.
She looked around until she saw her boyfriend.
“Mark,” she said holding out her hand.
He glanced around until his eyes settled on me.
I smiled sadly and nodded.
He smiled slightly and took her hand. They rode the army of twenty penguins down the high street pursued by policemen on feet.
The crowd didn’t disperse, still shaken by the events of the day.
“There she goes,” I said finally.
The homeless man nodded slowly.
“Too feathery to live, too flightless to die,” he said, very solemnly.
We all stood in awe of the deepness of the man’s philosophical insanity.