It’s all in a name

This was such a fun prompt… take the name of your first pet and the name of the road you grew up on and voila… you have your ‘rock’ star name, which is now the name of your character. Once we had described our characters, we then continued the story to bring in some of each other’s characters…

Marcus King

Marcus King was of average build. Today, and most days, he wore a pink linen shirt and pine green velvet pants that were a little frayed at the hem. He had a handlebar moustache, matching bushy eyebrows and a full head of dark hair and that made him look like a hedgehog on a rather elegantly dressed mannequin.

Marcus was a private person because he didn’t enjoy conversation. It wasn’t that he didn’t like other people—though sometimes he did take a violent dislike—but more because he had a terribly high voice for a grown man.

Marcus’ grandfather had been a lord, or was it a baron? Anyhow, some landed gentry whose gentrified land had been dissolved into a council estate on the outskirts of Brambury-on-Tye in a nondescript corner of England. Marcus lived in a caravan on the edge of the council estate and spent his time, his lifework indeed, studying the grimy-bellied otter. It is an unknown fact that the grimy-bellied otter also has a very high-pitched vocalized mating call, which may be why Marcus felt such an affinity. Or maybe it was because not even the Natural History Museum was interested in his findings and so he never had to communicate with anyone except, that is, the dating website based in Bulgaria, which he frequented.

Marcus King’s family had all gone, along with the land from which the proceeds were used to pay off the debts of his great-grandfather. So when Marcus received an email earlier that day, claiming to be from a genealogical forensic investigator strangely named Gigi Ovoir—well, there’s a fake name and a red flag to be sure—he made an especially high-pitched exclamation and immediately deleted it. He wondered if the words ‘inherited a large amount’ that still echoed in his eyes meant that he should not have been so hasty.

He decided to distract himself by reading the newspaper. He had salvaged the Daily Mail out of a bin earlier that day when he took his rubbish out. He shared a bin with the local playground and had to go very early or very late to avoid looking like some dodgy child molesting felon. With the pilfered paper now on the table, he made a cup of tea and settled down on his narrow seat. There on the front page was a most distressing sight. It was filled with a photo of an old schoolmate, though he would never consider him a friend; so-called Lieutenant – Colonel Shavington Hamlet. Humph! The man had bought that title along with his wife on the internet. Marcus hastily shut down the Bulgarian dating website still up on his laptop and felt at least he hadn’t stooped as low as wearing ladies’ g-string panties so clearly on display on the front page.

Marcus’ judging was rudely interrupted by both his mobile phone ringing and a rat-a tat tat at his caravan door. He glanced at the private caller id displayed on his phone and then to the door and back to the phone. He didn’t know a living soul, and suddenly he was being accosted from every angle. He decided the phone could wait, most likely some salesperson in Delhi, and instead considered the door, which was again resonating with the dull thump only a caravan door will make.

“Who is it?” he called out.

“It’s Sparky.”

“Who?” Marcus put his ear to the door.

“Sparky Elmwood, I live across the way.”

“The way?”

“Across the field. I’m like, your neighbour.”

The voice sounded young. Marcus cracked open the door.

“What do you want?” he squeaked.

Sparky stuck her hand out. “Nice to meet you, Mr…?”

“Mr King. I’m terribly busy. How can I help you, er, Sparky?”

“Well, it’s like, well… look can I come in? My mam will collar me if she sees I’m over here. Everyone says you’re a flasher.”

“What in heaven’s name… a flasher?”

“A kiddy fiddler.”

“I don’t have as much as a mackintosh. I really don’t think it’s appropriate…”

But Sparky had easily taken the two steps with her lanky legs and was already inside. Sparky stooped to fit her tall body into the cramped caravan. Clearly her mother was more intimidating than a possible ‘kiddy fiddler’.

“Cool,” she breathed, looking around.

Marcus looked around, bemused.

“I’ve always wanted to live in a caravan. Gonna chase crop circles when I finish school. Imagine waking up as aliens are racing around a cornfield?”

“Did you need something, or is this a social visit?”

“OK, I can see you’re a right busy man.” She glanced at the newspaper and cup of tea on the table. “Look, I’m in a spot of bother. I’m like, a private detective?” she said, as if asking a question.

Marcus blinked at her.

“And I’m on this case, right? So, me uncle killed my cousin’s rabbit, and he paid me to keep quiet. But now me aunty’s paying me to find out what happened to Flossy, right?”

Marcus wiggled his head from side to side and yearned for the relative ease of talking to a Bulgarian with all of three words of English.

“So what I was thinking was if I could like, have one of your rabbits.”


“Yeah, there’s always loads of rabbits in your garden.”

“My garden?” Marcus wished he’d answered the phone.

“Yeah, the, like field like.”

“Oh!” Marcus laughed. “Oh, I see, those rabbits. They’re not my rabbits. If you can catch one, help yourself.”

Marcus’ mobile rang again. Perfect. He could take the call and get rid of this strange creature.

“Excuse me,” he nodded at the door. “Hello, Marcus King speaking.”

Sparky watched him, but made no move to leave. He waved his hand for her to go, but she mouthed back. “It’s OK, I’ll wait.”

A gravelly voice purred into his ear. “Oh good morning, Mr King. My name is Gigi Ovoir from Dribbens, Atticus, Ruchette and Knolls Lawyers.”

Marcus swallowed. Lawyers were never good news. Sparky was reading the Daily Mail while sucking the end of a piece of her red hair.

“I’m so glad you answered, Mr King. Our firm has come into possession of a document that could see you receiving quite a sum of money. Of course, we need to prove that you are the correct Marcus King.”

“I don’t understand. What sort of document?”

“I’m afraid I can’t discuss the details on the phone…”

“Who did you say you were?”

Gigi repeated her name and the firm’s and he jotted it across Shavington’s scrawny bare ass that was splashed across the paper. The tabloids defined the notion of vulgarity, he thought.

“And where are you located?” he asked.

“London, I’ll text you the details and my number. I urge you to call back soon. This is time sensitive, Mr King. We’re lucky to have uncovered these papers when we did.”

Marcus ended the call, though Gigi had already rung off.

“Whoa, you’re gonna be rich!” Sparky cried out.

“Get out! Out!!”

Sparky shrugged and unravelled her limbs from behind the table. “Thanks for the rabbit. And don’t forget, I’m a private detective. Twenty pounds will get you a check of them lawyers and do some snooping.”


Sparky jumped down the steps. She turned around and saluted Marcus. “Here’s my card!” She wedged it in the door frame and clomped off.