The Snark, Hunted
Gala-Katherine looked up from her magazine. "Henry, stop picking at your bunion and help me. I'm in a terrible muddle here."
Henry sighed and lowered his foot to the floor. "What is it, my dearest GallieKat?"
"I need an eight-letter word for 'a web-footed turtle.'"
A web-footed turtle? Is this what his life had become? Who gave a rat's ass about turtles? He shot her a seething glare. "Terrapin," he said. "The word you want is terrapin. Two r's."
Pleased as a pack of promenading poodles, Amanda bent over the page. "Yes!" she yipped. "That's it!"
Of course it is, you nit, Henry thought. He stood and paced the length of the patio. Watched as she twisted a strand of platinum hair around her French-manicured finger and popped her gum. Loudly. How had he ever found that attractive? He should have bolted the moment he discovered the dumb blonde act wasn't an act. Blonde, either. He groaned inwardly. She had ruined him.
I could have been one of the greats! I was made for Shakespeare, Ibsen, Miller. Not this... this... will of the wisp, this fool's fire. Nothing about Gallie-Kat was what it appeared. Underneath her polished exterior lingered a trailer park stench. Your mother wears army boots, he thought. That should have been my first clue.
"What's the word for bat poo?" she asked. "Bat segundo?"
He ground his teeth. "It's guano. G-U-A-N-O."
She mewed triumphantly and scribbled with her pen, crossing and uncrossing long, tanned legs. He turned away, sickened.
It was her fault, of course. She'd sucked the life right out of him. Muffled his muse until he was broken, finished, forgotten. Oh, how he missed the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd... or was that the roar of the grease-crowd and the smell of the ... shit! She'd even addled his brain!
Running a hand through his thinning hair, he glared daggers in her direction. Julliard. Princeton. New England Conservatory. And you? "Not even a high-school diploma," he muttered.
"Did you say something, Henry?"
"Yeah. Drop everything and give me ten ...books."
She giggled again. "You‚re such a silly. Now come over here and help. I'm almost finished. What's a five-letter word for Lewis Carroll's imaginary animal?"
He crossed to her lounge chair and rested his hands on her shoulders. "It‚s a snark," he said. "From his mock-epic poem, Hunting of the Snark. I'll recite some if you'd like." His hands tightened around her neck.
She gasped and coughed. "He ... Hen..."
Henry held fast as she struggled. "In the midst of the word she was trying to say," he grunted, "In the midst of her laughter and glee, She had softly and suddenly vanished away--- For the Snark *was* a Gallie-Kat, you see."
Gala-Katherine lay still. Henry stepped back, adjusting the belt on his robe. He turned away, satisfied. At least he was still a lady killer. He had not lost his touch after all.
oh man, I'm guano hear about this one!
scoring to come