There are times when writing is easy. There are a lot more times, for me at least, where writing is quite hard. Not that you’d believe this of course with the effortless flow of my prose…haha, if only.
Tonight was turning into one of those trying-hard-but-going-nowhere sorts until the arrival of a bunch of numpties. Umpteen of them to be precise. All neatly packaged in a forum thread under the challenge of writing a five hundred word piece containing Umpteen Numpties.
The idea made me laugh. Then it made me relax. And then it made me write. Along the way I resurrected a favourite character who has lain dormant for too long and before I knew it I was surfing a wave of unnecessary violence, tossing eighties rock puns overboard like day old bait.
And now I’m passing it on. Enjoy.
The hamlet of Humperteen was rarely referred to as such. Most who passed through (and were educated enough to know a hamlet from a village) tended to refer to it with an altogether unnecessary aitch-led, trisyllabic gusto, to which the general local response was a hearty “It’s Ump’teen!” closely pursued by a no less forthright, “You posh foreign twat.”
The funereal-featured feather-cloaked figure furnishing the nook next to the fire could fathom a hamlet from a village at fifty furlongs. The last person brave enough to label him a twat was taken on a nose-guided tour of his own anus shortly thereafter. The poor fool who labelled him foreigner in a bid to impress a lady was taken outside into the snow. No one knows for sure what happened outside The Juggler and Chainsaw that night but upon his return the man was as cold as ice, and willing to sacrifice his love.
Posh, unlike a thousand crossbows, was not something that Stormcrow had ever had levelled at him.
Three Umpteen-you-twats and five flagons of mead later Stormcrow remained unmoved. This zen-like level of bladder control did not go unnoticed even in a fleapit such as the The Bugling Badger. Glances were swapped. Murmurs were exchanged for shrugs and a partial refund. More mead was swallowed. The silent frenzy of heightening tension walked a tightrope between senseless violence and a virulent outbreak of sympathetic urination but mercifully, as a knife was loosened from its sheath and a balding man stumbled towards the privy screaming about a broken seal the barkeep rang his bell and yelled for silence.
“Gentlemen. Though you are neither gentle nor, in some unfortunate cases involving straight razors and large quantities of a potato based liqueur, strictly men, I ask that put your hands or indeed your stumps together for your favourite sons of merriment and mischief…The UMP’TEEN…NUMPTIES!”
There are conflicting reports about what followed this doom-laden announcement. Some say they saw a tsunami of spinning scimitars, others a whirlwind of whistling whips, others still a hurricane of hurtling hatchets. A follically-challenged man nursing a bruised but unbowed seal recalled a dark figure with a burning heart and the eye of the tiger rising from the shadowy ashes of the snug like a black-feathered phoenix, wielding a sword of impossible length, improbable sharpness and a fairly standard level of shininess for a midweek dust-up.
Each man who witnessed the carnage will take their version of events to the grave and swear it true. Be it sabres, longswords or daggers they claim to have seen, each recalls the same chilling words the figure uttered just prior to hell being unleashed.
They’re just a bunch of hobbits with shaved feet
Thus ends the tale of the Numpties of Humperteen.
The barkeep, one Thomas Bombadil, remains missing (presumed unwell).
Stormcrow remains legend.