"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.
Lionel furrowed his brow with good reason for his fellow agent and good friend uttered the signifying words. Your talents and tendencies are no longer in line with the needs of the crown.
“I did everything the crown asked of us, delivered that, and more!” said Lionel, “You remember, old boy, you were with me on half the missions.”
“Oh I do, Lionel, I do and I remember more than that,” Sir Tomson said while sitting back to emphasize his new position. “The more; what you did extra for yourself, not just the crown. That’s what the crown does not need – a profiteer.”
Those words hit Lionel’s stomach. The new battles ahead for anyone entering the second half of the nineteen-forties would be bigger than the war itself had been. Office politics; maintaining good graces; shaking hands with enemies and smiling every day; not a single thing said meant what it meant. The words were only partially correct. Sir Tomson had taken sides. Lionel quickly forgot the responses generated in his mind.
“You know, old boy, this department infighting held no purpose for our side in the war. It does no good. I did nothing different from anyone else in this department. The crown wanted it that way since I started in the twenties!”
“I know, Lionel, and that’s why we’re letting you go. You were always rubbish at the office. You’d just embarrass yourself and the whole of Mi6, or Mi19, or wherever they had you posted last. I still don’t know how you did that.” Sir Tomson said while rolling a new cigarette between his fingers.
“I’m good at what I do, that’s how. It’s a shame they didn’t recognize that.” Lionel said passively.
“Good at what? There’s no longer a war. There’s no longer a secret prisoner to interrogate. There’s nothing extra the crown can get away with stealing from places we sent men like yourself. They all have radios and telephones now days. They all talk. They all know.” Sir Tomson said, letting the words hang as a reminder to both of their futures. His father’s Great War trench lighter sat on his desk.
Lionel considered the picture Sir Tomson drew. It was indeed a fast changing world of communication and mystifying atomics that he made sure the German’s would never get their hands on.
“We need new and youthful men for the new age, Nigel. University men. You must have seen this coming; you’re nearly fifty for god’s sake.”
Lionel sulked in the red leather chair, taking stock. Images flickered within his memory. He could never talk about some awards by the King himself. However, there was proof of the future direction in front of him. A passed promotion, a knighthood deservedly given to the understudy In his thirties.
Sir Tomson stood up and handed Lionel a thickly stuffed manila envelope, “Here’s your final papers. Your severance is in your accounts. We did recognize your work, Lionel. If you need any favors, let me know. Lord knows you earned quite a few. Take care, sir.”
With that, Sir Tomson gave Lionel a final and proper salute. Lionel couldn’t detect what was wrong with the moment, total respect or total condescension. Lionel nodded, no longer part of the service, put on his hat and turned to leave, “You’ll need luck in your new job, old boy. I hope you didn’t exhaust it in the war.”
Lionel thought about travels In service of the crown as he walked past secretaries typing and telephones ringing. Barcelona was very nice. Toulon on the Gulf of Lion? Tangiers? The Mediterranean. Not many places could compare to that coastline. Fishing calmed him.
(Author’s notes) June 2nd, 2016: home
I spoke about Rory’s story cubes and posted some stories they generated in the past. This is the progenitor of what’s going to turn into an episodic series of short adventure stories. Neither novels nor novelettes but just short stories that over time can be combined into collections. Each is an adventure, just like an hour-long TV series. Who knows where this will go but the world building settings are generating the stories in my mind. I’ve researched some events and happenings of WW2 a little before and after and I found a narrow window of a few years allowing this group of men to find something for themselves after the war in the world before the world itself becomes too serious, too political, too cold and complicated. Also, before they get found out. Lionel is the man who discovers something soon and he enacts a plan that a few others go along with. Enjoy his beginnings.