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Articles: Second Chances - extract from ebook

Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 01:16 AM, (1781 Reads)

Action, adventure and laughter on the road to redemption.

The novel explores Absolute's adventures and the interesting mix of characters he meets in order to thwart a daring assassination without arousing suspicion of his special powers. This fable blends action comedy with imagination and attitude.
Second Chances is a vivid tale that can easily be portrayed as an animated feature.
Prequel to hard hitting Absolutely Done.

Second Chances
ISBN 978-967-5785-00-9 (international)
ASIN: B004WWWTBU ( and all Amazon digital stores)
At the village of Urbanphobia, a great gastronomic and entertainment feast is in progress. Laughter swells, music swells even louder. The main village square has neat rows of dining tables. Pots and culinary delights simmer, extolling their bubbly humour. Open grilles exude heat as they invite eager appetites to indulge. The perfect excuse for the village chief to go traipsing from one pot to another and have a preview of all dishes before the main event.
"What do you think of the porridge’s consistency Sir?"
He takes a sip, another sip and another.
"I think it needs a little more pepper!"
"Very good Sir!"
"No, my good man, it will make it better!"
"Very good…er…very well Sir!"
He walks a few paces away.
"What do you think of the appetiser Sir?"
Taking great relish and two upturned brows later... "Excellent, couldn’t have done it better myself!"
"Very good Sir!"
He pats the cook.
"Excellent, my good man, excellent!"
He walks over to the next brewing pot.
"Now what is brewing here my dear?"
"Stew for a Few, a special home recipe."
"Ah…so that’s why it’s in a cauldron, my good woman?"
"I make exceptions for feast days Sir! Here have a sip!"
He slurps. He slurps a bit longer. He slurps the entire ladle.
"A delightful trip, my dear!"
"Very good Sir!"
He rubs his hands eagerly. Walks a few paces more.
"Now what’s next?"
"Sir, try my pancakes!"
Swaying a bit, the village chief says, "I’ll have only a modest portion my good woman, our guests should have the lion’s share."
She pushes a tray to him. He sniffs the steam wafting into his nostrils. He swallows hard.
"My appetite is modest, modest really!" Saying so, he pats his generous girth. Then extends his hand to pick a pancake and proceeds to finish it off. His eyes shine with gastronomic delight.
Sergeant Chevrons, Corporal Rogue, Private Wings and Private Drumsticks appear from a short distance away, raising their swords, bedecked in full ceremonial gear.
Corporal Rogue whispers into the Sergeant’s ears. "Sir, why are we in ceremonial gear? It’s usually used for formal occasions in court when the King is present."
"I’m aware of that Corporal, but when we return to my village, we are treated like Kings! Now everyone, raise your swords and let’s ride into the village square."
Sergeant Chevrons is mobbed by his own kinfolk. There is much rejoicing, shouting and fussing over their ceremonial uniforms. The villagers jostle for a close look at their outfits. Private Drumsticks, to his credit, this time around, he made a point to wear clean socks and dabbed scented oils onto himself. Seeing a lute on Horse Horsey’s side, villagers query Absolute. "Are you also a minstrel Corporal?"
"I am a King’s Guard above all else but sometimes I find it more fitting to whip out the lute than the sword."
He smiles. They guffaw.
"Play us a tune!"
Absolute obliges. He dismounts. Teasing every chord possible from the lute, alternating between swift strums and slow picking, he entertains as a crowd, crowds around him. It’s not every day when a soldier plays for villagers. Through it all Horsey Horsey wanders away to rest atop soft turf.. After a tune from Absolute, the village feasted.

Midway through the feast, a group of raiders in unwashed clothes and messy hair descend into the village square. With a loud blow of a caustic sounding horn they proclaim their arrival with
"We are the Left Tease Revolutionaries. Hand over your food and we will spare your throats! Down with Froggers!"
At this, Sergeant Chevrons yells a challenge. "Down with raiders. The King’s Guards are here!" He unsheathes his weapon. Absolute, Drumsticks and Wings do the same. Village folk scatter as the armed adversaries face each other. Absolute spies a pitchfork behind him. Sheathing his weapon, he takes the pitchfork.
"Let’s be nitpicky!"
"Sergeant we have some opposition!", cried a raider.
Absolute, Drumsticks and Wings overheard the outburst.
"'Sergeant'! Now that's curious!", thought Absolute.
Reinforcements are quickly summoned and about a dozen more raiders with unwashed clothes and messy hair rush to meet them all.
Definitely not a courtesy call, they brandish their weapons in a hurry without even a courteous call of 'On Guard!'.
"Let's see how you deal with us all you fancy dressers!".
With his drawn sword raised, the one addressed as 'sergeant' orders a trio of raiders to see to Absolute and Wings, still clad in ceremonial gear.

"You think they're fancy dressers! Why don't you take me on?" All eyes turn towards the voice, revealing a figure in bright scarlet, yellow and black jester's suit. A new element in battle. His cap is a jester's cap. With two swords and a shield strapped to his back, Absolute recognises the newcomer. His jaw droops a bit as he utters, " a jester's suit!?"

Private Wings stands frozen. So did the rest of the village. All noise turn to stillness. Acute silence. Everyone frozen in mid-action and gesture, like statues. All except Absolute, Anchorius and the three raiders too caught up with fervour and unaware of the changes occurring around them. One charges at Absolute, another two charge towards Anchorius.

Using the pitchfork, Absolute parries his foe's blade thrusts and lunges, trapping the blade between the pitchfork's teeth and twisting it away. With a pitchfork and his opponent's weapon in another hand, he smiles. He asks his foe "Which one do you prefer?"
The man runs off the opposite way into the forest in blind panic. Anchorius swings both his swords expertly, the force dislodging both his opponents' grip on the handles. Seeing themselves disarmed and left with only a short dagger each, they too head for the forest with wild enthusiasm. Thus, three raiders disappear at great speed into the woods, from whence they came.

"Anchorius, I never knew you can be so handy with two swords!"

"It's nothing Absolute. I had a few hundred years' practice."

"How do you explain the jester's suit?"

'They're actually a royal court jester's clothes."

"Since when have you been clowning around?"

"I was one in a former life and a soldier too. Look we all have our sinful past Absolute. Thankfully, we have a slice of Eternity to put things right. Which explains why I'm here."

"Why are you here Anchorius?"
"To enlighten."

"It's broad daylight Anchorius. You will do well at a camp bonfire in those clothes."
Absolute looks behind him and hears the distant wails of panic from the fleeing raiders.

"Absolute, if you've noticed, those three who've fled haven't bothered to look about them. They are too filled with fear to interrupt us."

"Anchorius, I notice that Time and Motion are at a standstill. With a few exceptions. Yourself, those raiders and I."

"That is correct. Come let me enlighten you further."

Anchorius pats a frozen raider in the midst of trading blows with Private Drumsticks. Anchorius pulls out a dagger belonging to the raider from its sheath. "Notice this? This is a conniv!"

"A common dagger used by Conniving's army!", exclaims Absolute.

"Now watch something else!" Saying so, Anchorius with a wink and a nudge, unfastens the raider's trouser belt and pulls the breeches down.

"Notice the underwear?"
"Anchorius, this is outrageous!" Absolute’s eyes dart elsewhere.

"Absolute, sometimes outrage reveals the truth. Look at the underwear!"

Absolute moves his head towards Anchorius, then the exposed raider. His eyes partially covered by his hands.
"Pink and black!"

"Right Absolute. Whose army wears pink and black?"

"Anchorius, are you saying that…?"

"Yes, Absolute. These raiders, who call themselves the Left Tease Revolutionaries are part of Conniving's army. Just like those peasants you encountered at the Piranha Lake."

Saying that, Anchorius uses his sword to unfasten another raider's breeches, revealing the same choice of underwear. Anchorius does the same for every raider. With Time and Motion suspended, they offer no resistance.

"Anchorius, this will not go down well with the village womenfolk!"

"That's exactly my idea Absolute. But hush…I must take my leave soon. I have enlightened you far enough!"

"Wait Anchorius, fill me in a little more about your past life!"
"Very well Absolute. Only awhile longer before I have to restore things as they should."
"Pray, do tell me!"
"I served Prince Gruel of the Principality of Porridge. A place that boils with intrigue at every corner, crusted with conspiracy. I was a soldier who rose through the ranks and that made me quite a thorn in a number of people's sides. Yet another talent had I besides bloodshed. Often before a battle, I will amuse soldiers under me with tomfoolery, songs and other silly jesting. It so happened that Prince Gruel was saddled with much sadness at the time and my presence as storyteller, minstrel and jester had given him relief. I became a full time jester in court instead. One day I was challenged to a duel by a general who grew jealous of my influence and favour with the Prince. I being a skilful and cunning fighter, used all my skills and defeated him. I spared his life but he foolishly made a coward's lunge when my back was turned. I slew him before he could slay me. It was the custom at the Principality of Porridge to take over the place of the one who had been slain and under the custom I would be made a General. Prince Gruel found it hard to allow a jester to lead an army. It hurt his pride too much. He ordered me to be executed instead so that he could take charge of the army.
Ever since I was slain, I did my service and penance as guardian of those unjustly opposed and outnumbered."

"Anchorius, your story is as colourful as your clothes!"

Anchorius smiles, then says, "Absolute you have a mission. There's a plot to mislead that the Left Tease Revolutionaries are Froggers' subjects. There will be more intrigue but you will have friends to fight by your side. I must go now!"


Anchorius disappears like a fading ghost swallowed by a mist just as Time and Motion are restored. The fighting resumes. But instead of furious grunts and bellows, some Left Tease Revolutionaries stumble about with their unfastened breeches. Sergeant Chevrons being a good sport said, "Buckle that up and continue!"
Private Drumsticks in a more matter of fact manner declared, "Ho! You won't be impressing the womenfolk with that!"

Private Wings eyes his adversaries warily and says, "You're not frightening me with that!"

The womenfolk of the village, who awhile ago hid beneath tables and behind pots and pans, echo the same sentiments. As if united by instinct and outrage, the women wade into battle, splashing oil, soap, water, pots, rolling pins and even a large chunk of ham! The menfolk of the village who had run helter-skelter at the first charge, too were outraged by the insensitive display of lowered breeches. They respond with chairs, bottles, tables and even leftovers. Beaten back by a display of ferocious outraged courage, the Left Tease Revolutionaries make a run for it. With Sergeant Chevrons, Corporal Rogue, Private Wings and Private Drumsticks in pursuit despite being in full ceremonial gear, backed by a village mob with household weapons.

Having secured the village and repulsed the attack of the Left Tease Revolutionaries, the village chief regains his breath and voices his appreciation to the King's Guards.

"We were fortunate to have you at the village to engage them!"

"Oh, don't thank us, the bunch of you fought valiantly!", responded Sergeant Chevrons.

"We were outraged by the tasteless display of underwear!", cried one of the womenfolk.

"Oh yes, dropping their breeches is bad enough and robbing food from us make it doubly worse!", another villager voices agreement.

"Worse for them I'd say!", cried the village chief.

Laughter fills the village where just before there were war cries.
When the revelry had died down, Sergeant Chevrons announced, "I think it's best to organize a round-the-clock guard to watch the village. I'll advise the Captain about this."

With his arms on the Sergeant's shoulders, the village chief looks him in the eye and says, "Thank you Sergeant, we always considered you as the pride of the village!"

When the matter is reported to Captain Lawde...
"What? Pink and black underwear again?"
"Yes, Captain. This time an entire village saw it."
"But we don't have any other evidence to show for it!"
"But Captain, we engaged them. The entire village engaged them."
"I know Sergeant. I'll warn the King about it but whether he believes is another matter."


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