Professional Bleeder, the ex-phlebotomist, is staying with us. As an act of kindness she volunteered to re-register VR with the National Lottery, a niggling task that took years off the life of her sister, Occasional Speeder, when she tried.
PB often acts as the Family Ferret, sent into dark places to roust recalcitrant people at the end of phone lines. The registration was proceeding slowly when PB was asked for our post code, HR2. Then asked to spell it. "Hello - Roger - Two," she said. The recalcitrant one pounced: "No, Hotel - Romeo - two."
Later PB and I decided to teach ourselves the official Phonetic Alphabet to avoid future clashes. It took less than five minutes since we already seemed to know a lot of the terms. Then we tested each other and I became Romeo-Oscar-Delta-Echo-Romeo-India-Charlie-Kilo. Doing Symonds Yat I briefly forgot Y (Yankee) but I'm fluent now.
Most people don't bother. But it can be a source of techno-superiority while others struggle. If you like that kind of thing.
WIP Second Hand (28,965 words)
Working days (at the supermarket) reminded her of a holiday spent at Brighton as a six-year-old. It had rained continuously and her parents, desperate to find indoor entertainment, had entered an amusement arcade. The distorting mirrors, the quoits and the worthless soft-toy prizes were seen as trashy but Francine had been drawn to a bagatelle played with a ball-bearing so heavy her childish fingers could hardly set it in motion. The fascination lay in the ball’s path, worn away over the years on the game’s vertical playing surface. For two-thirds of its trajectory, before it reached diverters, the ball lacked freedom, was compelled to follow the same route... Francine’s young mind grappled with the fact that the early part of the route was pre-ordained.