Episode 1: Simon Simile

“Verb! Wake up will you! You have the work ethic of a sloth. Your client is here!”

Verb flicked open an eye from beneath his bowler hat and grinned.

“Just resting my weary peepers, Miss Metaphor, pray tell what does the weatherman bring us today?” he asked, adjusting his waistcoat and leaning back on his chair, peeking through the blinds.

“My memory is a little foggy on the subject, I’m afraid.” She shook her head. “It’s Foggy! It’s always Foggy… this office and this city – it’s a two tone graphic novel.”

“So, you’re saying it’s all black and white, then?”

“It’s nothing but darkness and fog. Yet into each life some fog induced rain must fall, right? Though, rest assured, you are forever the sun in my sky, Verb!” her dark eyes widened, her pierced nostrils flared and then her velvet-black hair swished across her back as she stormed out of his office.

“Sarcasm doth not become ye, fair maiden, but the misty veil does indeed remain,” he sighed, lost in the swirling smog outside his window.

“Oh, and by the way,” she called, pausing outside the door. “You call me Miss Metaphor one more time and you’re a dead man! And that’s not a metaphor! My name is Maleficent.”

“Maleficent by name but magnificent by nature!” he pronounced and promptly saluted her, smirking as the small, smiling man with octagonal spectacles scuttled nervously through the shadows into his office. The door slammed shut behind his new client as the echo of his partner’s angry boots clomped off down the corridor.

Verb glanced down at the pristine paperwork on his desk under the lamplight and rocked his chair back to an upright stance.

Of course he had read the client profile thoroughly last night, as he always did, but he enjoyed making his partner Maleficent Metaphor think that he had no concept of its existence.

“So, Mr Simile… Mr Simon Simile, please take a pew if you will. I hear you have a troublesome spectre?”

“That’s correct, Mr Verb, it may only be like a brush of summer wind against one’s skin, but it is there. I feel it,” said Simile, climbing up into the seat, only just keeping contact with the ground through the tips of his squeaky brown shoes that matched his ill-fitting suit.

“Well then,” said Verb clapping his hands together and pushing back his seat. “You’ve agreed a reasonable rate with Maleficent, I trust? So lead on Macduff!”

“The name is Simile. Think of me as a smile with an extra eye, which I understand would make me as strange as a silent whoopee cushion, but you get the gist,” said the man grinning and tipping his glasses.

“Forgive me that mere trifle from my theatrical past, Mr Simile. Please, if you would…” said Verb, getting out of his seat with purpose and guiding his client to the door.

“Is that it? Well, I’d like to say I’m as happy as a clown, but I sense that my words are having as much impact as a firecracker without a bang, Mr Verb.”

“You don’t understand Mr Simile, I simply mean that we should get on with the job in hand. I am a man of action – a doer of deeds if you will. Deed by name and deed by nature, and I mean to rid you of said Spectre before the night doth fall.”

“Well, well…” said Simile, now grinning from one stubby ear to the next. “That is as refreshing as homemade lemonade on a summer’s day…”

“Right, let’s get to the rub. Do you have any idea why you are being haunted by this apparition?” asked Verb, opening the office door for his client and standing majestically before him back-lit beautifully by the struggling bulb in the corridor.

“I’m as baffled as a bat without sonar, Mr Verb, all I know is that whatever it is, it’s trying to kill me!”

“Hmm, spectres with such murderous intent, usually have good reason, which shall be revealed in time I am sure. We shall take the stairs to the alleyway, so much more invigorating than the jerk of a lift, don’t you think?”

Simile continued to smile.

“Miss Met…, ah forgive slipping tongue, I will try again. Maleficent! I will return before the sun doth set…” he called down the corridor as, on cue, her head popped out of her office door. “If we should ever see thy glowing orb of light in these parts again my biggest joy would be to see your fabulous face, fair lady…”

Verb turned to see her shaking her head, her bright green lips pursed in contempt and she turned her back on him staring into the fog through the gaps in the window shutters, as was her way.

“Your words are a hail of bullets to my heart,” she said.

“Hmmm, now there’s a storm I may never weather,” he said aside. “Come Mr Simile, a spectre slaying awaits.”

Verb moved along the corridor with purpose, and paused at the top of the staircase to wait for his slow moving client.

Simile nodded his appreciation and his smile curved like the blade of a reaper’s scythe as the two men took the dark flight down.

Follow the link for the next installment of Deed Verb – Episode 2: The Black Cab