In Their own Words:  Summer 2012
part of the In Their Own Words project of the Mary's Handmaidens LiveJournal community



Lost, Stolen, or Strayed
Greer Watson



After laying the table for the vicar and his wife, Mrs Timmings left for home, knowing that her own dinner would be warmed up stew with too many potatoes and only a taste of meat, but fresh beans from her husband’s garden.  She came in to find that, once again, she was not greeted by Tiger twining around her ankles.  That he wasn’t in the kitchen was not, in itself, a great surprise:  it is the nature of tomcats to roam.  However, he had not been seen for almost a week, not at home, nor around the village.  He might have strayed further afield, led by a flying sparrow or the wiles of a lady-cat, and lost his way home.  He might have been run over by a lorry from the army camp.
The next morning, on her way to the vicarage, she dropped by the post office, and was surprised to find that no one seemed to be in.  Well, the paper boy was probably late as usual, and Mr Jenkins dealing with him.  His wife, no doubt, must just have had to pop upstairs for five minutes.
Mrs Timmings looked in her bag for the note she had written about Tiger, and found it missing.  Oh, dear.  She went past the counter and pushed open the door, expecting to find herself in the small back room.  Strangely, though, she did not see the postmaster and the errant paper boy.  Instead, she found herself in an office, overwhelmed by an enormous desk untidy with stacks of paper, where a young woman sat at a typewriter.  At least, Mrs Timmings thought it must be a typewriter—and a most up to date model indeed—for the girl was tapping busily away at the keys.
“Might I borrow a piece of notepaper?” she asked.  “I want to leave a note on the board.”
“Help yourself,” was the response.  “I’m on deadline.”
The head did not turn; and Mrs Timmings had to riffle past the stacks to find a pad of notepaper and a rather blunt pencil.
“Is this for the classifieds?” the girl asked.  “Dictate it to me; I’ll input it directly; it’ll be faster.”
Mrs Timmings hesitated; but she was used to following directions when given in that crisp tone.  “Well,” she said, “I was going to head it ‘Lost, Stolen, or Strayed’.”
“Fine, sure, okay,” drifted round.  The voice seemed to have an American cant, and was vaguely familiar; but Mrs Timmings could only address the back of the head.  “How does it go on from there.”
Mrs Timmings opened her mouth to respond; but, as she dictated, the words somehow seemed to come out rather differently from the way she expected.

brown tabby cat

The scroll was handed to Alexander by one of the pages.  As he unrolled it, Hephaistion came over.  “From the regent?” he asked.

“No, The Renault Times,” said Alexander.  “I was beginning to think the latest issue had gone astray—or the messenger been captured.”
Hephaistion grinned.  A captured messenger might have meant a little retributive action; and the army had been idle too long.  However, the latest Renault Times was an even more welcome distraction.
The two sat in the shade of a tree, taking turns reading aloud.  It was a slim scroll, both agreed.  Rather disappointing after such a long wait.  Most of the articles were about the doings of characters in other books...in their books, not in the ITOWverse.
“Any stories?”
No.  The closest thing to current events was a discussion of the most appropriate casting of parts in a movie of The Charioteer.  (Both men recalled seeing a movie called Troy a few years back, and shuddered at the thought.)  Even that had taken place a month earlier.  For news to take a month on the road in their own book was no surprise; for news in The Renault Times to be so stale was unprecedented.
“I thought they usually had a collection of stories at this time of year,” Hephaistion said.
“Yes, I thought so, too,” said Alexander.  He sounded a bit peeved.
Although it was a section they usually skipped, they finally turned to the advertisements at the end.  As always, there were inquiries from community members about the availability of second hand copies of scarce editions of the Authorís novels; there were offers of World War Two memorabilia for sale; and Mrs Kearsey had, once again, inserted a listing for her boarding house in Wales.  At the end, though, they found one communication that they had not expected.  “Lost, Stolen, or Strayed,” it began.


Lost, Stolen, or Strayed.  Two moderators, slightly used but well beloved.  Last seen a month ago in heartofoshun’s journal.  If spotted, please direct back home to the community where they belong.


newspaper

“I don’t think that came out quite as I intended,” said poor Mrs Timmings.  “Did I mention my Tiger?”

“You have a tiger?” said the Interviewer, turning around for the first time to be seen clearly.
“I think maybe you should put a new sheet of paper in your machine—or maybe it would be better if I wrote it myself.”  Mrs Timmings picked up the blunt pencil.
“Too late,” said the Interviewer.  “It’s already posted.”  And she hit send.




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These interviews, conversations, and stories are written purely for entertainment, and as a tribute to the creator of the characters and author of The Charioteer, Mary Renault.   No copyright infringe­ment is intended.

“Lost, Stolen, or Strayed” was originally posted to the maryrenaultfics community, 24 August 2012.











These interviews, conversations, and stories are written purely for entertainment, and as a tribute to the creator of the characters and author of The Charioteer, Mary Renault.   No copyright infringe­ment is intended.

The picture of a cat comes from Glenda Moore's Catstuff.
The newspaper graphic comes from CyberGifs.com.
The pink marble and rust leather background graphics come from Boogie Jack.
The beige marble background graphic comes from 321Clipart.com.
The glossy and rippled background graphics also came originally from 321Clipart.com, and had their colour altered at GRSites.com and/or with Microsoft Picture Manager.
The other background graphics and diamond bullet come from and/or were made at GRSites.com.

All original material on this webpage is copyright © Greer Watson 2012.