Thursday, June 15, 2006

Three Little Words

…but they're probably not, "Have a banana."

You know Mrs. Jana? The formidable lady who is supplying me with the linguistic tools for my assault on the Czech language? She who cheers me ever onward as I traumatise my hapless colleagues and random strangers with feats of verbal daring? (There's a lady in the sandwich shop near work who visibly flinches and retreats behind the crusty rohliky when I walk in the door.)

Well, she is a woman of Machiavellian cunning. She was clearly unconvinced by my paltry excuses for a lack of grammatical precision when ordering beef stew with dumplings during Tuesday's role play exercises. (Curse you a thousand times, oh bizarre-rules-of-declension-that-only-affect-masculine-animate-nouns-which-category-deceptively-includes-dead-animals-and-fish-but-not-eggs.) She views with scorn my plans for a 4-day weekend of frolicking in parts Britannic.

And so, to prevent me backsliding, she has given me several sheets of fruit to identify. Easy? You might think so. And perhaps with a dictionary, it might be. But so far, late nights at work have been an obstacle to acquiring that particular learning aid. Especially as Mrs. Jana recommends a "special" one with pictures. (Should that make me laugh or cry?) So instead I may end up in the fresh produce section of my local Albert, notebook and sheets in hand. This may be the straw that breaks the Black Ox's back after that check-out debacle with the unweighed bag of carrots.

But here's the rub(-arb). I have just received a text from her, which reads: "I am waiting". Nothing else. No greeting, no sign-off, no smiley faces.

Now I can tell myself that this message has been hovering somewhere in SMS-space since my slight delay in arriving this morning. Messages occasionally do this and it is of no concern. But the part of my subconscious that remembers what it was like to be a small squishy primate beleaguered by big pointy-toothed beasts is very very afraid.* Waiting where? With what? An AXE??? Eeek. Or perhaps even Oook.

*On re-reading, I dimly recall reading something similar in a Terry Pratchett?? In which case, apologies/credit to him.


azteclady said...

Do you want anything special in your own tombstone, à la Bridget Applewhaite of St Andrews?

If so, dear EAP, please post here it before you meet the redoubtable Mrs Jana--wherever and whenever the meeting takes place. We faithful readers would like to remember you in a manner that befits you.

Candy said...

Wait, EAP: you mean you're NOT a golden marmoset?

*stops picking fleas out of fur in puzzlement*

Kate R said...

Forget Terry Pratchett. Mrs. Jana is Stephen King material.

RPC said...

I am with kate r :: watch out for the warning signs, avoid lonely hillside houses amid forests and keep with that homework.

London and it's staggering weather (note breathtaking lack of irony) awaits you...

Suisan said...

My husband notes that my mother keeps coming up with the worst plans imaginable for creating family harmony; these plans always result in vegetables thrown over dining room tables and many months of stony silence from opposing members of the clan.

So he says the scariest three words my mother can say are, "I've been thinking..."

Dear MaMa needs to go meet up with Mrs. Jana. Maybe they can duel it out together. With Rhubarb stalks.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

I suspect Mrs. Jana is the kind for concrete overshoes and a watery anonymous grave, azteclady. All that will be left is a list of fresh produce (perfectly declined) in Czech.

Candy, might it not be theoretically possible that a highly-evolved species of marmoset would have developed a sophisticated and richly-detailed oral history? Particularly when it concerns the way they brought about the ultimate destruction of a pointy-toothed, but intellectually-challenged foe.

[Big volcanic eruption? Giant meteor? My tufty, nasturtium-scented bottom. But they'll never be able to prove a thing, d'you hear me? Nev- Hang on. Where's the strikeout on this comments thing? Shit. The boss is gonna kill me. Still, Mrs. Jana's features have a certain reptilian cast in some lights. Hmmm... *prehensile tail curls with satisfaction around a bowl of chopped mango and someone, somewhere, contemplates...*]

rpc and kate r, thanks for notching my fear up into full-blown panic. Will get unsuspecting volunteers to check under bed tonight.

suisan, could your mother come round and defend me should things get a little sticky over the legumes? Promise all the poppyseeds she can eat...