I was seeing to some correspondence in the study last night when my butler Montgomery arrived with the tray of ribs and pitcher of Old Fashioneds I’d requested. “Ah, perfect timing,” I said. “Place them on the desk here — I don’t know, somewhere within arm’s reach.”
“Jolly good, guv’nor,” Monty said. “And how are we this evening, wot wot?”
“Excellent.” I grabbed a rib and gnawed at it briefly. “In fact, more than excellent. You see, the thrill of the hunt is upon me.”
“Well, thrill of the challenge to be precise,” I said, then paused to polish off the rib. “Specifically, this ‘Blogging From A to Z April Challenge’ business. Here, take a look.”
I swiveled my monitor in his direction and pointed to the screen. “See? More than a thousand bloggers going mano-a-mano in a no-holds-barred, steel-cage death match of the mind.”
“Oh, I say! That does sound exciting.”
“Ah, but that’s not the half of it,” I said, grabbing another rib. “Hold on a second.”
I proceeded to wolf down that rib and chased it with three more in rapid succession. I then opened my mouth to speak, reconsidered, raised an index finger, ate a fifth rib, and went on.
“Yes,” I said. At least it started as speech, but then evolved into an extended belch. No joke, that thing went on for a good 35, 45 seconds. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I quaffed the pitcher of Old Fashioneds for a moment, wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, and continued. “There are conditions.”
“Conditions? God save the Queen!”
“Indeed. The challenge begins Monday, then continues every weekday and Saturday through the end of April.”
“My word! That’s 26 days!”
“Correct,” I said, nodding, “but that’s still not all of it. Each day corresponds to one letter of the alphabet, running sequentially from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ — and challengers must post on a topic that starts with that day’s letter!”
Monty shrieked, his withered, bony hands flying up to cover his gaping mouth.
“Great Nixon’s Ghost!” I said, covering my ears. “What the hell’s come over you?”
“Sorry, m’lord,” he said. He shook his head and straightened his lapels. “It’s just, well — what you just described to me is madness. Pure madness! And what happens to the challengers who aren’t able to keep up? What then, eh?”
I shrugged, belched, and reached for another rib. “Dunno,” I said between bites. “I assume they’ll be — taken out back — and shot? Something like that.” I dropped the finished rib bone and grabbed a fresh one. “Certainly none of my concern. After all, I’m a natural-born champion.”
“Well, I suppose you know what you’re doing—”
“—but I do hope you’ll be careful. ‘Q’ sounds like a tricky one for you to write about without coming off as homophobic, wot wot?”
“Perish the thought, Monty. Not only will I finish without resorting to homophobia, but I’m feeling confident about taking first prize.”
“Oh? What are the prizes?”
“Not sure. The A to Z website is oddly mum on the topic, but it must be something fabulous.”
“Right-o, guv’nor,” Monty said. “I’ll leave you to it. Do you require anything else at this time?”
I briefly pondered the question, and in doing so realized I was still holding an uneaten rib. I rectified the situation with due haste and nodded. “Yes,” I said, “A fresh tub of butter.”
“Jolly good, sir! I’ll be right back with it lickety-split, or my name’s not Montgomery!”
As Monty turned to leave, his foot snagged on my desk. He flew forward, nearly caught himself, then landed solidly on his face with a rather sickening thud. More alarmingly, his right arm tipped the rib tray during his descent, causing the platter to perform a perfect Triple Lindy before showering him and much of my study with ribs and barbecue sauce.
“Well then,” I said, grabbing the fortunately unscathed pitcher of Old Fashioneds as I headed to the door. “I suppose I’ll need a fresh tray of ribs, too. I’ll be in the media room when they’re done.”
So there it is, fellow A to Z challengers — my gauntlet is thrown. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to finish rewatching season 2 of Game of Thrones in advance of Sunday night’s season 3 premiere. See you Monday.
[Introduction to the ‘Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2013’ series: Next]