Monday Writing: January 9

Full disclosure, I mostly just wanted Dunstana to utter the phrase “Shank somebody.”

Admittedly, the details of this one are a bit of a mess. But, again, this is one of the those things where the important part is the banging out a scene in 500 words, not necessarily succeeding on literary merit.

I’d definitely need to massage and expand some of the specifics if I was going to use this as the basis for a longer story, but, full disclosure, I mostly just wanted Dunstana to utter the phrase “Shank somebody.”

Though, naturally, she’s ten and doesn’t actually know what that means. But, like, I guess she runs around hitting bad guys with a wooden sword, that’s like shanking somebody, I suppose…

Incidentally, our good friend Wikipedia defines the non-Prison Fight context for ‘shank’ as “is the portion of meat around the tibia of the animal, the leg bone beneath the knee and shoulder.”

Annie gasps.

“‘Stana! You stole from the baron!”

Annie gasps again.

“And I helped!

Tears being welling in her eyes.

“Now he’s going to call the Musketeers! We’re going to go to jail, ‘Stana!”

Dunstana frowns. “Yeah. And if that happens, we’d probably have to shank somebody,” she says pensively. “I don’t know what that means, but I’ve heard grown-ups talk about it when they mention jail. I think that’s when you hit the other guy with, like, a chunk of meat.”

“I don’t want to go to jail, ‘Stana!” Annie wails.

“Don’t worry,” Dunstana assures her cousin.

“Well, well, well,” a Musketeer says as he passes. “What’s all this, then?”

“Uh…” Dunstana says.

Annie squeals and hides behind Dunstana.

“Now, you two young ladies wouldn’t happen to be up to anything nefarious, would you?”


“Now, that’s not exactly an encouraging reaction, young lady,” the Musketeer notes.

“It was an accident!” Dunstana says hastily, running through every excuse she knows. “An older girl made me do it! It was like that when I got here! It’s my first day! A witch put a spell on me!”

“Now, young lady,” the Musketeer says in a measured voice, “why don’t you just start by showing me what it is you’re trying to hide behind your back?”

“Please don’t take us to jail,” Annie whimpers.

Dunstana sheepishly shows the Musketeer her plundered prize, a metal statue of a lady in a dress that’s at least three sizes too small.

“Well, well, well,” the Musketeer says again. “What’s all this then?” The Musketeer gasps. “That’s the Orichalcum Statue of Aristomache!”

“… Yeah,” Dunstana admits.

“And you two broke into the Baron’s manor all by yourselves?” the Musketeer asks.

“… Yeah,” Dunstana admits.

“No doubt to reclaim the Museum’s stolen property and return to its rightful owner,” the Musketeer says.

Dunstana’s eyes shift back and forth. “Uh, yeah,” she mutters. “That’s exactly what it was! We’re helping!”

“Such brave young ladies!” the Musketeer exclaims, clapping happily. “That statue has been missing from the Municipal Museum for months now. The Musketeers always suspected the Baron was involved in art smuggling, but we didn’t have enough evidence to move. And here are you two, just sneaking into the place and stealing it back!”

“Are you mad at us?” Annie asks cautiously from behind Dunstana.

“Mad at you?” the Musketeer asks. “Mad at you? My dear girl, you should get medals for this!”

“So we’re not going to jail?” Annie asks.

“Why would you think a thing like that?” the Musketeer asks.

“Well,” Annie begins, “Because me and ‘Stana —”

Dunstana hastily silences her cousin by slapping her hand over Annie’s mouth.

“She means that she thought the Baron would be mad at us,” Dunstana offers. “See, because we stole — I mean, uh, recovered the statue from him.”

She grins amicably up at the Musketeer.

“You’re not going to jail,” the Musketeer assures the two girls. “I supposed we could debate the merits of sneaking into private property to steal back something that was stolen in the first place, but as far as I’m concerned, you two have done a good thing for the city.”

Annie heaves a sigh of relief.

“Come on, you two,” the Musketeer bids. “Let’s get you two and that statue home.”

Dunstana looks up at the Musketeer. “Hey, what does shanking somebody mean?”

I don’t know, I still feel like Dunstana could do a lot of damage with one of these:

A man preparing to eat a shank of meat.
Photo by ENESFu0130LM on

Note to self: Dunstana beats up bad guys with a lamb shank in a tavern brawl

A pair of reminders: this week’s full story chapter is here —

— and the rest of my short writing exercises are here:

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