Tessie / The Imp

If alarm clocks could be classified as murder victims, Tessie Holmes deserved a life sentence. Though her fist was not large, the ferocity with which she pounded the Snooze button would have been more fitting to a heavyweight wrestling champion than a bony tightrope performer. When the infernal machine finally shut up - whether it was vindictiveness that made it bleep for longer, or the fact that she'd probably broken something inside it, Tessie was never sure - she reluctantly crawled out from beneath her warm nest of pillow and duvet and went in search of every morning's prime objective: breakfast.

As usual, her housemates were long gone, leaving the tiny house's kitchen empty. Within seconds, Tessie was sitting beside the sink, nursing a cup of strong black coffee and crooning quietly to herself. A beam of sunlight slanted in from the window at her back, and the warmth was pleasant on the mass of knotted muscle and pain that her spinal region seemed to have become in the past few days. She yawned and stretched out a foot to turn on the radio.

"... in lieu of the rediscovery of the stolen jewellery, the police are further deepening their investigation into the mysterious sneak-thief, Snake Eyes ..."

Tessie hid her smile behind her coffee. The Snake Eyes Saga, as she thought of it, was a great source of amusement to her. Though she had been living among the humans for nearly a decade now, their little idiosyncrasies and small-minded worldview never failed to entertain her. Offshoots like Snake Eyes were her favourites.

Finishing her coffee, Tessie dumped the empty cup into the sink and sloped into the cramped lounge area. Sharing the rented house with four of her co-workers from the travelling company she performed for had been convenient, but it did mean there was a distinct lack of privacy for anyone involved. Since leaving Britain for their US tour, they had hopped from bedsit to bedsit in gangs, renting a place for a month or two while performing within the immediate radius, then moving on again. The morning panic as everyone ran off for rehearsals and early-morning domestic duties produced enough noise that Tessie could only compare it with the notion of several headless chickens spontaneously combusting in an echo chamber. Hence why she slept late - even if it did mean lukewarm showers, at least no one would walk in on her in her underwear. 

Shoving aside a few magazines, an errant coffee table and a pair of suspicious-looking gym trainers, Tessie started her morning stretch routine, purring like a cat at the familiar wiry strength of her muscles. She wasn't back on show duty for two weeks - their current performance venue did not have a high enough ceiling for most of her routine - so she'd been permitted some shore leave. She had no intention of doing much in the way of productivity, but maybe if she went into the city today she could find something to entertain her. Or, better yet, find some convenient grocery store to satisfy the biscuit craving that had been plaguing her these past days.

Two hours later, Tessie was at the bus stop, a pair of lime-green headphones in her ears, humming along to the tune of "Bohemian Rhapsody". As the bus came within sight, she let a reptilian smirk creep across her face. Bus fares were somewhat irrelevant when one could, quite literally, just pop into her seat.

The End

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