Monthly Archives: June 2020

Fraternize (verb)

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1.      To associate or mingle as brothers or on fraternal terms

2a.   To associate on close terms with members of a hostile group especially when contrary to military orders

2b.   To be friendly or amiable.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 23 June 2020)

Use it in a sentence

Nicholas’s boss took him by the shoulders and stared at him. Before she could say anything, Nicholas frowned at her, look pointedly at her hands, and then frowned at her again. ‘This is classed as harassment, you know that don’t you.’

‘Yes, yes, of course. No hands, sorry.’ Debra quickly removed them. ‘I forget’

‘You always forget,’ Nicholas said drily.

‘Anyway! I’ve got a task for you. An interesting one. But it’s a bit dangerous.’

‘Oh yeah?’ Nicholas crossed his arms, but he was curious.

Debra lowered her voice and stared at him intently. ‘I need to you fraternize with the enemy.’

He stared at her blankly. ‘What enemy?’

‘The Happy Pig! Ever since he moved in down the road, he’s taken at least 40% of my business. I want to know why, I want to know how!’

‘So… what do you want me to do?’

‘They’re advertising for a part-time butcher. I want you to apply for the job.’

Nicholas was confused. ‘And then?’

‘And then quit after two weeks and report back to me. Where are they getting their pigs from? What are they selling in there?’ Debra leaned in, ‘Find out what’s in those sausages.’

‘That’s not fraternizing, that’s spying.’

‘Whatever. Will you do it?’

Nicholas narrowed his eyes at her. ‘What if they don’t give me the job?’

‘Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.’

‘Will you keep paying me too?’

‘That’s extortion!’

‘You said it yourself, it’s a dangerous game. I don’t want to get caught with a cleaver between my shoulder blades.’

‘Oh, don’t be so ridiculous. It’s not that dangerous.’

He shrugged. ‘That’s the deal, take it or leave it.’

Debra wrung her hands, and then threw them in the air. ‘You’re a shit Nicholas.’

He smiled and removed his apron. He was done for the day. He had an application to put together.

Envisage (verb)

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  1. To view or regard in a certain way
  2. To have a mental picture of especially in advance of realisation

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 20 June 2020)

Use it in a sentence

I had envisaged something else entirely. All our message conversations had been littered with snappy dialogue and witty banter. We had exchanged ideas, made connections, and of course, flirted coquettishly, almost shyly. I didn’t mind that we never spoke on the phone. I thought I might already know your voice, had imagined that our first face-to-face meeting would be dramatic and sudden, but familiar at the same time. Peppery, gauzy, smug.  

But you arrived 15 minutes late for our hike. And when you got out of your car, you limped towards me and said, no, there was nothing wrong. But you produced a puffer too, and it was clear that you didn’t love walking in the outdoors, and, in fact, that you were severely asthmatic. I was confused. We had nothing at all to say for a good 20 minutes. You were handsome, I’ll give you that. But it was clear too, that someone else was writing or at least coaching or at least vetting your messages. Someone far more clever, spontaneous and interesting than you, I’m sorry.

After we talked about finance and banking, and after you told me how much you hated cooking and how indifferent you were to eating too (I’m a chef, remember?), and after you slumped back to the car, exhausted and uninspired by nature, you had the gall to ask me, with a leer, if I’d like to go back to your place.

No. No. I had envisaged something else entirely, but what I got was reality. Again.   

Harangue (noun)

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  1. A speech addressed to a public assembly
  2. A ranting speech or writing
  3. Lecture.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 17 June 2020)

Use it in a sentence

[Note that this is the noun harangue, and not the verb harangue.]

It was meant to be a brief and warm welcome to the newcomers. But from Celeste it was a harangue – a long and rambling speech that loitered too long on the history of The Retreat, how it came to be in the first place, and why they were lucky to be permitted entry. The men, in any case, already knew the purpose of The Retreat and they sat cowed, some of them afraid for the first time in their lives. They were there because they’d been captured and deemed suitable for reprogramming, as opposed to extermination. Men were generally defunct these days, but they were still needed for procreation. For now.

They anticipated the beatings and the brainwashing. The Extractions. What they didn’t yet know about were the Purgings, how they’d be force fed lumps of sugar smeared with lard, nuggets of grit deep fried in month-old fish oil, doughy biscuits dusted with chilli – all washed down with castor oil so that they threw up everything but their organs. The practice, only one in a suite of reprogramming activities that lasted several days, served to purify the men – to stuff them to the gills with the defiling richness of their old life, and then to expel the poison and start anew. Most of them were too fat anyway. They would need to become lean and bony, and to suffer hunger – just like the women of the old times. Celeste was not happy until she could count the ribs on a new recruit. “You could be a so-called supermodel now,” she’d mock them. “A regular Victoria’s Secret model. Are you happy now?” she’d sneer.