‘What do you think of the word “conundrum”?’
Tiffany stared at Preston, her mind still full of words people never said.’ What was that you asked?’ she said frowning.
‘The word “conundrum”,’ Preston repeated helpfully. ‘When you say the word, doesn’t it look in your head like a copper-coloured snake, curled up asleep?’
Preston was the worst dressed guard in the castle; the newest guard always was. To him were given the chain-mail trousers that were mostly full of holes and suggested, against everything we know about moths, that moths could eat through steel. To him was given the helmet that, no matter what size your head was, would slide down and make your ears look big; and this was not forgetting that he had also inherited a breastplate with so many holes in it that in might be more useful for straining soup.
But his gaze was always alert, to the point where it made people uneasy. Preston looked at things. Really looked at things, so intensely that afterwards they must have felt really looked at. She had no idea what went on in his head, but it was surely pretty crowded.
‘Well, I must say I’ve never thought about that word “conundrum”,’ she said slowly, ‘but it is certainly metallic and slithery.’
‘I like words,’ said Preston. ‘”Forgiveness”: doesn’t that sound like a silk handkerchief gently falling down? And what about “susurration”? Doesn’t it sound to you like whispered plots and dark mysteries? … Sorry, is something wrong?’
‘Yes, I think something may be wrong,’ said Tiffany, looking at Preston’s worried face.
‘Susurration’ was her favourite word; she had never met anyone else who even knew it. ‘Why are you a guard, Preston?’
Terry Pratchett - “I Shall Wear Midnight”