The Delta Pearl 23 — Bruise

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Cactus in snow February 5 2020
Cactus in the Snow, by Teagan R. Geneviene

Hello, my chuckaboos!  Welcome back to the #steampunk riverboat.  Many of you know that I’m way down in the desert southwest of the USA.  I’m not in the mountains, but it is still a high altitude.  We got snow this week.  I promised a couple of you a picture of “cactus in the snow,” so here’s my little cactus garden.

Now, I’m getting right to business, because I’m still working on the little Valentine’s Day project I mentioned in my midweek post.  I hope you’ll enjoy this quick episode of The Delta Pearl. 

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 23 — Bruise

Robert Redford Butch Cassidy Sundance Kid 1969
Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, 1969, as Garnet

Garnet Redford, the Chief Porter was preparing a task list for his staff. He put a check mark beside something, then aggressively crossed it out and wrote something instead. I had never seen Garnet get the morbs, so I had to wonder what could be bothering him.

“Good morning Chief Porter,” I said in a cheery voice, but he only muttered in return. “Is there anything I could help you with? I realize we have a rather difficult group of passengers this voyage.”

I plopped down in the chair that was next to him. Or at least, I plopped as much as my bustle would allow. I propped my chin on my fist and tried to casually get a look at what he was writing.

He grumbled something that included the words “No, thank you.” Garnet acted as if he didn’t want to make eye contact with me. I found that terribly strange, so of course that made me determined to further the exchange.

“Maybe something from the kitchen would cheer you up. I know you have a sweet tooth. Agate made beignets for the ZASH-pa,” I suggested, hoping my imitation of the New Orleans accent would cheer him.

“You know, Jaspe ― the Dealer?” I added when his expression didn’t change a whit.

Beignets Wikipedia
Beignets, Wikipedia

“I don’t need any confounded sweets,” he shot back, and that time he looked up at me.

Egad!” I blurted out in astonishment. “That’s quite a shiner. What happened?”

That black eye certainly explained his grumpy manner. Not only would he have a headache, he would also have a wound to his pride. Garnet threw his pencil down on the desk. He looked at me furiously. However, he took a deep breath and composed himself. He sagged back down onto his chair.

“I was foolish, not paying any attention. I should’ve seen the blasted thing on the deck. Whoever left it there― When I find out who left that thing, they’ll be lucky if I don’t throw them overboard. Walking the plank was a sorely underrated punishment,” the Chief Porter ranted.

“What?” I implored, trying to keep a calm tone, but his anger was contagious.

“A banana peel!” he exclaimed. “Some miscreant left a banana peel on the deck and like a bumbling fool, I slipped on the blasted thing! When I find out which one of the deckhands put it there…”

He reasoned the deckhands were known for playing the occasional harmless prank on the porters. However, none of the senior crew would have thought intentionally causing someone to slip and fall was harmless. Particularly when a passenger might have been as likely a victim as a staff member.

However, I knew the banana peel was not left by a deck hand.

“Try and forget about it, Garnet. I’ve already picked up one banana peel, and I caught the miscreant as you so rightly termed it. It was not a deckhand or any other crew member,” I told him.

I didn’t even have to add that the prankster was cherubic-looking Hershel Harvey. The Chief Porter knew as soon as I started to speak. The child’s reputation had quickly spread throughout the Delta Pearl.

Banana peel wikipedia
Banana peel, Wikipedia

“We’re stuck with the brat then,” Garnet grumbled. “A passenger would have to do something outrageously harmful for the Captain to intervene. Or something illegal… or something like a woman running away from her husband and having amorous congress with another woman,” the Chief Porter added with a sidelong look.

Balderdash! So, he at least had a suspicion about Azalea Morton and her supposed charge, Alex Rice. The boy was actually the runaway bride, Alison Ritchie. Was their secret in danger? Ordinarily, I thought Garnet would ignore the two women flaunting convention, as long as they were discrete. Yet, considering how upset he was about Hershel Harvey, he might not be as tolerant.

I made a point of keeping the conversation on the horrible brat, Hershel.

“Maybe if the Captain had some kind of evidence, or if another passenger came forward,” Garnet started. “But that would mean allowing a guest to get hurt, when we could stop it before it happened by doing something about the boy.”

“When I slipped on a puddle of oil and fell off the Hurricane deck, and the Captain pulled me back over the railing,” I began.

“I wasn’t present, but I do remember how angry the Captain was. Not to mention how Agate set into the Cadet, blaming him for that oil not getting cleaned up,” Garnet interjected.

“I heard someone giggling before the Captain and Agate got there. I’ve always suspected that Hershel put the oil there. But I didn’t see him, so I’ve never mentioned what I suspect,” I told him.

“The Captain uses his clockwork owl to help keep an eye on things. Maybe we could get Onyx to spy on the boy,” Garnet said as if thinking aloud.

Again, I wondered where the clockwork owl might be. 



End Chapter 23


Yes, where could Onyx be?  We’ve been missing the clockwork owl for awhile now.  I think he’s a self-sufficient little thing.  Or at least I hope so, because other problems are coming to a head.  Thanks for visiting.  I hope you’ll leave a comment to say hello, before you leave, my chuckaboos.



This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2016 and 2020 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


95 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 23 — Bruise

  1. And of course, the plot thickens….love it…love it….where is the owl we all wonder….I know it was a few weeks ago, but love the pic of the snow on cactus….seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it…snow on cactus:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, yes, where is the clockwork owl? I love how you weave the characters amongst each other, Teagan. Well done! At the end of an episode I always want more. 🙂


    1. That means so very much to me, Jennie.
      I’ve been working away on my Valentine’s story. Finally finished and got it on Amazon. Working on an announcement now. ❤
      I'm hoping for a fun Valentine's post from your little Aqua classroom. Thanks for visiting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sally. Fast-melting snow is my kind of snow! That day it didn’t get above freezing, so patches of this stuck around on plants and rooftops into the next day. That seems unusual here. It gets quite cold in the desert night, but usually warms up in the daytime.
      Yay! Thanks for the shout-out, my chuckaboo. I’m happy you enjoyed the chapter. Great big hug right back.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Ahh the sunshine makes so much difference, Sally! This is the first winter in more than a decade that I didn’t live in dread of winter weather. I still got uneasy with the coming of winter, and seeing this snow (you know, the big “crash and burn” I had at the end of 2018 and couldn’t work any more). But at least I had been reassured that it would melt quick, and more importantly that I didn’t have anyone (work) demanding that I go out when I didn’t feel safe. We got back up to 60 F a few days later. A rain system is sitting here today and tomorrow, then the temps will become wintry again. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Before I chose this location, I learned there would be 1 to 3 snowfalls a winter, but that they melt crazy-fast. But I had not thought about snow on the cactus. It looked oddly magical to me, so I had to share.
      Yes… I hope I haven’t dug a black onyx hole for myself with the clockwork owl! Thanks for reading, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Teagan, I’m smitten with the photo of the cacti in the snow! They look amazing and are so big! Wow! I can’t believe they’re actually growing alongside the house, how wonderful. I had a small indoor windowsill greenhouse full of little cacti and I tended them for years – until they grew too big. Will these survive the snow?

    Great piece of writing and I’m hooked! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind, Annika — thank you. I’m a horrible plant killer, but these should survive (at least for anyone else). This town gets 1 to 3 snowfalls a winter, but that they melt exceptionally fast– due to the intense sun at our 4000+ ft. elevation. (No, we’re not even in the mountains! Nearby mountains go from 5,000 up to… I think the highest peak is 11,000 feet.) This is my first winter here & I had not thought about snow on the cactus. It looked oddly magical to me, so I had to share.
      Oh yes about the size and placement. The past owner had the cactus garden installed under the bedroom window. They’re decorative, but it is also a security measure. They had a little sign that said “cactus protection angels.”
      The tall ones are not native to New Mexico. The big barrel shape one gets comments from locals about it’s size. However, the prickly pear (the spread out one with round ear-like shapes) — I’ve seen those in the neighborhood… they can be massive. One house has a prickly pear that was easily 7 feet tall and spread along 12 feet or more.
      I’m delighted you enjoy the serial. Hugs, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the picture of the cactus snow! Thanks for sharing that. Seems like we have a prankster on board, that doesn’t mind that people get hurt. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, Resa. Thanks for that feedback. Yes, I made this one shorter than usual. I’m hoping to finish a Valentine’s story in time to post it as a Kindle book on Amazon. It might not be long enough for a novella, but it will be enough for a “long short” story. Back to work on that now! Thanks very much for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!


  5. I too have to wonder about the mysterious disappearance of the Owl. Could it perhaps have something to do with the cloud? Just thinking out loud. I loved this exchange between Emeraude and Garnet. It’s so easy to picture him looking dashingly like Robert Redford (of course the visual you posted helps!). 🙂 Great segment.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hershel is causing a lot of trouble. I hope a prank takes the wind out of his sails (the water out of his paddlewheel?) and teaches him a good lesson. 🙂 Fun episode, Teagan. Looking forward to the next one. Enjoy the Snow!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love your cactus garden, even with snow on it. We got snow this week, too, but it’s all melted off now.
    I’m enjoying your story very much!
    I didn’t know there was a draw a bird day – I really like your flamingo! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Barbara. When I re-Googled, I saw that it is not until April 8… I saw another blogger mention it. I didn’t think the time was right, so I googled, and found it was. Now, I Googled again and found the April date. What the F..lamingo is going on! Anyhow, I re-edited my post and removed the bird. Regardless of my temporary insanity, (snorts at temporary) there really is a Draw a Bird Day.
      Yes our snow melted fast — happily. Thanks for visiting. Hugs on the wing!


    1. Ouch! And double ouch. I don’t know about flowers quite yet, but I moved in April last year. I know my wretched weeds have been blooming. The back yard is half of what attracted me to this place, Jacquie. Unfortunately it was not done in the maintenance free way I was led to believe… And the beautiful willow oak trees — half turned out to be dead when spring came, and the rest soon followed. Now I have a ton of work that I can’t physically do, or afford to have someone else do. I’ve been depressed about it. But I’m trying to be creative with a solution. Thanks for visiting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!
      The tall ones, and a couple others, aren’t native to this state. Ugh, I wish I could have taken notes! Those kind of names are just something I never could remember. The prickly pear (with all those round “ears”) are quite common here and grow wild. I think the big barrel type ones are native but I certainly don’t see them. Anyhow I’ve seen established prickly pear in the neighborhood that are sprawling and easily 7 feet tall.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I remember a lot of prickly pear in Albuquerque. I suspect moisture would be a greater problem than cold. But I’m terrible with plants of any kind. “Cactus man” told me to drench them with a wide spray from the hose, once a week. Then no watering at all through the winter. Several small ones (of various species) were already dead or dying when I got here. I hoped those would come back, but they didn’t. He didn’t have gloves or tools with him that day, and never came back for the cutting he requested. So I don’t even know how to get cuttings without hurting the plant… I’m rambling… Hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope Onyx and Amethyst are safe and sound. Love both these ‘characters’ and miss them when they aren’t in an episode.

    Hopefully that little brat Herschel gets his comeuppance pronto. He seems to have a lot of time where no one is watching him so he can play these pranks.

    I love your photo of the snow covered cactus! What a beautiful combination. I understand cactus are hearty plants, so they should be fine.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ginger. I’m so happy that Onyx and Amethyst have a friend in you. It means a lot to me when a reader remembers characters even when they are not in a chapter. 🙂
      I certainly hope the cactus will be fine. So far 4 of the 6 willow oak trees (established trees) in back, and 2 roses in front have died since I moved in… It’s depressing. (Particularly since I paid for a home with “good” landscaping.) Yet the weeds thrive even with nightly temperatures considerably below freezing. But yes, cacus thrive across the state. This area gets at least a couple of snows like this one each winter.
      I’m glad you enjoyed this chapter. Thank you for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!


    1. LOL. You made me smile, Michael. Banana peels are classic and cliché — so much so that it’s “so bad that it was funny.” That’s partly what I had in mind. But on a more logical thought, it would have been easier for a little boy to get his hands on a banana than anything else.
      A beautiful weekend to you too, my chuckaboo! Heartfelt thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Teagan, I feel like Snoopy shaking his fist at the Red Baron. Curse you Teagan for leaving us hanging another week. Cactus are remarkably hardy so I hope yours will survive intact. That little hellion deserves some justice. The world needs someone to face justice at the moment and maybe your 19th century Dennis the Meance can fill that need.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Saturday, Pat. I believe my new area gets a couple of snows like this one every year. My snow is long gone and we’re looking at 60 degrees F today. I’m horrible with plants. Even the backyard trees have died…which makes me very sad (established willow oaks).
      I (hope) I was lucky that when I moved in (April) “the cactus man” came to my door. I was covered in paint and holding a paint roller, and probably as frightening to see as the scary looking man in shorts, rainbow lens sunglasses and a straw cowboy hat. I almost didn’t open the door. But it turned out he was the one to install the cactus garden. He and his (safe, ordinary looking) friend stopped to ask for a cutting of one of the plants. It included many different types, and he named each one. “Oh, let me get a pen and paper so I can write this down!” I said, and then realized that I had no idea where pen & paper were packed… Plant killer that I am, I asked him how to care for the. I’ve done exactly what he said. We’ll see how that went come spring.
      I’m happy Onyx has a friend in you. Thanks for commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jill. This serial is a re-write of a novel I wasn’t satisfied with. Since I’m hard at work on another project, I used this bit, which was next in the original for the sake of time. That meant postponing what I had added (new) for Onyx. I’m glad you liked it, my chuckaboo.


  10. I’m liking Hershel less and less with each paragraph. I hope Onyx is up to the task, maybe he’s working on it as we speak. I love the way you use phrases like “the Chief Porter added with a sidelong look” to bring us into the scene with your characters, Teagan. I think that’s the thing I enjoy the most about your stories – I feel like I’m in them. Here’s hoping secrets remain secret and little boy get their comeuppance.

    The cactus in that picture look confused by the snow. In that picture, you had almost more snow than we had last month. I hope those plants are hearty, and I hope you have a great week. Good luck on the story(ies) you’ve got going.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dan. Your feedback about the dialogue makes me feel much better. I see so many critique-type, “should” articles about dialogue… combined with the trend of “untagged” dialogue being the *only* way (and I do mean articles and posts, *not* individual writing style), that I never feel great about writing it. But you know me — I don’t like *shoulds* and go my own way, even when I feel wrong for being me. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but if everyone wrote in the same style, we’d all have the same “voice”… might as well hand it over to machines and quit in that case. Anyway, thank you again.
      LOL, Hershel is making trouble even when he is not “on camera” so to speak. I think when he comes back, I need to do an intro with links to his various pranks, as a reminder that he really is a brat.
      I hope the cactus are healthy too. Time will tell. Which reminds me that I still want to use the “thing” you left — clock with a broken hand. I keep wanting to use that… Thanks for reading and commenting — it means a lot to me, my chuckaboo.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree about style being an individual thing. Shoulds and musts have never sat well with me. Untagged dialog (at least in my limited experience) still needs a lot of name-dropping to keep people from getting confused. It’s really just another way of tagging, unless the sequence is short.

        I really enjoy your style, and I always have. It’s why I first started following you. I would never copy ideas of characters, but I learn a lot from reading your stories. Your content is “dense” in that you pack a lot of meaning in your words. Hmmm, maybe efficient would be a better word 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Owls are known for being wise – Onyx has got to acquiring evidence on the little brat! If he is – he’d better hurry up!

    I always love Saturdays and my next installment of the Pearl, Teagan. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Exciting as always dearest chuckaboo 🤗I am already much busy (in my brain 😁) because I want to travel into the US to meet my brother-in-law and his daughters but it seems not to be easy for a born in Iran kid like me to get in 😏 !! Anyway, hope I’d get through. have a wonderful weekend 💖🥰💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you enjoyed this chapter. I hope you are able to have a relaxing and happy reunion with the family you have here, Aladin. Bad changes in the way things are, have brought more and more bad changes, but I hope you get to see your family. You’re the cat’s pajamas.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Robbie, if you (or anyone) think about anything from this riverboat after you leave it, that makes my day. Emeraude missing Onyx is new for this re-write. I wanted to continue that today, but just didn’t have time to write it. This chapter is only changed a little from the original version. I will say one thing — Hershel will be back. 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

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