The Delta Pearl 31 — Disagree

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Image by Teagan R. Geneviene, source Pixabay
Composite of Pixaby images by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome my chuckaboos.  Thanks for being patient while the steampunk riverboat, The Delta Pearl was in unknown waters.  Today she’s back!  

This is a brief episode, to get my toes back into the water.  Even so, I was able to use a “random reader thing.”  It’s from GP Cox, who suggested Icepick.  Immediately, I thought of the Dealer using it as a weapon.  However, it popped right up in a different way.  You’ll see what I mean.

Last time Émeraude learned more about Victor T. Elam, the young inventor who sets her young heart aflutter.  His sad past gained her empathy and ours as well.  Maybe those two will go ashore together for a little R&R.  Let’s see.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 31 — Disagree

Eavesdropping, Théodore Ralli 1880, Wikimedia
Eavesdropping, Théodore Ralli 1880, Wikimedia

The next morning, I went to the Chandelier Deck to remind the Dealer that it was my free day.  Jaspe’s intense gaze fell upon me.  His eyes could make an icepick seem dull.  He looked inordinately suspicious.  There was no reason why I needed to hide anything from the Dealer.  However, the conversation I overheard between the Captain and Agate leapt to my mind.

Cecil Perlog had expressed his disapproval of the Cook encouraging a relationship between Dr. Victor T. Elam and me.  The Captain went on to say he doubted that the Delta Pearl would allow me to leave, at least not permanently.

I swallowed and made a point of not mentioning that my plans for the day included Victor.

“Émeraude,” he began uncertainly.  “Are you sure you want to go ashore in Cairo, Illinois?  After the recent reaction of the Delta Pearl to crossing a border between states?  Cher, when the riverboat lurched forcefully, you landed on your croupillon!” he added with the slightest smirk.

How had he known about that?  No one saw me fall on my fanny that evening.  That was also the night I learned that Azalea Morton and young “Alex Rice” weren’t a governess and her charge, but two women in love.  I had kept the secret, but I glanced covertly at the Dealer, wondering if he was also aware of that fact.

Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, Simeon Solomon 1864, Wikipedia
Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, Simeon Solomon 1864, Wikipedia

I made no reply.  I hadn’t given any thought to the peculiarities of the port’s location.  My interest in the portrait was even greater after the Mate pointed out the fact that the model looked so much like me.  The painting and the cameo necklace were my only concerns.  Then when I added the unexpected presence of Dr. Victor T. Elam to the outing, geography was the last thing on my mind.

A trace of impatience crossed the Dealer’s face but was quickly gone.  He had always been kind to me, and he always would be.  No matter that he disagreed with my plans for the day.

“You know that the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers is at Cairo.  The Pearl, she can be every bit as sensitive to that convergence as she is to borders and boundaries,” Jaspe patiently reminded me.  “Perhaps more so.”

The Dealer’s Cajun accent became stronger as he spoke.  I took that for concern.

“Jaspe, surely you are not worried that something will happen to the riverboat while I’m ashore?  And I’m sure you do not believe she will up and disappear without me,” I couldn’t help adding, since I still felt the sting of the previously overheard conversation.

The sound of approaching passengers silenced our conversation.

The Dealer showed no reaction when the Needleman couple walked up and Eliza called him Mr. Jasper, rather than the quasi French pronunciation, ZASH-pah, used by the crew.

The Singing Butler, Vettriano 1992 Wikipedia
The Singing Butler, Jack Vettriano 1992 Wikipedia

I knew my wealthy friend didn’t mean any harm.  Jaspe seemed to like the lady, regardless of which pronunciation she gave his name.  He had always told me the different ways people said his name didn’t bother him.  I supposed that really was the case.  I used the interruption to make a discrete exit

“Miss Émeraude, will you be going ashore?” Randal Needleman called after me.

Since Mr. Needleman’s words reached me after I had gone out the door, I pretended not to hear.  I expected he wanted to wrestle answers from me about the search for his missing Pharaoh Diamond.  When he couldn’t find the Captain to pester, he dug in with the nearest available crew member.

Randal Needleman was not a man to be easily intimidated.  Even the girth and height of the Captain didn’t deter him.  The Dealer, however, was another matter.  His cold gaze could freeze even the likes of the steel magnate Needleman.

However, being beset with questions I could not answer was not why I kept walking.  It was because didn’t want to be late meeting Victor.  Moreover, I didn’t want to let Jaspe put a cloud over my fun with his mother hen talk.  The man never treated anyone else with such worry.  Why should his personality transform when it came to me?  Honestly, it could be maddening.

It was a lovely sunny day, with a light breeze.  The little triangular flags strung above the deck fluttered merrily.  I smiled when I spotted Victor.  He propped an elbow, nonchalantly on the railing and his bowler hat sat at a jaunty angle upon his head.  Sunlight flashed from one lens of his spectacles like a wink.

Pennant flags in breeze Zavatos Unsplash (crop)
Flags in breeze Zavatos Unsplash (crop)

My steps quickened, so I picked up a handful of my Kelly-green skirt.  Abruptly something caught my boot.  I fell forward, my foot still held fast.  I moved as well as I could to a sitting position.  My breath caught when I saw the reason for my tumble.

The wood of the deck was molded around my ankle.  It looked as if the plank of decking had been carved to include a vice protruding from it.  That “vice” was firmly and snugly attached to my ankle.

***

End Chapter 31

***

If life seemed complicated for Émeraude last time, it’s triple that now…  Feel free to leave a random Steam Era thing to fuel this riverboat.  Or just leave a comment to say hello, before you leave.  Be well, be happy, 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.

 


78 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 31 — Disagree

    1. What a lovely thing to say. 🙂 Thank you, David.
      I know this story has been “on the river” for a long time. It’s a re-write of a novel with which I was dissatisfied. Making it into a serial is a means to improving the manuscript… but novels don’t always make good serials. The pace would seem better if read all at once. Happily everyone is being patient with me.
      Yes, I’m “well,” although I admit the virus and everything associated with it created a whole new basketful of issues for me. I do hope all is well in your world and that you’re doing better. Hugs on the wing.

      Like

  1. Interesting. Apparently, the riverboat does not want Emeraude to go ashore and perhaps she should listen to the vice and stay on board. I would think she and Victor could find plenty to do on the boat. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s lovely to see you Adele. I wonder if the Pearl’s sensitivity to the convergence of the rivers results in something similar to PMS symptoms, you know the anxiety, nervousness and physical discomfort…? Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Teagan, while I was reading this post, I was listening to vintage music from the 1920s and ’30s. The music gave a different twist to your story, it made it real as if I was watching your characters and we existed in that era. What a weird but pleasant feeling! I am also wondering if Émeraude and Victor are in love.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems that the Delta Pearl doesn’t want Emeraude to go ashore either! What an interesting development regarding the ship. I suspect that Victor will come to her aid. ❤ Fun episode, Teagan. It was great to get bit of the story. Happy Writing and have a lovely weekend. Be well, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s safe to say that The Pearl did not want Emeraude going ashore. That’s a pretty strong signal. I can’t help but wonder what the inventor’s reaction will be to the sudden shackles. I’m happy the boat is back!! I missed it and the quirky crew!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay, so as this has nothing to do with this post, I’m making a separate comment.
    May I use the cover for Snort Stories to open my post with?
    Also, I’d like to use any other Atonement covers, I think there are 2. I’d like to use them with links for purchasing!
    Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, this chapter ended with a spook! The Delta Pearl is alive.
    I wonder if Émeraude and Victor are in love? Will their love set her free from The Delta Pearl? Or, will he be captured by it, and live forever thereupon?
    I look forward to chapter 32!
    Wing Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yikes! The Delta Pearl means business when it comes to Emeraude! But I have no doubt that Victor will figure out how to free her. Lots of strong spirits aboard, but they seem to be in conflict with one another. Everything about the Delta Pearl is mysterious, including its crew and passengers.

    So nice to have you back Teagan. Hopefully your break gave you some much needed time to recharge and that you are successfully keeping safe from Covid-19.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ginger, I would not want to mess with the Pearl! LOL. o_O It will be interesting to see how Emeraude gets out of this one. (Remember this is a re-write. I’ve actually forgotten how that happens myself!)
      Oh, I’m safe all right… I had “problems” getting out before this stinkin’ virus. Now I feel like I may never leave my house again.
      Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Like

  8. This was definitely worth waiting for. Lots of supernatural in this episode. I liked how you wove GP’s word into the narrative. Keep up the good work. I’m already looking forward to next Saturday’s installment. Mystical hugs whooshing your way on windblown clouds.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad you found a unique way to use the ice pick, Teagan! The story is progressing, causing ever more questions and trepidation as we go down that river!!
    Thank you!!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It feels so good to be back on board, even if we’re supposed to be disembarking. I wonder if the Delta Pearl will let Émeraude go ashore. Maybe she (the ship) is jealous. River confluences are tricky to navigate and interesting places to be. I think I like the way the crew looks after our young lady, but they all do seem know something that isn’t obvious.

    This was a great welcome back episode. I’m looking forward to going ashore, if we do 😏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Dan. The river issues do bring up another question. Just how much can the riverboat actually feel? With the Pearl’s sensitivity to any sort of border or boundary… Maybe she’s confused, or disoriented. Or maybe it gives her a physical reaction like a knee-jerk or even an allergy… We’ll have to see. 😉 I’m delighted that you’re on the riverboat — and part of the shore party, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy that Emeraude has a friend in you, Priscilla. I was thinking I had used goggles, but it is not in my matrix. So, goggles it is! That’s a perfect steampunk thing. I can imagine Agate’s reaction to hobble skirts too. Perhaps Emeraude needs to do some dress shopping — if she can ever get off the riverboat. Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Like

  11. What a terrific episode, Teagan, I loved the ending. It was a bank holiday in South Africa yesterday, and I got confused and thought it was Saturday. I looked for your post and there was none and I became quite concerned that maybe you were sick. I was going to email you when I realised my foolish mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted you enjoyed it, Robbie.
      I know what you mean. It’s not foolish at all. Small holidays always threw me. Last week, I had some panic attacks, and completely lost track of what day it was. Very disorienting. Maybe you picked up on my “vibe.” Have a beautiful weekend, my chuckaboo! Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

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