The Delta Pearl 47 — Gaze

Saturday, September 5, 2020 

First, I have to get this out of my system… #WORDPRESS STOP CONSTANTLY F’ING WITH MY FORMAT!

Okay. Thank you. Moving on…

Steampunk woman Noel Nichols Unsplash.png
Noel Nichols, Unsplash

Welcome to another episode of The Delta Pearl, my chuckaboos.  

And now, after posting, I see that WordPress has messed with me again. Sigh… I thought I had given a shout out to Resa, for her “thing” Gibson Girl hairdo. But that disappeared. Now it will have to wait until morning when I hope to be able to use the Internet. 

Previously the Delta Pearl apparently had greater needs than any of the crew anticipated, because she instigated her bonding ceremony with the librarian from Cairo, IL much sooner than anyone expected. Not only that, but Victor accidentally got pulled into it as well.  The bonding seemed to be complete, but there were interruptions, so we can’t really be sure…  Regardless, now Émeraude is worried her young inventor will resent her for the mess he got himself into — after all, she did tell him not to sing.

Will Victor be embraced by the crew?  Agate has always been fond of him, and engaged in some devious matchmaking for him and Émeraude early in the voyage. However, from Émeraude’s perspective the crew is full of over-protective big brothers.  Let’s see how this plays out…

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 47 — Gaze

paddle-steamer-Riverboat 3 deck Pixabay

Waves of the light blue aura of visible music slowly faded.  The hue was the color of a blue topaz gemstone.

Captain Cecil Perlog gazed down from his massive bulk and height.  He seemed to evaluate the blue waves before his eyes rested curiously on Victor T. Elam.

Harrumph,” the Captain cleared his throat.  “I gather that the ‘T’ is for topaz?  Well… Agate did tell me this would happen, though I hoped to keep her from meddling.”

I took an audible breath.  I thought I had kept the outcome of the Cook’s matchmaking attempt secret from the Captain.  He turned a wry look on me.  The all-seeing eye of the emerald pin that held his cravat seemed to stare at me too.  My cheeks heated.

“Émeraude, surely you didn’t think I didn’t know about it the time Agate accidentally got you puddle drunk trying to put you two youngsters together?” he said.

My lips were tightly closed even though I was mortified.  I knew he wasn’t finished, and I wasn’t about to make matters worse by interrupting.

Opal gave me a sympathetic look.  Did the entire crew know about that humiliating episode?  Even Opal who rarely left her work?

She smoothed her Gibson Girl hairdo and then excused herself to the Captain.  I knew she chose that moment to leave partly as a distraction.  Opal took Jet Fischer by the arm.  A bemused expression was in the librarian’s eyes when he looked at the elderly woman.  His bright eyes told me that a myriad of thoughts clicked into place as the bonding settled.

Ghost Enrique Meseguer Pixabay
Enrique Meseguer at Pixabay

Blue John Boulton wiped the tuning forks and then stood.  I wasn’t certain if he had been completely aware of Victor’s accidental involvement.  I loved Blue as if he was my older brother, but his mind had fractured many months before.  His condition just kept getting worse.  He was not the person I had known.

“You’ve got a long way to go before you’re good enough for her,” Blue John told Victor with dashfire in his voice.

Startled, Victor blinked and stammered something through his haze.  I couldn’t quite make it out, but I did hear my name.  Blue John’s Derbyshire accent was heavier than usual, and also difficult to follow.

“I realize Émeraude must be like a younger sister to you,” Victor said in a confused voice.  “But I assure you―”

“Em?  Émeraude is more than capable of choosing a beau hern own self,” the Mate cut him off and replied with a snort.  I mean the Delta Pearl!  Who do you think you are to tie yourself to the Delta Pearl?” Blue exclaimed.

The Mate fell silent when the Captain turned toward him.  There was such natural authority in Cecil Perlog’s bearing that the crew responded without him uttering a word.  Blue John drew back at the Captain’s gaze.  The Mate shouldered past Victor and walked out the door.

The Captain’s eyes went back to Victor.  I could tell the inventor was still dazed from the magic of the ancient six-tone scale.  He plopped a big hand down on Victor’s shoulder, causing him to stagger.

“What’s done is done.  Or maybe it’s not quite done at that,” he remarked, making a close inspection of Victor’s eyes.  “Obsidian Durango, make yourself useful and see this passenger gets to the Cook.  Tell Agate what happened here and she’ll know how to look after him,” the Captain ordered, though his tone held a strange infliction when he said the word passenger.

Composite Wikipedia & Pixabay images by Teagan
Composite Wikipedia & Pixabay images by Teagan

Clockwork clicks caused me to look down.  Crazy horse Cal turned back and forth from Victor to me as the Cadet moved to escort Victor to the Cook.

“Well now, what have we?  It’s a new clockwork?  We haven’t had a new one in decades!” the Captain exclaimed as he bent over the mechanical horse.  “And he’s inlaid with Crazy Horse stone.  A mauve calcite clockwork horse.  How unexpected.  This day is full of surprises.”

Cal was easily distracted and pranced to the Captain as Sid and a still dazed Victor left.  I explained that Victor had made the horse.  The Captains bushy platinum eyebrows shot up to his hairline.

“Did he now?” he murmured interestedly as he inspected the horse.

Amethyst chose that moment to drop down on a fine silver thread.  The clockwork spider seemed to enjoy sitting on Cal’s head.  The Captain chuckled.

“Is Mrs. Needleman safely back aboard?” I asked, wanting to divert conversation from anything to do with Victor.

“Yes, and no worse the wear,” he began.  “Though I’m not certain that can be said for the policemen who had to contend with her.  That’s a bricky girl if ever there was one.  She’ll keep Randall Needleman in line for sure.  Although it would be hospitable if you would please check on her.”

I nodded and took a step away.  Cal seemed fascinated by the Captain and did not follow me.  I bent to pick up the clockwork horse and my spider, who was still perched on his head.

The Dealer had the ability to remain so silent and utterly motionless, if he chose, that it was easy to forget he was in the room.  I blinked when he spoke.

“Cecil, there are a number of things we need to discuss.  I fear the inadvertent bonding of young Topaz was not quite as accidental as it seemed,” Jaspe began.  “Blue John is deteriorating rapidly, and I think I may understand the cause.”

The Captain nodded and sat back down.  He looked at me and made the slightest motion with his head, indicating the door.  I left frustrated, once again not included in the important conversations of the senior crew.


End Chapter 47


Coming Soon!

The #dieselpunk train is on the way to the Roaring Twenties station. Keep your ears open.  Stand by for the boarding call when the enigmatic Valentino will blow his trumpet summon us to the train.

Hullaba Lulu promo image by Teagan R. Geneviene
Hullaba Lulu promo image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Be well, be happy, my chuckaboos 


This serial is made possible in spite of (not because of) the deplorable lack of Internet service from TDS Telecom.  They are even worse than the government about claiming no problem exists in the face of  failure.  TDS Telecom meets every complaint and service call by saying they find no problem. Their technicians come to my home and refuse to do any work or replace equipment, even when their offsite managers have instructed them to do so. They brought equipment that they openly state does not work properly. They refuse to let me talk to a manager. They refuse to promise to send someone other than the previous do-nothing tech.  They refuse to make sure the technicians have working hardware with them. My letters, emails, and tweets go unanswered.  Dear readers, please do not comment here in response to this paragraph. Just be aware of my awful experience with this so called provider.

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.


90 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 47 — Gaze

  1. For some reason, I found this post and your newest segment of The Delta Pearl in my SPAM folder. Ugh!! I have no idea how they got there, but I quickly retrieved them. This was a fascinating episode. I loved seeing the Captain’s strength and his ability to lead with just a look. But now I’m concerned for Blue John and his deteriorating mental state. Thank goodness I found this. I don’t want to miss a thing of this story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m reading bios of Dickens. Before beginning to write his books he had outlined every single thing that woould appear in them in dettail. Is that how you write? How do you keep track of all your chapters? Stay well, dear Teagan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David. Horsefeathers… I envy people who can do that. I’m the worst “plotter”. I’m a combination of planner and “pantster” (by the seat of my pants). I try to have a dilemma to run through the story, and at least a couple of vague ideas for “points of upheaval” (my term, that might not qualify as a “midpoint reversal”) that get fleshed out along the way. The ending is a challenge. I’m usually not quite sure, but I try to have the “feeling” in mind, of how I want the reader to feel at the end.
      I’m very much a world builder. I begin knowing clearly what the world or “universe” of the story is, and that shapes everything else.
      More to your question, this old post shows how I use Word and Excel to keep track of details and characters.
      Be well, be happy, my chuckaboo!


  3. Wait…is Victor going to take Blue John’s place? What is happening here? Why do we suffer with Emeraude in not being included in important conversations? Are Cal and Amethyst bonding as steam punk friends? So many questions, Teagan, but that’s what keeps me coming back every week for more. Hugs and purrs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sorry for all the continuing telecom issues, Teagan. Things can be maddening, especially these days when people at large companies are working from home.

    I enjoyed this installment, and look forward to the next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They denied any accountability from the beginning, Lavinia. Some days I’m ready to quit everything. But I’ve had a productive morning today and that helps. Heartfelt thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo. I hope you and Rick are having a lovely Labor Day weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Abby cat was diagnosed with diabetes on Friday. She has a Star Trek like sensor on her now, and I am keeping track of her glucose with the reader. She is in the phase of us trying to figure out optimal dosage of insulin.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t wait to see where you take us next… the twists and turns!! I am truly sorry for all of your technical issues…unbelievable that no one takes ownership for these issues. I take you’re limited on service providers? Bummer and a huge “ugh”. I broke out laughing from your first sentence….I so understand the frustration from this stuff. Hope you have a great week ahead!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A very enjoyable episode, dear chuckaboo, Teagan!
    Please don’t worry about the link!!!!! I’m just happy to be included, and that you have selected a number of my suggestions, over the course of the tale! {{{hugs}}}

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I won’t comment on you tech problems, Teagan, but I feel your pain. And I loved this episode though I’m wondering now what is happening with Blue John. Victor seems totally dazed – Lol. The inventor probably didn’t realize that his life would never be the same when he booked passage on the Pearl. Happy Writing, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. That’s my job, Brad… cliffhanger maven. 😉 With the exception of the papyrus (with holes like a template for a music box cylinder) all the questions now tie back to the very beginning of the story. I realize that’s been nearly a year, so I don’t expect anyone to remember everything. And if they did remember, then that would mean I’m not sneaky enough. LOL (Gasp? A year? OMG…) Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Every time I get the feeling I know where this might be heading, you make the Delta Pearl swerve and now I’m fifteen puzzle (not sure how to use the word, since I have only found the definition). But I’m confused and off my pins on where this is heading. Well done Meandering hugs stumbling your way.l

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bwahahaha! I’m glad I’m still keeping you guessing, Pat. 😉
      Fifteen Puzzle: Not the sliding puzzle game you might be familiar with, but a term meaning complete and absolute confusion. I’m not sure how to use it in a sentence either. I think it would need to be used to describe a situation… “Balderdash! The place was a fifteen puzzle when the coppers showed up.”
      Then, used completely differently, there’s dirty puzzle, meaning a promiscuous woman. “I dirty-puzzled around when I was in university, but who didn’t?”
      Have a lovely Labor Day weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, you made my day! What a delicious, wonderful description. Thank you so much. ❤ There's more cake to come. I've finally reached the point in the story where I'm circling back to tie up (rather than expand on) all the early questions of the story. Along with a few embedded questions that readers might not think to ask. Ha! I've got my work cut out for me. Have a wonder-filled weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You are so kind. ❤ I will "bookize" it, although this one will take a lot of editing, so even after the serial ends, the book will be a ways off. Meanwhile… you remember Lulu, right? I'm on schedule to bookize that one by the end of this month. Here's a preview.


  9. I feel the Dealer and the Captain are bonded far closer than we first thought. As though they are the caretakers of the Pearl and all it takes to keep her afloat. We first saw our riverboat glittering with all her razz-ma-tazz, but now we are seeing that there are forces that would love to destroy her.
    You are keeping the tension in the story perfectly!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. GP, heartfelt thanks for your feedback. You’ve given me food for thought. When I go back to eventually edit this for a book, I want the relationship between the Captain and the Dealer to be friendship, but mutual respect, even though they are two very different men. They also have common purposes — the safety and wellbeing of the riverboat and of Emeraude too. And yes, they’ve known each other for a very long time.
      Many thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Heartfelt thanks for the gigantic shout-out, Dan — and for sharing my promotional images for Hullaba Lulu! I appreciate you pointing out the different “feel” of reading the book, even though you read the serial. The fun and humor get to flow freely in the book form, just like giggle water at a speakeasy. You’re the berries!


  10. Just when I though this was an effort to wrap everything up, you nudge us toward another cliff. I love the way you keep this story moving along, Teagan. It has a motion not unlike a ship in the river. I hope the information about Cal and his inventor sways the captain’s feelings about Victor. The note of frustration you left us with struck a nerve. I remember that bitter feeling from various points in my career.

    I hope your Internet improves, and that you have a nice weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha. Emeraude needs to do some more accidental eavesdropping, because the parental figures aren’t about to let her know. Although… they might have a larger reason for that than we realize, Dan. 😉
      With the exception of the papyrus (with holes like a template for a music box cylinder) all the questions now tie back to the very beginning of the story. That’s the biggest challenge about writing these “three things” driven serials — reigning in everything to pull all the threads together at the end. It’s going to take awhile… Wishing you and yours a lovely Labor Day Weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Exciting episode. I hope things will work out between Victor and Emeraude. Blue John sounds a little worse for the wear, but anything goes on the Delta Pearl. Amethyst and Cal are a delight. Another budding romance perhaps? 🤗 Hope a lot of the Pearl’s secrets are going to be revealed soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well dash my wig, Ginger. Your imagination just topped mine. A clockwork spider-horse hybrid. Now that would be an interesting critter. 😉 Ah, but you are right — a romance (especially a Victorian one) didn’t necessarily mean “amorous congress.” 😀
      We’ve now officially begun the process of tying up all the threads to reveal the secrets. Although it will take awhile. That’s a lot of secrets! Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, my chuckaboo!


    1. Very astute, Priscilla. That goes to the very beginning, and to the conclusion. So it might be awhile yet before that is revealed. I’m officially now in the process of pulling the myriad threads together for the end… but dash my wig! That’s a lot of threads. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, my chuckaboo!


    1. Hi Denise. Ha! The story would have been over in 2 chapters if they had included Emeraude. But such is the life of a 16 year-old girl… *Snort* Such was my life long after 16. Blessings to all the suffragettes who came before us. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, my chuckaboo!


  12. And the questions still remain, fascinating! Thank you, dear Teagan, in spite of WP problems maker, you try to let us enjoy the story 😊🥰 I wonder why you have trouble with this site. It has not to be!
    But the English language is stunning me, again and again, with its extensivity: for example Wry: I haven’t known it. Amazing; I lean more and more 😉👍 stay fit and safe 💖💖🤗😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to see you, Magician. I have such admiration for people who speak a second language — and I believe you understand several. I only speak English and “southern American.” LOL.
      When I write a story that is set in a different time, I try to have a “voice” similar to people of the time. It is not surprising that you weren’t familiar with “wry.” I’ve rarely heard it used in conversation. However, in the late 1800s people used a lot of words that we might use when we write, but don’t use when we speak.
      Based on Google, it doesn’t look like “wry” translates well to Farsi. It would be a description that you feel, more than explain in words. Google says in Farsi it wry is: sprain, loop, bend, limber. But that’s not how it reads in English — but it sort of feels that way.
      If that translation is correct, then I guess, for me, “wry” would be like a “sprain” to the expected or proper reaction.
      Anyhow, in English “wry”… Someone’s face might have a “wry expression” if they are annoyed or unimpressed. One might speak in a “wry tone” if they are being sarcastic, using dry humor, or being “snarky.”
      Thank you for spending part of your Saturday on the Delta Pearl, my chuckaboo. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, I am high… All is alright. I am just amazed at the different words in English in different situations. You know, I don’t translate all the words in Farsi necessarily, I know also German, and it helps. I know the meaning of Wry, in Germany, they have only one word for it; Trocken; Dry! But you can use it for clothes or sound and for the look. But it is interesting for me to see that there is a word for a dry look! That is what I love it. 😊😊💖💖

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonderful, although I’m worried about Blue John, but I guess things have to change sometimes. Take care and I hope WordPress and the internet behave a bit better soon, dear Teagan. Big hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Loved reading Teagan, and how you often weave semi precious stones within your stories too.
    Always delightfully discriptive that you see it all informing in your internal vision.
    Have a delightful weekend. Big hugs 🤗💖

    Liked by 1 person

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