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…
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…
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 47 — Gaze
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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