Saturday, November 7, 2020
I’m happy to see you at the river, my chuckaboos! As many of you know, I’ve thrown my hat into the “ring of fire” for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
As if drafting a novel in 30 days wasn’t enough… Well, I already intended to be editing Dead of Winter for serialized book publication — so I added it as a second NaNoWriMo project. My goal is to edit at least 30,000 words in November. That should keep me on track for publication. Although, I’m afraid I still haven’t found any mojo for my novel in progress. I keep hoping my mojo will sizzle and pop out of that ring of fire known as NaNoWriMo.
Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash (video). I know that sometimes don’t work for everyone. My apologies if that’s the case.
Random Reader Things
The only comment I’ve had from Trish was when she left calling card as a thing, months ago. The right time for it came today. Perhaps she’s reading. At least as long ago, Joanne mentioned a flashback. I thought that made a good thing, but I’m only just now using it. Resa’s flat iron added to a new scene. Thanks again to Dan Antion‘s for letting me use his photos.
As you’ll recall, the Delta Pearl basically freaked out about crossing into a different time zone. The riverboat’s magic took her to a future time. Garnet Redford risked going ashore just long enough to pick up a newspaper. (The riverboat refuses to stay long in a time that is not her own. We wouldn’t want Garnet to get left behind.) Opal had Jet and Émeraude search the paper comparing information to the contents of that leather folio. Let’s see what happens next.
The Delta Pearl
Chapter 54 — Flash
Astonishment seized me when Cal, the clockwork horse Victor made for me, leapt to take the leather folio. A tiny smile came to Opal’s lips and she left the library.
“Amethyst, make sure he takes it to the right cabin,” I told my spider.
She hopped from my shoulder to land on Crazy Horse Cal’s head. I heard insistent clockwork clicking as the pair clattered away.
Jaspe appeared out of nowhere, as was his habit. I jumped when he touched my arm. He detained me as I picked up my skirts to follow the mechanical animals.
“Give them this card,” the Dealer instructed in a serious voice. “Tell no one else of the names. That is critical, cher. One of the names on it is different from what it was when this voyage began. If others knew, then assumptions might be made which may not be correct. Their knowing could alter the future in a way that we don’t want. You understand?” he paused for me to nod. “Particularly, do not let the Captain see it. Ça c’est bon.”
“That’s good? Yes,” I replied, although I was doubtful.
I had never known Jaspe or Agate to keep anything from Cecil Perlog. Worry gripped me. I gasped when I read the calling card. I nodded silently and hurried away.
Cal’s metal hooves rapped a cabin door. Coral stuck out her head. The chamber maid looked relieved when she saw Opal. I followed the Librarian into the cabin.
“No, you’ll need men’s trousers. Those knee britches won’t do,” Coral said as she brushed Alison’s hair.
I was surprised to see the young woman out of her disguise as the boy, Alex Rice. Also, I was puzzled that Coral would dress a woman’s hair into a soldier’s queue. However, she proceeded to raise the hairdo and tie it high on the back of Alison’s head. As Coral applied a flat iron to it, her tresses flowed like a horse’s tail.
“That’s correct,” Opal agreed. “Ordinary men’s clothing will blend in, but not gowns. They have a sort of short gown worn by some women, but nothing like yours. Keep any hairstyle simple — no ringlets or Gibson Girl buns. Or wear it loose like a child,” she added as she unpinned Azalea’s hair.
The Delta Pearl vibrated and then convulsed. Cal tipped over. Amethyst had prudently hid when the cabin door opened. I cleared my throat and the clockwork horse left in search of the spider. I bent to pick up the leather folio he dropped.
“There’s no more time. I’ll make sure the launch is ready,” Opal said urgently and walked out of the cabin.
In a flashback to the day the passengers boarded, I recalled “Alex” and Azalea. They had both looked so uncomfortable. Alex clutched a leather folio to his chest and his cap was pulled down low, all but covering his eyes. I remembered the white-knuckle grip he, or rather she, had on that folio. Alex held it like a drowning man would grab a life-jacket.
After Jet and I compared the contents of the portfolio to the organizations mentioned in the newspaper Garnet had brought aboard, Opal told us that the bonds it contained would be astonishingly valuable in the future time.
Alone with the two young women, I glanced at the card Jaspe gave me.
“Go to the address on this card. Your bonds are extraordinarily valuable in this place. The people at the address will help you exchange them for money. I gather they’ll understand your situation. But tell no one on this riverboat the names. No one!” I emphasized.
In their eyes, I saw that my own fear reached them. The two women nodded. They read the card carefully. Then Alison tucked it into the breast pocket inside her jacket.
With a discrete tap at the door, the Captain asked if everyone was decent. He dwarfed the cabin when he entered. His expression was stern, but excitement lit his light blue eyes. He removed his hat, exposing that thick shock of platinum hair.
“I know you’ve had little time to make a lifechanging decision. There’ll be no turning back. Are you sure you want to go through with this?” Cecil Perlog asked Azalea and Alison.
They held one another’s hands and replied that they were certain.
“The Delta Pearl wouldn’t have brought us here if it wasn’t in your best interest,” the Captain affirmed with a nod. “Everything will be different. There will be things that are hard to get used to,” he added with a pause and searched their faces. “But you won’t have to go about in secret any more. There are some places where you can even marry each other. Alright then. We’ve no more time,” the Captain stated and ushered them out of the cabin.
I stared at his broad back wonderingly as I considered the text on the calling card.
Attorneys at Law
Cecil Perlog, IV and Emerald Needleman
End Chapter 54
Well dash my wig — they seem to have things under control. Am I the only one who is worried that won’t last for long? Until next time.
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
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