Saturday, September 18, 2021
Welcome to my sanctuary. You’ve reached The Armadillo Files. Stand by for zaniness.
Several of my author and blogger friends absolutely love owls — so much so that they are featured in their blog designs or names, or books. Some who come to mind are Olga Núñez Miret, Viv Drewa, Fiza Pathan, and new follower Book Owl. Special thanks to Timothy Price of Off Center and Not Even for the use of his owl photo. Click over to visit the many wonderful owls he encounters on his walks in New Mexico. Tim also has a blog category for his owl photos.
Three Owlish Things
On a whim (after all, this is spontaneously written), I’m stepping away from my story matrix list of three things from readers. This episode of The Armadillo Files is driven my own three owlish things. My owlish things, which drive this chapter are a Curtiss O-52 Owl, hooty-who, turns head (270 degrees). Just for fun, I’ll pack as many other owlish items as I can into this chapter. If you want to know more about these birds take a peek at this article with fun owl trivia at Mental Floss.
Previously in The Armadillo Files
In past episodes, some kind of spaceship carrying Delilah Faraday and Tatu Pinkerton, aka Fang, landed. We don’t know where, and just as important, we don’t know when. Fang thought they were going to Manhattan for his new “project.” Dilly didn’t think they’re anywhere near New York. Then the lights went out… Are you ready?
7 — Hooty-who?
“Establishing mission location. Requesting confirmation from operative Tatu Pinkerton.”
“Who said that? Who?” I demanded, startled.
“Shh! TROLLEY, quietly. There’s some kind of spy plane flying overhead, and our lights and visuals are offline. I can’t verify anything. Just where the heck do you think we are? I thought we were going to Manhattan for this project,” Fang hissed to the air, ignoring me.
“Who are you talking to? I’m the only one here… Aren’t I?” I added more than a little uneasily.
“Who, who, hooty-who! Dilly you sound like an owl. I have work to do. I’ll explain a hot minute, but right now I have to talk to TROLLEY,” he objected. “And I’ll tell you about TROLLEY in a minute too. Meanwhile just don’t say anything about machine voices or robots,” Fang whispered urgently.
“Identifying potential threat,” the weird voice began. “Curtiss O-52 Owl, observation aircraft. Time period appropriate to mission. Astronomical alignments also correspond to mission target era and location.”
“Exposure threat now out of detection range,” the voice added a moment later.
Fang expelled a relieved breath. He switched on the flashlight and walked to the control area. His white tailcoat swished as he walked, exposing the other tail… the long, scaly, pink one that ended in a spatula-like shape. All I could do was shake my head at the impossible situation in which I found myself.
He opened a panel and tinkered with something that I couldn’t see. There was a little spark and he drew back his hand with an ouch.
“How am I supposed to get the system online when I can’t see because my lenses are still offline?” he muttered, peering at the innards of the control panel.
Another spark and ouch later the lights groaned back to life. Whirs, beeps, and blinks came from all around me. The silly honking sound I heard earlier came from the next compartment, where the cat pilots had vanished. Then my ears rang with that high-pitched noise, but it wasn’t as loud as before.
“Operative Tatu Pinkerton, your mission cover has successfully been planted in your location,” the mechanical voice stated.
Fang hurried to the next compartment with me close on his heels. I had not been in that room. It was larger than the other one, but mostly empty. In the center of the floor a few items were neatly placed. Those included a pair of men’s shoes. I noticed that the heel of one was higher than the other.
With a frown, Fang picked them up and squinted at a note that was tucked inside one shoe.
“Your cover necessitates a limp, to explain why you are not fighting in the war with the rest of the males. Wear these shoes so that you don’t forget to limp,” he read aloud. “Peggy Sue has a real mean streak to make me wear these. Worse, she has boring taste in footwear.”
Abruptly he noticed brightly colored paper under the shoes. It was a comic book. He picked up the book acting excited. He danced a circle and that time he did the high-kick that he didn’t finish earlier. Thankfully he had changed from the short robe and was wearing trousers.
“I’ve wanted to add The Black Owl to my comic book collection for ages! He’s one of the best superheroes that nobody remembers!” Fang enthused.
“I hope this makes up for the shoes. Love, Frances,” he read the note that was tucked inside the comic.
While Fang eagerly flipped through his comic book, I bent down to pick up the other item. It was a newspaper. Since it was not very thick, I expected it was a local publication. Turning it over I saw the name, “Oak Ridge Journal.”
“Note your new cover,” the voice announced as I took the newspaper. “It has been successfully established before your arrival.”
As I skimmed down the page, I saw an article accompanied by a photo of a trolley car. It mentioned business and liquor licenses being issued for an entertainment establishment, which was made from a refurbished trolley. I swallowed a worried gulp, remembering that I had thought the spaceship that docked with the Jupiter AM-18 rocked reminded me of a trolley car.
“Opening soon, The Pink Fairy,” I read aloud, noticing that was also the name on a sigh atop the pictured trolley car.
“Exit ship immediately,” the artificial voice demanded amid flashing yellow lights. “Grounding procedures commencing in 10, 9…”
“Dilly, hurry!” Fang yelled.
He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the exit hatch. We stumbled into the dark of night. He ran until we were a good distance away. When he stopped, I turned toward the direction from which we came.
“Your ship looks like a yellow trolley,” I murmured in astonishment.
“Honey, that’s not a trolley, it’s TROLLEY. Time Rate Oscillation Lithium Link Enabler Yttrion — TROLLEY,” he declared. “And remember. Don’t say anything about machine.”
Purple and yellow lights flashed from inside the ship, if I should call it a ship. Abruptly it bulged and shifted. A blast of purple light enveloped the area.
From somewhere behind me, I heard a gasp. Bushes rustled softly. Fang turned his head quickly toward the sound.
“Someone’s out there,” I whispered worriedly.
My companion cast a frantic seeming glance around our area. Then he stifled a scream.
An owl whooshed on silent wings to alight in a nearby tree. Thinking he was about to run off into the night, I grabbed Fang’s arm. I demanded to know what was the matter.
“I’m afraid of owls. I’m afraid of all birds of prey. They eat little animals… like pink fairy armadillos!” he wailed.
He shook off my hand. Standing defiantly, he called up to the bird.
“Hooty-who! Hooty-who!” Fang hooted at it.
The owl blinked large eyes. Its head turned about 270 degrees, and then turned it back. Unconcernedly, the owl hooted down at us. Fang jumped halfway out of his skin.
Again, I heard movement in the bushes. I turned an uneasy gaze to Fang.
What I heard was not the owl.
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The Wise Old Owl by Al Donahue & his Orchestra, vocal by Dee Keating. 1941
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I’m beginning to worry about Fang’s fashion sense, not to mention his understanding of history… I love to hear from you, so be sure to stop and say hello. Whether your comment is to me or another commenter, keep it friendly. Hugs on the wing!
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Dead of Winter, Journey 9, Doors of Attunement!
Dead of Winter, All the Journeys
Universal Purchase Links
Journey 9, Doors of Attunement
Journey 8, The Lost Library
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 © 2021 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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