Saturday, December 4, 2021
You’ve reached The Armadillo Files. Stand by for weirdness with some reality.
The Armadillo Files image by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
Random Reader Things
The three things that drive this episode are from a friend and former colleague, Alford Kindred. He doesn’t have a blog, but if you’re interested in connecting with someone who has terrific mentoring and coaching skills (particularly where motivating kids is concerned), you can find Alford’s profile on LinkedIn. His random reader things are Resilience, Transparent, and Willie Foo Foo.
As sometimes happens with my “3 Things” method of storytelling, the conversation about the random reader things brought a fourth thing that I couldn’t resist adding. This time it came from discussing transparent and the difficulties of getting complete information — “The truth is there.”
Previously in The Armadillo Files
Fang tunneled under the church of that group of anti-alcohol fanatics, narrowly avoiding a cave-in in the process. Harry Morgan also mentioned a collapse in the tunnel that Marie used for their late-night rendezvous. There’s still no news of Marie or the Calutron Girls. But maybe Fang’s talents, or TROLLEY’s scans will lead to something. You can find all the past chapters by going to the categories on the right side of the screen. Click on Armadillo Files.
17 — Who’s that?
The human woman exited Operative Pinkerton’s quarters with an armload of his clothes. It was mostly blue jeans, a flannel shirt, and the bomber jacket.
“Thank you, Delilah Faraday. The beginning of recycling is reuse,” TROLLEY told her. “All of the operative’s trousers are too short for typical earth-wear of this decade.”
“My pleasure, TROLLEY. While it’s not proper for a woman to go out in jeans, I’ll get plenty of use from these, just working around here,” she replied. “But please remember to call me Dilly. I think Fang must have told you to go back to calling me Delilah just to aggravate me.”
“Speaking of going out,” TROLLEY began. “May I call upon you to go to the local drug store? My replication capabilities have been taxed by setting up the bar and grille environment. If you could get samples of some personal care items from this day, it would be helpful.”
“I take it that Fang brought you some, shall we say unexpected things, when he went?” the woman inquired. “I expect you want things that would be in public restrooms, and maybe ‘complimentary’ items that clubs sometimes give away?”
“Confirmed, Dilly Faraday. That would be most helpful. My data suggests Williams Drug Store is likely to have most items,” TROLLEY replied. “The operative brought a bag filled with dinner napkins, galoshes, and anti-itch powder. Those items were not what the system required.”
“By the way… Is Fang going to keep getting taller?” the woman asked curiously.
“No. The additional growth spurt was singular. It would have been quite painful to return him to full human size all at once,” the artificial intelligence explained and the woman muttered something TROLLEY didn’t hear clearly.
“I know you have a lot of knowledge and information,” Dilly began somewhat hesitantly. “But be cautious about making… exotic or revealing clothing for him. Sometimes he misinterprets what clothes are appropriate. Especially for this era.”
“Thank you, Dilly Faraday. That suggestion is noted. I was suspicious when he said government transparency included transparent uniforms. I did not find any revealing military uniforms in my original research. However, he pressed his case by finding images of some. I do not think they were standard issue,” TROLLEY said.
Dilly Faraday grumbled something about boxing ears that TROLLEY didn’t understand. Then she stalked out of the room, calling Tatu Pinkerton’s nickname, Fang.
“Initiating research for packaged human body parts. Specifically search boxed ears,” TROLLEY self-directed the information gathering task.
♦ ♦ ♦
With a little friendly conversation, the driver of one of the city buses dropped me off as close as he could get to the TROLLEY. I returned from Williams Drug Store with several bags. I felt sure I had collected one of everything that might be offered by the typical restroom attendant at a nice establishment.
To my surprise several soldiers sat at the outdoor tables. Fang passed around trays of snacks and drinks. I ignored some of the murmurs, most of them related to my appearance.
“I don’t know, Ray. She might be a real cookie if she got all decked out,” one said, and I didn’t want to know what criticism caused him to say it.
“Ron, you’ve been out here in the sticks too long,” the first man responded.
Seeing me with my arms full, two other soldiers politely jumped up and took the bags, carrying them to the top of the stairs.
“Oh, you’re so kind! But please, just leave them by the door. I don’t want anyone to see the mess inside,” I dissembled, not sure if it was safe for them to see whatever might be sitting in the open inside the spaceship.
I was relieved that Fang didn’t manage to get any transparent clothing from the replicators. He had on the white tank-style undershirt that he had previously worn with leather short-shorts. Thankfully he wore a full-length pair of jeans instead of the shorts. However, he had to add his own unique flair…
“Fang, why are you wearing a feather boa?” I whispered.
“I was cold without any sleeves,” he replied, but seeing me draw an irritated breath he was quick to explain. “I was getting dressed when I saw that we had visitors coming up the walk. So, I threw on the first thing I could find.”
Sputtering, I started several different responses, and didn’t bother finishing any of them. No matter what I said, I already knew he would bounce back with something even nuttier. Fang was more resilient than a spring.
“Compliments of the house, gentlemen,” Fang exclaimed as he passed around a large tray of French fries. “The Pink Armadillo isn’t open for business yet, but we will be soon.”
“That guy is downright Willie Foo Foo, but he’s alright,” Ray remarked, raising a mug and taking a golden fry.
“Huh? Who’s that? …Hey Mac, what else is on the menu at the Pink Armadillo?” the one called Ron asked in a suggestive tone that puzzled me.
“Forget it, Ron,” the guy who made the Willie Foo Foo comment told him. “She’s above your pay grade. Anybody’s above your pay grade. Don’t you know a respectable woman when you see one? Besides, anybody could tell it ain’t that kind of place, despite the name.”
Finally understanding what they implied, I blushed and stomped up the stairs. I ducked inside TROLLEY.
I don’t know what other words were exchanged. I was too embarrassed at not having immediately understood the comments that implied I was a prostitute. Whatever else may have been said, in a firm voice, Fang thanked the group of soldiers for trying the beer and fries. His tone and manner must have made it clear that the “party” was over.
“Damnit, Ron. See what you’ve gone and done?” I heard one of the men remark.
As he stepped inside, Fang put his cap on a coat-tree beside the door, revealing a headful of pink hair. He threw the feather boa back around his neck and tossed his head as if he was the one offended.
“Dilly, I’m sorry about all that,” he said, stooping beside my chair. “Here, you can scratch behind my ears. You know that makes you feel better,” he added, resting his head on my knee.
I rolled my eyes heavenward.
“It’s okay, Fang. I’ve had to deal with that kind of thing, and a lot worse most of my life, but especially ever since I started working,” I told him.
“Yes, and I know you hate it every time,” he replied. “If I could just turn back into a pink fairy armadillo to comfort you, I would. But it’s not that simple.”
I patted his head, repeating that it was okay. Then I stood up and paced, irritably.
“I don’t see how any of this,” I began, spreading my arms wide to indicate all of TROLLEY. “How can all this help us figure out what we’re supposed to do here? It seems pretty clear that your mission must have something to do with the missing Calutron Girls. But how is this going to help?”
“I think the missing girls are more of a symptom, or a byproduct of what we’re supposed to figure out and fix,” he muttered thoughtfully.
“Come on Dilly, you know we have to have a cover. If that cover includes serving alcohol, we’re more likely to loosen tongues and learn things we probably wouldn’t otherwise find out,” Fang spoke patiently. “We’ve already gotten one big clue, just from being in this spot.”
“What clue?” I asked.
“The tunnels. From the beginning, TROLLEY detected a warren of tunnels under the Secret City and all around this area too. The truth is there… somewhere. And those tunnels lead to it. Things aren’t always transparent. Sometimes you have to look deeper to find the truth. Maybe dig more tunnels too,” he added with a self-satisfied grin.
♦ ♦ ♦
Speaking of those random reader things… what could be more transparent than The Invisible Man? The 1933 film version of the H. G. Wells pioneering syfy classic is out there but I couldn’t find a free link. However, here’s a later version.
This trip through time is difficult in more ways than one. Maybe those tunnels will lead to better clues than the cave-ins. Tune in next time to see what the random reader things bring.
Please remember that this is my sanctuary — a place for all of us to be safe and away from political and religious commentary. Kindly keep that in mind with your comments.
Hugs on the wing!
Dead of Winter — All the Journeys
Universal Purchase Links
Journey 11, the Sumelazon Escarpment
Journey 10, Pergesca
Journey 9, Doors of Attunement
Journey 8, The Lost Library
Journey 7, Revenant Pass
Journey 6, The Fluting Fell
Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls
Journey 4, The Old Road
Journey 3, the Fever Field
Journey 2, Penllyn
Journey 1, Forlorn Peak
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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