Saturday, July 9, 2022
You’ve reached The Armadillo Files. Stay tuned for zaniness.
Random Reader Things
You probably know the stunningly talented D. Wallace Peach aka Diana from multiple fantasy series and her marvelous blog. If you haven’t read The Ferryman and the Sea Witch, get it quick, because she’ll be launching something new before too awfully long. Her three random reader things are: color TV, jumpsuit, and (no you are not mistaken…) Grandma’s underwear.
Previously in The Armadillo Files
Last time we learned several things, so I hope you were paying attention. In tenth-century Bagdad, it turned out that Ali Baba’s wicked brother, Cassim is involved with the dastardly deeds. He didn’t kidnap the Calutron Girls, but he’s behind the plot to sell them as slaves. We also learned that the culprit behind the abductions is Klaude Frucht. After WWII he was convicted of selling national secrets from the Manhattan Project to the Russian government. (Before you go to Google, I changed the name to protect the not so innocent.) Of course, Frucht wasn’t able to handle the time travel part. The other revelation is Prime’s nemesis — an unscrupulous organization called Tumult.
Are you still with me? If you need to refresh your memory, you can always find all the past chapters by going to the categories on the right side of the screen. Click on Armadillo Files.
30 — What’s that sound?
Skullduggery, swords, knives, martial arts, and hand grenades? How could she be so cool about such things? I discretely looked at Ali Baba’s face for signs of insanity.
To my relief, she put away the hand grenades she held. She spoke quite casually about plans we needed to make — dangerous sounding plans.
Anyway, she said we should wait for Fang and Sesame to return. The ferrets she sent should find them quickly.
“Speaking of ferrets,” I started. “What’s that sound? I think it’s coming from that group in the corner. It looks like they’re watching that color TV and laughing.”
“Ah! You are right, Delilah. They are dooking. Ferrets make that sound when they are happy or having fun. It is their laughter,” she answered, though I asked her to please call me Dilly.
“Although that is not precisely a television set. It is an outdated monitoring device from Prime. I changed the settings so that it will give an alert if young women with the characteristics of your missing Calutron Girls are detected,” she added.
“The ferrets find it most amusing,” she added with a chuckle at another outburst of dooking from the furry thieves.
Unfortunately, preparation for violence had not left her mind.
“How good are you with knives?” Ali asked skeptically but looking at my expression she made a rueful face. “I was afraid so. Women in your era aren’t allowed to do much.”
“I know how to handle a gun… Although I don’t like them,” I commented, trying to be something better than a dead weight for the mission.
“No. There are no guns in this time. I’m only taking the grenades because they can be hidden. People wouldn’t understand what they had seen if they witnessed one exploding. It could be magic to them,” Ali Baba replied, shaking her head and causing her gold earrings to sway. “We shall at least get you a disguise.”
With a sudden grin of inspiration, she moved to another part of the secret cave. A calculating twist came to her mouth as she looked me up and down. That made me uncomfortable, but then I realized she was guessing my dress size.
One of the ferrets turned something over, making a sudden loud noise. Then the furry body ran across my feet. I gave a yip and jumped. Ali looked at me with a very serious expression. Once again, she leaned as if trying to get a view of my rear end.
“You jumped at least a foot into the air,” she muttered. “At any rate, I think these would be your size, though they might be a little too long,” she remarked and opened a large trunk and started removing billowy pantaloons in every color. “How odd… the sirwal trousers are barely long enough. Although you do not appear to be any taller. It is as if your legs have gotten longer.”
I cringed visibly. I couldn’t help thinking of how they reminded me of my grandma’s underwear. Hesitantly I picked up a pair.
“Why are you blushing?” she asked, obviously trying not to laugh. “I thought Tatu Pinkerton met you in ‘the space age’ not the Victorian Era.”
That remark embarrassed me into admitting my grandma-thought. Not wanting to offend, I was relieved when Ali laughed out loud.
“Haha! Unhappily, spies in this age do not wear jumpsuits… or what is it they are called. Ah yes, catsuits. But catsuits were not invented when you left your home time,” she said. “Nonetheless, these clothes will help you blend in.”
After I was decked out in silks similar to what Ali Baba wore, we watched the monitoring “TV” for a while. Ali and Sesame had discretely installed cameras all around the city. I was particularly fascinated by the views of the bazaar.
“I’m getting worried about Fang and Sesame,” I admitted after a while. “Especially now that we know that Klaude Frucht is here. Anybody who would sell atomic secrets to Russia, and kidnap girls… Someone like that might do anything.”
“Yes, it is disconcerting that they have not yet returned,” Ali agreed. “However, Sesame had copious amounts of coins with her. If they stay together, there should be no problem.”
“How does Sesame avoid standing out in a crowd?” I hazarded the question that had been nagging me.
“She does not,” Ali replied smiling. “She is known here. Perhaps not accepted, but she is known. Even so, she is surprisingly skilled at avoiding notice. Not exactly hiding, but inconspicuously stopping in discrete places and such.”
Speak of the devils, I thought at the sound of the huge rock being pushed aside and two sets of footfalls.
Concerningly, Fang was not with Sesame. I told myself that I should have expected as much. If the erstwhile pink fairy armadillo got the chance to worry me, he would take it.
However, Sesame was not alone. With her was a rumpled but stunning brunette, with a victory rolls hairdo.
♦ ♦ ♦
I have a sneaking suspicion that all is not well with Dilly. Fang might not be the only one who’s in trouble…
Episode 31 — “What’s her name?” features three things from Tim Price at Off Center and Not Even: rotary phone, S&H Green Stamps, and adding machine. Tune in next weekend. Hugs on the wing!
♦ ♦ ♦
Dead of Winter has now concluded with Journey 14, The Veil. It is now available!
Dead of Winter — All the Journeys
Universal Purchase Links
Journey 14, The Veil
Journey 13, The Harbor
Journey 12, Goddesses
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 © 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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