(Back to Chapter Index)
(Back to Previous Chapter)
The Impatient Patient
In The Bingo Hall
Star of Star Wars, Kenny Bernard arrives, he's never been here before, but someone said he should pop his head round the door - it being where the convention was being held. What Kenny doesn't realise is the helpful bastard meant the LOONY convention.
Star of Star Wars, Kenny Bernard speaks (squeaks) "Oi! Is there anyone here at all?"
Star of Star Wars, Kenny Bernard angrily stomps off, there's no bugger here. His R2D2 costume stops him from mounting the stairs. How do those fucking daleks do it?
Subdued calliaphone wakes up, belatedly, from a morphinous dream about shouting dustbins on wheels. "Whuhh?" she stares around, a bit confused.
Abundantly Ari bounces into the Bingo Hall, she left her books behind last time
Subdued calliaphone says, "Ari!" and rubs at her eyes to try and clear away the sleepiness.
Subdued calliaphone adds, confusedly, "wuz you yelling about garlics?"
Abundantly Ari blinkblinks "No I don't think I was, I have not yelled today, excpet in the jungle I guess but not about garlic"
Subdued calliaphone syas, "oh, mebbe it was Johnson. She better be careful Sister Murgatroyd don't catch her yelling, or there'll be trouble." she looks gleeful.
Abundantly Ari nods, "sometimes Johnson yells, who is Sister Mergertroy?"
Subdued calliaphone says, in hushed tones (checking all around in case Sister M is lurking) "she is a BOSSYBOOTS, is who she is."
Subdued calliaphone's tones did not stay hushed for long, did they?
Abundantly Ari scoots herself down by Callia "how is your ankle?"
Subdued calliaphone wriggles to make room, and sneaks in a quick hug while she's at it. "it's alright. Sister M says it's gonna take time. An' i have to keep resting it a lot. It's boOOOORing. An' itchy under the thingy" she thonkthonks on the already-decorated cast.
Abundantly Ari nods "when I was little I broke my arm and they had to make up a splint thing on account we were stuck on the farm and they did it really good cause it got all fixed but I hated it a lot"
Abundantly Ari examines the cast "yours looks likke the proper sort of cast, that you can sign and everything!"
Subdued calliaphone is all sympathy. she had the splint-thingy to start with, and didn't like that much either. but she draws hope from Ari's reminisence. "i hope they fix mine right. how'd you break your arm? what sort of farm was it. did you have tractors?"
Subdued calliaphone's cast sure is one of those ones that can be signed. She is, in fact, digging for a fruit-scented felt-pen, at this precise moment.
Abundantly Ari blushes "I tried to fly only I couldn't"
Subdued calliaphone says, "ahh." and then, "ouchie." and then confides, "i don't think i can either, y'know. only, i ain't really tried." yet.
Abundantly Ari nods "it is easier here, I recommend a parachute though, the falling can be a little tricky, that is always the part that gets me"
Subdued calliaphone says, "tell me about it." and then huffs and sighs and fidgets. "worst thing is, i tell you what - it's being stuck here the whole time. i'm a Trypsy, me! we travel about!" she glares at the four walls of the Bingo Hall.
Abundantly Ari looks around and nods slowly, "I love the Bingo Hall but I don't even like just being in the Castle all the time, there is too much to see everywhere else and you can't even explore in here huh? Just gotta sit." Sit comes out as a bad word
Subdued calliaphone looks shifty. She says, "tell y'what Ari. let's go for an adventure! i got these thingies. . ." she waves her crutches, and a picture frame goes flying off the coffee-table to land with a crash on the hearthrug.
Subdued calliaphone says, "oops. er, anyway. yeah, these thingies. i gotta get some practise in sooner or later. a pint would set me straight, i know it would. i bet i could get to the pub, easy."never mind what Sister M said, what does she know anyway?
Abundantly Ari nodnods, "You can always adventure! And the outpost is not far at all so I am sure you could practice to there, its even fresh air, that is important to get well I think!"
Subdued calliaphone sys, "yeah!" eat that Sister Bossyboots!Grinning at the prospect of adventure, she struggles up onto one foot, leaning haphazardly on the crutches. "Lessgo now before she catches us!" taphopCLONKcrash "c'mon!"
Subdued calliaphone didn't like that vase much anyway.
Abundantly Ari chases after "I still gotta sign you!"
Subdued calliaphone is hopping too fast to be caught. Yet.
Subdued calliaphone hops-drags-whinges into town. At a snail's pace. On the positive side, she is still standing. Well, leaning. Wobbly-like, on a pair of crutches. One foot, in a plaster cast, is not quite on the ground. And oh my she is complaining.
Subdued calliaphone says, "s'too faaaar, who's idea was this anywaaaay, s'huuuuuurting, Ari are we there yet?"
Abundantly Ari is following at her side, slightly behind, she does not help cause of the crutches and all but she looks worried
sugar-hi unicorn peeks over the outpost wall, and keens slightly at miss Calli. "...youalrightmiss?" the voices sigh in exasperation. is she alright. seriously.
Abundantly Ari nodnods, "We are at the outpost, only the pub is a little further, for a drink and stuff," and seats that are less then comfortable...
sugar-hi unicorn adds a quiet caw to miss Ari. watching.
Subdued calliaphone says, "but i caaaaan't." okay, she whines it. despite it having been her idea. well of course it was, really. the pub.
Abundantly Ari shifts from foot to foot nervously "do you want to go back?"
Subdued calliaphone gives Shi a look of utmost misery. To be fair to her, she does seem somewhat ragged around the edges. The Bingo Hall isn't very far away, but perhaps she'd have been better to take Sister Murgatroyd's advice, about resting first, adventure later.
Subdued calliaphone looks aghast at Ari. "back? how'm i gonna get back? i can't! i'm stuck here! i'll have to stay here forever!" her bottom lip wobbles.
sugar-hi unicorn headtilts, and keens some more at the look of utmost misery.
Abundantly Ari's eyes widen, "No you won't! That won't do at all, you just need to ride back somehow or something, like in those chairs with wheels or, or... A couch that walks!"
Subdued calliaphone looks up, dragging a sleeve across her eyes and nearly toppling over. "or a steam locomotive? or a tank?" hopeful now.
Abundantly Ari giggles "Those might work too only I do not have them and they are big and harder to get onto" she prepares to call Wallace and pauses, "I can't give a proper whistle, I can only do this" she whistles out, its is softs and broken, like wind
Abundantly Ari asks, "Can you give a loud whistle?"
Subdued calliaphone has a go, but she's wobbly when she lets go of her crutches. She looks to Shi. maybe a loud caw would do it?
sugar-hi unicorn headtilts. we can whistle. and a whistle is better than a caw for callingthings. she whistles. somewhere a dog swallows its tongue.
Abundantly Ari frowns and looks around before asking in a loud sort of voice, so anyone hiding or something can here "does anyone know how to whistle?"
Subdued calliaphone's look of misery is transformed a little, into gratitude. misery-and-gratitude.
Abundantly Ari beams as moments later Wallace ambles his way into town and over to her and Callia, she digs a remote out of her bag and tosses it to him "there, Callia, he can take you all over and he is comfy and you can rest and adventure at the same time"
sugar-hi unicorn crows! we have been useful!
Subdued calliaphone says, "oh Wallace imsogladtoseeyou." and lowers herself into the cushions with just a small whimper. heaving the injured leg up to rest it, she lays the crutches alongside. then she turns to Ari and Shi, and manages a smile.
Subdued calliaphone says to Ari, "see? i tol'you i could make it to Central. no probs!" and she shuffles up a bit, so there's plenty of room for Ari's and Shi's to share, if they're so inclined.
sugar-hi unicorn headtilts concernedly at miss Calli, wondering what happened.
Abundantly Ari laughs and climbs on Wallace by Callia, careful of her foot, "yep, you made it all the way here!"
Subdued calliaphone could, if she weren't already nodding off with sheer exhaustion, tell Shi a tale or two or three, and maybe if Shi took eeensy bits of each of 'em, she might arrive at the truth of reckless skateboarding and someone not looking where they were going. . .
sugar-hi unicorn ventures down from the wall, and approaches miss Calli and miss Ari and the strangecouchthing warily.
Subdued calliaphone squidges up a bit more, to make sure Shi's got room. Head tilted onto Wallace's cushions, eyes drooping, she's... yep, she's asleep.
Abundantly Ari brandishes the scented marker and carefully writes her name on the dozy Callia's cast, below it she doodles a quick cartoon of a chocomilk cow cause that way it lasts longer then just a cup.
sugar-hi unicorn staaares at the couch for a long while before taking a seat. she looks sortof at miss Ari. "...is she alright..?"
Abundantly Ari nodnods to Shi, "The nurse is looking after her, we just escaped for some fun and maybe we should not have, would you like to sign her cast too?"
sugar-hi unicorn nodnods. "yes pleasemiss... uh, The nurse..?"
Abundantly Ari points north "Ratched or something like that, Mergatroy maybe? I dunno, something unfriendly like but she is good at fixing"
Abundantly Ari also offers the marker to Shi
sugar-hi unicorn 's fingers twitch slightly at mention of "fixing" but she nods sagely, producing a marker pen. a nest of salamanders with too many legs starts to appear on miss Calli's cast.
sugar-hi unicorn 's fingers twitch slightly at mention of "fixing" but she nods sagely, and accepts the pen. a nest of salamanders with too many legs starts to appear on miss Calli's cast.
Subdued calliaphone enters town in style. Carried on the sumptuous blue upholstery of Wallace the ambulatory couch, amid a detritus of blankets, toys, crutches, cushions, tools, mugs and top trumps cards.
Subdued calliaphone, despite the fact that one ankle is encased in plaster (once-white, now highly decorated), is clearly comfortable.
Subdued calliaphone is, in fact, fast asleep. Her mouth is slightly open, and her right arm dangles over the side of the couch, fingertips brushing the ground. The other arm is tightly wrapped around her accordion.
Subdued calliaphone is also not alone. Other occupants of the couch include: 1 penguin, 1 tin-opener, 1 extremely dirty puppy, and 1 almost-as-dirty youth with ginger hair and and gangly knees. All parties are equally asleep.
Subdued calliaphone, eventually, is roused by the smell of steak, and the shimmying of a hungry couch. Sitting up, she shoves Darren off her cast, and feeds Wallace a remote.
Darren is roused by the shoving. He chrrps irritably, and stretches his flippers, prodding the puppy in the ribs. The puppy yaps sleepily, and pretend-bites down on
Albert's knee, which is just the right sort of knobbly for gnawing on. Albert says "Yowch! gerroffRover!" and blinks awake. "Ooh, Pleasantville!"
Subdued calliaphone says, "yus", and Stares Pathetically at the steakhouse, until Albert gets the message. While steak is being fetched, Darren dives head-first into her backpack in search of a tin of sardines.
Subdued calliaphone grins, retrieves the sardines, and picks up Egbert to open the tin. As she turns the handle, she chitters conversationally to the tin-opener.
Darren rolls his eyes.
Subdued calliaphone looks hopefully at the tin-opener, as he finishes doing what he does best. Apparently, it is also the only thing he does. Either that, or he's not much of a talker.
Subdued calliaphone's expression turns to disappointment, but the arrival of Albert-with-steak provides a distraction. Breakfast is an enthusiastic affair, but Rover provides a face-washing service, which
Darren declines. He does his own grooming, thank-you. Rover does not push his luck there. He's been flipper-smacked before.
Subdued calliaphone and Albert are also unappreciative. "urrrghh" "YIP!" "giveitaBREAKwouldya we need this dirt!" wagwagwag. Rover is shoved off the couch. Still wagging, he goes to inspect some lamposts.
Albert sighs contentedly, offering Callia a half-a-toffee for dessert. "I better be pushing off, gotta round up the gang and get reports. Little George said he see'd That Reginal] on our turf again last week."
Subdued calliaphone expresses the proper scorn for That Reginald. Albert solemnly agrees, and starts extricating himself from the sofa-cushions and general clutter. Pausing to whistle to Rover, he turns and salutes his captain.
Subdued calliaphone salutes back and watches her lieutenant depart. Then, with a deep sigh, she flops back onto the cushions. A few minutes pass, after which she sighs again. Then huffs. Then fidgets.
Darren watches her. If he could raise an eyebrow he'd have done it by now. Then, as the signs of a storm brewing don't abate, he decides to take prompt action.
Darren hops up alongside Callia, and chrrps meaningfully at her, then waggles his head at her accordion.
Subdued calliaphone looks at Darren doubtfully. He nudges her with a flipper, and chrrps again, more insistently.
Subdued calliaphone chews a lip, considers things, and (as the chrrping continues), she nods. "alright alright. i'll practise. sheesh, you're almost as bad as Sister Murgatroyd."
Darren gives Callia a look, but doesn't take the bait. Instead, he watches as she sits herself more upright, squeezes some air into the accordion, and puts her fingers to the keys.
Subdued calliaphone could clearly use the practise. The accordion wheezes a little in protest, and the first sounds that emerge are not . . . encouraging. Wrong notes, halting rhythm, if there's a tune it's not discernible. But
Darren suppresses a wince, with a most un-maestro-esque display of patience. And slowly, slowly,
Subdued calliaphone's playing improves, rendering the old nursery favourites with increasing confidence. Before long, passing mutants are considering paying
Subdued calliaphone to stop. Anything for a break from Mary Had a Little Octopus and Hickory Dickory Dock, The Mouse Repaired The Clock.
Subdued calliaphone does not stop, however. She's on a roll! And, much to Darren's relief, she is actually absorbed, and not just whining. Wallace, picking up the cues from the townsfolk, makes an executive decision, and
Subdued calliaphone, Cordy and Darren (and the general Callia-Detritus) are conveyed out of town, to the almost-tuneful accompaniment of The Runaway Train Needed New Trunnion Bearings, Woo-hoo. . .
Pleasantville heaves a collective sigh of relief, and a riot is averted.
Subdued calliaphone rides into town, comfortably ensconced upon a certain ambulatory couch, who is intent on grazing for remote controls.
Subdued calliaphone provides a musical accompaniment to Wallace's grazing activities. Well, perhaps that's rather overstating it. Let's just say that
Subdued calliaphone makes a noise on her accordion. But it is, at least, a recognisable tune. If you happen to be familiar with Lonnie Donegan's rendition of My Old Man's A Dustman.
Subdued calliaphone's playing could use some polish, but her repertoire has increased. She works her way, laboriously, through several skiffle favourites, before - greatly hopeful - taking her hands off the keys.
Subdued calliaphone's accordion stops playing.
Subdued calliaphone frowns. She tries again, with a bit of Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour On The Bedpost Overnight. Then stops. At which point, so does Cordy.
Subdued calliaphone says, with an edge to her voice "Oh come on Cordy. i'm doing all our old favourites, i've even learned how to play'em myself, ain't it time you did your bit?" But Cordy does not reply.
Subdued calliaphone's frown turns into a scowl. She says, "oh well then. if you're gonna be stroppy, so can I. I don'need you anyway. I got Egbert, see?"
Subdued calliaphone tugs off her accordion, and dumps him on the sofa cushions. That's real temper that is. And not only that, she turns her back on him. And picks up her tin-opener instead.
Subdued calliaphone says, "see, Egbert? Cordy's just a moody old git, that's his problem. Well, I'm through with his sulking. It's me and you, fella. Whatcha wannado?"
Subdued calliaphone's tin-opener says nothing.
Subdued calliaphone bites her lip. "aww Egbert, don't you start. I know you're not much of a one for conversation, but . . . how about . . ."she casts her eye around town hopefully.
Subdued calliaphone says, "how about I make you an assault course? We could use an . . ." another glance around, and she spies an old rollerskate by a scrap heap. Wallace obligingly shuffles over.
Subdued calliaphone pales, but then says, "a skateboard park? You'd like that better? Well, just so long as you don't go hurting yourself now." Silence from the tin-opener.
Subdued calliaphone resolutely ignores the silence. And instead puts her mind to it. And a screwdriver. A bit of plywood for the base, some old food-tins and a bit of waterpipe, and soon
Subdued calliaphone has built an entire skatepark for the tin-opener. She mounts him on the roller-skate and says, "g'wan then. do yer thing."
Subdued calliaphone's tin-opener does nothing.
Subdued calliaphone's face clouds over.
Subdued calliaphone says, in very subdued tones, "issit me?" and blinkblinks, hard.
Unfairlady trudges out of the clan halls, slamming the door after her. The noise sems to wake her from whatever brooding trance she's been visiting. Gaze slips up, up and around and face lights up "Oi Callia, hey. How'z things, eh?"
Subdued calliaphone says, suddenly rageous "alRIGHT ALRIGHT, i GET IT. i didn't MEAN to break the stupid DRIVE, i'll go FIX-ohh, hey Unfair."
Subdued calliaphone tries to pull her face into a semblance of greeting. The kind with the big grin that she usually does. But the corners of her mouth keep tugging down. So she throws her tin-opener on the floor. Because, she's all grown-up like that.
Unfairlady's smile fades a little. Then a small frown. Of the worried variety. She approaches the Callia&antourage area "Caliia. You alright, girl? What happened, eh?"
Subdued calliaphone looks up, sulkily. I kid you not, her arms are actually folded across her chest. She says, "they're stupid is what." she glares meaningfully at her toys. The silent accordion, and equally silent tin-opener.
Unfairlady stares a bit at the two offenders, then at Callia "Uhm. Most people are stupid, Calli. Even the smart'uns. But what happened? And, more important: can I help?"
Subdued calliaphone sighs. Relaxes a tiny bit. Then blurts out. "they won't talk to me! It's not FAIR. i mean, Cordy's been a right moody one since his accident, but i've done everything i can think of, i've even learned to play."
Witch Doctor Makiwa lopes into town looking a little lost. He looks at the walls thinking. Noticing two people he waves. How nice to see someone here - for a change.
Unfairlady waves, alzily at Mak, before concentrating on the matter at hand "Cordy? Accident? Who's Cordy, don't believe we've met? And what happened to him?"
Subdued calliaphone adds, "an' as for Egbert. He's had tins from every kitchen on the island," she looks faintly guilty about this for a moment then hurries on, i've given him music, a skatepark, the works. And what does he do? He opens tins."
Subdued calliaphone would wave, but she's Having A Tantrum. So she sticks out her lower lip as far as it will go, instead. And says, grumpily. "Cordy." and points to her accordion. "that's him"
Unfairlady stares at'Cordy'. And'Egbert'. "Well. Well. Opening tins is a good start. And Cordy. Uhm. When was the last time he spoke to you and what accident?"
Witch Doctor Makiwa greets Unfair, "M'lady" and nods to the other who seems upset. Not wanting to interrupt he taps his chin with an index thinking. Hmm, what to do now. . ..
Unfairlady shrugs a little at Mak, in a I'm trying to figure it out myself kind of way. Then brightens up. She has the remedy for everything. "Uhm, Callia? Care f'r some sunshine?" rummaging in her pack and extracting not one, but two bottles.
Witch Doctor Makiwa deep in thought now, is calculating. The Airships was over Ace High and heading generally northwards, hmm. He scampers up the top of a wall scanning the horizon to the west.
Witch Doctor Makiwa spots the Airship and yes! It's heading this way. Good. It'll be a few minutes yet. He slides down the wall again and lands, knees complaining with a creaak.
Subdued calliaphone offers Makiwa a doleful sort of a greeting. "h'llo mister." and then she tries to explain. "th'accident was terrible. me an' G were running away from Mountjoy cuz of the laundry chute, an so we snuck into the fairground, but we forgot. . ."
Subdued calliaphone continues, ". . .forgot we wuz being inconspicable so we accidentally took a bumper car for a joy-ride and crashed it into the bouncy castle."
Unfairlady listens, eyes getting rounder by the minute, while she thrusts the already opened sunshine bottle at Callia, keeping the brand new one for herself. A generous, generous lady she is.
Witch Doctor Makiwa bows slightly hand on chest and begins a greeting, "Makiwa.." then stops as the lady says accident. He listens quietly.
Subdued calliaphone is always glad of some sunshine. Her explanation rambles on, between slrrps. "and that would've been alright probly if i hadn't been wearing Cordy. an' if we hadn't gone through the craft tent first before we crashed. and picked up the badge-maker."
Unfairlady thrusts a thumb Mak-wise "Doc mac. Friend." She explains. The she offers him sunshine as well, still intent on the story, though.
Subdued calliaphone shakes her head sadly. "badge-makin' machines are heavy things. Cordy got stove right in, so he did." she rounds her eyes at Makiwa, to emphasise the point. "but, this is the thing. i fixed him."
Unfairlady lips curve around some of the words, trying to make some sense of it all. Badge Maker. Bouncy castle. Craft tent.
Subdued calliaphone casts a final glare at the still-silent accordion. "i fixed him, and i even learned to play - all his favourite tunes an' everything. and will he play by himself, like he used to? not a bit of it. he's rubbish, he is. jus' like Egbert."
Witch Doctor Makiwa takes the bottle gratefully, waggling his head slightly at the mental image of a castle that bounces. Makiwa swigs from the bottle. Ah, sunshine, lovely stuff. He swigs once more and hands the bottle back to Unfair.
Unfairlady thinks. Really thinks, thought process betrayed by a furroed brow and a hat pushed back, possibly to free the forehead for heat exhaustion "Uhm. Was it long ago? Maybe he's convey-less-scent? Recoverin', like?"
Witch Doctor Makiwa has no idea what to make of the lady's tale. Intrigued, he finds questions forming but doesn't want to interrupt.
Subdued calliaphone considers. "conveylessscent? like me, y'mean?" she eyes her ankle-cast balefully. Accidents, it seems, are a fact of life with calliaphone. She sighs, "i guess he did save my life, that time. if he hadn't tooken it, my ribs would've. but but.."
Subdued calliaphone's bottom lip wobbles, "it was ages ago. and he's been mended for so long now. you'd have thought. . ." she glimpses her tin-opener, still on the ground where she threw it. ". . .and what about him then?"
Subdued calliaphone says, sulkily, "what's his problem? he's not had no accidents. oh no, he's been spoilt rotten." takes one to know one, after all.
Witch Doctor Makiwa looks at the silent accordion? Constant screamer? Whatever they're called he wonders whether Unfair's right. He obviously has no idea how to administer to such a thing.
Witch Doctor Makiwa felling he might be on more sold ground, bends down and inspects the tin opener. Pointing at it he says, "This" as if seeking confirmation "opens tins?"
Subdued calliaphone looks curiously at Makiwa. "s'right" she says. "aintchanotseenonebefore?"
Witch Doctor Makiwa stands knees complaining again. "Why yes of course. It's just that I've been learning, of late, that things are not always as they seem.' He scans the sky westwards, squinting slightly.
Subdued calliaphone's face falls further still at this reminder. "not my things. all i got is an accordion that won't play by itself, an' a tin-opener that just opens tins." the lip wobble is back. "an' i'm . . . i think . . . it's my fault, see." whispered.
Unfairlady seems at a loss of what to say, having distributed sunshine seems to have exhausted her resources, for now.
Unfairlady, on the other hand knows about faults and guilt. "How is that your fault, Callia. Something happened, Horatio knows what, why necessarily something you did. Maybe it's just sulking, for who knows what reason."
Unfairlady very, very quickly corrects "He is sulking. Or avoiding a talk. Or simply, simply too absentminded to remember he has a whi. . .a friend."
Subdued calliaphone says, "i reckn it's cause i fixed him. mebbe i did it wrong or sommat? i fixed up Egbert too. mebbe it's just something i do. i don'fix'em. i break them. like. . ." guilty look, "like i broke the drive."
Unfairlady oohs a bit "Calli, dear. You didn't break the Drive. The Drive breaks us and makes us all over again. As for Cordy, and Egbert. maybe..maybe give them time? Learn some new tricks and try fixin' them again? Ya know, maybe a bit like the Drive does?
Witch Doctor Makiwa /special The Airship SAVOR silently glides into view, sails billowing and briefly blocks the morning sun casting a shadow across the city.
Subdued calliaphone really does burst into tears this time. "buuut i diiiiid break it i fell on a BANAAAANA and dropped my scroooodriver an it was all sparks and flashes an'bangs an i don'remember the rest but that woman said i'd huuuuurt it an' an'. . ."
Unfairlady awkwardly reaches to pat Calli's shoulder, probably a hug would be in order, but she really doesn't do hugs.
Subdued calliaphone waaaails, "i oooonly meant to taalk to it" sob, snif, snooort. . .
The Airship SAVOR glides into view, sails billowing as it briefly blocks the morning sun casting a shadow across the city.
Unfairlady sighs "I know you did. Remember we did talk about it? You told me..us, about it. And, hon', I'm sure it knows. Maybe that's the way it talk ta us, eh? Goes ka-boom, then makes us all over again. And puts bits of itself in us. Eh?"
Buddleia trudges in to find a very unexpected scene. Callia crying? She hurries over to offer hugs and chocolate fudgy brownies. "What's the matter, oh dear, can I help?"
Witch Doctor Makiwa says, "Ladies my ride is here." He nods to Unfair, "M'lady, a pleasure as always. And nice to meet you miss. Hope everything turns out ok." Makiwa taps his clan badge and vansihes.
Subdued calliaphone blinks, hiccups, and accepts hugs and brownies without any protest at all. "was" hiccup, "was that an'" sniffff, "was that an airship?"
Unfairlady stares. At the airship, at Mak (even after he's gone), then back at the airship. Then at Callia. And Budd "Oh, hi Buddleia."
The Airship continues on it's course across the island. Makiwa can just be seen at the railings waving.
Buddleia boggles a little at the sudden airship - wasn't that just down by Kittania? - but stays hugging her, aiming for comfort. "Hey there. Brownie?"
Unfairlady stops staring and blinks. And takes another swig of sunshine. Then eyes the bottle dubiously. Then thinks out loud. "No pink elephants. Besides they saw it, too. So it ain't the sunshine. Phew."
Subdued calliaphone waves back, dazedly, to Makiwa. To Unfair she says, "i know we talked about it, i just . . . i din't mean to hurt it, see."but truly, the airship has her attention in this moment. her jaw drops. "s'at an articulated keel-frame?"
Unfairlady looks after the airship, then back down at Callia "A what?"
Subdued calliaphone can't actually tell, from this distance. "and wait a minute, how'd he get aboard?"
Unfairlady shrugs, glances at Budd, then shugs again "He jokerized his way up? I wouldn't know about that." More sunshine, quick!
Subdued calliaphone says, "an articulated keel-frame, like . . . this, only different!" she scrabbles about on her couch, until she's located what looks like a playing card. turning it over, she reveals a picture of an airship, and some specifications written underneath.
Unfairlady leans closer, to peer at the airship thingy. Blinks at it, not understanding much besides oh, look at the pretty picture. But she spotted cards. Te-hee. A hand sneeeeaks.
Subdued calliaphone is still hugging Budd and comparing picture-card to real-life airship, when she spots Unfair up to something. she snifffs, dragging a hand across her nose, and says, "whatchadoing?"
Buddleia is not feeling as if she's being much very use here, so she stuffs some brownie in her mouth. There. Now she doesn't have to think of anything to say for a minute or so. Except, "Gwm,shure."
Unfairlady's hand snatches back, empty, quick as lightning. "Cards. They're pretty. Reg'lar cards?" Sighs and rummages in her pack for her own, grubby and worn "'cause ya see, I've got cards, but can't really play withe them right.They might do things"
Unfairlady grins sheepishly at Budd. She was not trying to steal. Merely wanted to look. Maybe, maybe just borrow? Maybe?
Subdued calliaphone, her attention thoroughly turned now from matters of accordions and tin-openers, says, "well, i don't think they do anything, far as i know. but they're Top Trumps, see. tons better than regular cards. Wanna play?" this to both her friends.
Unfairlady has absolutely no idea what Callia is talking about, but gladly nods, foe one since she doesn't seem upset anymore and two, it wouldn't do to lose face, admitting there's something she doesn't know.
Buddleia manages a "ow oo oo ay?" before deciding that perhaps she had better swallow this mouthful of cakiness. So much for clever ideas.
Subdued calliaphone brightens up a fraction, and retrieves her cards, shuffling them inexpertly into a muddle. Then she holds them out in an awkward fan. "take a card? don'showme it yet though."
Unfairlady ponders and brushes the cards lightly with a finger, stopping twice before finally picking one and snatching it, pressing it's face to her chest. Then she looks down, lifting the card ever so slightly. Peek. Grin. Then confused grin.
Buddleia waves hello, and takes a card. Let's see what this one is.
Unfairlady peeks again at her card, before pressing it to her chest again "Uhm. Now what, do I get ta have another one? Or do I need to bet first? It's more like Hold'em, or reg'lar?"
Subdued calliaphone says, "ooops, i forgot about the betting." she's not a natural gambler, calliaphone. "shall we call it a training run?"
Subdued calliaphone extracts a card for herself in the meantime. and peeers at it. Her eyes light up with glee.
Unfairlady does her very, very best not to look disappointed. She's not a gambler either, she just likes to win things. Shinies, preferably..
Subdued calliaphone makes a mental note to pick up some beer-bottle caps for her friend, and polish'em next time she's in her workshop. There are other ways than just gambling, to gain shinies. She says, "alright, Unfair, show us your card first. whatchagotwhatchagot?"
Buddleia reads her card, going through confused to interesting to amused, and settling on slightly bemused. "Betting? Er, I've got some cookies I could stake?"
Unfairlady intantly replies "Royal flush!" before catching herself. Then she turns, reluctantly, the card. "Izza an ugly beastie. Here. With the name of a chick. Mercedes. Last name sounds better. Like a unicorn turned rogue."
Subdued calliaphone giggles at the sight of the Mercedes Unimog. "yeah, they've made prettier machines than that, alright." then she says, "alright, since you're going first, you gotta pick a category for us to compare."
Subdued calliaphone turns to Buddleia, "mebbe we could have the cookies anyway? i think i got some old marshmallows too" she digs in a pocket and produces them, offering them round as sustenance.
Unfairlady waggles a bottle of sushine "I have this. And uhm. Cathegory? Which what. Uhm. Lessee. I choose. . .top speed."
Subdued calliaphone puts a hand over her mouth to stop the giggles. "uhm, top speed. on the Unimog. you're . . . sure about that?"
Unfairlady shrugs and peers at the card again, finger and lips assisting with reading. She mouthes unreported. Then thinks. Then nods"Yup. Pretty sure'bout that."
Buddleia admires U's card in complete ignorance of the gameplay, takes a (only somewhat grubby) marshmallow, almost holds her card in her mouth while she starts excavating the cookies, but thinks better of it. Tuck into bandolier while the backpack comes round.
Subdued calliaphone, grinning widely, turns to Buddleia. "alright then. we're playing for best top speed. what's your card, and how fast can it go?"
Buddleia gives up and drops things for now. "I've got a great big aeroplane thingy. I think that's what my great-grandad flew in the war. He was once asked if he'd been to some German city and replied bombed it. It goes . . . two-eighty muh-pah."
Subdued calliaphone bounces, as well as she can with a mouthful of cookie and marshmallow, and an ankle in plaster. "the lanc the lanc you got the lanc! that's like, mythic that is." but then, she turns over her card.
Unfairlady blinks, wandering whatever lanc is. But doesn't seem too upset by the speed reading.
Subdued calliaphone says, "i got the Corsair. Fighter to your bomber, Budd. And mean flying machines to your Unimog, Unfair. As for top-speed, four four six miles per hour!" she makes zooming noises, arms outstretched to demonstrate (with a round of Browning fire).
Subdued calliaphone pauses and says, "how fast's the Unimog, Unfair?" again suppressing that giggle.
Unfairlady applauds Callia's performaning of the flying machine. Still untroubled.
Unfairlady makes a show of peering at the card again "Well. Here's the thing. The darn'dest thing. It says here: unreported. An' we all knows what that means, right?"
Subdued calliaphone's jaw drops. "wait, whut?"
Buddleia follows up with a vrrooooooooooom nyiooooow and glides her card over Wallace, making a bombing run with cookies. One bounces but shouldn't bust the dam.
Unfairlady flutters the card, grinning "They couldn't catch it, that's whut. Couldn't even measure, it was going so fast, whee! See, f'r the others they had measurements like. Not f'r this. Their machine couldn't keep up. Eh, eh?"
Subdued calliaphone looks like she might be going to argue! But then she remembers. Rules is rules, and creative justification carries the day. She holds out a hand to Unfair, to shake. "hats off to you, ma'am. Your little offroader just beat two aeroplanes."
Subdued calliaphone looks stunned, but full of admiration. She'll never laugh at a Unimog again. Well, mebbe not till next time, anyways.
Buddleia looks somewhat puzzled. "What, a land-rover lorry sort of beasty is faster than an aeroplane?" Not that she cares either way, just trying to work out the rules of the game. "Now what? Do we get more cards or more cookies?"
Unfairlady grins, even more widely and shakeshakes "So it looks like, eh? Ugly little bugger did it's job, eh?"
Subdued calliaphone says, "now. . ." and suddenly succumbs to exhaustion. Flopping over sideways, she collapses onto Wallace's upholstery, and is asleep before the cookie in her hand has even melted.
Unfairlady seems to be very pleased with winning so she declares, expansively "Sunshine f'r everyone!"
Buddleia, quite firmly for her, says "No thank you". She drank something that someone offered her yesterday; it wasn't a good idea. She looks down at Callia, and whispers, "Thanks for the game." before searching for a blanket to tuck over her.
Unfairlady oohs, a bit disappointed at Callia's sudden drowsiness. Now she can't properly gloat over her victory.
Unfairlady gathers the cards in a less than neat heap and various objects that look like they might belong to Calli and tucks them carefully next to the girl. She doesn't forget to add some spare change for Wallace, remotes are scarce of late.
Unfairlady pats Callia's shoulder, with a smile then, quick, quick, can't help it, she signs the cast, with a flourish.
(Forward to Next Chapter)
(Back to Previous Chapter)
(Back to Chapter Index)