Tea and Philosophy at Monsterous Moonshine Mansions
calliaphone , passing by, crashes her cart into an exterior wall, and scrambles dazedly down from the driving seat. her first thought is her accordion, and then the pianola. both seem unharmed, however.
calliaphone looks round to see whose property she's guilty of damaging today.
General Unfairlady gets to her feet and goes to help Callia sort herself out from the cart incident. "Hey. You allright there?"
calliaphone looks up, only mildly cross-eyed. "Unfair!" then, a moment of doubt. "it is you, isn't it?"
General Unfairlady smiles, warmly. "Yep. None other. How are you, my girl? I've been looking for you.."
calliaphone looks relieved. at least she knows who's who, if not what's what. (Dave knows what's what, though. so that's probably alright.)
calliaphone says, "i'm alright!" she thinks about this for a moment, to check, but yep. "i'm definitely alright. whataboutyou? whylookingforme?" she doesn't think she's done anything terrible lately.
General Unfairlady begins unpacking something with loud turquoise and purple stripes. She holds it to Callia. It's the dungarees she was wearing a way back.
General Unfairlady says, smiling. "I was looking for you to give you these. I have no use for them, now I can wear armor again. I thought you might like them?"
calliaphone boggles! "but - but . . . you don't want 'em?" how could anyone not want 'em?
General Unfairlady continues. "And also to give you the good news. We found Martin. He's fine, now. He was looking for you himself, to thank you for helping."
General Unfairlady pushes the dungarees in Callia's hands. "I'm sure you have much more use for them. I wear whatever armor I can afford. No need for clothes, as such."
calliaphone 's jaw drops. she closes it gently with her hand, and then attempts speech. "the policeman-guy, you found him, he's alright an' not dead or anything?"
General Unfairlady smiles. "Yep. Very much alive. Up and about and all that."
calliaphone blinks, clutching the dungarees close to her. her eyes are suspiciously gleamy. she gulps.
General Unfairlady sees Callia's expression and smiles, warmly. "I do hope they fit. We're more or less the same size."
calliaphone nods. "thankyou" she says. her voice is a bit choky, but clear enough. "these are beautiful. i never seen such stripes on anything else."
General Unfairlady looks smug. "I told ya, Skye made them for me. But the design was my idea. And I also chose the buttons" She points to the large, loud brass buttons.
calliaphone then says, quietly, "an'. . . i'm glad about the p'liceman. he's a good bloke, for a copper."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle wakes up from the doze that he'd gone off into. "Hello, we've got company! It's the young lady that stayed here the other week isn't it? Um, I'm afraid that I've got a terrible head for names."
General Unfairlady adds, smiling happily. "And you're more than welcome, m'dear, glad you like them. But say, do sit down, I'll bring some refreshments."
calliaphone focuses hard on the buttons, blinking a bit more. they are very handsome buttons. she polishes one with her sleeve.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Um, for some reason I've got Cauliflower stuck in my head. How embarressing. Um, I'm sure that that's not your name."
calliaphone looks up and smiles. she lives at the Bingo Hall with Uncle Bernard et al. She's accustomed to persons dozing off randomly and forgetting things. "hello Mister Quandle," she says.
General Unfairlady chuckles a bit at Alexander's confusion but she lets him sort it out himself dashing upstairs to the Mathematician's retreat to bring some tea and biscuits.
calliaphone giggles, then shudders at the mention of a dreaded vegetable. "um, calliaphone" she suggests.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "It's jolly good of you to visit us again. Glad to see that things ended up alright for you in the end. You seemed a bit dazed when you were last here."
calliaphone nods slowly. "i was, wasn't i." she thinks about this for a minute, before continuing. "i got a bit . . . confused. about, everything." that's about the size of it.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Ah yes. Calliaphone, that's right. Well remembered there sir. Glad that we can rely on someone's memory round here." he is in danger of going off into chunter mode.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Confused about everything hey? Well that's entirely understandable. Do you know, I sometimes suspect that most of us are confused about most things most of the time."
General Unfairlady comes back with a tray filled with teapots, milkpots, sugar pots, biscuits, scones, muffins, jam, marmelade, bread and butter and what not. She sets it on a table. "Here. Tuck in."
General Unfairlady seems to remember something and adds some extra sugar on the tray.
calliaphone 's memory is not particularly reliable, unless you're wanting to recall the specs for a 1912 Aveling & Porter traction engine. but her appetite remains unharmed.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "We just pretend to ourselves that we understand so that we can get on with our life. You were just more self aware, and so wiser, than most people at the time. Hey?"
calliaphone beams at the sight of a sugar-bowl. to Quandle, she says, "everyone's confused? you think so?" her expression is almost hopeful.
calliaphone considers this insight. "huhh. i never thought of it like that." she frowns. "it got a bit less muddling after i got the One Fact. i been collecting more, since then."
calliaphone does as per Unfair's instructions. she's biddable, you see. especially around food. she proceeds to make a dent in the supplies.
General Unfairlady sits down and chimes in the conversation. "And what's the One Fact, then?"
calliaphone looks conspiratorial. "you won't tell?"
General Unfairlady shakes her head. "Promise. Won't tell a soul."
calliaphone nods, very seriously. "well then. it's this. the robbery i kept dreaming - it wasn't a dream at all. it was Real! an' I was there!"
calliaphone spoons sugar into her cup until there's not much room for anything else. then she trickles a little bit of tea in on top.
General Unfairlady chuckles. "Wow. I wouldn't have imagined you taking part in a heist. Bravo to you!" She says that, eye gleaming but totally serious. She's in awe of the robbery. Wishes she was there herself.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle waits for Calliaphone to finish, and then pours himself a cup of tea and butters a scone. "OhYes, I think most of us spend most of our life in confusion. I know I do."
calliaphone looks heartened by Unfair's reaction. but she has to be honest. "i didn't really mean to. i'm not a HERO, not like Bishop is. i jus' got hi-jacked, see, into driving getaway."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Is this the bank robbery down in Improbable Central? Well done there. And more facts to supplement that as well? Jolly useful I would imagine."
calliaphone smiles warmly at Quandle. somehow, his admission is heartening, for one who is almost permanently muddled.
General Unfairlady is drooling. "You got to be the getaway driver. . .oh, wonderful. . ." She sighs, whistfully and makes a note to get to know the bishop she's talking about.
calliaphone adds, "but Bishop says they was never gonna shoot me, it was just for show, see."
calliaphone says, "it was . . . noisy, i dunno about wonderful. there was a lot of shooting and shouting. i was scared. i just pedalled."
General Unfairlady realizes something's missing and goes to the gallery again, coming back minutes later with some 'sunshine' and more gin. She sets the drinks on another table, pours three shots of sunshine.
calliaphone says, "but it's better now i know it was Real." she nodnods to Quandle, "and i found out other things afterwards. other things that were real. and that weren't."
General Unfairlady says to Callia. "Oh, I'm sorry. I just..wel, I wish I was there. Wish I had thought of that. Now the upped the security, it's a bit late."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Really? You managed to drive a whole gang of bank robbers away on your cart? That must have been quite some peddling there! I'm suitably impressed."
calliaphone understands. she smiles at Unfair. "s'okay. i spook easily is all." to Quandle, she says proudly, "it's the gearing." she knows she did a good job on that cart.
calliaphone adds, to be fully honest, "the big cake-man wouldn't get in the cart. he's probly a bit heavy."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle clearly meant pedalling, not peddling. he wasn't trying to suggest that Calli was trying to sell anything on the way. He gently brushes away the gremlin that's sneaked in.
calliaphone giggles, and sneaks a buttered scone to the gremlin.
General Unfairlady waves vaguely at the drinks. "Help yourselves, please." She gives a good example by picking one of the shots and downing it in one.
calliaphone looks cheerful about this new development along the tea-time theme. she also downs a shot. but she is not going to get plastered this time, seriously.
General Unfairlady looks puzzled "The big-cake-man? Like the Gingerbread man, only made from cake?"
calliaphone frowns. "not . . . so much. more like, the big guy who's married to Lelila and makes cakes and breathes smoke and ate my gun and is called Cakey Victoria."
General Unfairlady oohs understanding. Oh which she has none. But files the information anyway. A guy that eats guns might be worth knowing even if he's named after a cake.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle picks up his glass of sunshine, but doesn't slam it in one. "I believe his name is KK isn't it? Not Cakey?" Now he downs the other half of his drink.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Well, I'm still impressed that you managed to get away on a cart piled high with bank robbers, even without KK. With him would have been even harder, I've heard that he's surprisingly heavy."
calliaphone nods, "that's right. Cakey. like i said."
General Unfairlady is enlightened. Files the new information on top of the old one and seals it with another shot of sunshine.
calliaphone has never tried to lift Kai. he, on the other hand, has successfully lifted her. it didn't end well, which might've had to do with the whole trespassing thing, but anyway. . .
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle pours himself another gin and tonic, then remembers himself. "Where are my manners Um, would you like. . .?" he gestures with his glass towards Calli "And you?" he looks at U.
calliaphone says, "main thing is, i didn't dream it. an' a whole load of other stuff too. like the gopher, and the calliope, and . . ." she falters. and nods hurriedly at the offer of alcohol.
General Unfairlady smiles and shakes her head at Alexander, pouring some more sunshine for herself. Then she looks back at Callia, expectantly, hoping for more info. Gopher? Calliope?
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle pours a G&T for Calli. "Oh yes? What's that about gophers and calliopes?"
calliaphone takes a goodly slug of G&T, and has another go at explaining. with a few more of the necessary words filled in. "Rollmop is the gopher. I caught him on Cakey's land. with sour-strings for bait."
calliaphone also used potato-peelings, but the sour-strings proved more popular with the gophers.
General Unfairlady just listens, trying to make some sense of it all. In the end it all just might start making some sense. Or, again, maybe not.
calliaphone explains further. "and the Calliope. that was for Rawr. I built it for his boat."
General Unfairlady says:"Rawr has a boat? And what's a. . .why does he need a Calliope for his boat?"
calliaphone licks at the rim of her shot-glass. "there was the p'liceman too. and the beer-fishing. it all really happened. but after the heist, there was a . . . gap."
calliaphone nodnods. "Rawr has a Steam Boat! and it needed a Calliope to make a lot of noise." at least, this is how she understood the project requirements. which she met, admirably.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle nods his head politely. He's certainly deeply confused at the moment, but tries not to show it.
General Unfairlady nods. "A gap, you say. Uhm. Anybody offered a possible explanation for that?" She eyes Alexander for some help with the matter.
General Unfairlady looks at Callia closely, trying to remember the last time she was here. She might have had that air of newness about her.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Well,that sort of thing happens to most of us round these parts at least.You're wondering around in the jungle, suddenly something happens, you're not sure what, and you wake up with a new title."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "You also seem to have a headache, and, if you're unlucky, strangely shaped or sized body parts, or just plain new."
calliaphone blinks. she says, "it's an island thing?"
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Well, I don't know for sure, but I suspect so. Although to be honest, I only have hazy memories of pre-Island life, or, to be more accurate, I have plenty of memories, most of which contradict. . ."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle ". . .contradict each other. I think that I've got it sorted out with the help of U here, but I have to concentrate, to make sure that I get it right."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "So why were you hunting for gophers, and why in the grounds of the compound? I personally wouldn't go near there."
General Unfairlady smiles, warmly, at her husband then turns back to Callia. "Yep, it looks like that is what happened to you. The Drive. It's actually not the drive itself that affects your memories."
calliaphone is about to launch into another longwinded explanation of why exactly it is she needed a gopher. the only problem is, she was never terribly clear about that in the first place. as it is, however. . .
calliaphone is distracted by Unfair's words. "the drive?" she says. and pales a little. "you mean, you think. . ." she swallows. she already knows, in her heart. she just doesn't want to admit it.
General Unfairlady leans forward and pats, lightly, Callia hand. "Yep. Most probably. But you don't need to be afraid of it. It's not only part of life here. It's..actually Alexander has a better way of explaining.."
General Unfairlady continues, with a soft chuckle. "I don't explain things. I just go at them with a chainsaw and take them apart so they don't need explaining anymore.." She winks.
calliaphone understands this! she takes everything apart if it keeps still long enough. although usually she gets consent first.
General Unfairlady smiles at Callia, then purses her lips, wondering how and whether to go on 'explaining'. She looks at Alexander a bit pleadingly.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "The drive? Can I ask you? How do you see the drive? Does it scare you at all?"
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle hasn't quite understood the nature of Calli's problem with the drive. He' still thinking that she see's it as a big scary machine that's trying to kill her.
General Unfairlady breathes relief. The matter is now in much more competent hands.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Look. Please don't be scared of the drive. It's a wholy benevolent thing. The drive itself. . .isn't the whole of it, at all. It's just one little thing."
calliaphone says, tentatively, as one working it out for the first time. "i think . . . i don't want to hurt it. everyone's mad at it but it's just a machine an' it probly just needs to TALK."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle takes a step back. Calli is obviously much more advanced than most people on the Island. This is why she's so confused."There was a mystically inclined joker called Pascal Fermat, and he reckoned"
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "The drive cares about you. It's just one incarnation of a chaos that has been driving the universe for a long long time."
General Unfairlady nods, understanding. Here he goes again about that fellow that doesn't know where his bed is.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Yes! The drive is definitely wanting to talk to you! That's very true. And ultimately, that's what 'tea with Horatio' really is. Put your faith in the drive."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "People are only mad with the Drive because they're scared of it. They like to cling to certainty and knowing what's going on, and are scared of confusion and randomness and Improbability."
calliaphone listens, wide-eyed. she's never heard anyone say anything like this in her life before. she doesn't understand more than a fraction of it. and yet, it makes a kind of sense.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "That's why they have to communicate with the drive by fighting it. That's why the drive comes to us in this form. But Improbability has come in many different forms before."
General Unfairlady decides to put in her two cents. "And see, that's why it comes for you. I think it misses us. If you postpone it for too long it kinda' jumps on you. Pounces kind of."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "To the ancient Babylonians it showed itself as a sea serpent. But we live in an age of machines. So it comes to us as a machine. Have you ever noticed, that for all that people go off. . ."
General Unfairlady realizes this probably doesn't make much sense. "But say, Alexander. I've been thinking. Why Horatio?"
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle ". . .fighting the drive, and destroying it, yet it's always still with us. Improbability is a wonderful thing. It's greatest creation is life. The most inpredictable thing there is."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "So to be scared of confusion, is to be scared of life. Don't be scared of the Drive. And don't be scared of hurting the Drive either. You can't. Live with it feel it. It wants to know you."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle: "Um, sorry? Why Horatio? What?You mean why do we call it Horatio?Um, I think that was something to do with a pirate rock and roll guitarist that used to live on the Island called Horatio Entwhistle.
calliaphone blinkblinks. this is a lot to take in! she only just found out about Improbability two days ago. Physics, now theology. She is drinking it all in, but her eyes are crossing.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Although why his name got associated with the Drive I really don't know."
General Unfairlady says, "Uhm, I dinna know that. But that's not what I meant. I meant how come everybody's assuming it's a 'he'? Why not a 'she'?"
General Unfairlady smiles and winks at Callia. She knows that look and knows that feeling too. . .
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Well you look confused. That's good. That's how it should be. The key point is, don't be afraid of the Drive, it want's to be your friend. Don't be afraid of hurting the Drive. You can't."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Oh I see. Why male? Um, well I think that probably says more about our society and it's sexist assumptions than anything else."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "The worst thing you can do to the drive is ignore it and run away from it. Trust it. When it calls, go to visit it. The drive is your friend. Just don't worry about understanding."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "After all, has there ever been a person that you understood fully? Even yourself? If you can answer yes, then You're either the first person ever, or, more likely, badly mistaken."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "The drive is trying to teach us a lesson. That's why the races are the way they are. I won't go into that, but it's a lesson. Or almost an antilesson. Improbability is all about not knowing."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Um, sorry, I haven't explained that at all well. And I've been rabbiting on far too much. That's probably more than enough for now. I'm not even a joker yet. Horatio's truely beloved."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Is there any sunshine there U? My glass seems to be empty somehow."
calliaphone attempts a smile. it works quite well, considering how much thinking she's having to do just now. she offers said smile to Quandle and Unfair. "you people think like this all the time?"
General Unfairlady smiles, warmly at Alexander. "But you explain beautifully. And what if you're not a joker? Believe me, it ain't all that is cracked up to be.."
General Unfairlady smiles and passes the sunshine to Alexander, after topping her own glass again. Then turns to Callia. "He does thinking like that. Me not much. I try to listen."
calliaphone nods, suddenly heavy-eyed. "i gotta . . . i really gotta sleep." she's not meaning to be rude - just terribly tired. she glances to her cart, which is her usual camp-bed when she's out and about.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Ah, it's just something that I'm learning myself right now. Pascal Descartes. Interesting person. I've been running away from Horatio for too long. . ."
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle ". . .I'm going to stop that now, and just follow where he leads me."
General Unfairlady notices Callia's predicament and swiftly arranges a bed by the fireplace.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Ah, you're tired? I'm sure that we can find a spare bed here can't we U. In this room again? We can sleep elsewhere, there's plenty of choices."
calliaphone looks gratefully from Quandle to Unfair, and hugs her new dungarees. "thankyou" is all she says. but with feeling. and she trots over to the fireside bed.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Ah, U's on the case already. Well done U."
General Unfairlady nods. "Of course, this place is huge, you can sleep wherever you want, Callia. Only most of it is a bit..hum, weird? This is the coziest room, so far, in my opinion."
calliaphone agrees, "tisverycosy" as she drops onto the bed. she doesn't even attempt to remove the boots or accordion, but falls immediately into deep, untroubled sleep.
General Unfairlady smiles, warmly at Callia and tries to help with boots and accordion so she can sleep comfortably.
First Sergeant Alexander Quandle "Shall we go elsewhere then U? Where would you like to go? The garden? The centre of the maze?"
calliaphone , it has to be admitted, sleeps fully dressed complete with boots and accordion most nights. the accordion is her closest friend and confidante.
General Unfairlady soon gives up her attempt and lets her be. Then turns to Alexander. "That is a brilliant idea. The maze it is."
General Unfairlady tiptoes upstairs, fetching the sunshine and two glasses in passing.