Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day Five-Fifty-Three: A clump of Hypotheticals

The standoff continues. The crew of the Dauphine silently questions why I'm waiting so long to leave, and I… I'm not sure why I shouldn't leave.

People come and go. Cannonbottom is still enforcing the five-people-only-unless-Bora's-one-of-those-people-in-which-case-get-me-my-spyglass rule, but with all the time we've spent here I'm pretty sure everyone's had a chance to wander around Villeinville. Libby's bartered for spare parts; Ed and Jeffrey's old bannerman earned some coin singing and playing instruments; Grylock got drunk and brawled with the farmers last night; Jeffrey and Celine toured Cannonbottom's tower, which is much less interesting on the inside than it appears on the outside. They've seen the town, and they want to leave.

But I can't leave. Not yet.

Why? I don't fuckin' know. Just not yet.

I was muddling over the question of why while sitting on the old rock when an unlikely pair approached me, a pair which, in retrospect, shouldn't seem that unlikely at all.

"Hail, good chief," yelled Bora from behind me. "Ya look quite stately on that thing. Aren't you cooking in that armour? The sun's gotta be rather merciless."

Plato quacked his agreement.

Scowling, I slid off of the rock and greeted them. Maybe just Plato. "Anything I can help you folks with? Don't ask me if we're leavin' yet, we aren't."

Bora held up her hands defensively. "Wasn't! Promise. Jeez, I just wanted to see how you were doing. Grumpy."

Plato quacked his agreement.

"Quiet, you." I rolled my eyes. "I'm fine. Just… revelling."


"Yes, revelling." I sighed. "I haven't been home in a long time. That's all. Probably won't see it again. Sinking in the sights."

"As long as I'm not part of 'em," Bora said, shuddering. "I'd forgotten how… grabby… this lot can be. I swear m'bottom's been pinched more times in the last week than in my whole life. Maybe it's the new hair…?"

Plato quacked his agreement.

"Why, thank you." 

Bora curtsied. Plato attempted to curtsy back; instead, he fell on his ass. I couldn't help but laugh.

Bora smiled. "There, that's better. We'll leave you to your ruminatin', brave commander. Kiss your boy for me." They turned to leave me brooding on my rock.


Bora cocked her head. "Hm?"

I bit my lower lip. Here goes. "Um… I got a… question, if you don't mind. Like, a hypothetical."

Woman and platypus exchanged glances. "Go ahead."

"Okay." I rubbed my chin, trying to assemble the query into the best form I could manage on short notice. "Let's, um, let's say that you go home one day. I assume y'all come from homes."

Bora snorted. Plato absently looked back east.

"And… and when you get home, you see people who you know. And they know you! It's like a big reunion. 'cause… I guess that's what it is."

They waited for me to get to the point.

"But…" I stared off at the nearest farm. Peter's, coincidentally. "But what if people don't remember you properly? What if they say things like, 'Oh, Bora, your, uh, boobs used to be so much smaller,' or 'Hey, Plato, you sure never used to be a platypus,' or, um, like, 'What's up, Dragomir? What the hell happened to your muscles, man? Did you spend too much time out in the sun and your hair got all light? Or is it the reverse, like how skin gets pale when it ain't sunburned? Is that what happened? Or are you onea those albino doohickeys?' What would you guys do if people were talkin' to you like that?"

They listened to my short rant, Bora sneering at the comment about her breasts, Plato peering back at his tail. When I finished, they thought about it a moment… but, ultimately, all they could do was shrug in tandem.

"Bah!" I swivelled around on the rock to stare moodily at Cannonbottom's tower. "No help, either of ya."

I huffed, and stared, and wondered what would come next.

Then something happened. Something I had totally not expected.

When somebody is in obvious mental agony, you comfort them. You show them a smidgen of compassion, a display of empathy which will set them at ease, even if you don't mean it, even if you don't like them so much. Hell, enemies will still throw sarcastic jibes at one another in response to a horrible situation. It's just what you do, even if the comment you offer is nothing more than a gesture. A pat on the shoulder. A hug. Holding hands.

A kiss. I guess.

And Plato, well, Plato followed through. He patted me on the shoulder. Took him a minute to stumble his way up the rock, but that's what he did. No kiss, and I'm glad of it. Lord knows what a Non kiss would be like.

But Bora… when I turned around, Bora was gone. 

And it's not the first time she's done that.

Yeah, I don't like her very much. She's hiding a lot from me.

Still… considering all the time we shared together, all the good moments and laughter and fun…


What a bitch.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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