Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day Five-Seventy-Two: Tilt

From now on, I'm keeping a list of things I've predicted will go badly. I have predicted many such things, yet I keep on allowing 'em to happen. Maybe a reminder will prevent this trip from constantly going all cantaloupe-shaped.

Our trip into the jungle progressed smoothly for maybe half an hour. We carefully positioned the Dauphine in such a way that it would straddle both sides of the river, then, after we were certain that the ground would remain stable, we set off. The twin banks remained nice and stable as we trundled along, and I was content to take a break and get some lunch from the Neo Beefiary. Fynn joined me, because he eats four or five meals a day, the little pig.

Bora, who was tending to Plato, ushered us over with an offering of chili. "Hey, boys! C'mon, grub's on! Nice and hot! Have a seat by the bar with us!"

I glared at the two possible-traitors-but-I'm-really-not-sure. "Erm, I think we'll just -"

"Taaaaall!" Ignoring my obvious desire, Fynn toddled over to Plato and grabbed at the Non's floppy tail. His free hand instinctively grabbed a bowl of chili, shoving a big gulp into Fynn's mouth. "Om beens!"

Bora grinned. "Your boy likes it here, I think. C'mon, don't be such a fusspot."

I scowled, but I joined the trio nevertheless. I turned so I wouldn't have to look at Plato, who, being released on probation, isn't currently in my good books.

Bora pushed a plate of chili in front of me. I ate a spoonful, secretly delighted in the subtle heat playing along my tongue, and outwardly winced. "Too much pepper. Less next time."

Bora rolled her eyes. "Yes, your majesty. How we progressin' out there? Windows down here ain't that great. All I see're trees. Bitch of a heat rollin' in, too."

I had to give her that. Breezy though it might be back on the plains, the jungle was slowly reducing the crew to puddles of sweat. Layers of clothing worn to keep out Autumn breezes were slowly disappearing into cupboards. I'd already doffed my breastplate. "We're gettin' there. No clue how long it'll take to get through, though. What say you, fearless navigator?"

Plato looked up, startled. He'd been focusing on Fynn, swishing his tail around to the boy's delight. After a minute of nervous thought he simply shrugged.

"Ah. Great. So glad everyone wanted to come this way. Fynn, c'mere, sit down and eat your food properly." Seating my son on a bar stool and setting his bowl properly in front of him, I cast a wary eye on the platypus. "You better be right 'bout this, Plato. Anything goes wrong... well, y'know."

Plato nodded so vigorously that he almost fell off his chair. He went back to his own chili, his spoon shaking with each dip into the slop.

"Mmm." I turned to my son, who was trying to shove his hands into the hot bowl. "No, no, you're gonna burn yourself, kid. C'mon, time you learned to use a spoon. Here, put it in your hand... like this..."

"Poon." Fynn attempted to comb his messy hair with the spoon.

"Not a brush, Fynn." I stifled a smile as I demonstrated with my own spoon, dipping it into my chili bowl. "Like this. See? Dip."

Fynn slammed the spoon against the table. I'm surprised it didn't break. "Boom poon!"

I shook my head. "Watch, Fynn. Watch daddy. See? You put the spoon in the bowl. See, like -"


" ... this." Blink. Not the right sound at all. "Huh?"

I looked down. My chili bowl was gone. I checked a few inches to the left and found it again. It had slid Into place in front of Fynn, replacing his own chili bowl, which had similarly slid away to Plato. You can probably guess what happened to Plato's bowl.

Then, propelled by some outside force, all three bowls slid away. Bora shrieked, trying to catch them, but, nope. Off they went. We soon joined them, all four of us tumbling end over end as the entirety of the Neo Beefiary adopted a pronounced, painful slant. Plato, Fynn and I wound up in a big heap against a nearby wall, while the clatter that followed Bora's fall behind the counter hinted at a meeting with a stack of pots and pans.

My first thought probably should have wandered to the welfare of the Dauphine. To problem solving. Instead, extracting my hand from beneath my son's belly as he wailed away the pain of a bruise, I thought of retribution. I grabbed Plato's quaking bill, yanked him upward, and stared into his shocked, suddenly-green eyes.

"I think this counts as somethin' going wrong," I growled.

Long story short, the Dauphine hit a patch of mud. A big patch of mud. The left row of wheels are all stuck in muck, leaving the Dauphine at a roughly 30 degree angle. The interior is a mess. Again. We can stand up and move around in it, but only with extreme difficulty. 

We've been looking for ways to extricate the stupid thing all day. So far, no luck. We're stuck. Can't go forward, can't back out. ARGH, that STUPID PLATYPUS SCREWED US AGAIN.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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