Whilst beneath the orange antimacassar awaits the next chapter.
Otis and Evan: a serialized novel by jabney:
Jerry finally convinced Kelly the cat to walk from the table, across three-quarters of a lap, then a sharp turn down a thigh to perch, momentarily, on a knee (all the aforementioned body parts being my own) then to jump, most ladylike, to the floor. "Nice to have met you, Kelly," I said as she negotiated closer and closer to Jerry, postponing the inevitible scooping-up that she knew was coming.
Once scooped-up, Kelly wriggled a bit before sighing with her body language and casting me a look that was either reproachful or flirtatious. (Hard to tell with a cat.) "He'll see you later Kelly, if that's alright with you Jerry?" said Otis, and Jerry; busy thwarting Kelly's escape attempts, nodded yes. Otis continued, "Can you or your brother arrange for Kelly, a litter box and some of that, what do you call it? "Hashish?" to be brought to our cabin after dinner?"
"Yes sir. 'Course that means the grand duchess here will be arriving in a cage. Which means she'll be arriving in a dudgeon of some sort. With your permission sirs, I'll be exiting the cabin and closing the before Kelly makes her leap of freedom. That way you get to be the heroes."
"I'll let Evan have that particular honor," said Otis, "I'll be making myself useful testing the hashish."
"So my face becomes a reminder to Kelly of the indignity of her hated cage, while your face, softened by a cloud of hashish smoke, becomes a beacon of freedom drawing Kelly inexorably to a lap other than mine. Otis you're too kind."
"It's not so much your face as reminder you need worry about sir," said Jerry, "As it is your face as target. I'll bring along a perfume sprayer."
"So you can smell nice for the doctor, Evan."
Jerry laughed, "Not perfume sir. Water. Her nibs here does not like being sprayed, but it's not as if you were hitting her. You'd never hit a cat would you sir? I mean, I don't like mixing hitting with cats."
Otis said, "Never on my part of course. Although Evan did once punch a man that he caught hitting a cat."
"And I would do it again Otis, he deserved to get hit."
"Perhaps, but next time try to win the fight in less than fifteen minutes. Please."
"If he hadn't been blocking my punches with the cat I would have whipped him a lot earlier. He couldn't have been more than 30 pounds heavier."
Jerry looked at me with what seemed to be newfound respect. I wasn't fishing for admiration with that story. To be honest, I had quite forgetten Jerry was there. But Jerry and his brother James would be executing quality control for the bulk of non-dining goods and services scheduled to cross our paths as we cross the Atlantic. Leaving a good impression probably wasn't needed but wouldn't hurt when it came to dealing with the serving classes. At least that's what I thought at the time. But then at the time we had not met Alphonse.
The first-seating chimes sounded in the distance. I turned and said, "Shall we be off for some of that, what do you call it Otis, "Dinner?"
"Very funny, Evan. I just didn't want Jerry to think that we're a couple of stoners."
"We're not?" For some reason that struck Otis as hilarious and since my newly-minted brother does have an infectious laugh, by the time we reached the first-class dining room, he and I were almost in tears. The stony looks we received as we sat down in front of our respective name placards were in sharp contrast to our ebullient mood. And the stoniest look of all came from an angular-faced man who stood by our table with a towel draped across one arm. My attempt to make a Linux penguin joke fell completely flat with all except Otis, who seemed to find it mildly amusing. Nobody else got it of course, least of all the man with the towel.