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I thought I was going to be competing with myself tonight. I've started a group, Senior Linux, and I'm trying different nights hoping to find the best fit. (Lots of introductory stuff to cover there before getting to the actual process, so I'm trying to get through it quickly while keeping people interested.) However, the most recent diary made the Community Spotlight overnight so it deserves a chance to percolate some more. It's about computer hardware safety. Pretty nerdy stuff but useful and interesting to some. In fact, with the quality of the comments, I sort of feel like the stone in the story of "Stone Soup." And that's OK.

Now, back to fiction.

The previous chapters:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
All Six of the First Chapters
Chapter 7

And beneath the trusty orange antimacassar, the next chapter awaits.

Otis and Evan - Chapter 8 - A Change of View(point)


"And how do you propose we explain to Alphonse what century we come from, Evan?" It was a loud whisper, slightly tipsy sounding, and it came from the hall outside our stateroom. This Evan person or more likely his companion might have dropped something not too far from the louvered door because the Doppler shift of the voice indicated a pause in horizontal progress and the vertical locus of the conversation moved downward.

"Little pitchers have big ears, Otis. Shhh!" A different voice, sounding a little less tipsy.

"Did you hear that, Merrydew?" said my cabin-mate in a low voice.

"Yes Countess," I whispered. If only those clowns fumbling in the hallway knew how big the ears of this particular pair of 'little pitchers' actually were. It was the hyper-acuity that got us selected for this mission in the first place. Too bad the cheapskates that recruited us wouldn't try a dry run. Well, actually, a wet run. Or they could have asked me. Or if they'd even said we might be traveling on a ship, I would have told them that Countess, or "The Countess" as I'm supposed to refer to her for the duration, gets violently seasick watching the intro to Gilligan's Island reruns. But no, their male pride would not have allowed them to ask a woman. And their absurd reverence for hierarchy assured they would never dream of telling a pair of noobies much of anything.

Obviously my hyper-acuity did not extend to the sense of smell. Shashana would have picked up on the cat right away, I had to wait for the meow. But there's no way Shashana would have tolerated the smells of 1907. Or 1906, or 1905 or... Stop, I told myself, you'll make yourself depressed thinking about how long we've been here. Countess must have heard the cat too, because she started scratching herself. "That's not very ladylike, Countess."

"Shut-up! It's not funny, Merrydew."

"No it's not funny Countess, it's psychosomatic. Dr Dalrymple said so."

"I never should have told you that."

"I'm glad you did. You want me to hypnotize you again? Countess, you are getting sleepy..."

"Stop it! If hypnotism doesn't work on the mal de mer..."

""Mal de mer?" I suppose that sounds more elegant than saying "Vomit.""

Countess put a finger to her lips then pointed toward the door. The commotion outside made me regret not putting up a miniature camera. But though that could have been done with a low probability of discovery, the video monitor would have been impossible to explain. At least not without blowing our cover. "Here Kelly Kelly." That sounded like the less tipsy one, Evan was it?

"We would have just micro-chipped her back on the Oligarch." That must have been Otis.

"Shhh! Be discreet!" Evan again?. The hyper-acuity of my hearing was geared more toward the what and the where rather than the who.

Countess was better at that part. But I didn't get a chance to ask because she said, "That seals it. Those men are from the future too. And maybe they're our ticket back. How do we let them know? Or do we?"

"I say we do."

"But we can't just ask them outright Merrydew. Especially in front of Alphonse."

"Alphonse! That snake! Of course I should have remembered. Otis and Evan are the names of our table-mates. Do you think..."

"Quick Merrydew, sing something that only somebody from the future would recognize. Something ubiquitous."

I thought for a moment, bent near the louvers and started, "There's a lady who knows..." and when I reached the part that starts with, "And she's buying" two voices from the corridor joined in. But not with the lyrics I expected.

"And they're here on Gilligan's Island," followed by laughter.

I laughed too. I told Countess that I'd forgotten that the lyrics and the melody for the two songs could fit each other. I then started to tell her, "And did you know lots of poems of Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of, "Yellow Rose of Texas" but I didn't finish. Countess didn't seem to find it funny, or interesting. She turned somewhat green and raced into the bathroom to be sick. Was it the reminder of, "Gilligan's Island" or the affront to Emily Dickinson? The former, I think. Countess is more of a Rita Dove fan.

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