Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Sixteen: Fisher Folk and Naims (Cont’d)
Previously: Before telling fisher folk Maerith and Shelcor about their mission, Gina and Zack paused to fill their empty stomachs. Now…
(See below for a Glossary of SurKellish words*)
⇔ ⇔ ⇔
“Why, then, came yer ter Kellansend?” Shelcor asked.
“An’ at so great danger ter yourselves?” added Maerith.
“We didn’t have a choice!” Zack blurted. “I mean Aunt Aloysia told us if we didn’t find—“
“Her letter opener.” Gina flashed blinking emergency eyes at her brother.
“Right, her letter opener, and that—“
“That if she didn’t get it back she’d be super disappointed!”
“’Ledder ohvener?’” said Maerith.
“Um, it’s a sort of little dagger.”
“That our aunt really loves,” Zack clarified.
“Because it’s made out of this gorgeous purple-gold metal.”
“Amarrildin?” Shelcor asked. “Only the Gerdan Tinkurs of old were ever said ter have—“
“Hah-hah!” Zack cut in. “Just kidding! I mean who actually has real amma—“
“Yeah, no, we meant that it was made out of faux amarrildin,” Gina back-pedaled, “only, um, the really good fake stuff, you know? But it got—“
“Taken by a bird! Yep, a spiffwit just flew in and scooped it right up off her kitchen table and—”
“And then dropped it in the ocean,” Gina completed the lie.
“So yer came ter fetch it back for her?” said Shelcor.
“At night?” asked Maerith.
“Um…right…well…that’s kind of the funny part…” Gina began. “But, hey, who wants more meeth? I know I do!”
Gina downed two mugfuls by the serving bowls, refilling from the bigger one simply because the condescending innkeeper had said to use the smaller one. The meeth from the big bowl made her feel particularly warm inside.
When she returned to the table, she steered clear of the subject of the letter opener, but continued to talk…and talk…and talk. She refilled her mug three more times during her stream-of-consciousness monologue. Warm both inside and out, she spoke about B’frona…the people of Rennou…the pixies of the Frengan Light Forest…and Puff…especially Puff.
Then she sang “Puff the Magic Dragon” for everyone in the Screaming Spiffwit.
And then she la-la’d the Oh-So-Soft toilet paper theme and started to cry. “He’s just a lee dragon, nay bigger than a really really big puppy, but he’s my baby. An’ I’m not even allergic ter him! Which is good because who wants ter be allergic ter their baby, for flying monkey’s sake?” Her SurKellish accent was growing thicker by the minute. “I mean, he’s so helpless, yer know? An’ I…I just abandoned him! An’ why should anyone have ter recognize eleven different kinds of frogs just by the color of their damn ear holes, Mr. Trip-to-Hell? Oops! I said, ‘damn,’ didn’t I? We don’t say that in my family. Have I told yer about my family? We’re called Dore, like, y’know, ‘door?’ Only in France they say, ‘Do-RAY.’ But, hey, this isn’t France, it’s America, right? Wait…no, it’s not!” She began to giggle.
She’s acting weird, Zack thought, even for Gina. He got up and headed over to the meeth bowl marked “Cheldings and Naims.”
Had Gina been imbibing from the other bowl? The one marked “Uplens” (adults)?
Thoughts: I got drunk at age 11 by unintentionally visiting the grown-up’s punch bowl at a family gathering. Not pretty. Has that ever happened to you or to anyone you know?
*A brief Glossary of SurKellish words: yer–you; ter–to; Kellansend–a small port city at the southeast tip of the Island Kingdom of Sur Kellan; amarrildin–a nearly unproducible metal alloy; Gerdan Tinkurs–a secret order of alchemist magicians; spiffwit–a flightless seabird; meeth–much-loved Sur Kellish drink (brewed in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms); lee–little; nay–no; cheldings–children; naims–gnomes
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