Well, if we’re going to be moored here for this storm, we might as well get some supplies. The general store at the dock is great, man. Smells of a mix of stale cigarettes and brackish water, with just a hint of dog. The walls have badly taxidermied animals, some with Mardi Gras beads or duck calls around their necks, and a few wearing camo trucker hats.
I kinda want to just gaze at the decor, but this storm waits for no
man troll. I make for the closest cooler with adult beverages. I skip the hard liquor because with this incoming nastiness, I don’t need to get drunk. So, I just grab a few 12 packs of various Abitas for myself. I haven’t seen anyone else in here yet, with good reason: the owner was apparently stocking beers, and I gave him a bit of a scare when I went to grab mine. His name’s Earl, seems like a nice enough fella. He and his helper (or maybe just friend who hangs out at the store?), Fred, sure do like to talk about inflation and stuff. Inflation’s less relevant when you’re, well, me. They want us to only pay in nuyen cash. What a pain.
But, Earl and Frank, while overly concerned about money types, also seem to have a bit of the survivalist in them, as most folks ’round here do. Before I check out, I grab a big old handful of jerky. Once you get out of town, you start finding the good stuff – not that Slim Jim puddlebutt-causing bullshit. Man, I love good jerky. While I’m stocking up on deliciously salty beefy crack, HC had the pretty good idea to ask ole Earl if he also sold ammo.
Earl gives him that “of course I do, but I’m not supposed to look” and replies saying that he doesn’t sell ammo, but he does sell “.30 cal fishhooks”. Thankfully, I was able to exercise a bit of tact and ask him if he had some, uh, “.50 cal nails” for my, er, nail gun. You know, I’ve got problems to fix. He has about 20 “nails”, and I gladly pay for my stuff and head back to the boat which HC has apparently taken to calling the “Forever Alone”.
Back in the boat, we catch a glimpse of some weird monkey talking to Joey, now awake. Almost as soon as we see it, it disappears. The storm is starting to pick up, and after Joey all that he’s been through, and the turbulence we’re currently going though, he’s getting a bit sick.
I leave Joey be, and go round the deck, checking HC’s work. The kid tied the ropes well, and there’s no real loose stuff on deck, but he didn’t drop anchor as backup, so I do.
Ebon got hit by lightning. If it were anyone else but Captain Sparkles, I’d be concerned. But no, he just up and and flies off. Well, no so much “flies” as he spidermans around w/ lightning bolts. After a bit, a bolt hits the deck and after my eyes re-adjust, there’s Ebon. All sparky. He left fractal marks on deck.
Satisfied with up with the conditions up top, I head in to check everything out to do a quick check on the interior. Happy with the overall condition, I reload my magazines, and have a beer.
Damn this is a strong storm. I like this kind of storm.
We’re having a good time (at least I am), and start talking to Joey. When I ask him about the monkey, he was surprised we could see him – Anoosheh told Joey that the monkey is imaginary, which is weird. I think he needs to come up with a name for his little monkey friend.
I go rummage a bit, and come back with a crowbar to test Joey’s newfound strength. He bends it, and is starting to get in a troublesome state – it’s going to his head. He’s thinking he can just go beat people with impunity now. I’m glad that this kid, who had been literally kicked around, probably won’t be bullied anymore. But, he’s young and doesn’t yet understand that actions have consequences, and that there is always someone bigger than you. So, I grab and squeeze his forearm to make my point. I tell him that there’s always a bigger fish out there, and little guys can have big friends. I think I got my point across (or at least planted a seed of understanding), b/c in a small voice he simply says “Okay, Sarge.”
HC apparently gets this email from Joey’s sensei, somehow. “He” sent an anonymous email to get Joey back into training. Weird that it’s anonymous, might be a trap.
You know, it’s weird that in such a short span of time we learn of Joey’s magical disappearing monkey, and then we get an anonymous email. Maybe the monkey has some sort of loyalty to Anoosheh. Not so much that it’s there for Joey, but it’s there to keep tabs on Joey.
After the storm passes, we go to Middendorf’s and have a few plates of food. It wasn’t bad. I don’t mind paying, but apparently Ebon has a weird issue is paying for things from people. He does this weird electrical stealing thing. Completely unnecessary.
Back on the boat after basically dining and dashing, we go to refuel. HC is being exceptionally moody. I heard him say something to Joey about him having the boat. We’re not on a submarine, HC. There’s no conn tower.
HC walks out to the stern, and next thing I know, I hear a loud bang. Looking out, I see HC’s hand fall from his temple, drop his gun, and fall into the swamp.