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Bar Wars: Monkey Business

“I don’t understand why you brought him,” whispered Bert the painter as he glanced again at Vagus, the baby spider monkey, perched on Emerson’s shoulder. Bert, Junie and Emerson stood outside the door of Ahab’s Bane.

“Aww, Bert,” said Junie. “He looked so lonely in the house in Wheatstone. How could we not bring him? We’re practically in the neighborhood.”

“What if he gets away?” Bert pointed out.

Vagus, who had been waving his hands through ribbons of purple smoke as they rose from the cigar clenched between Emerson’s teeth, suddenly grabbed it; shook it fiercely until the ash fell; took a puff, to keep the heater going; then shoved it back in Emerson’s mouth. Junie giggled and Emerson grinned. “Quite the opposite, Bert,” said Emerson. “I find him to be immensely helpful. You’re starting to sound like the Squire.”

Bert seemed less than convinced as he watched Emerson pick the lock, opening the door so they all could be admitted.

Junie put her lantern on a table and they quickly went to work. Bert and Emerson set down some paint cans, pulled the pictures off of the walls and started painting as quickly as they could. Junie pulled yards and yards of fabric from the sack she has been carrying and set it all on a table as she cleared off the bar. She then unrolled all of the fabric onto the bar. With great care she tied ribbons into large bows at each corner to secure the whole affair.

“You probably shouldn’t be smoking right over the open paint cans Mr. Lighthouse,” Bert called without taking his eyes off of his work. Emerson looked at the stub of the Sagrada Lucia in his hand, shrugged his shoulders then looked around for Vagus. He spotted the little monkey dipping his fingers into the paint.

“Junie, can you please come get Vagus?” Emerson asked. “He keeps trying to eat the paint.”

Bert chuckled. “See now?”

“He’s just curious is all,” said Emerson shooing him away from the paint. Vagus made a face. Emerson presented the little monkey with his cigar as a peace offering. Vagus immediately began puffing-up great plumes of purple smoke. “Besides, how bad can it be? Lead is an essential mineral like iron isn’t it?” Emerson winked at Bert.

Junie held out her arm to the fuzzy primate as she strode across the small tavern. Vagus leapt to her arm and hurried up to her shoulder, which he then used as a launch pad for a second leap to a table. He jumped again to a stool and then dashed out of sight behind the bar as she watched. “Eh, he’ll be fine,” she said with a shrug and a wave of her hand. She picked up a paintbrush and helped the two men finish coating the walls.

A short while later they surveyed their work. The walls were a hastily-painted layer of powder pink and the bar was covered with lacy white fabric shot through with pink and yellow ribbons.

Emerson grinned. “Fancy,” he said. He opened the door and hung a welcome sign festooned with ruffles, ribbons and dangling beads.

Bert snickered and opened the door. Junie picked up Vagus, who had fallen asleep in a corner, and carried him out to the street as Emerson followed.

“Hey!” said Emerson eyeing the groggy monkey. “Where is the rest of my cigar?”

“Should we go back?” Junie asked as the three of them hesitated.

Emerson shrugged his shoulders. “Nah.” He shook his head. “I know where Victor hides his stash. Come on,” he said taking Junie’s hand. “Let’s get Vagus back home to Wheatstone.”

Bert waved and started to round a corner away from them. “Goodnight, bosses,” he called. “See you in the morning. Try not to vandalize anything else on your way home.”

The two owners of the Gangplank walked quietly toward their destination for a few minutes before Junie broke the silence.

“Where was Martin tonight, Em? It isn’t like him to miss out on a good caper.”

“He’s at the ‘Plank,” he answered. “Still.”

She thought about it for a moment. “But he hasn’t left in almost a week!”

Emerson nodded and squeezed her hand. “I’m beginning to worry about the boy.”

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One Comment

  1. Cadmus Lupindo Cadmus Lupindo August 10, 2012

    I think Mr. Mornington puts it best.




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