“I think I should have sat closer to the door.” said Emerson waving his hand in front of his face. He couldn’t help the little smirk that lifted the corners of his lips upon being told of the rancid wiggyfish oil that tainted the liquor supply at Cuffs. “Not that it stinks in here.”
Sky narrowed her eyes and looked at Emerson suspiciously. Scottie leaned in and whispered something in her ear. She let out a little exasperated huff, then appeared to relax somewhat, settling back on the mantel.
“Are you ready to negotiate Sir Sir?” asked Lapis.
“Not quite, Mister Brother Mister Domingo Sebastiano da Gaminha Rendeiro, sir.” replied Emerson leaning back on the bar. “I am just awaiting Miss Ginsburg and my agent Squire Malus.”
As if on cue, and with a great racket, Malus pulled up in the steam carriage parking it on the sidewalk in front of Cuffs. He and Junie quickly made their way inside.
“Howdy Junie!” said Sky.
“You said the park.” said Malus glancing at Emerson.
Emerson shrugged his shoulders. “You found us.” He then smiled at Junie. “Good evening Miss Ginsburg. You look lovely this evening.”
“What, this old thing?” Junie giggled, pulling at her shirt.
“Excuse me!” Lapis cleared his throat, making a hand signal to Malus to indicate jest. “We have a negotiation to broker, if you two don’t mind.”
Junie leaned in and whispered into Emerson’s ear, “It smells a bit like fish in here.”
“Shhh.” he whispered back. “I think Scottie and Sky are a bit sensitive about that.”
Lapis narrowed his eyes, regarding the couple suspiciously while Sky glowered down from the mantel.
“Oh…okay…” said Junie quickly.
“We’d heard you had problems pouring drinks recently.” said Lapis
“What? No, not at all.” replied Junie. “Isn’t that right Squire? No problem pouring drinks.”
“He must have been misinformed.” said Scottie, pointing a thumb at Lapis.
“Malus said that your taps had been sabotaged.” said Brother Lapis, glancing with furrowed brow at the Squire.
Junie cringed just a bit, then pursed her lips as she looked over at Malus.
“What?” Emerson looked from Junie to Malus sensing something was up. “What are you talking about, Mr. Brother?”
“Two nights ago someone broke in and filled up the mechanisms with tar.” Malus jumped in. “I spent all day cleaning them out so Junie would not worry.”
“Junie, did you know about this?” asked Emerson with a confused look..
“He told me last night,” she shrugged her shoulders. “But I hadn’t the heart to tell you yet today.” She paused and bit her lip. “I know how business details aren’t always your strong suit.”
“All the open bottles here have been contaminated with rancid fish oil.” said Lapis. “That is a lot of expensive inventory.”
“That’s beyond the pale.” Junie scowled with indignation. “Spoiling liquor?”
“Just sell it to Mornington.” Emerson suggested. “He can serve it to all his Bump patrons. They won’t mind. In fact, I seem to recall fermented fish oil is a delicacy in Bump.”
“Αν κάποιος ανακαλύπτει, η πόλη θα καλέσει έναν δικαστή.” said Malus
“Τι?” replied Lapis.
“What?” Junie looked to Sky and Scottie to try and see if they understood any of that.
“Γιατί νομίζεις ότι μπορώ να χρησιμοποιήσω ακόμα παραδρομής το όνομά μου; Αν κάποιος ήξερε ήμουν Foehammer θα έχουν εκτελεστεί στη θέση της μητέρας μου.” explained Malus, wearing both a very serious and and very worried look.
“Are they speaking Pig Latin or something?” Emerson asked Junie.
“I believe it is clerical Greek.” said Scottie, furrowing his brow as he tried to pick out the odd word here and there.
Sky leaned forward and squinted in an attempt to better hear. “I got about six words: magistrate, executed, city, name, mother, and why.” She shrugged. “I wish I had paid more attention during Church services.”
“Δεν αστειευόμαστε με αυτό γύρω γύρω εδώ. Γι ‘αυτό πρέπει να είναι κάποιος νέος στην πόλη.” said Malus.
“ Πλάκα μου κάνεις?” Lapis replied with all seriousness
Scottie pursed his lips and shook his head. “I’m lost.”
““Έχω ζήσει εδώ όλη μου τη ζωή!”, said Malus. “Είναι άσχημο όταν συμβαίνει!”“
“ Είναι αυτός ο λόγος που τέθηκαν από την εκκλησία?” Lapis exhaled deeply, looking very concerned.
Malus remained silent, an uncharacteristic worry furrowing his brow.
“It seems this has gone beyond a joke.” said Lapis looking up and reverting to English.
“I agree. This is going to start eating into our businesses.” replied Scottie.
“All the liquor in this bar has been maliciously contaminated.” Lapis repeated. “The first thing we need to do is establish that you were not involved.”
“You meaning me?” clarified Emerson, pointing to himself.
Brother Lapis nodded.
“Well…” said Emerson, putting on his sincere face. “You have my word; and whose word is better than Sir Sir Emerson Lighthouse, MD, PHD, NBE (retired)”
Everybody looked at Junie. “It wasn’t us.” she said simply. Everybody nodded and smiled.
“And you have our word that we have not attacked The Gangplank.” said Scottie.
“I think a truce is in order.” said Lapis. “We need to help each other.”
“Yes!” said Junie most emphatically. “A truce.”
“Considering we haven’t done anything to the Plank yet,” said Scottie. “Nor have they done anything to us, I agree.”
“We need your word, Sir Emerson.” said Lapis
“What?” said Emerson, “That we won’t prank Cuff’s?” Emerson looked at Junie and the two nodded. “We agree.”
“Perhaps an exchange of tokens to formalize the agreement?” said Lapis
“Yes,” said Emerson rubbing his hands together, “Most definitely.”
“We can offer the Gangplank’s new flag.” said Junie.
Lapis glanced over to Scottie and Sky to gauge their reactions. “Is that sufficient?”
“I think that will do.” nodded Scottie.
“It’s only fitting that we give it to you.” said Emerson. “We were going to hang it from your airship dock anyway.”
Scottie chuckled. “It would have looked nice burning from up there.”
“What should we ask for?” asked Malus.
“Hold on.” said Emerson. He pulled a pencil and piece of paper from his vest and began scribbling furiously before passing it to Lapis.
Brother Lapis read the note over, then apparently read it over again several times. He looked up at Scottie and Sky and cleared his throat, “Sir Emerson requests a silk dress shirt cut in the Ravilan style.”
“And…” said Emerson.
Brother Lapis cleared his throat a second time. “But not in purple.”
Emerson smiled at Junie, “It’s a fortunate coincidence that Scottie and I wear the same size.”
Sky bit her lip and held back a laugh, while Lapis held his hands in an attitude of approval.
Junie turned to Emerson, who wore a look of intense seriousness. She couldn’t help but smirk.
Scottie sighed and shook head, “Emerson….”
“It’s okay, dear.” said Sky with a twinkle in her eye. “I think we should accept the terms. Scottie cocked his head to the side and looked at Sky with a quizzical look.
“Do we have a deal?” asked Emerson looking up at Scottie and Sky.
Brother Lapis looked expectantly at the Melniks. “While peculiar, I believe it is reasonable.”
“Deal.” said Sky with a grin.
“Really?” said Scottie looking over to Sky.
“Really.” she said hopping off the mantelpiece. “I’ll run and grab the shirt.”
“And I have a flag in the carriage.” said Junie heading outside with Sky.
“What a relief.” said Emerson, anticipating that fine Ravilan silk.
“Let’s celebrate with a toast.” said Scottie.
“I suggest the wine.” said Lapis wrinkling his nose at the thought of the tainted liquor. “It’s corked.”
Sky and Junie returned together, Junie with the rolled up flag and Sky with the freshly pressed Ravilan silk shirt.
With great solemnity Junie handed over the flag. “I love it,” said Sky. “Did you make it?”
“I did indeed.” Responded Junie.
Sky handed the flag to Scottie then slowly unfolded the shirt and held it up proudly, “It is a Ravilan cut.” She said with a smirk, “but it might not be your size.”
Emerson’s jaw dropped as he saw the shirt that was clearly sized for a woman.
“Yay!” said Junie. “I have a new shirt!”
“Gah!” said Emerson. “Foiled by my own smart-assness.”
“So,” said Lapis. “We have a deal then?”
Scottie threw his arm around Sky and smiled. He turned back to Lapis with a grin. “We do.”
Lapis then turned to Emerson and Junie. Emerson looked to Junie who was holding the shirt against her chest. He shook his head and smiled. “We do.”
“A toast then.” Said Scottie, hopping from the mantel and retrieving a corked Ravilan red. He divided it between six glasses as Sky passed them around. “To our new alliance.” he said raising his glass.