Archivist note: This post is from an older recovered archive.
((Posted by Mr. W—— on June 3, 2010))
“Mr. W——, haven’t you outgrown playing dress-up?”
The old man closed his eyes, as if to pray for some relief, before looking wearily at his latest company. He had spent the better of the last two days on this bench, dressed in rags and soaked in scotch. The comingling of odors had kept most interlopers away. This fellow would be an exception and he knew it. The park bench was now becoming decidedly crowded.
The old vagabond’s eyes narrowed on the visitor, “Wh-wh-who are you referring to r-r-rude, little boy?”
Tenk spoke, after an exhausted sigh, “Don’t be crass…they’re not ‘watching’ you right now anyway.” The old beggar surveyed his surroundings before returning to face the Clockwinder.
“You can’t hide from me, Mr. W——.” The Mayor tugged his ear meaningfully, and then waited and watched the flicker of recognition light the vagabond’s eyes. Mr. W—— couldn’t decide in that moment if he admired or despised the clever little man. “Shall we go someplace…better suited…to talk?” Byron nodded in concurrence and gestured to an open alleyway.
Tenk rose from the bench and waited for the “old beggar” to conclude his performance, complete with curses, slurs and drunken stumbles before following him into the alleyway. Mr. W—— moved swiftly from there, discarding parts of his disguise as he went and leading the Clockwinder on something of chase toward the Waterways. Tenk couldn’t guess as to whether the dark man had forgotten his short legs, or moved so intentionally…likely the later, he thought. By the time he’d caught up, the Clockwinder found himself at Mr. W——’s Emporium.
“Please have a seat.” A much tidier Mr. W——sat at rest in the quiet café operated of late by Mr. and Mrs. Somerset.
The Mayor gave his best icy glare and sat down; Mr. W—— nodded in apology and waited for him to speak.
“I trust you know of Captain Kuroe’s latest spree and the troubles its causing?” Mr. W—— opened his mouth to speak, but Tenk didn’t wait for the response before continuing, “I…the city rather…has need of your experience and services.” Slowly he pulled a folded packet of papers from his waistcoat and slid them across the table toward his confounding constituent.
Mr. W—— examined the packet of fine parchment. It was wrapped in ribbon made of the New Babbage tartan and waxed closed with the city seal. He looked at the curious little man quizzically, almost expecting that something bad was about to happen. Tenk rolled his eyes at the suspicious gentleman and motioned for him to open it. Once opened, Mr. W—— studied each page until the last…then he looked, slack-jawed, at the Mayor.
“If I’d known something like this could silence you so well, I should have done it sooner,” Tenk grinned devilishly. “You will notice the appointment is temporary; it ends when you resolve your findings.” He leaned across the table to indicate and emphasize his point with one dirty digit.
“1) Investigate and present my findings to Mr. Tenk and Mr. Eclipse, the Honorable Mayors of New Babbage and Steelhead, respectively, before formulating a Trial or Military Tribunal,” Mr. W—— glanced up momentarily to scrutinize the Mayor’s face; finding no trace of humor, he read a few lines more, “..come to conclusion and judgment on the allegation that the New Babbage Militia invaded the sovereignty of Steelhead Harbor.. .” He placed the papers back onto the table and looked out the window, to the coal smoke darkened skyline of the city he had worked hard to call his home. Mr. W—— tried to imagine this place he loved swallowed up by another conflict…not by some mad scientist, lapin bomber, or practitioner of the darker arts…but WAR…”tick-tock”…memories of distant fields drifted to Babbage streets. His mind swam with images of twisted heaps of red-hot iron where ships once sat in harbor, burning homes, bombed out taverns…lifeless littering the streets. Tenk smiled in satisfaction as he read acceptance and hard determination etch itself in Mr. W——’s distant stare.
“So you’ll do it?”
The gentleman’s glossy eyes focused as they returned from the window to look at the Mayor. Mr. W—— nodded in agreement and placed the papers into his coat pocket, “I’ll prepare for my trip to Steelhead and be on the next vessel out.”
“I’d offer my thanks, but I know that’s not your style,” Tenk hopped from his chair and made his way to the door.
“One more thing, Sir,” Mr. W—— looked at the Mayor with something of…resignation…in his eyes, “New Babbage Judicial Envoy Extraordinary and Diplomatic Minister Plenipotentiary Pro Tempore in Matters Concerning Lapin Terrorism and Hasty Martial Exercises? Isn’t this a bit much…?”
The Clockwinder, never missing a step as he strolled out the door, smiled in satisfaction and replied over his shoulder, “Yes.”
*Comment by Stargirl Macbain on June 3, 2010 at 4:56pm
wraps up a jug of beer and hands it to Maggie Do deliver that to Mr. W—— for me, dear, I have an intuition that he’ll be needing it!
((Oh, this should be marvelous))
*Comment by Ceejay Writer on June 3, 2010 at 4:58pm
starts to embroider a patch for Byron’s jacket with his new title, runs out of thread and energy 1/3 the way through
*Comment by Tepic Harlequin on June 3, 2010 at 5:04pm
a patch…. probably need the whole jacket… an maybe halfway down his trouser leg too!
*Comment by Cyan Icewolf (Cyan Rayna) on June 3, 2010 at 5:14pm
Even the initials would be too much I think, "NBJEEDMPPTMCLTHME" looks like jibberish to me.
*Comment by Skyler ‘Artful Dodger’ Gant on June 3, 2010 at 5:44pm
Smiles widely, his eyes flashing with michief.
Ohh…I shall have fun playing around with dear old Byron. The Mayor’s a fink and you know it!
((This sounds like fun. :) ))
*Comment by Queer Hermit on June 3, 2010 at 6:29pm
Such a pity I was not there to study your face as you read that. The expression must have been priceless. Cheerful adventures Minister W—— !!
*Comment by Jedburgh Dagger on June 3, 2010 at 10:48pm
so much for low profiles
*Comment by Mr. W—— on June 3, 2010 at 11:01pm
It’s a stretch, Jed…but I’ll manage…somehow…
*Comment by Ryne Beck on June 4, 2010 at 6:12pm
I’m just pleased to see that my lone voice has resulted in a course of action that will hopefully see justice done. Please keep me in mind when dealing with Steelhead as well as the Mayor & the Sheriff.
((Could you guys aim for a Euro/UK friendly time for the trial? I’d hate to have stirred all this up only to miss it as with so many other RP events in the steamlands – 10am to 3pm SLT are ideal))