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Three Magic Words

…tappity, tap-tap, tappity, tap-tap-tap, tappity, tap-tap, tap-tappity, tap-tap… tappity, tap-tap, tappity, tap-tap…

Junie looked up from behind the bar with pursed lips and narrowed eyes for no less than the fifth time in as many minutes. To make matters worse, Emerson had started to insert simulated cymbal breaks to punctuate his pencil-driven staccato of manic rhythms against the rim of his coffee mug. He appeared completely unaware of the distraction his improvised beats were causing. Junie watched him for a moment, taking note at the way he furrowed his brow as he stared intently at the blank grid of the little black and white squares making up the daily crossword without ever missing a beat.

“Tough one?” she asked, resting her elbows on the ledger she had been reviewing for the last half hour.

“Eight letters,” replied Emerson without looking up, three magic words whispered between intimates…

“Well, that is a rather cryptic clue,” said Junie. She watched him again for a moment wondering how best to tell him what she’d long felt but now knew for a certainty. Finally she reached over and placed her hand over his, effectively ending the the wild pencil dance. “Em, I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’m just going to blurt it out.”

He looked up, meeting her eyes. “Okay,” he smiled at her, nodding with a hint of encouragement.

“I…” she faltered.

“Yes?” he leaned in.

“I… think we have a problem.”

“Oh?”he pulled his hand back from hers and resumed the wild pencil beats. Unconsciously he checked his vest for a smoke – then recalled he was out.

“Yes,” she nodded most solemnly. “I’ve been reviewing the ledgers and it seems we have no money.”

“No Money! But how can that be possible?” said Emerson, shaking his head ever so slightly. “We are rich.”

“In theory yes,” replied Junie, “but on paper apparently not. It seems we have some expenditure issues.”

“Well this is rather stressful.” Emerson said. He suddenly stopped tapping. “You know what we need?”

“What do we need?” Junie smiled. “Please tell me.”

“A vacation,” he replied smartly. “We need to be pampered, well fed and lathered in fancy scented oils to take our minds off our debt.”

“I like that idea,” said Junie. “Was there anywhere specific you were you thinking?”

He stared intently at her for a moment and then said, “Isle of View.”

“Excuse me?” Junie’s eyes went wide for a moment.

“It’s a fancy resort island not far from New Nublar,” Emerson explained. “Why? What did you think I said?”

“Nothing,” Junie laughed. “It’s just my ears,” she gave her head a slight shake, “I thought you said Isle of Ewe.”

“Well that’s just crazy,”  Emerson laughed. “You know I hate farm animals.”

“I know, that’s why I was confused.” replied Junie, laughing now as well. “But seriously, I don’t really think this is the time to go halfway around the world. We need to re-up with your friend Cleetus so Martin can mix up some more of his punch.”

“That’s it!” Emerson exclaimed, snapping his fingers. “I have the answer.”

“To the three magic words whispered between intimates problem?” asked Junie.

“No,” said Emerson. “To our financial and vacation problems. We’ve never been to Falun. That’s just a hop skip and a twenty-two hour horse and buggy ride from Dairy. It’s perfect.”

“Falun?” replied Junie, mulling it over. “Petra did do a pretty good job of talking it up recently.”

“What was the name of that hotel she was going on about?” asked Emerson.

“The Silverfish Inn?” suggested Junie.

“No, the other one,” said Emerson with a look of concentration on his face. “The fancy one with the pool.”

“The Rugbottom Hotel.” Junie snapped her fingers.

“That’s it!” said Emerson. “Let’s see if I can book their finest suite for a week.”

A week?” Junie laughed. “What could we possibly do in Falun for a week?”

“I’m sure we’ll think of something,” he replied, starting to smile as a new plan began to unfold. “Remember – coal’s not the only treasure buried in those rocks.” Emerson paused for effect then said with a smirk, “There’s gold in them thar hills!

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  1. Victor1st Mornington Victor1st Mornington March 15, 2013


    …you are bankrupt, you have no money, zero, zilch, nada, you are as skint as a newley arrived urchin…and whats the first thing you decide to do?

    Spend more money by going on a vacation…

    I got three magic words for you…

    You Are Insane

    • Emerson Lighthouse Emerson Lighthouse March 15, 2013

      Vic, I have an investment opportunity for you. I will send the confidential documentation later this weekend.

  2. Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger March 15, 2013

    ((I went with “you’re under arrest”, and then thought that would be 4. Hmm, or ‘No se Mueva!’))


  3. Cleetus O'Reatus Cleetus O'Reatus March 15, 2013

    Cleetus surveyed the damage to the roof. 

    “Dey be ruined?” asked Pa, looking at the soaked and neatly stacked bales.

    “I reckon.” replied Cleetus. “Best to feed ’em to de hogs afore de mold sets in. Be a right nice treat fer ’em.”

    “Ain’t none wort savin’?” asked Pa sadly.

    “Jest det one over dere unner de tarp.” indicated Cleetus.

    “What’s dat ‘un fer?” queried Pa.

    “I set it aside in case Sir Sir ‘n his squire comes back,” said Cleetus.

    “Don’t be daft b’y,” Pa scoffed. “Not even Sir Emerson would be fool enough to try ‘n ride the Curdle’s Way so close to the spring thaw.”

  4. Beryl Strifeclaw Beryl Strifeclaw March 15, 2013

    Klaatu verada…necktie…nectar? 

  5. Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg March 15, 2013

    *starts packing*

    I wonder how many pounds of coffee beans we’ll need en route…

  6. Martin Malus Martin Malus March 16, 2013

    “Falun?!? We’re going to Falun?!?!

    “Go get the car ready, squire.”

    “We’re broke, and you want to squander what we have left on a vacation?!?”

    “Invest. I am investing in a vacation.”

    “What about Cleetus?”

    “We will stop at his place along the way.”

    “Tell you what, I’ll see Cleetus and come back to get the batch started, you go to Falun. And why did we have to wait until mud season? This NEVER WOULD HAVE HAPPENED if you would have just let me go for couple days a month to make a regular run. NEVER. There was NEVER anything so important that could not have waited another day to do!”

    Emerson rubbed his forehead. He had had a headache ever since the last of the leaf had been smoked up. “There’s no reason to get so excited, Squire. Just go get the car so I can pack.”

    “We can’t take the car! Do you have any idea what the road past Dairy is like this time of year? I had it all planned out! We wouldn’t have needed to make a run during run-off! You can’t just take me out of here at a time like this! I need to get back here as soon as possible to mind the bar, and you think I have time to go on a vacation with you and your girlfriend?!

    “Now, now, squire, she is my business partner. Say, is that what this is really about? Don’t think I haven’t been noticing how you’ve been sneaking off. What’s her name?”

    “That is my business, not yours!. Pack horses. We’re going to need pack horses to get through the mud.”

    “Squire! I am a knight. I am not riding a mule. And we will need a wagon to pick up my go-devil.”

    “MY go-devil. You blew yours up! 

    “Now now… see to hiring us some horses. And a really big wagon.”

    “Draft horses or riding horses?”

    “Why are you still standing here arguing? Go get the horses, squire.”

    “Draft horses or riding horses?”


    “Horses to ride, or horses to ….” Malus’ tirade broke as he stumbled over the pile of blankets in front of the fire where Lilith had been staying. “Dammit!” He swore. “She’s going to give us all lice! This isn’t a flophouse!” He finished by delivering several short kicks that sent the makeshift bed into the flames of the hearth. Emerson’s nose curled as the smell of burning wool filled the bar. 

    I have arrangements to make!” Malus said as he stomped towards the door. 

    “Don’t forget the horses, squire,” returned Emerson. “And squire? One more thing. 

    Malus stopped but did not turn to look back at his employer. “WHAT?!

    “Close the door behind you.”

    The door slammed and made the timbers shake.


  7. Emerson Lighthouse Emerson Lighthouse March 16, 2013

    “I got everything on the list there guv’nor.” said Bert dropping the bags and boxes to the floor of the Gangplank. “The tin of premium pickled air kraken tips cost a pretty penny, being off season ‘n all.”

    “That’s nice,” Emerson said with the tone of someone who was not really listening. He was hunched over the hookah with an array of toothpicks and cotton balls.

    “I also got that case of Chivas from Mr. Mornington up at the Brunel,” Bert continued. “I think that sly codger marked it up once ‘e ‘eard it were for you.”

    “Mhm, that’s nice.” replied Emerson distractedly.

    Bert narrowed his eyes. Emerson appeared focused on the hookah’s tubes and nozzles with a surgeon’s precision.

    “I see the wagon’s out front of the bar now.” Bert tried again. “The lad come through for you ‘e did.”

    “Oh, is it out there already?” replied Emerson, finally looking up. “That’s great. I’ll have the squire start loading it.”

    “Can’t gov’nor. The boy run off again.” Bert shrugged. “Said ‘e ‘ad someone to talk to in town, ‘e did.”

    “What the hell!” Emerson cursed, rudely dropping a hookah nozzle to the table next to the small pile of residue he had been carefully collecting.

    “The lad’s right rotted at you, if I might say.” Bert lowered his voice. “Told me ‘e thinks you might ‘ave gone into ‘is room yesterday and messed it up.”

    “Of course I went in his room!” said Emerson. “But it was already a mess.” Bert remained silent as Emerson carefully inserted a pin into one of the nozzles and removed a glob of something tar-like and added it to his growing pile of ash and debris.

    “Trust me Bert, that kid is holding out on me.”

    “You really think ‘e is ‘iding a stash o’ leaf on you?”

    “Of course he’s hiding leaf from me – he’s a teen-ager!” Emerson stated this as if it were a self-evident truth before adding, “But I didn’t mess up his room. It really is odd, now that I think of it. He is usually so clean. I’ve never seen his room in a mess.” Emerson shrugged. 

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