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Three Wines for Moldylocks: the First

The Count sat in a booth near the back of the Bucket of Blood, across from the young dark-haired woman with different colored eyes. She tapped on the tabletop between them with metallic fingertips, watching a group of nearby men sway in time to the song they sang together, off-key and mostly tunelessly. A small withered woman known locally only as Old Shakespeare shuffled up to their table, gripping the edge with tiny hands.

“Poem for a mark, sir.” she said in a shaky voice.

“G’wan, beat it.” the Count growled, hunching over his mostly empty mug of Foggy Dew. This had been the third interruption in as many minutes.

“Bad luck to talk to her like that, ya know.” Kaylee Faulkner said.

“Luck is a luxury I cannot afford.” he mumbled, more to himself than to her.

She snorted. “Got any other chestnuts you read off the men’s room wall you’d like to recite?” she asked, motioning to the teenage boy who ran tables on the busier nights. “I’ll take another.” she said, flipping a coin toward him. He caught it midair, and ran off.

“I would’ve taken another, as well.” the Count said, looking down into his own mug.

She shrugged. “So, what’s so special about this wine? It’s not like wine from Ravila is banned here or nothing.”

“Well, the problem, really, is that I am, sort of… well, not allowed in Ravila. So to speak. It’s a rather amusing story, but perhaps for another time. Just let me say, do NOT trifle with the superstitions that city has with garlic. Hoo boy.”

The young lad brought a mug of steaming cider for Kaylee, and plopped it down in front of her with a nod and a grin. The Count moved a hand in front of the boy to stop him before he moved on to another table. “Hold up, laddie, I shall take another mug as well!” he offered up a gold coin.

“D’lass kern ya gamme were choklit wrapt up in gold ferl! Shove off, ya kiff!” the lad snarled, pulling himself from the Count’s grasp. He watched the teen disappear into the crowd.

“Most lads like a bit of chocolate.” he said.

Kaylee knocked on the table. “Well, so what, we got Ravilan wine here in Babbage, why should I go outta my way to travel down there for a single bottle of wine?”

The Count smiled. “First, because I will pay you. And second, because I need an exceedingly good bottle of wine, not just wine. The wine I have in mind is not shipped out of Ravila. They keep it for themselves. I want a bottle of Castelo Trockenhansee Garrafiera Reserva Uniquo, preferably an 1860 or so.”

Kaylee puckered her lips. “You better write that down.” she said.

The Count pulled a slip of folded paper from his inner pocket, and slid it across the table top. “Quite ahead of you.” he smiled, twirling his mustache.

She stared at him. “And two hundred marks.”

“Tuh-tuh!” he stammered. “Tuh-two hundred…. two hundred is a little steep, don’t you think?”

She shrugged. “Hey, supply and demand. Feel free to ask any other smugglers you know, if you know any.”

“Well… “ he said. “In other cities…”

“We’re here.” she reminded him. “Two hundred.”

The Count twirled his mustache. “Upon delivery.”

“Up front.” she said, firmly.

“Guh,” he deflated in his seat slightly. Then, suddenly popped back up. “Half now, half upon delivery.” he said with conviction. The Count squinted his steely grey eyes at her, monocle glittering in the dim light of the bar.

“Up front.” she repeated.

He raised his hands. “Alright, alright,” then slid out from the seat, and stood up. “Surely there must be another smuggler in this den of vice. I bid you adieu, miss, and good luck in your endeavors.” he bowed at the waist, then turned sharply on his heel.

Kaylee rolled her eyes. “Sit down.” she called out to his back. He turned around slowly. “You’ll get yourself killed in here.”

The Count slid back into the booth.

Kaylee took a deep breath in through her nose, then blew some hair out of her face. “A hundred now, and a hundred when I deliver the bottle.”

The Count smiled, showing a single gold tooth. “Do you accept checks?” he asked.

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One Comment

  1. Mr Tenk Mr Tenk January 20, 2016

    *leans in*

    what is he up to this time? hmmmmm.

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