It’s not every day you see a royal blue call box sporting a mast and sails. “Well, aren’t you lovely?” I whispered as she proudly unfurled her flag. It wasn’t one I recognized; I’d expected a Jolly Roger, but this was gold flame and purple smoke on a field of crimson, and unlike any flag I’d seen before.
“It’s our flag,” explained Emmett. “If you see one that’s red flame, silver smoke, on a black field, that’s Mayette’s. It’s magnificent, as flags go – kind of takes your breath away. Literally, if she wraps it around your face. Few see it and live to tell the tale.”
“I guess the real pirates were afraid of her.”
“She taught the ‘real pirates’ to be cruel. Before Mayette, they were mostly former soldiers turned deep-sea fishermen and henpecked husbands, out enjoying a joyride on the high seas. Mayette’s the reason men believe women aboard a ship are bad luck. They took women aboard their ships all the time, until she showed them just how unlucky that could be.” He shuddered. “Let’s get out of here for a bit,” he said, brightening.
Emmett and I did the only reasonable thing we could do, at that point: We saddled the unicorn and boarded the Bonny Anapest. Inside, it was like a high-tech, steampunk, pirate sailing ship. We crowded together around the wheel.
“Where to?” I asked.
“Lowe’s!” answered the Bonny Anapest. “I need a lift, too.”
“Wait, I’ve got this…” We sat in the parking lot at Lowe’s. I wrote: The wood from which the Bonny Anapest was made was alive with the energy absorbed from fifty years–
“More like seventy-five, I think. Eighty? Emmett?”
“Who was counting?” He was grinning. “You don’t look a day over ninety to me.”
–eighty years on the high seas. It began to grow, to expand, to take its rightful form as a mighty frigate– “Is that right? A frigate?” What I knew about sailing ships could fit into half a thimble. But I pictured the Bonny Anapest as a sleek sailboat, riding low on the waves, all billowing sails under strong winds. The word “frigate” popped – or was it planted? – in my mind. And as I wrote, the vision took shape. Emmett nodded approvingly.
“Close enough,” sighed the happy little warship. Even the tiniest frigate was a lot bigger than a call box. We were starting to attract attention, but the people staring and pointing probably assumed we were part of some extravagant marketing campaign for DIY weird, tiny houses. And big boats. Pirate houseboats were all the rage…
“Crap. Can you still fly like this?” I asked, stupidly.
“Alas, no.” The sails rippled in the breeze, like a shrug of disappointment. “But climb aboard, anyway!” she said, gamely determined to enjoy herself and take us with her.
“Wait!” I picked up the pen and scrambled onto the quarterdeck. Standing at the rail, I looked out across the parking lot and imagined an ocean. The concrete began to shimmer and ripple, small waves growing to bigger–whoops! No. Stop. Just…no. The concrete settled down again, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I wrote: As the ship rose into the air, its sails caught the sun-warmed air, and it began to rock, as if floating on the azure sea. A rainbow lit its way to the billowing clouds, above.
“Are you trying for the Bulwer-Lytton, over there, Cap’n?” asked the Bonny Anapest. She was laughing, our proud frigate. Laughing, and sailing a cumulonimbus cloud.
“It’s not great prose, but it was good enough to get you airborne!” I called back, defiantly. Looking down, I could see the Houston skyline. We sailed at a leisurely pace towards Galveston, and the Gulf Coast. The Bonny Anapest would, once again, sail the ocean blue.
If it wasn’t clear, I’m attempting to tame two birds with one blog – NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo – simultaneously. Throughout the month, posts tagged NaNoBloWriPoMo will be works of fiction adding up, I hope, to a ridiculously silly “novel” of at least 50,000 words. I say “I hope” because I’m blogging this one day at a time – as a committed “Pantser,” I’m learning how the story unfolds just minutes (hours, at the most) before you do.
Did you miss one? Here are the chapters, all in order (more will appear as they are posted):
- The Challenge
- Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You
- It’s…Different on the Inside
- Madame and the Warranty
- Like Fireflies in a Pickle Jar