All Anne had left to wear was the frilly gown Charlotte had made for her. Not exactly her style but she remembered with some fondness what ****** had said about presenting herself as a lady.
The Kid arrived in the dining room hungrier than he’d ever been in his life. The big woman had ****** out everything he had in him, in a good way, but he felt like he’d lost a few pounds.
“What’s for supper, Mabel?” he asked his voice somewhat unsteady.
“They’s mermaid soup, mermaid cutlets, mermaid fricassee, mermaid casserole, mermaid steak and grilled mermaid fritters.”
“Ain’t there nothing to eat besides mermaid?” he groaned.
“Seaweed,” she said curtly.
“Gadurnit. We’ve been eatin’ mermaids and weeds for days. How about an old fashioned T-bone?”
“You get the cow and I’ll cook it up.”
****** came in looking not at all amused, “Say, Kid we need you up on deck.”
“Yes’m, Mister ******,” said the kid following the cowboy to the aft where ****** pointed over the water.
“We’re being followed. Fritz said there’s a school of mermaids out there. They followed from the island so they can’t be friendly. Think you can pick ‘em off?”
The Kid took his hat off and wiped his fingers through his sweaty hair. “Shoot, Mister ******, that’ll be like shootin’ fish in a barrel, ‘cept it’s the ocean and the fish are mermaids, an’...”
“Just get to it. As soon as you spot one blow it’s ******* brains out. That’s the only way we’re gonna get rid of them. You’ve been with Anne Bonny have ya.”
“How can ya tell?”
“You’ve got her scent all over you. There’s only one ***** onboard smells like she’s been rolling in a soggy mud patch.”
“Gee, ya think Mabel noticed?”
“That gal lost her sense of smell a long time ago. Take care of that business and Mabel’ll be all over ya like always.”
“I reckon you’re right. Let’s shoot us some mermaids.”
“Now you’re talking, Kid. Let’s do it.”
Sinking far below the waves, the evil swimmers kept their telltale fins out of sight, gliding along with the ship’s shadow as it sailed beneath the bright waves. The Kid and ****** scanning the water eyeing only dolphin and shark. “They’re smarter than they look, Kid. I’d bet they put these varmints up to swimming around the boat so they could cook up a scheme. They may taste like fish but they think like women.”
“Gosh, Mister ******, ain’t that the best of both worlds?”
“I guess that depends on which end you get ‘em by.”
Soon after, sailing smoothly out of the Caribbean waters piloted by the old mariner Popeye and navigated by the allwise general, the Green Belle ran afoul of no other nemeses as it made its way down along the east coast of South America. With no real roles on the ship, ****** and Medusa found themselves spending more and more time with each other.
“Why don’t you do something with yourself,” she scolded.
“What?” he said on edge from her relentless rasping nagging.
“All you do is pace. Why don’t you make yourself useful. Fetch me a mint julep” she ordered haughtily; staying in the covers and bedclothes she’d been in for a week.
“Fetch? Fetch! What do I look like?” he growled meanly.
“I’ve been trying to figure that out,” she said snippily.
His eyes flaming he stormed from the room, Medusa paying his tantrum no mind.
Finding Perry with Charlotte in the study, ****** had finally had enough with the uppity Gorgon. “Perry, I need to borrow that contraption.”
Perry, startled making out with the handmaid behind a brocade curtain was just as surprised to hear ******’s request. “Are you sure, Mister ******? You told me you never wanted to see the temporal distorter again.”
“Not that. I’m not gonna mess with that. There are more things going on than you’ve dreamed up in your philosophy. I mean the ship, the Leaping Lizzie. I’m going to take her out and scout ahead. I just need to get off this ****** boat. Get a change of scenery.”
“That’s sounds like a splendid idea, Mister ******. Let’s go discuss it with Fritz. He has maps of the terrain. Depending on what you see we can make any necessary corrections.”
“You’re a right smart feller, Periwinkle. I’ll go scare up Fritz.”
“I’ll go prepare the ship. I’ll meet you up on deck.”
As soon as ****** had left, Medusa grew bored. She found him with Perry on deck standing before the crabship. “What’s going on?” she asked observing the mechanical tentacles at rest.
“Mister ****** is going off to do some exploring,” said Perry. “The Leaping Lizzie II is perfect to find out what’s ahead.”
“Oh!” she said gaily. “I’m going with you!”
“You are?” said ******.
“Let me get Dawn.”
“Dawn?” he said.
****** and Perry looked at one another incredulously.
“I wanted some time alone,” said the cowboy pensively.
“Fiddle-dee-dee! We won’t be any bother at all,” she said fluttering down the hold.
“******. Will I never be rid of that infernal woman,” ****** snarled.
“Now, now, Mister ******. Miss Medusa is only looking out for you. After all you’re only flesh and blood.”
“And she’s a primordial cosmic force. I get it.”
Momentarily the green goddess and her faithful Lady of the Bedchamber were hauling strapped leather cases and hat boxes on deck. “What the **** is all this?” he hollered.
Her eyes met his meltingly. “Why, Mister ******, you don’t expect a lady to go around in the same old dress all the time. We’re going on an adventure. Think about it; the unexplored Amazon! Who knows what kind of beasties we’ll run into!”
“And you want to be dressed for the occasion.”
Smiling she began directing Dawn in loading the ship.
Fritz came up with a rolled map and handed it to ******. “Here you are, ******. The Amazon is due southwest. How do we stay in touch with you?”
“I’ve installed a ticker,” said Perry. “The same kind we used to communicate with Mistress Medusa when she was off conquering the moon.”
******’s eyes flared hopefully. “Yeh. Say Medusa you be in charge of communications. It’ll be your job to stay in contact with Perry and Fritz. Think you can do that?”
“Why, sure, Mister ******,” she said politely, “Um, would you help a lady aboard?”
“Sure,” he said taking her small waist and heaving her up to the hatch, her petticoats billowing in his face.
In another time and place not that far away, Remy Clarke Savage found his life with renewed purpose. Esmeralda and their now several children resting in the shaded grove while he completed yet another monumental life’s work; a machine that would far outstrip the crude Leaping Lizzie in speed and capabilities, outfitting this new vessel with several cannons of Greek fire and exploding shells.
Captain Quick, Lance and Lizzie bonding as family were wary of the zombie hordes all around them. Vampyr mermaids dancing in the inland lake while the rotting crew sang haunted shanties, hoisting steins of ghostly ale. “Ay I’ll be glad to be off this deadman’s reef,” muttered Quick. “Can’t you hurry it along, Remy? I’m wondering if we’ll live through another sunset.”
The dead pirate who’d become liaison to the mortals was Lizzie’s second maid-in-waiting; a woman with two long blonde braids that steadily grew the longer she was dead. Her brain intact and her looks not completely gone. “Ay Captain, my mateys be starving and you bunch are the only meat left on the island.”
His fears confirmed, Quick replied sharply, “I thought your bunch was living off them mermaids.”
“They’ve all turned. Not a one of them is alive or breathing. They’s all vamps and we’z all zombies. Like I was saying you bunch be the only real meals left.”
“Meals?” gulped Remy.
“Is that reason enough to hurry it along, man?” called Quick drawing his broadsword.
Lizzie and Lance drew theirs getting to either side of the Captain.
“You won’t be eating no brood of my *****, missy,” snapped Lizzie.
“Ay that we be lest you can get us raw meat and some brains.”
“Remy!” hollered the Captain as the engineer made the final adjustments.
“She’s all set to go. Hop in.”
“We appreciate your stalling, lassie, but we’s be taking our leave.”
“Aargh!” shouted the pirate woman drawing her sword. The others clambering to groggy feet, weapons in hand. Mermaids snapping sharp teeth from the water’s edge. Esmeralda carrying an armload of children scrambled inside the vessel first, followed by Remy and Lizzie.
“Com on mateys!” he cried as Quick and Lance clashed steel with the lunging pirates. Lance getting inside followed by Quick, Remy quickly shutting the hatch. The behemoth raising up on articulated legs. The dead pirates swords were no match for Greek fire as Remy unloaded a volley onto the beach setting everything ablaze.
Feeling themselves being cooked in the shell Remy manipulated his creation to walk into the water continuing on to the open sea where he propelled it away from the irreparably devastated reef crashing in under its own sodden weight. “Ay there be me home for many a yarn,” he mused. “Now it’s gone.”
“Ay the ****** place was haunted; infested with the undead. That be no home for a living man,” said Lizzie putting an arm over his shoulder. “I be liking your firepower, Remy. How long can that hold out?”
“Indefinitely. Greek fire is inexhaustible.”
“Inexhaustible you say? What say we catch up to that Green Belle and give ‘er what’s her comeuppance?”
“Ay man they’ve got the key to a treasure that’ll be rightly ours,” added Quick.
by Johnny Noir & MEdusa