Thursday March 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the shock.

We went up to Penticton this afternoon for a midwife appointment. I kinda wanted to bring everything with us, just in case. Kat wanted to leave whatever isn't already in the car, feeling pretty sure there would be time, if necessary, for me to drive back and get the rest.

In the end, as you may have already guessed, it didn't matter. The wait continues.

We had to bring Max with us too, as we wouldn't have been back before daycare closed at 5 to pick him up. Kat's parents weren't available, nor were Adam and Becky as they're back in Dawson Creek visiting friends and family up there.

It turned out all right. I was surprised we were able to make it back without Max falling asleep in the car. Though by bedtime he had definitely run out of steam. And cooperation fuel.


"I wouldn't touch that if I were you."

Lily pulled her finger back from the pink elephant statuette on the bookshelf and turned to look at the old man behind the counter. He adjusted his glasses and blinked, but offered no further explanation.

"Why is that?" she asked. By her reckoning she had already poked, prodded, or picked up nearly everything else in the gift shop without admonishment.

"It's wired with enough volts to burn your fingerprints clear off," he said. Lily started to laugh, saw that his expression betrayed no signs of humour, and hastily stuffed it back down.

"That seems... dangerous," she said instead.

"Oh, absolutely."

"Then why have it out here, where anybody could touch it?" Lily asked, looking at the seemingly serene elephant out of the corner of her eye.

"I like to have it around," the old man said as he returned his attention to the local newspaper spread open across the counter. "For those customers I don't wish to warn about its... potential."


Greg said...

Woohoo! I think I'm finally caught up on posting comments to you!
It sounds like you're having a collection of anticipatory days at the moment, but there's not much else you can do than wait and try and keep Kat happy I think :) Oh, and fight with Max over when bedtime is ;-)
Hah, Lily seems like a sensible woman who's on the verge of either discovering something interesting, or making an acquaintance who will bring interesting times into her life. I would be curious to know more about both her and this proprietor, and why they're both going about their lives the way they are.

The shock
The urchins have done a remarkable job over the last three days, and the farmhouse actually seems fit for habitation at last. The rooms are lighter and feel welcoming, the floors are clean and the rugs have been beaten out thoroughly. I still shudder at the memory of the things that fell, or crawled, out from them when the urchins were beating them. I knew... I know that phlogiston has effects on living things, effects that we should research more and in better ways than letting the populace drink phlogiston wine and waiting for them to appear in the morgue or the hospital, but seeing those warped and benighted creatures dragged scales from my eyes.
Cecily has responded by dragging a mattress down to the cellar, stocking up cases of the Ch√Ęteau, and screaming at me when I open the cellar door to see how she is. There is a vile smell down there, an admixture of unwashed Cecily and leaking phlogiston. I make myself go down there every day though, taking a jug of fresh water and a plate of bread, sometimes cheese, and talking to her. Her insanity is making her febrile though, and I know I'm not strong enough to pull her back out of it myself.
I turned the Chief on this afternoon. The notes I have make me think that the Chief is about Summer, possibly late Spring, and so I consulted the almanac and spent two hours last night trying to understand a sextant (how can something with so few moving parts be so confusing?!) and concluded that at this time of year the hours that represent the transition from Spring to Summer are 13:10 to 14:58. I may be being too exact there, so I turned the Chief on at 13:30 and let it run for an hour.
The apparatus is quite simple: wine goes into the large feeder vat at the back and flows through the pipes. Some pipes heat, others condense. There is a separate network that attaches to the phlogiston tanks, and they appear to be filled from a well; presumably the cellar contains the phlogiston that leaks from the walls of the well. After mixing and reacting, the phlogistonic wine accumulates in a small resevoir, and there is a tap there from which bottles can be filled. It is a slow process: I filled only six bottle in an hour.
I tasted it, and I spent the next hour in shock: I had absolutely no idea that this was what phlogiston wine was supposed to taste like. Or that... that... was what it was supposed to do.
What the hell is it being cut with in the shops and bars?

Marc said...

Greg - duly noted, I shall try to find time and inspiration to revisit these two :)

The joy of reading this again, so long after the first time, is that I've completely forgotten where you take this and how you end things.

Though, knowing you, I suspect you didn't end things...

Which just leaves open the possibility of more entries! Hurray!

Assuming you stop working every waking hour at some point.