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2 yrs ago
Current If you do, I'ma do too.
2 yrs ago
If you do, I'ma do too.


Sharing host/GM duties for "Firefly - Second 'Verse" with Wandering Wolf.

Other than that, kind of a goofball who loves writing stories and playing radio for an audience consisting entirely of my dogs.

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The Art of Awakening (Shore Leave, Day 2 Morning)


Edina yawned, arching her back as fingers and toes stretched her extremities to their furthest. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d actually slept in; her habit of “beating the clock” was an old one, born of the years spent cowering at the sound of father’s heavy footfalls stopping outside her door. The grim history was only doomed to repeat itself through her marriage to Andres, another decade spent ensnared within the insidious cycle.

China Doll had been a random choice, the first boat to get her off New Melbourne before her husband conjured she’d high tailed it. How could she know that after all this time she’d still be aboard? With friends who looked out for her, and now had come to include her among the crew? As she lay here in the dark of a room she’d kept for over a year, Edina could still marvel at her good fortune.

Though sometimes her motivation for an early awakening came in the form of old nightmares, the hauntings were steadily becoming ever more scarce. This new life she’d discovered was filled with purpose. Though she wasn’t a die hard black dog like Cal or Abby, Edina had soon conjured that a going concern like China Doll could provide plenty of work, even for a dirtsider like herself. All she had to do was keep her eyes open and her hands at the ready. Soon enough, a regular crew berth would offer itself up…in her case, the galley.

Joe Hooker’s departure was bittersweet, a farewell to a much loved shipmate gone to a better life. Though he’d been outwardly kind to all of the crew, it wasn’t until Edina volunteered for galley duty that she began to understand the man’s personal demons. Her inventory of the pantry had unearthed no less than three bottles of rotgut whiskey, all hidden by a practiced hand. Under any other circumstance, their presence alone would’ve told a disturbing tale. It was the etchings…crude knife scrapes in both the glass and labels of each bottle…that painted a stark picture of the daily torment in which the cook was trapped. He’d carved out a single word, again and again.


Brokenhearted over her discovery, Edina was loathe to simply throw them out with the trash. Nor could she bring herself to share the find with any of the crew, even though she held certain that Captain and Yuri must’ve been aware of his struggle. Alana, too, for that matter. But Abby’s love for Joe was that of a child, a sweetness she saw no good in tarnishing. And so, she kept them, hidden once more in the recesses of the pantry. Into each bottle she’d tucked a note, her own wishes for his healing. With luck, she’d find a place to set them free. Edina pondered this, the power of her words wrapped in a vessel of his pain. Perhaps she should ask Sister Lyen about what might be fitting…

She heard water rushing through the pipes. A few seconds later, the change in its’ tone told her that hot water was now flowing into the lav, a sure sign that one of her shipmates was grabbing an early shower. No bother; she had a good twenty-five minutes before her wakeup. And her bunk was awfully comfortable this morning. As she found herself doing more frequently these days, Edina thought of Yuri.

Though uncertain if tonight’s outing at the museum gala could be called ‘a date,’ she nonetheless found a personal delight at the prospect. They’d both come aboard within a day of each other, the battered woman and the shipwrecked survivor. While all of the crew had taken them in without hesitation, the two damaged souls had found mutual recognition and respect, developing a closeness born of both loss and a need for a patient kindness. Through happenstance and shared purpose during some of China Doll’s darker adventures their bond had deepened, regardless of efforts on both their parts to foster an easy familiarity. Despite her caution, Edina’s feelings were triggered through the most innocuous events. A smile shared, the twinkle of mirth in his eyes, a simple touch…all could now inject a sort of giddy pleasure that she hadn’t allowed herself for many a year. She’d watched him find his place, settling comfortably as Cal’s first mate, and getting the job done without harshness or disrespect toward those he’d command, especially the women. After years spent under the cruel mercies of her father and husband, Edina was well aware of the red flags. In Yuri, she’d found none.

Tonight, they’d be dancing in each other’s arms. She had no idea of the outcome, but lying here in her bunk, Edina found herself ready to throw caution to the wind.

The Morning News (Shore Leave, Day 2 Morning)

“Yuri!” A voice he knew…S.A.M.A.N.T.H.A, suddenly cut through the surrounding mayhem, the shock of realization lifting the nightmare veil. “Are you alright?”

“Mmmmph,” he grunted. “Yeah.” He rose to his knees, then gave his head a shake to clear out the last of his mind’s phantoms. “Looks like I rolled out of bed.”

His cortex reader glowed, orienting him to the darkened surroundings. “You had the dream again.”

“Yeah.” With a quiet moan, Yuri rose from the deck to sit upon the edge of his bunk. “Same one.”

“Four nights in a row,” the AI reported. “Each night, you become increasingly articulate. The issue of your past is troubling you. I’ve done some research…”

“Sort of creepy that you’re listening to me when I sleep,” the first mate rubbed fingers through his hair. “What time is it?”

“Oh-five-thirty-two. Yuri, Survivor’s Guilt is a very real condition. Helpful therapies have been developed. You can practice many of them on your own.”

“Can we talk about this later?” He took to his feet, then fumbled in the darkness for the pull out urinal. “So, who’ve we got aboard?”

Sam ticked off the list. “Elias Reiman. He’s on duty. His cortex activity centers on researching parts salvage on Pelorum. Sister Lyen Giu, Imani Ozuka, and Edina Wyman are still in quarters. Edina has an oh-six-hundred wakeup call to serve coffee and breakfast by seven. The rest are still planetside.”

“Even our youngling?” A pang of worry crossed Yuri’s brow. “Has Abby checked in?”

“No,” the AI responded. “Her cortex has pinged locations in the city’s ninth ward. Activity centered on a diner listed as Vic’s Good Eats. Should I contact her?”

He shook his head, the futile gesture reminding him that Sam didn’t have vid capture pickups in most of the boat. “No. She knows to call if things go sideways. Let’s give folk a little privacy. How about Captain or Alana? Either one touched base?”

“They have not.”

Yuri closed the urinal before washing his hands. “Well, I’m up,” he mumbled as he felt for the lighting control, then collected fresh clothes and his toilet kit. “Anything on the schedule for today?”

S.A.M.A.N.T.H.A replied, “today is day two of official shore leave for all hands. The galley scheduled breakfast for oh-seven hundred, and will have supper prepared for sixteen hundred.”

“Why so early?” he asked, his memory kicking in as the last words left his mouth.

“You and Edina were invited to the “Nineteen Forties Gala, located in the Aviation Pavilion, Museum of Earth-That-Was. Your passes arrived overnight. I took the liberty of forwarding them to your respective cortex readers.”

“Thanks,” he unearthed his bathrobe, another ragged find in the boat’s Lost and Found. “Anything in the world I should conjure?”

“Seasonal weather,” she said. “Afternoon showers followed by clearing skies and an average temperature of seventy-six degrees fahrenheit. Negotiations have broken down between the New Iberia Tradeport management and the local Dockworkers and Longshoremen’s union. The existing contract expires tonight at midnight, with picketing expected tomorrow morning. Local law enforcement is considering a curfew, but advises all transient personnel to avoid the port or at least to travel in groups.”

“That’s something you should pass along to our lost lambs.” Now clad in his bathrobe, Yuri swung the ladder hatch open. “I’m grabbing a shower. Mind the boat for me a bit longer?”

“Of course,” the unseen intelligence replied. “Would you like me to compile a document of the therapies I mentioned earlier?”

Sam made sense. Sam always made sense. But here in the early morning, her innate logic faced a wall of unvoiced excuses and fallacious arguments from the first mate. I really don’t want to mess with this, he mused as his feet touched the ladder. “Yeah,” Yuri finally managed. “I guess.”
About Last Night…(Shore Leave, Day 2 Morning)

Last time she woke up in somebody’s arms, she’s all ‘o’ seven.

Abby’s hair done gone all wild, some coverin’ ‘er eyes. But that didn’t matter, her brain fog cleared sorta slow til she conjured her face tah be buried in that somebody’s chest. What’d I git up tah? she posed a question tied her tah folk all through time, but fer answers they ain’t much. Dancin’, laughin’ a bunch, kissin’ Lorraine…

Did she kiss Lorraine?

That’un woke ‘er up. Whoever’s chest she’s nuzzlin grunted a deep sorta rumble. Abby drew a breath an’ all at once sucked in a wisp ‘o’ hair. “Ugh! Thhhpdth! Thhhpth!” she spat, her tongue stickin’ out as she wiped at it with ‘er fingers. Once she done that, she pulled ‘er own hair back tah find ‘erself sharin’ Lorraine’s bed, an’ all snuggled up against Elvis. “Oh!” her sigh ‘o’ relief heaved forth. “Hey, fella.”

Elvis din’ move…jest laid there, one eye cocked open as Abby untangled ‘erself.

“Oooooooh,” Lorraine muttered from across the big dog’s place on the mattress. “What time is is it?” She stretched her arms, wrists bending to and fro as her frame stiffened beneath the sheets. “Oh, shit,” her eyes conjured the morning brightness filtering into the apartment. “I’m late. Oh shit! Oh shit!” In a flurry of motion she tossed the sheet aside, her feet striking the floor with a thud as she bolted toward the window. With no apparent thought, the women hurled open the shutters. “VIC!” Lorraine shouted. “SORRY! I’M ON MY WAY!”

Sight ‘o’ Lorraine come as a shock, seein’ she’s bare ass nekkid in front ‘o’ her window. Abby felt a flush ‘o’ fear wellin’ as she hoisted tha bedsheet. Her disposition cleared a tetch when she looked ‘erself over tah find the leopard unders…panties, she corrected ‘erself…an’ a tee shirt what read Rude Kids all still coverin’ ‘er up. She ‘membered droppin’ coin fer tha shirt, a piece of last night’s puzzle still got big holes in it.


Abby watched Lorraine, still jaybird nekkid as she dropped a bucket on a piece ‘o’ string. “I can help,” she offered, “with yer dishes an’ such.”

“Shiny!” The waitress tossed a bright grin over her shoulder. “HEY VIC!” she shouted through the open window. “OKAY WITH YOU IF CORNFLAKES HELPS ME CATCH UP?”


Lorraine raised an eyebrow toward Abby, who responded with a nod. “SEND UP TWO COFFEES AND TWO SWEET ROLLS,” she hollered down as the bucket landed, “AND SHE’S ALL YOURS!.. WHAT’RE YOU LOOKIN’ AT?!!” she demanded, startling a passerby who’d stopped to gawk up at the naked woman in the window. “YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT! QU TA MA DE!”* (*fuck off!)

Abby’s sittin’ up now, legs folded tribal style on tha bed as she checked ‘er cortex. With no new messages tah gander, she put it down on ‘er thigh an’ looked up again, right inta Lorraine’s private bits before her. “AUGH!” she cried out, jerkin’ her head sideways as a hand flew up tah block tha sight. “Land sakes, Bugsy? You really gotta wave it at me like that?”

“What?” Lorraine smirked. “You were face down in it last night!” She watched all color drain from Abby’s face before doubling over in peels of laughter. “Just fuckin’ with you, Cornflakes,” she chortled as she sat, draping herself with the sheet. “Only one ya loved up last night was my dog. By the way,” she said as coffee and sweet rolls were doled out, “who’s Thomas?”

Aw hell, Abby mused as his name come outta Lorraine’s mouth. What did I say?, she quizzed ‘erself as silent oaths tah never drink again crossed ‘er mind. “Jest some húndàn,* she muttered inta her coffee. (*asshole)

“Well,” Lorraine bit off a piece of her sweet roll, “that húndàn is livin’ in your head, girl. I really thought you and Reg were gonna seal the deal…”

“I think I woulda...”

“Hells yeah, Cornflakes, I get it. Believe me, that boy’s charmed me right outta my ‘unders’ more than once,” she teased. “But you? Once you got knee walking, you told us all about this Thomas.”

“Gorramit,” Abby cursed as ‘er face planted inta an open palm. “I conjure yew best tell me all ‘o’ what I said.”

Lorraine chuckled. “Don’t sweat it. You just told anybody who’d listen what a great guy he was. Believe me, every one of that crew has said and heard far worse. Actually,” she cheerfully exclaimed, “you’re a pretty happy drunk! They all liked you…especially when you insisted on kissing everybody goodnight. It was so sweet!”

The deckhand shook ‘er head. “Ooooooh man, oh man.” She’s embarrassed some, but that answered a big question sorta put ‘er mind at ease. “Not sure I can face ‘em agin after hearin’ that.”

“Sure you can!” Lorraine was on her feet and headed for the bathroom. “We’re takin’ you to the beach after work! Reg is gonna get us into the resort he works at.” As water splashed into the sink, she continued. “I’ll go get started. Can you take care of Elvis first?”

Abby’s wrigglin’ intah her shorts. “On it,” she replied afore fishin’ about tha chaotic place fer her shoes. “Where’s his poop bags?” She run ‘er fingers through ‘er hair fer some kinda order, but as she an’ tha big, happy dog clomped downstairs, Abby conjured she’d still look a wild mess. Not that she much cared.
Story Note

It's now DAY 2 of the crew's shore leave.

The Pelorum sun rises, promising another perfect day in paradise. Though much of the crew is currently off the boat, there's still breakfast in the galley for those aboard. Yuri collected the coin and did the math. We didn't make a whole lot on this run, so after paying out all the needed supplies local fees, each crewperson's share didn't amount to a whole lot.

Still, everybody's got some coin to play with. Careful how you spend it.

Writers' note: If you're searching for ideas, please refer to the Plot Plans and Ideas Gdoc we recently shared. And don't limit yourselves to what you see there. If an idea sprouts, let it grow.


For Captain Cal Strand, looks like nothin’ ever goes smooth. Last couple years seen him gettin' crossways with crime bosses, space bikers, and even playin' chicken with slavers tryna run him down in the black. And that don't even account for his scrapes with local lawmen and the Alliance. Not that some of the folk in his crew made things any easier. The China Doll could be that gift horse whose mouth he shoulda checked, dohn mah?


The year’s 2523. War ended over a decade ago. Been 4 years since the Miranda Broadwave riled some folk up, but the Alliance put the boot down on that right quick. It ain’t easy for “naughty men to slip about” these days, but there’s still work as can be had, long’s the price is right an’ you ain’t the curious type.

Our Style

“Firefly – Second ‘Verse” is an episodic PBP game. Character and plot development will be encouraged and written over the course of each episode. Certain adventures will involve “capers,” live action scenes played out in chat by member players. These scenes could vary from crimes to action to something as simple as everyone talking over the galley table.


Cap'n says the pilot seat is open, and he'd prefer to leave the flyin' to someone what knows more about landing than the deckhand. Could also house a Companion, if he or she has a mind to travel. Passengers, too, but don’t let none of this fence you in. Got a shiny notion? There’s lots of different folk out there. After’s a mighty big ‘verse.

We're skids down on Pelorum, the number one tourist stop in the 'verse. Crew's been given a touch of shore leave while Cap'n tries to drum up business and figure out how he patches things up with our doc.

If you fancy comin' aboard, send us a wave!

@wanderingwolf - he makes the big coin...
@sail3695 - he cleans up on aisle 2...

Happy Sunday from some bar on Pelorum!

Looks like Abby's taken up with the sorta folk we're sure her Uncle Bob warned her about...and is having a howling good time! Edina and Yuri acted all responsible and got the boat paid, along with an invite to a swanky soiree at Earth-That-Was Museum. And finally, Lyen and Sam are holding down the fort while Cal heads out to look for a new mule...and mayhaps a spot of trouble.

Just to keep us on the same page, we're on Day 1 of the crew's official Shore Leave. Characters are free to craft their own adventures, or if they'd rather have company, they're welcome to join in on any of the existing plotlines. A little bird told us there's at least one more Day 1 post on the way, so we're holding the clock til it arrives. If you've got a Day 1 post brewing, let us know and we'll keep the door open.

Speaking of, you all received the "FF2V Plots & Ideas" link, both in our group chat and your personal channels and emails. You'll find a rundown of the plots and subplots we're aware of, and who you should contact if you'd like to engage. You all received edit credentials, and we, your humble hosts, encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas as we move forward.

We had a departure this week. After a months long battle with the cursed Writer's Block and other issues shared in our group chat, @PatientBean has chosen to move on. Bean's a gifted writer, and we wish them all the best going forward.

But the challenge they faced is something that plagues all of us from time to time. My last writer's block was a ferocious bout that struck in mid 2020. Wolf rescued me through a series of 1x1 scenario RP's in Gdocs that finally had me back on track in 2021. If you follow our group chat, it's no news that Wolf and I both extend that same offer to any of our group who find themselves stymied. So please feel free to reach out if we can do something to make your writing experience more enjoyable.



Last Night at The Lair

The running joke about Desmond’s Lair was that no two of any item were alike, from the barstools and tables right down to the glasses. Everything had been scavenged over time. Even the once grand mahogany bar had been pried out of a shuttered hotel on the eve of the wrecking ball.

For Abby, the whole world had gone a skosh soft about tha edges. She followed Lorraine inta tha bar, servant girl to a queen, judgin’ by tha sorta greeting from within.

“LO-LO!” came a singsong shout from tha bar’s far end.

“Come on!” Lorraine pulled Abby by the hand. “You gotta meet all these LOW RENT CHEONG BAO HO TZE * SONSOBITCHES!” (* monkey raping)

“I SWEAR TO BUDDHA…JUST ONE TIME!” a voice shouted back as Lorraine propelled Abby into the middle of the boisterous group. “This is Cornflakes!” she tossed an arm about the girl’s shoulders. “She’s with us tonight!”

If yew was tah ask, ain’t a whole lot more fer her tah remember. Them folk all took ‘er as one ‘o’ their own, laughin’ an’ shoutin’ tah be heard all at once over tha band. They’s a drink landed in ‘er hand, another Vodka Boom Boom what she didn’t rightly recollect tellin’ no one she wanted. Ain’t no way she’d turn it down. That’d jest be rude.

She met Miller, a tall woman looked more muscle bound than most men. They’s Iggy, friendly guy what lost ‘is legs in tha war, an’ his giant friend ever’body called “The Scrote.” Then she seen Brit, pretty woman with a sweet smile got ‘er ruminatin’ over both Alana an’ Penny. And then they’s Reginald. Powerful tall, skin ‘o’ chocolate brown, an’ thin dreadlocks touchin’ ‘is shoulders. His eyes was dark an’ soulful, but when he smiled… mmm, mmm, mmm! Had a grin what dazzled, an’ a musical island accent sounded her name as “Obby” tah cut her butter like a hot knife. Could be tha vodka. Hell, prob’ly was. But this boy was purtiest thing she ever did lay eyes on. Mayhaps that’s how he got ‘er out on tha dance floor so quick.

Abby liked dancin’ well enough tah understand she weren’t good at it. But Reg had an arm down behind ‘er waist, an’ he swung ‘er about free an’ easy tah the heavy beat. “Dot’s right,” he give ‘er a smile started a proper quickenin’ inside ‘er. “Just move wit’ me, girl.”

She could feel it, heavy thumps in ‘er chest an’ his hips leadin’ hers. Her hands was on his shoulders, feelin’ muscle and sinew ‘neath ‘is shirt. Abby thought by now she’d be wobblin’ on unsteady feet, but not a ‘tall. Instead, she felt nigh on graceful, her body reactin’ tah his lead, and a downright pleasure fer his fingers as they pressed tha small of ‘er back. “Wow!” she blurted all sudden, “this gotta be what sex feels like…wait...I didn’t say that.”

Reg threw back his head and laughed, his slender dreadlocks tossing in the warm air. “And I didn’t hear it.” He chuckled, before offering the girl a pull from the smoldering blunt. “Rude of me not to share,” his eyes smiled down into hers. “Care to try?” When she nodded, he said, “I’ll shotgun it to you. Pucker your lips…dot’s right, like you’re about to kiss. Den suck in de smoke when I blow it. Ready?”

“Uh huh.” Abby’s all puckered, waitin’, til; Reg leaned in. With his lips jest a hair’s breadth from hers, he blowed a tight cloud right at ‘er. She inhaled, suckin’ in tha smoke, takin’ it through ‘er lips til it landed on ‘er lungs…all afore it set her doublin’ over in a coughin’ fit. “Sorry,” she ‘pologized twixt ‘er hackin’. “Ain’t used tah…”

“Nonsense,” Reg killed the joint beneath a heel as he draped both arms around Abby’s waist. “De more you cough, de more you get off,” he laughed as they reclaimed the rhythm. “You feelin’ it, Obby?”

“Yeah…yeah!” She’s feelin’ somethin’. Vodka’s doin’ it’s part. She thunk she felt tha chronic connectin’ ‘er tah tha music…which sounded gorram great!’ commenced puttin’ all manner ‘o’ thoughts in ‘er head ‘bout how she’d want tha rest of tahnight goin’. Fer a tick, Abby thought ‘o’ Thomas. A guilty pang crossed ‘er mind, afore she put tha kai bosch on that notion. Sumbitch got a dozen messages he ain’t answered, her rebellious mind pushed back. So does Alana. People come and go in tha ‘verse. Right now, dancin’ in tha arms of a man she felt might jest show her how it’s all done, Abby conjured them words she done said time and again. People come and go. She sussed out mayhaps weren’t her place tah keep hangin’ on tah them as went their own way. Let ‘em go, she figgered, a smile touchin’ ‘er lips as Reg pulled her in against ‘im. Let ‘em go.

Fixated as she was, Abby barely took reconnoiter of Lorraine. The waitress was at tha bar, talkin’ with a man looked right outta place in these environs. Well dressed gent, ‘bout Abby’s height. Thirties. Sandy blond hair an’ a moustache. Fer a tick, they both turned tah look square at her…and she knowed she seen his face afore. A face she should know…but ‘er mind couldn’t track.

Reg stopped dancin’. “Sorry,” his lips brushed her ear. “Cortex. I have to take ‘dis.”

“Shiny.” Jest as well, Abby considered as Brit waved her over. I’s right close tah givin’...

“Hey, girl,” Brit shoved a fresh drink into her hand. “Just warning you. Reg doesn’t really speak all ‘island.’ He just uses that accent at the resort he works at for the tourists,” she offered, “and to charm the la shi outta women he’s tryna bed.”

“That so?” Abby asked as Vodka Boom Boom Number Six touched her lips. She was really gonna hate herself tomorrah. “It was workin’, she fessed up, “like a champ.” The two women went all silent, starin’ at one t’other, til all at once they bust out laughin’. She looked about. Ain’t no sign ‘o’ Reg, Lorraine, or that swell she’s chattin’ up. Even drunk as she was, Abby conjured tha business of ‘naughty men slipping about.’ They’s somethin’ bein’ hatched, fer sure.

“So,” she asked casual like. “How long y’all here for?”

‘Spring break,” Brit answered right off. “Lots of rich college kids and oldsters. We make good bank, we won’t have to work summer season,” she smiled. “Then it’s families with half pints and empty coin purses. How ‘bout you?”

“Here til muh boat goes skids up. Lookin’ like we might git a whole week while Cap’n ties down our next job,” Abby said after a long sip. “Nice yer all a crew, goin’ places tahgether.”

Brit clinked her glass to Abby’s. “Just like your crew, really. Safety in numbers. Women like Lorraine and me…hell, even Miller, jacked as she is? ‘Verse is no place for a woman on her own. So we find work, get the job done, and move on.”

Abby nodded. “I copy that,” she agreed. “Muh Uncle Bob used tah say…” A splash ‘o’ dingy pink caught ‘er eye. There’s Lorraine, grinnin’ out front a’ tha band stage, index fingers crooked up tah beckon an’ tha devil in ‘er eye. Sight made tha deckhand laugh out loud as she dropped off ‘er stool. “Whatchoo want, Bugsy?” she asked all fake innocent as tha waitress reached tah take ‘er hands.

“DANCE WITH ME, YOU BITCH!” Lorraine laughed, pulling Abby into her arms.

Abby’s none too sure what they done could be called ‘dancin’. It’s more like a couple young’uns, skippin’ an’ flailin’ arms all about, her hair flyin' like she lost her gorram mind. Over time they did make a couple moves, with Lorraine teachin’ her how tah sideslip a hip or rock ‘or wiggle ‘er pi gu...somethin’ she called ‘twerkin’. What she did know fer certain was they was havin’ a slap good time of it, laughin’ and jumpin’ all over.

”You left a child out in the wild,
And I was raised by wolves,
I was raised by wolves.

Abby seen Lorraine throw back ‘er head an’ howl…somethin’ she took likin’ to right off.

One moment saw the pair leaping in the air, playfully hanging onto each other as they gyrated to the music. In the next, they spun, hands clasped and screaming as the rest of Lorraine’s crew joined in the fun. The floor soon filled with people, all dancing and howling with the joyous recklessness of children.

I was raised by wolves.

Abby felt Lorraine give ‘er hand a squeeze. She seen a girl she only knowed since lunchtime, eyes all sparklin’ with mirth as they both howled. Folk come and go… Now she conjured it. Ain’t nothin’ permanent, ‘specially folk yah take up with. Someday hence she’d go her own road. Didn’t mean she couldn’t some bit ‘o’ happy while she’s here, with a damn crazy she called Bugsy. Might be drunk thinkin’, but howlin’ among folk as she was, felt durn near fine with Abby. Fine enough tah howl all night.

Playing Dress Up

They was right back at Vic’s. Lorraine pulled Abby up a narrow little back stairway tah a tiny apartment right over tha restaurant. “Not much biggern’ muh quarters on China Doll,” the deckhand said as ‘er host poured out kibble fer Elvis.

“China Doll?” Lorraine cocked an eyebrow as she rinsed two glasses. ‘Sounds like a floating brothel. What’d you say your job was again?”

“I told Cap’n same thing when ‘e hired me!” Abby chortled. “Lotsa stuff. Deckhand work, cleanin’, moppin’, scrubbin’ toilets…perty much whatever needs doin’.” She gazed about tha place. It’s all stacked up in boxes. Some labels she conjured. Others she took fer high toned sorta stuff what she ain’t never thought tah buy. One thing’s a certainty. Fer a waitress in a diner, Lorraine sure had bunches of it. “Whatja say yer job was agin?” she asked.

“Oh,” her host moved toward a small cabinet behind a stack of crates labeled Ginette’s of Londinium. “You mean all these boxes?” she asked. “I’m keeping ‘em for a friend.” An oversized bottle of vodka made its’ appearance, generous pours following ice cubes into two glasses. “Whattya mix with?” Lorraine looked up from her chore.

Abby looked all askance. “Uh…Boom Boom Lemon?” she asked. “We drinkin’ already?”

The spiky haired Lorraine popped a can, splashing the soft drink into what little space each glass had left. “Pre-gaming!” she said brightly. “You don’t look like you’re made of money, Cornflakes. Cheers!” After they clinked glasses, she took a healthy swallow. ‘Okay,” she waved her half empty glass toward Abby. ‘Now get naked.”

‘Whut?” Abby near spit out ‘er drink. “Why?”

“Because,” Lorraine giggled as she grabbed one of Abby’s calves, “I’m gonna make you irresistible. Gimme that foot.” She snatched a shoe, pressing it sole to sole with the red hightop on her own foot. ”Ku!” she exclaimed before diving head first into an open box.

Abby stood there fer a tick, one shoe on, one shoe off, seein’ only Loraine’s pi gu as she tossed a pair ‘o’ shiny lace up boots over ‘er shoulder. “Those’ll work…hey! Get outta your clothes! Bathroom’s through there,” she pointed toward an arch just past Elvis as he went face down into his bowl. “You need a full shower, or just a three-P?”

‘Whut’s a three-P?”

“Jayzus!” Lorraine exclaimed. “What’re they teachin’ you on that boat? Three-P! Pi gu.” She gripped her bottom, followed by a slap to her underarm. “Pits! I’ll wager you’ve got the last one all sussed out by now?”

Abby downed ‘er drink, more fer need ‘o’ courage than anythin’ else. “I copy,” she answered as her clothes commenced hittin’ tha floor. A few ticks later she come back out, scrubbed an’ clean from tha shower with a towel draped ‘round ‘er. Lorraine was there, her grin sorta frightenin’ as she shoved a fresh drink inta Abby’s hand.

“I got you all set up,” she said. “You drink. Follow me.” She led the way to the apartment’s center. A large mattress lay on the floor, tousled blankets and sheets revealing this to be the waitress’ regular bed. Atop the tangle was a pair a pair of loosely arranged outfits. “That’s mine,” Lorraine pointed toward a rough looking cocktail dress of pink chiffon, accompanied by black elbow length opera gloves and a pair of the gleaming black boots. “And this,” she said proudly, “is yours.”

Like Lorraine, Abby seen her own lace up boots. ‘Docs’, they’s called, though she ain’t got no clue why. They’s a skirt…dark red plaid what only reached part way ‘round, leavin’ ‘er left thigh an’ hip covered by a short black under skirt. They’s a belt strap sorta kep it all from flyin’ open. What Lorraine put our fer up top was…”A bra?” Abby demanded . “Jest a bra?”

“It’s called a bustier, stoopid.”

“I get it! Good thing I don’t got much goin’ on up there or it’d all come ‘boost-in’ right outta that!” Abby griped.

Lorraine sipped her drink, the free hand resting upon her hip. “Cornflakes, ain’t yew jest a reg’lar knee slapper?” she teased, directing a slender index finger toward the clothes. “Put ‘em on,” she ordered, “and then tell me how amazing you look.”

“Oughtta jest go nekkid,” the deckhand grumbled.

“That’d look amazing, too.”

And amazin’ it was. She ain’t never wore nothin’ like this afore. Lorraine helped with tha straps an’ buckles, til ever’thin’ fit just so. Short ‘o’ her unders, Abby never felt clothes what hugged ‘er so well as these. Skirt was high waisted, wrappin’ her midriff jest above ‘er belly button an’ givin’ her a tetch more look of hips. For a girl who never wore dresses…ever, she’s a tad bit shocked at how much leg she’s showin’. Even when she stepped inta them Docs, her thighs an’ calves still looked all long an’ such…and she discovered she liked it.

The ‘boost-ee-yay’ was a right marvel. Abby knowed she was small in her breasts, but tha way this thing held ‘er showed that tah be a good thing. It didn’t give away nothin’ she wouldn’t want seen, but tha way it looked on ‘er was…was…

“Sexy, huh?” Lorraine stood behind her, a Cheshire Cat grin on her face as she offered up another pregame drink.

“Thank yew,” Abby took the glass, then turned before the mirror. “I never…” she said at sight of her own self, lookin’ so…fine? “I never…”

“Now you know,” the waitress said as she leaned around to color the deckhand’s lips, “that you can. Here, hold still.”

That lipstick was a dark red what looked tah match ‘er skirt. Abby couldn’t conjure what jest a little color might do fer a body, til she’s starin’ at herself. "La shi, but I had nary a clue,” she sighed. “Hey, I fergot. I ain’t wearin’ no unders.”

“Unders?” Lorraine giggled. “That some kinda redneck slang for panties?”

“How ‘bout this?” Abby cracked wise. “I ain’t wearin no unders…you bitch. Capiche?”

“Capiche…capiche!” the urbane girl laughed. “Look in that box over there. No, bumpkin, that one! La Petit Boutique. You look just barely like a size six to me. Try a five, first.”

Inside tha box was all unders. Glistening silk, delicate lace, an’ even some cotton like Abby always wore…’cept they’s a rainbow o’ colors an’ patterns. She let ‘er fingers run through tha softness, her eyes wonderstruck at all the pretty. Abby weren’t ignorant that such frillies was in the ‘verse. But til now, she jest never give thought tah ownin’ somethin like tha tiny silk leopard ‘panties’ she pulled out. “These,” she said as she lifted ‘em up fer her new friend’s nod. “Why come all these still got price tags?”

The girl she’d nicknamed “Bugsy” was all wide eyed innocence. “Do they?” she asked. “Gee, I dunno! Must’ve been like that when they fell off the truck!”

“Yeah,” Abby give ‘er a knowin’ smile as she kicked off them boots. “That’s gotta be it.” In a moment she’d hiked ‘em up beneath tha skirt. “I like this lipstick,” she offered as she commenced puttin’ on an lacin’ up ‘er boots. “Don’t seem like it’s comin’ off.”

Lorraine was now whirling out of her clothes. “The lipstick’s good for about a hundred kisses,” she snickered. “Oh, don’t give me that look, Cornflakes! People are gonna want to kiss you. Deal with it!” She grabbed a fresh towel and said “after I’m dressed, we’ll work on our hair. How’s about you mix us up another drink?”

Abby’s painted lips hung open. “Another one? I’ma be drunk afore we get there!”

“That’s the plan!”
Change of Plans

Hey Alana, I know you’ve got lots on your mind. Just let me know you’re doing tolerable?

Her latest wave done been sent, Abby tucked tha cortex inta her back pocket. She’s sittin’ cross legged, Tribal style, in a narrow little patch ‘o’ grass what was called a park for the poor folks. She swigged from a bottle ‘o’ water a street kid sold ‘er, an’ tried tah conjure her next move.

No Alana at tha Drop Shop…just a room full ‘o’ misery like tah broke ‘er heart. They’d been kind enough tah take ‘er message fer China Doll’s doc, an’ she dropped coin inta their donations box afore makin’ the ten block hike back.

So now, with tha sun dippin’ and completely outta notions, she sat in tha grass, watchin’ a mother an’ her toddler playin’. She had three days free…somethin’ both Cap’n an’ Yuri gone out their ways tah make sure she conjured. Day One was ‘bout tah shut down, and with Alana vanished she weren’t too sure what she wanted fer Two an’ Three. From where she sat right now, showin’ up at Vic’s fer breakfast an’ some more ‘o’ Lorraine’s teasin’ was the best thing she’d heard. Leastways ‘til she could hear if Alana’s doin’ alright.

All around her she seen people comin’ an’ goin’, Folk headin’ fer their night work at resorts, dressed as wait staff, cooks, room service types, all clean an’ crisp as they hurried toward tha rail platform. Then, there was them whose day was done. Housekeepers, maids, them as rich folk called “the help,” trudgin’ slowly home tah tiny apartments an’ whatever sorta life their narrow coin purses could bear. “Ain’t ever’body on vacation, Chick Pea,” Uncle Bob once tole her. She ruminated on that, seein’ its’ truth in the weary eyes all about her…’til the world went all pigglety.

She’s knocked ass over tea kettle, sprawlin’ in tha grass as somethin’...a powerful big somethin’...done come down right on top ‘er. Abby’s put outta her senses fer a tick as she couldn’t conjure just what’s goin’ on. Then, all sudden like, a tongue size of a beefsteak slathered right up ‘er face. When it drenched ‘er a second time, she caught on. The dog was solid muscle an’ gigantic head jest above ‘er face. She squinted, crackin’ one eye open tah get a look. Fer such a beast, he’s sorta goofy, huge body movin’ with each wag of ‘is tail.


By now it commenced gettin’ funny. Abby’s laughin’ as ‘er hands worked up both sides of the big head tah scratch the dog’s ears. He just licked ‘er face agin’ when ‘is owner caught up.

“Elvis!” she cried as she hauled him back by the collar, “Let her breathe, ya big re-re! Oh, Buddha, miss, I’m sorry! I’m so…Cornflakes?” Lorraine, the waitress, peered down upon the deckhand. Seeing Abby’s good humor about being tackled, she placed hands upon her hips and a faux glare upon her face. “You tryna make out with my dog?”

Abby wiped tha slobber away with a forearm, afore proppin’ up on ‘er elbows. Elvis whined, tongue lollin’ as he pulled against tha collar. “Didn’t know I was stealin’ yer man, Bugsy,” she quipped, offerin’ tha dog a bit of solace through a scratch ‘neath ‘is chin.

“My One and Only,” Lorraine settled onto the grass, joining Abby in doting upon Elvis. “I bring him out here after work for a little play and a good poop.” Seeing good flow between the pair, she offered, “He sure likes you. Wanna join in?”

“Don’t need tah poop.”

Lorraine smirked. “You sure?” She waved her little bags. “I brought extra.”

“I’ll letcha know,” Abby giggled.

“Any luck with your doctor friend?”

“Nah,” Abby shook ‘er head, hair gone even wilder than usual fer rollin’ about in tha grass. “I conjure she don’t wanna be found…leastways fer a spell. Left scads ‘o’ messages, though,” she give a sigh. “She knows how tah find me.”

“How many you send?”

“Five ‘r six. Why?”

The waitress propped elbows onto her knees. “Smart to leave her alone for now. Any more waves than that’ll just creep her out…or piss her off. Is she your boo?”

Abby glanced over, not sure if Lorraine’s jest funnin’ s’more or if the question come innocent. When she seen the girl weren’t sizin’ ‘er up for her answer, she said, “We’s close, but not like that. Jest a might worried fer her is all.” The deckhand reckoned it funny, but sittin’ here with Lorraine an’ her dog, words all just started comin’ real easy like. “We got shore leave fer tha next two days,” she said. “Alana an’ me had some plans. Sounds like they’s ‘bout tah change.”

Elvis now lay between them, his mouth open as he panted happily under the attentions of both women. “So what you’re saying,” Lorraine responded, “is you’ve got the night free?”

“Fer whut?”

“Blood orgy,” With a chuckle for the offworlder’s confused reaction, Lorraine offered, “Okay, how about this? Come out with me and my crew. We’ll have some drinks, maybe dance a little? That sound like fun to you?”

Abby rubbed Elvis’ forehead as she thought on it. By rights, she should head fer tha boat. See if they’s word from Alana. They give ‘er time off, but she’s fer sure certain ain’t Cap’n or Yuri laid eyes on tha lower deck lav. La shi needed doin’. She really oughtta git at it…There’s Lorraine. Creepifyin’ how she can read muh thoughts, the deckhand conjured as the waitress give ‘er some big puppy dog eyes. “Yeah,” she heard ‘er voice sayin’. “Sounds like fun.”

‘SHINY!” Lorraine was on her feet. “We are gonna have a serious good time!” She hauled Abby to her feet, then led the way, her arm draped about the girl’s shoulders as Elvis fell in at their side. “My peeps are gonna love you, Cornflakes! There’s a place we hang out…The Lair,” she grinned as they hurried down the street. “They’ve got a killer band there tonight, and not a single gorram tourist!”

“Cept fer me,” Abby quipped as she’s bein’ nudged along. All sudden like she pulled up short, stoppin’ em both in tha street. “I dunno…sorta sounds like I ain’t gon’ get in there…’specially in togs like I got on right now.” As she spoke, she waved a hand over ‘er top, tha shorts, an’ canvas shoes.

Lorraine grinned. “Bùyòng dānxīn**, Cornflakes. Leave everything to your old pal Bugsy.”

**No worries
Bugsy and Cornflakes

The menu at Vic’s Good Eats was nigh on simple. Still, Abby kept readin’ it again and again. Her eyes took in them words, but ‘er brain jest weren’t payin’ no attention. She read, and read, and read.

Alana just up an’ disappeared. Abby tried tah find ‘er, playin’ it smart, usin’ ‘er cortex. None ‘o’ them fru-fru hotels’d tell ‘er nothin’, no matter what kinda lie she concocted. When she finally took wise an’ tried leavin’ a message fer Dr. Alana Lysanger, that’s when she learnt weren’t “no guest by that name” on tha roomin’ list. Short of fleabag flops an’ boardin’ houses, she done wore out tha town’s directory.

Hospitals was no better, and gorram tight lipped when it come tah questions ‘bout anyone what used “Dr.” afore their name. That’s when she conjured she’d havta pound pavement. Hours stretched on an’ on, as tha day wore inta afternoon. One kindly nurse pointed ‘er toward tha 27th St. Free Clinic in tha poor district, where all them resort servin’ folk had tah live. Knowin’ Alana’s way ‘o’ helpin’ them’s need it most, she thought she had tha answer at last.

But they ain’t seen ‘er. “We’ll pass your message if we do,” they promised.

Tha menu still weren’t gettin’ past ‘er thinkin’. Can’t just let ‘er go like that, some small part ‘o’ Abby cried out. She an’ Alana was gettin’ tight…kinda sisterly kinship she come tah realize had real meanin’. Whatever happened twixt her an’ Cap’n, she reasoned, ain’t nothin’ can‘t be put right. Pen didn’t say goodbye. Now, Alana. As she thought on it, her fingers rubbed the bullet, feelin’ tha necklace chain its’ hooked to. Have tah find ‘er, Abby paid no heed to tha menu. She can’t just…

“You gonna order something, or ya waitin’ for Vic to autograph that menu?”

The waitress looked on ‘er with dark eyes all skeptical like. Seemed tah be nearabouts same age as Abby. Her short black hair looked like she just climbed outta bed. Had a faded green apron over denim cutoffs, one hand on ‘er hip as t’other refilled ‘er water glass. Girl wore a tee shirt what read That’s a terrible idea! What time?

“Ain’t sussed it out yet,” Abby said.

“Well, sweetie, if you want food, you’d better suss real quick. We close in thirty minutes.”

In this life, they’s certain unwritten rules. One of ‘em was “Never order food just before closing time.” Abby laid the menu down. “Too late,” she said. “Ain’t gonna have yah dirty up a kitchen’s already bein’ cleaned fer tomorrah.”

“Trust me,” the waitress replied, “Vic wants your coin. Whattya havin’?”

“Got somethin’ jest warmin’ on tha stove?”

“HEY VIC!” the waitress shouted toward the kitchen.



“NOODLES!” the proprietor yelled. “I GOT NOODLES!”

Abby spoke afore tha waitress could ask. “I love noodles.”

The dark haired girl smirked. “That’s a rog. VIC!”


“BOWL OF NOODLES!” She turned back toward her customer. “Ya want any sauce or crackers to go with?”

“Sriracha’s good.”

“Hells yeah it is,” she give a nod what made the little hook of ‘er nose stand out sorta cute. “Comin’ up!” Abby watched ‘er go, takin’ sight of the girl’s red high tops as she darted behind tha counter. Weren’t more’n two ticks afore she come boundin’ back with a small basket ‘o’ saltines, bottle ‘o’ sauce, and a bowl what’s steamin’ as she laid it on tha table. “Careful, it’s hot,” the waitress cautioned. “Vic scooped all the chicken and carrots outta the pot for you.”

“Thank yew,” Abby replied.

“Thank yew,” the waitress mimicked her accent. “Thank yew!” She laughed. “I love that! HEY VIC!”






“Good idea,” Abby’s temper was fixin’ tah smolder.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Lorraine laughed it off. “Just breakin’ your balls a little. But you’re not from around here, and we’re way off the tourist track, so what’s up, Cornflakes? Why you down here slumming with all us poor slobs?”

“I’s across tha street,” she said after shovelin’ a bite down. “At tha clinic.”

“Oh yeah?” Lorraine gave a knowing smile. “D’ja get the clap?”

“No, dumbass!” Abby come back pissed. “I ain’t got no gorram clap!”

“Ha!” the waitress chortled. “Ah ain’t go no gorram clap! Oh, Cornflakes, I love your twang. I could listen to you all day!”

Abby fired back. “Bettern’ soundin’ like some sorta half assed ‘wise guy’ mafia capture, I conjure!”

“That whatchoo conjure?” Lorraine was genuinely tickled, then chose to pour it on thick. “You come in here, right off the boat, thinkin’ I’m some kinda mook?” Her eyes sparkled as she laid on her own rough hewn urban accent.

Abby could see in Lorraine’s eyes tha waitress was jest funnin’, so she let ‘er hackles down. ‘I’s thinkin’ a diff’rent word,” she answered twixt bites. Them noodles was right fine…

“Oh yeah?” The server plopped down in a chair opposite her only customer. “Starts with a B? Ends with an ‘itch?” When Abby tapped a finger to the tip of her nose, Lorraine threw back her head and laughed. “I like you, Cornflakes!”



“Name’s Abby,” she said with a mouth half full. “Yer cook sure knows ‘is trade.”

“Uh huh,” the waitress nodded. “He’s Vic. I’m Lorraine. HEY VIC!”




“NO! No…oh, fuck it,” she laughed with a toss of her head. “Vic opens at seven…feeds working people breakfast and lunch…’cuz who can afford what they sell the tourists? Am I right?” Lorraine threw out open hands. “Am I right?”

Abby shook ‘er head. “Don’t rightly know. Ain’t done no touristin’.” She finished her bowl. “Been lookin’ fer a friend ‘o’ mine ever since Cap’n let me off tha boat. Hey,” she yanked out ‘er cortex once tha idea struck. “Seen a perty blond woman come in tahday? She’s a doctor? Dresses tha part?” The screen glowed with a capture of Alana’s image.

Lorraine glanced, then dismissed the picture. “Nope.” Then she smiled. “You’re the cutest thing that’s walked through this door all day.”

That’un struck tha deckhand off guard, but she did kinda like tha waitress sayin’ it. “Gitcher eyes checked,” Abby give a smirk. “Speakin’ of, yah know any other sorta free clinics or med stations about? Thinkin’ muh friend would wind up helpin’ at one or t’other.”

Lorraine pursed her lips, tapping them with an index finger as she thought. “There’s the Drop Shop,” she offered. “They give junkies clean needles and a safe place to use. They’re always up for medical help. Up 27th,” she pointed the way. “About ten blocks. Don’t get caught up there alone after dark,” she warned. ”Dohn mah?”

”Ku.” Abby put ‘er coin on tha table…cost of a bowl ‘o’ noodles an’ a decent tip fer her as served ‘em up.

“Hey, thanks,” Lorraine scooped up the money. “You gotta come here tomorrow for breakfast, Cornflakes! Vic makes these sweet rolls that’ll just knock you right out! And when it comes to coffee, we don’t fuck around.” She gave Abby a teasing smile. “Anyway, I’m not through pickin’ on ya.”

That raised a laugh from tha deckhand. “Helluva sales pitch, Bugsy,” she quipped. “I’ll think on it.”

Lorraine watched as the girl made her way toward the door. “An offer you can’t refuse?” she chuckled.

“Ah heard that!”

“WHAT?” Vic shouted from the kitchen.
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