In a Latitude of Temperance (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance Book 5) (3 page)

BOOK: In a Latitude of Temperance (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance Book 5)
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“Nay, my brave and noble, good and selfless Ichabod Temperance. The peril of your predicament is far too primal. I shall save you from these lusty Amazonian women. I say. Hear, hear. My word.”

“~sigh~
Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am.”

“Buzz off whirly-bird lady. The male is ours and we’ll slay you if you dare come any closer!”

“Eh, hem. Oh, dear. ‘Whirly-bird lady’ you say? No, that simply will not do. You see, the name is Plumtartt. Persephone Plumtartt. And if ‘the male’ belongs to any one, then, I think, he belongs to moi.”

“Come and take him if you think you’re woman enough!”

“Oh, I think I am woman enough, for if you pay attention, you will see how I deflect your volleys of arrows with peculiar ease with my parasol. You may have also taken note of how your arrows are disappointingly ineffectual against my clockwork companion. Please say hello to our jolly jade giantess hostesses, Mr. Cogito.”

“Good afternoon, great, green, super-women. If I were a human male, I would say that you were a sight for sore visual receptors. I am so very happy to make your acquaintance. I hope I have not inadvertently damaged any of your finely crafted arrows. Cheerio, Ladies!”

“I say, Mr. Cogito, this craft you have constructed has proven to be most durable in design. It has withstood volley after volley of arrow assault yet continues to perform and function as precisely as, ...”

“As the British rail system, Madame?”

“Precisely so, Mr. Cogito. Thank you ever so much.”

“Is our rate of descent to your liking, Madame?”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Cogito. I am able to parry the many speared attacks from the hefty heavings of the olive hued hussies, as well as thrust with the point of my trusty parasol.”

“Take that, you emerald sensation! A girl your age should wear a bra!”

“Take that, you green sex machine! You will not have your way with my man!”

“Take that, you jade made maiden. Keep your hands to yourself, young lady. He is for me!”

“I have him hooked, Mr. Cogito. I say, you may hurry us on a speedy getaway, if you will. My word, yes. I say.”

whirr, bzz, clink
“Aye, aye, Madame Plumtartt!”

“I say, Mr. Temperance. I am sure you cannot be comfortable dangling about down there, secured to our ‘umbrellacopter’ by means of a hook attached to your belt at the small of your back while your hands are bound behind and you spin about in place a hundred feet above the jungle’s canopy; however, you must admit, it is better than the alternative.”

“If you say so, Miss Plumtartt.”

 

---

Chapter Two.
Deazeezipitzo

“Dinnae over hydrate the poolms, Spike m’dearie, ye be dribblin’ water aulle over me loovely roogs.”

“Oops! Sorry about that, Mistuh ’oskins. I shall stroll along and fetch a mawp then, shall I?”

“Poots a skip in your poke a longs strolling, ye devil of a bellboy! Never have Oye had the deals with such a scur-r-riloous scalawag o’ a skoofaboots.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Oh! Straighten up, Spikesey lad. That odd assortment of dodgy hooligans are returning! Oye can’st wait to be shed of their oonloocky presence. Shush! here they are! Queeck! Acts proofessional!”

“Eh, eh, eh-hem. G
-o-o-o-o
-d evening, me loovely, most special and favourite guests to ever visit me tropical paradise hootel. The Edinburgh Equatorial Excelsior Satellite welcomes ye back into her looving embrace. Did ye have a pleasant excursion up the disease ridden, snake infested, rot inducing, oppressively hot and humid river’s extravaganza of malarian madness?”

“Well, Mr. Hoskins, I guess it did have its pleasant moments.”

“Calls me Atticus, please, Mr. Temperance.”

“Yessir, thanks, Mr. Atticus Hoskins, sir, you may call me Ichabod, if you want to. I do wish we could have stayed upriver just a little bit longer, though.”

“Mr. Temperance suffers from premature ex-filtration.”

“Miss Plumtartt!”

“Dinnae be embarrassed, Icky m’boy. It happens to the best o’ us from time to times.”

~whirr, bzz, clink~
“Is your bellboy available for polishing duties? I have developed an incessant tarnishing from the deteriorating effects of the constant moisture in the atmosphere.”

“Oh, the boy would be deloighted to spend the remainder of the evening scraping invasive corrosives from your inhuman parts, wouldn’t ye, Spike, laddie?”

“Hunh?”

“Ye see? Aye, that’s just grande. Have a seat over in the Northern Hemisphere at the shoe shine stand so that Spikey can start with the terrible fungi spreading from between your tin toesies. The human couple are invited over here to the Southern Hemisphered hotel desk so that they may collect their mail postings.”

“I sure do like the way you have this hotel carefully and strategically placed on the equator so that it exactly divides the Hotel in half. Looking at that there map on the wall, the Amazon River appears to be holding this chunk of land, Devil’s Island, in its mouth. Where the South American continent meets the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, you have recreated the grandeur of your hometown’s finest structure, here in Deazeezipitzo.”

“I am so happy you approve of my lodgings, lad.”

“I say, Atticus? Did you mention that we have received correspondence of some kind, eh hem?”

Whooof! I am struck woozy at the lyrical sounds of Persephone Plumtartt uttering the syllables of me name. The glorious beauty of the girl is staggering. Why she goes about with the homely little American chap, I cannae figure.

“Oohb, Oh! Yes, m’dearie. I have quite a little stack of tellygrams that have sought ye and the mister out in me hotel so grand.”

“That’s kinda odd, a bunch of mail tracking us here, down in South America, Miss Plumtartt. I suppose with the prominence of faster ocean travels, underwater telegraphic cabling, and clockwork carrier pigeons, this ol’ world of ours is getting smaller every day, Ma’am.”

“I must agree with your assessment, Mr. Temperance. I too find it surprising to have mail waiting at our postal box. Let us see what the world would have of us.”

“Let’s go through and open them here at the desk and in chronological order.”

“A capital plan, Mr. Temperance. Which missive shall we read first?”

“This here is a telegram from the noted, brilliant teacher of outrageous theoretical physics, Professor Christopher Diddlefudde.”

Chilean Chatter-box:
May 2, 1877.

Greetings Temperance STOP I am in South America too STOP Tierra del Fuego STOP I have a big backer for a big project! STOP We want you to be a part of said project. STOP PCD

“That’s nice, Miss Plumtartt. Professor Diddlefudde is a little on the eccentric side, but he is supposed to be a really brilliant theorist in his field. I wonder what he’s up to? That’s a funny thing us both being in sunny and tropical South America. ‘Tierra del Fuego”... That means ‘Land of Fire’, right? It must be some lovely tropical locale further to the south.”

“A great deal further to the south, Mr. Temperance. What else do you have there?”

“This is a second telegram from Professor DiddleFudde.”

Patagonian Patterings:
May 3, 1877.

Good news Temperance STOP I have recommended you to project managers STOP You have been accepted STOP Expect to be engaged at that location STOP PCD

“How about that, Miss Plumtartt. I’ve got a job and I wasn’t even looking for one.”

“Most remarkable, Mr. Temperance. Oh, look, this next telegram is addressed to me. It is from one of our companions of our Alaskan excursion, Mademoiselle DeeDee Gauzot.”

Argentinian Arguenought:
May 3, 1877.

Unusual confluence of likewise sunlight aversive fellows STOP May require assistance on island of Tierra del Fuego. STOP Do not wish to alarm Wolfgang STOP Oui STOP MDG

“Another invitation to Tiera del Fuego? It must really be a popular destination, Ma’am.”

“I am not so sure. Do you have another telegram yourself there, sir?”

“Yes, Ma’am. It is from the bodyguard of Mademoiselle Gauzot, Wolfgang Metzger.”

Bolivian Bellower:
May 3, 1877.

This communique is sent without the Mademoiselle’s knowledge STOP I do not wish to alarm her STOP Trouble brewing STOP Please help STOP Come to Tierra del Fuego STOP WM

“Aw, that’s sweet, Miss Plumtartt. They are both in terrible danger and do not want to alarm their friend. Ain’t that the cutest thing?”

“Excruciatingly adorable, Mr. Temperance. Is there anything else?”

“Yes, Ma’am. A piece of cloth has been torn from some bedding. This cloth was then heavily whale-oiled to make it water resistant. It is attached to a chunk of driftwood with mine and our hotel’s names scratched upon it. Inside is a scrap of paper that looks as if it has seen transit under rough conditions.

Ichabod-

I pray this message somehow reaches you. I have foolishly allowed myself to be tricked into assisting a terrible band of horrific and murderous monsters in the furthering of their catastrophic mechanizations. Do not come to Tierra del Fuego! Only death awaits! Oh, no! Am I too late? Aurrrgulgh!...

 

“This is from Professor DiddleFudde, Miss Plumtartt! I know it! I’d recognize that illegible scrawl anywheres!”

“My word, Mr. Temperance, he certainly does impart a sense of impending doom. Are we lucky enough to be bequeathed any more glad tidings, eh hem?”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt. Dang! This here is a fancy envelope! It almost weighs a full pound, and it ain’t got but one piece of paper in it. It must be the extremely thick paper  of the envelope and the gold leaf around the border of the letter itself. This paper and envelope look as if they were manufactured by hand a long, long time ago. Somebody must have inherited this stationery, for it appears to be literally hundreds of years old. Professor DiddleFudde could learn a thing or two from this person’s penmanship! It is so swirly and fancy I can barely even read it. It might actually be more unintelligible than Professor DiddleFudde’s skrawling, scratching, script. Let’s see, I think it reads like this.”

Herr Temperance.

It haus bein brouaughtte to mein auhttention thaughtte your skiellz as the einveentore are required for the project uhve mien kaunstruction. You vill come and join us. Expect mien emissary.

-Countte D.

“Hunh. I don’t know who this ‘Countte D.’ person could be, Miss Plumtartt. Do you think it may have something to do with what Professor DiddleFudde was talking about? It sounds as if somebody is coming to get us, Ma’am. You don’t think he wants to carry us off to the South American tropical island of Tierra del Fuego, do you?”

“You may be operating under an improper assumption as to that locale’s median temperature. And yes, I do suspect that the two are related. Let us be on our guard, sir.”

“Yes, Ma’am. Say, do you hear something, Miss Plumtartt? A hesitant, though heavy, step upon the boardwalk outside. This limp is followed by a slow, dragging step of an unfortunately clubbed foot behind.”

“The sound is approaching the front doors. Yes, Mr. Temperance, the source of the sounds exactly matches the individual in such a manner as you described. You did, however, leave out the parts about his peculiar up-turned and tilted positioning of his head so that the poor fellow appears to be leering at us with his wide and protruding eyes from a location far back and and to the right of the gentleman’s shoulder.”

“Our candid observer is now shifting his lean from aft to fore. This is having the effect of helping the fellow to lurch across the lobby to our position. Howdy, there, pardner, did you want to ask us somethin’?”

“Heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh. Heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh n-n-y-y-e-e-essss. Choo arre Herr Icksabotal Teemperauntz, da? Heh,heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh?”

“Yessir.”

“Heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh. G-o-o-ood, for the master, he awaitsss...heh,heh,heh, … h-e-n-nhh.”

“Your master, hunh. He wouldn’t happen to be wanting us to come to Tierra del Fuego, would he?”

“Yesss!”

“Then no. We were warned to...”

“Oh! I say! Mr. Temperance! Tierra del Fuego, you say? Why that sounds as if it is a most delightful destination! My word, hear, hear, I say, rather, I should think Mr. Temperance, that you and I should be delighted to join our gracious host on this unexpected journey. Rather, yes, I should say so, my word.”

“But Miss Plumtartt, I thought we were told...
Ow!
That quick little kick in the shin hurt! Okay, Ma’am. Um, yessir, I reckon we’ll be accompanying you to sunny Tierra del Fuego. I gotta new bathing suit for frolicking in the sun I wanted to try out!”

The lobby crasher cringes away from Ickity at the horrific image of the Alabama Birminghamster in beach attire. He quickly regathers his cut-rate composure to continue.

“These things are not on the agenda, Herr Teemperauntz. My associates prefer a nokturnal schedule.”

“I say, do these associates suffer from a peculiar allergy toward Sol’s gentle radiations?”

“Heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh, allergy? Oh! Yes! A sunlight allergy! Yes, Frauline Plumtartt, heh,heh,heh, … h-e-n-nhh, zaht eest eet exactly! Heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh.”

“I see; well, I suppose that Mr. Temperance and I can adjust our schedules for we do wish to be accommodating. Speaking of accommodations, I am assuming that you have already made travel arrangements?”

“Heh, heh, yes, Fraulein Plumtartt. A privately owned ship has been dispatched under my care to bring you to the project’s site. We shall be collecting more of my associates and members of the scienteefik team along the way. Heh,heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh.”

“I say, this is all too wonderful for words, Mr.??? I am so sorry, you have the advantage, sir, for you know our names, and we remain reproachfully ignorant of yours.”

“Heh,heh, h-e-n-nhh, of course, Madame. I am your humble host, if you will, until such time as we reach our destination.”

“Mien name eest,

                          WrenneFeyldde.”

 

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BOOK: In a Latitude of Temperance (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance Book 5)
2.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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