20: Shalisa hospitality
Fitz stood on a high promontory, a good wind blowing through his hair, while the five children around him passed his binoculars from hand to hand. A sailboat which had just come into sight at a distance was getting conned and assessed as to generics. Boat watching had become a favourite game for the young people after the flow of waterborne traffic toward the village had been discovered by Fitz and the twins on a climb up a slope which overlooked the water.
On that occasion the three had immediately noticed that, where only the occasional commercial or pleasure craft had added visual punctuation to the distance before, there was now a more plentiful supply of periods and exclamation marks appearing on the horizon cruising the waters, most of them bound for Shalisa Creek Village.
The observers were after the exclamation marks!
The object of their game was to identify the rigs on the sailboats which appeared. They would look through the binoculars while Fitz pointed out to them that sloops have a single mast accommodating a large mainsail, a ketch has two mastsits main mast being taller than the aft mizzen mastoften gaff-rigged like JOLLY ROSE, that a cutter-rigged two-master with its shorter mast well aft, which he called a jigger, was likely a yawl, such as TJUTELA, and... .
By gollysee that motor sailer out there just coming into sight? We couldnt see it before because it was around the point, and its obviously not heading for the village. Its powering under bare poles on a day which is ideal for all sail aloft and, unless Ive forgotten what she looks like, thats surely CRUSTY LADY LILY heading for the Gap.
There were shouts of delight from the children as the fact was verified by all of them, as each in turn had a look, and the game was immediately forgotten.
Oh goodyAunty Betty and Uncle Bounce! exclaimed Therése excitedly.
How long will it take them to get here do you think? asked Morgan.
Well, depending on how fast theyre pushing it, maybe an hour. Once you get around that shoulder of land youre just about hereat least by motor. Shes a fast boat if shes given a chance, and if I know Harry shell get one. Sails something else.
Oh wowsie! shouted Walter.
Lets go down and get ready to meet them, suggested Isabel.
Eee-yes! agreed Therése. Well pick some flowers for them on the way.
A fast scramble in the direction of down started, which Fitz tried to control with cautionary remarks of,
Not too fast now. We dont want you falling and skinning your knees again.
Nobody slowed down, although there were okays thrown back at him. He followed, laughing to himself in defeat, figuring scraped knees and gravel-laced hands were all part of the growing up experience.
When Bettina and Harry motored past Bay Guardian with a wave of acknowledgementhaving learned that this token of respect was expected from old friendsand headed for the barge, the welcoming committee of five children was rowing out in their old dinghy to meet them, raising flowers over their heads and shouting greetings.
Hey, grinned Harry, This is better than Hawaii.
And the flowers are real, laughed Bettina. Hi kids!
The children followed along until CRUSTY LADY LILY was being tied up next to LEGER DE MAIN, then, with an expected invitation from the two arrivals, they fastened their painter astern of the motor-sailer and scrambled aboard, mobbing Bettina and Harry with hugs and thrusting the flowers at them with shouts of,
Hi Uncle Bounce! and Heres some flowers and a big hug Aunty Betty!
Cant remember when anybodys been that glad to see me, laughed Harry.
Its so good to be back, said Bettina, as Shiro and Fitz reached out from the barge and helped secure their lines.
Its good to see you too, responded Rose who was standing aside out of the way with Tashakawa. Did you have a good sail up?
It was blowing a bit out there. Sure glad we had a steady boat.
Not just a short visit I hope? she asked, pleased with the advent of company.
Not if we can help it, Harry told them as he looked up into two unfamiliar faces looking down from beside Rose and Fitz. I see youve got company.
Yes, were all here on the barge for an occasion like this. We dont get visitors every day. Come on up and meet Tashakawa and Shiro.
Couldnt get along without country sights and sounds any longer, Harry told them as they came up the boarding ramp. Were through with city life for good. Got rid of all our junk, sold the house, and were ready to sit still and enjoy peace and quiet away from all that.
We thought wed buy a nice little house in the village, explained Bettina. We really liked the atmosphere there that time we came with David.
Remembering Davids tale about the pub happenings, this different slant on the story made Rose laugh.
Its quite a place, she agreed, But you may find a few changes since you were there last. It depends on what kind of house you want and how much youre willing to pay now.
Were here because we werent willing to pay, admitted Shiro.
Lets have a beer while we catch up on things, suggested Harry.
Comfortably gathered on the barges stern deck, with the Curries homemade beer and some popcorn the children made, the arrivals heard from the others about the changes which were taking place at their choice of a spot for laid-back living.
They both smiled and said philosophically that they figured things would settle down shortly, as a lot of those buyers of fabulous property had probably taken on more than they could manage in mortgages, and lots of those expensive places would be empty and up for sale soon. Theyd seen it all happen before.
- - -
This optimistic view of change abruptly and quickly came up for review when the two refugees from rush and push made a trip into the village, seeking a nice little house. There were some nice little houses for salewith big price tags prominently displayed, listed in the advertising space of local real estate office windows. After a few days of unproductive searching, they returned to Shalisa Creek Bay, downhearted and discouraged.
Everybodys gone mad! exclaimed Bettina indignantly. Real estate is sure the right term for it. Every little old rundown cottage on a piece of land a little bigger than a city lot is being touted as a mansion with privacy and lots of space. They want almost more than what we got for the place we sold.
Well, dont worry too much, Rose tried encouraging them. Maybe you can find something a little farther from town.
Been that route, Harry told her. Same thing. More rundown mansionson hobby farms. One of the places was actually an old barn sitting on property which had been subdivided. We were told that it would make a great studioin fact there was supposed to be an artist getting ready to make a whopping offer on it so wed better be quick if we wanted it.
Looked like sheep and goats had cropped the land bald for years, observed Bettina in disgust. It was dust. We could imagine what it looked like when it rained. As for the barn... !
Trying to add a little comfort to the situation, Rose had them to a little dinner and suggested that they should just sit around a couple of days and consider their optionsmaybe something farther up the coast.
After dinner, reviewing in her mind the conversation shed had with the Curries, Rose thought of the children aboard ELFINSHOE, and about Tashakawa and Shiro living frugally on their fishing boat.
She sat in the kitchen of her comfortable little house regarding the other small buildings along the shore, sitting abandoned and forlorn, and she let her mind see those houses, warm and tight against the weather as they once had been, smoke lifting from the chimneys, gardens, people coming and going and caring for it all.
She remembered her own feelings of loneliness when she had arrived, on seeing this place which had once been so full of life, the buildings now deserted, housing emptiness and showing the wear of relentless Time and searching Weather. She recalled how grateful shed been when Fitz had welcomed her aboard the barge with coffee and the warmth of the fireplace, and how Charm had curled up in her lap, and it occurred to her that she had so much while others around her had so little.
It was a quick and pleasant walk she made to Grandfathers place later, with her step and thoughts lighter than they had been on the previous occasion when shed wondered what she could do to turn her anger and subsequent acceptance of progress into something more productive.
Standing in the circle of light which shone into the little cleared space among the old trees, she collected her thoughts and began,
Old OnesGrandfatherand everyone I love whom Ive brought home againit was totally inexcusable of me to come here whining and complaining about being nothing and not being able to do anything about it. I have plenty to do, and a lot to offer. I have an idea I want you to hear about and I know youll approve of what Im going to do. I want our place to be happy and productive again and to have our houses filled with the laughter of people once more. Grandfather, it wont be easy, but Ill do my best to remember what youve taught me as I try to teach it to others. Help me to be wise and let me always follow the ways of peaceeven if I do lose my temper sometimes.
Sun shone bright on the earnest face of the young woman, as those who had gone before heard, and smiled, and Grandfather nodded his approval, knowing the path his granddaughter had chosen would be hard and difficult, but through it allsatisfying and rewarding to a thoughtful, intelligent, open-minded spirit.
The next morning Rose asked Fitz if she could have a meeting aboard the barge.
Ill bring the cookies if youll make the coffee, she bargained.
Thats a good deal, agreed Fitz, as Rose turned away to ask the others if theyd come aboard LEGER DE MAIN for coffee.
The children, ever interested in the goings and comings aboard the barge, trooped along too, and Rose hoped that they also would be included in what she had to say.
I hope you wont think Im interfering in your lives, she began, regarding the questioning faces before her, But I cant help feeling that I have a solution to some problems here. You people cant find reasonably priced housing in town, while Ive got lots of little old rundown cottages you can have for nothing if you want to fix them up.
Seeing the astounded looks on their faces, she enlarged on her offer.
Wellits not all cake, she cautioned. Everything needs fixing. I dont know if you want to tackle a housing project like this butmaybe youd like somewhere to live without having to worry about paying for it, and I just hate to see my old home grounds going to pot this way. I cant put it all back together myself, and even if I could, I cant live in all the houses at the same time. This was a great little community once and it could be again. Its just that everybody has to pitch in and help. If you want to, please do. You get the bad with the good andId be pretty happy about it.
Really?! Bettina got out at last.
YesI mean it. We all help each other out and everybody profits. Jump in and take your pick.
Oh, Rosewed love to! came Bettinas immediate acceptance without consulting Harry, whose smile told her what his answer would be.
This is so generous of you! Tashakawa told her, hardly able to believe the offer.
Wellmaybe, replied Rose a little hesitantly, Lots of hard work and not much else. Everythings kind of falling apart, and theres no electricity unless you get a generatorwater by gravity, heat by any method you choose, like wood or oil or propanebut youre welcome to it if you want it. Lots of people working together can get a lot done.
Cheers to that! declared Harry, and the coffee cups clinked, as Therése chimed in with,
Oh fantastic! Well have such fun! Maybe we can fix up some of the bunkhouse for us. We can call it Pirates Port.
The we doing the fixing was plainly going to include every adult who happened to be around, because those more mature members present knew that although the efforts of five children might equal and surpass them where enthusiasm and energy levels were measured, such a group of young hands and minds would very likely be attempting more than they could adequately handle.
Wowsie! came from the twins, and the children clinked their apple juice glasses along with the coffee mugs, happily forgetting their precarious situation in the ongoing life of the bay.
- - -
When Guardian of the Gap let the old tug WESTMAN WILL and the sixty foot sailing coastal schooner METHUSELAH pass through without challenge one evening at high tide, it was not from carelessness. The two arrivals were expected, and were familiar with the kind of respect which should be accorded that narrow and dangerous entry into the bay and the Spirit who watched over it so closelytheyd exchanged insults with her often enough before now and the three had come to a wary détente along the way.
The schooner motored through first with careful slowness, followed by the tug which threw its greater wash pushing against the submerged reef, sending soggers dancing up and down on the tide.
Both boats pulled cautiously over to the old wharf where Shiro stood waiting to help as they tied up gingerly, their skippers casting doubtful eyes on the old pilings.
Guess itll do for a short while but maybe we should anchor out, or else we need to get busy here fast, Armand, laughed the tug operator, his voice carrying ashore.
Plainly, it hasnt improved with age, but the work will keep us in shape, came the reply as the skipper of the schooner vaulted onto the old boards of the wharf and was introduced to Fitz by Shiro, and as they shook hands the structure shook with them. Its good to see you again Shiro. Weve missed you in town. Morning coffee at the Sea Urchin isnt the same without you.
Coffee here in the morning is much better, smiled Shiro. Its made to my taste and brought by a lovely attendant, and furthermore, she joins me in interesting conversations and tells me how everything in the world can be fixed with a little kindness.
That takes both sides, observed Fitz, adding hard reality to the tongue-in-cheek statement.
Maybe I can entice Tashakawa to make café au lait once in awhile, laughed the schooner skipper, as he looked out over the shining water pushing high up the beach. Im so glad you spoke to Miss Hold about us. Lets go now and thank her for letting us moor in her bay.
They waited for the big tugboat captain to come up to them, and then the four men walked in a group to Roses house where the kerosene lamps were already pushing back dark shadows along the path to her door.
Welcome to Shalisa Creek Bay, she smiled as they came in, and as her eyes met the tug captains, the recollection of their first meeting, when she and Fitz had deterred him from hauling away the barge, made her smile more welcoming.
Hello Bud. We have coffee and chaser waiting on LEGER DE MAIN, and Bettina and Harry Currie are there, along with the children.
Sounds good to me, agreed the big man, And this is Doc de Marincourt.
Armand, smiled the doctor, taking Roses hand and with lively mischief kissing it in the old, gracious salute of a cavalier.
Rose kept her amused amazement behind her smile. In the past shed received suggestive glances at her lips as an appropriate place for such a gesture, been bear-hugged, kissed on both cheeks, pummelled in comradely acceptance, and had her hand deliberately squashed to see if shed flinch. Armands approach was a delightful first.
Thank you so much for having us, continued Armand. Im certainly glad Shiro mentioned our problem to you. The village seems to be for the rich now. We peasants must do without there, and are dispossessed unless we bring bags of gold.
Dont let him fool you with all that peasant talk, warned Bud, laughing. People used to call him sir in France.
It was meant as an insult, corrected the doctor. But unknowingly the village landlords have done us a favour. Its so much more beautiful here. Surprising what a person can get used to and think theyre well off. I hope you wont mind when my wife joins me later. Shes in France visiting our daughter-in-law and our two grandchildrenand their father.
Theres certainly room for her, returned Rose, but she couldnt help wondering about the look Shiro and Bud exchanged behind Armands back, and why he had referred to their father. Shall we go over to the barge? I can see the twins hanging over the railing.
Bud, Armand and Fitz went first and Rose managed to slow Shiro down enough to ask,
Is there something I should know before I put my foot in it?
Armand has a lovely wife, but hes very stubborn, and so is she. Its a family thing. They had a bit of a go about their son and she leftto visit the grandchildren, he said.
OhI hope its not a permanent break.
I hope not too, Shiro replied a little doubtfully as they reached the barge and Armand turned back, saying,
Miss Hold, Shiro has told me youre something of a herbalist. We should have an in depth discussion about this.
Id like that, and by the way, Im just called Rose here.
Aboard the barge, as the children came forward and then the Curries were introduced, Harry, looking at the three men before him asked, puzzling,
Havent we met beforelikein the town pub?
Ahohits you, exclaimed Armand.
Yeah, I remember now, laughed Bud. We were throwing out rascals.
There was a young man who had a broken leg with youyour son? asked Armand.
No, hes not our son, replied Bettina, Although hed be a great one to have. Just a good friend. He was teaching us how to sail.
Hes a gutsy guy, commented Bud, recalling the pub brouhaha.
Rose wondered if Bud would have been so generous with his praise had he known that the gutsy guy was none other than the debt dodging piker who hadnt paid the towing bill for LEGER DE MAIN. She kept silent on the subject.
Shiro also had nothing to say, not having mentioned the fracas to Tashakawa.
Why dont we have coffee, he suggested quickly, wanting the subject gone.
Fitzs welcoming table got the attention next and the gathering became a reunion party. LEGER DE MAIN felt as happy as when casino guests had gathered on her decks to laugh and play cardseven happier, because these would be people who would appreciate her, not just as a transient pleasure palace but as a permanent part of their lives.
- - -
The next morning Harry headed for the old workshed which housed the inoperative generator. A discussion with Rose about the machinery during the reunion get-together had led to the conclusion he had hoped for.
Oh, please! Do fix it if you can. We can all pitch in to pay for the diesel fuel. It would be so great to have electricity in the houses again, and running water andwellthe possibilities are in the minds of those who want to use it. We could run the washing machine more than once a week andmaybe have a community shower anddo you think it might get running before the cold weather? I know things take time butohget busy Harryfast!
Thanks Rose, grinned Harry. You know, I thought a lot about that machine while we were away, and I have a pretty good idea of how to get it going. Ill see what I can do.
Although Rose was fond of the light her kerosene lamps gave to the evenings, warm and close, helping to shut out the too intrusive world which was suddenly arriving in the village so close to the bay, lack of the facilities which shed enjoyed in the city, and the physical effort put into maintaining a poor imitation of them here, made her anticipation of the results from Harrys efforts soar.
<I can still use my lamps. Its just that sometimes I need more light for some things, especially when the days start getting shorter and the darkness closes in earlier. Itll be good for the kids too. Safer than fuel lamps. Even though theyre careful, accidents happen, and we dont need that.>
As Harry, wearing a pleased smile, turned away to go tell the other men about what he had in mind, Bettina explained to Rose in a quiet voice,
Hes obsessed with that thing. He sat at home and made drawings and researched old manuals and kept sayingMaybe if we took another trip to Shalisa Creek Bay I could do something with it. He cant help it. He just cant stand to see a broken down diesel engineand itll keep him happy for awhileuntil its fixed. Then hell start looking for something else.
Arent we lucky we have him, came the appreciative reply.
Therefore, early that next morning, Harry, tool box in hand, walked quickly to the shed door, opened it, stepped in and called cheerfully,
Hi there, Im back. Glad to see me? Youre my restoration project. Well have a great time together getting you going.
Total silence met this verbal assault.
He went over to the machine, put his tool box down on the cement floor with a clang and ran his hands up and down his freshly laundered coveralls with purposeful motions, knowing that now he could wipe his fingers all over them again and be assured of not getting more grease on than he was trying to get off. He liked his coveralls. They made him feel competentwhich he was. He hadnt had them on for awhile and this had begun to make him feel a bit like a cigarette smoker cut off from tobacco. He tapped his fingers up and down on the cast iron monster as he leaned against it, making little thudding sounds, deciding exactly where to begin.
The startled machine, nudged out of comfortable obscurity in this noisy fashion, transferred some sticky oil to Harrys fingertips and the elbow of his coveralls and got ready to return to permanent hibernation once more, confronting Harry with its unwillingness to be part of his ridiculous scheme. It hulked itself there, cold and old and saturated with the remnants of its last successful defence of its downtime and prepared to retaliate with a show of total indifference.
Now, said Harry, addressing his unwilling subject, as he gave it some comforting pats, This isnt going to hurt a bit.
<Hurta bit? Hey man, get lost. Nobody can fix me. Im permanently broke.>
Harry lifted a big, shiny socket wrench from his tool box.
Think well start right here. Dont worry. Ive given this lots of thought and research. Youre gonna be whizzing along in no time.
<Are you crazy!? The last guy who tried it paid for his interference. You want some of the same?>
Um, considered Harry, about to apply strength to the wrench he had fitted nicely to a big dirt and oil caked nut, Think Ill just make sure the diesel fuel is turned off first.
<Ulp! What have I got here? Some sort of cagey amateur? Okay, Im not worryingIll get you some other way then.
Harry began to hum, smiling as he applied force.
There, one down and lots to go. Oh boythis is really good steel. Well get along fine. Have you stuck back together in perfect working order in no time.
<Get off my case you big overstuffed bully! Put that back. I dont need you prying me around. Im already stuck togetherreally good. It suits me just fineand Im not going to work!>
Hm, observed Harry, trying the next nut, Seems to be a bit stuck. No problem. Little squirt of this here and there and well have all your joints loosened up in no time.
<Quit that! Its cold and icky and its running all over me.>
Well just let that soak in a bit and go on with something else. Wiring looks okaybit worn here and there butfixable. Been chewed on by little four-footed friends. They get hungrytheyll eat anything, including your grease. Good thing Ive got lots of that with me. Looks like your fuel lines are okay from what I can see. Think maybe well find a couple of gear teeth gone and probably a broken piece of something else somewhere inside. Lets get you opened up.
<Ouch! You gonna rip me all apart and I dont even get an anaesthetic? Youre inhuman!>
Yeah, breathed Harry, backing off nuts with a quick, strong, back and forth motion, This is gonna be fun!
The outside world was forgotten as pieces of heavy metal were laid out around the complaining machine and Harry, like a happy kid taking apart an old meccano set, coaxed the protesting components apart and pried into the generators interior. When he quit for lunch the nice clean coveralls looked like what they were intended forat least what Harry thought they were intended forwiping greasy hands and tools on.
The reluctant old generator seemed to be losing this contest. Once it had been like a defiant old bear, roaring and growling, working sporadically, and resisting attempts to get it operating properly until at last it had broken down completely and any attemptees had left defeated, planting a kick on the old curmudgeons flank, which hurt the foot administering the blow more than it did the diesel. In fact the machine took this as a seal of approval for its siege tactics.
Harrys approach was more positive, more thorough and more effective. He knew what he was doing and he wasnt afraid to do it. Others, perhaps with fainter hearts, less knowledge and maybe the wrong tools, had thrown up their hands in defeat as the machinery rebuffed each effort time after time, but Harry was determined that this was going to be another triumphfor Harry.
Seeing the generator dismembered and lying about in pieces made the water pump beside it shrink in horror. It too had the distinction of being a Sogger of Machinery. It shuddered and tried to be a little less conspicuous under its coating of dirt and spider webs, hoping it might be overlooked as totally useless.
Interest in the shed project began to grow as Harrys declaration of intention began to gain credence. Everybody started visiting the site, asking how things were coming along, slowing down the work with suggestions, long discussions, and additions of the Curries good beer. Rose went every day, with high hopes. Fitz, Shiro, Bud and Armand all poked their noses around, hoping to pick up a few pointers from an expert. Bettina and Tashakawa approached cautiously and retreated the same way, smiling at each other and making remarks such as, Well he has to do something to keep busy, and Ive seen enough of this with Shiro and HAI-SOs engine.
The five young pirates were into it all the time, and not having coveralls, they got covered with grease, oil and grunge, especially Isabel and Morgan, as they tried to learn something about diesel engines, laughingly declaring that together they could probably fix up the motor on ELFINSHOEif she had one.
The twins were of the opinion that, if Harry couldnt get it back together again, some of the nice shiny parts would look great decorating their bunkhouse project, and Therése said she could make some of it look like musical notes on the wall if Isabel would paint in above them the semihemidemisemiquavers, a term she had learned from her mother and never forgotten, always hoping an occasion would arise for her to use it, however inappropriate it might be.
Altogether, it was a lively, interesting andif somewhat unintendedleisurely project.
Eventually, what had looked like oil-covered scrap iron lying around, soon became shaped into shining replacement parts, as Harry was often jumping into his little runabout and heading for the village with a couple of the children whenever he found the part he was working on was hopelessly unfixable and had to be abandoned.
They would go first to the Sea Urchin to fill up on fries and accompanying delightful junk food before getting down to the serious work of the trip. Lots of the newcomers in the café would look with distaste at the round man in his greasy blue coveralls and black hands, and the laughter of the children in their tee shirts and faded, frayed cut-offs was a bothersome noise to them. Frankly, they wished that sort of people would clean up before they came to town, instead of sitting there spilling food and spreading grease all over the tables and making an uncivilised racket.
Harry, thoroughly enjoying himself like a man with his own grandchildren along, wasnt even aware that such ordinary behaviour would be a source of problems to anyone. He was too happy. Hed discovered a welding and machine shop stuffed into a big, tottering structure behind a house, where the one man owner-operator did everything himself and always understood exactly what it was Harry wanted, even letting him do some of his own work on the lathe, and who didnt mind kids poking around into everything. He had grandchildren of his own.
They would always arrive back at the bay with something for those who hadnt gone along, unloading groceries or shopping which Bettina, Tashakawa or Rose had asked him to get, burgers and fries for the members of the younger generation, a bit cold and clotted by the time they were delivered, but received with just as much enthusiasm as though they were sizzling, and with the part or piece Harry had gone for wrapped carefully in a well greased cloth.
Before putting everything back together, Harry carefully and thoroughly cleaned everything, adding generous gobs of fresh grease where necessary, which to him meant just about everywhere, and talking to the generator as though it had large and sensitive ears.
Look at this. Isnt it the most beautiful big new gear youve ever seenexcept for the original? Boy, youre going to be a prize when we get through here. Just wait.
Everybody waited, as the generator hulked and sulked and refused to join in the enthusiasm. Harry refitted and repacked and rechecked everything. Everything, that is, which had to do with the machinery. In his usual way, anything outside of the genuine engineering had to wait its turn. Ancillary parts got looked at with a somewhat cursory eye, as Harry decided that most of the rest of the necessities were in darn good shape.
I guess, he surmised, David replaced a lot of fuel lines and stuff.
Had David been there he might have told Harry never to presume anything. The generator had won that hand. Calculated risksyes, butwhen verification is possibleuse it. Pretty sure bets were to be avoided.
Came the day for the great occasion.
Everybody arrived and stood around in the machine shed waiting for that first surge of power from the battery which would start the whole mysterious process of electricity generation which they all desiredthe children standing in front so that they could see better.
Fitz though, being a cautious seaman, backed off a bit and stood behind the crowd. Hed seen launchings and celebrations before, and some of the unsuccessful ones still stuck in his memory, not quite washed away by the intended celebration champagne.
Okayhold on here while I turn on the fuelnoweverybody count down. Threetwoonehit it!
Out went Harrys hand with its first digit extended as he bent to push the button, posing for one dramatic moment so that Bettina could snap a photo.
ThenHarry pushed the button.
There was a rush of fuel along the lines, a whish, then a whoosh, then a stream of diesel fuel shot into the air, spread into a graceful, fluid, circular fountain and descended as a pelting viscous shower onto Harrys ignominious head.
The audience, shrieking with laughter and surprise, bolted for the doorFitz firstas Harry, eyes squinched shut, groped blindly for the power switch and pushed it off, a vision of David Godwins oil-soaked curls now becoming in his mind a portrait of his own anointed locks.
Harry had forgotten that history has a habit of reforming and repeating itself in same but slightly different forms if no attention is paid to it. The same difficult to get at, out of sight, fractured fuel line which had sent David Godwin stumbling and cursing from the shed had just triumphantly soused Harry.
<Hah!> exulted the generator, <Didnt check on all the fuel lines did you? Well, yeah, the quadrupeds were here, but they just got the wiring. I got another dummy. HAH!>
Awright, Harry addressed the generator, regretfully abandoning his mental video of proudly delivering the little speech he had made up to commemorate the occasion, while he wiped the clean inside of his sleeve across his face as the oil trickled down, David warned me that you were a bad spirit but Im of the opinion that everybody needs another chance and I figured I could change your attitude, and I still think I can. Im not going to get madmuch. (This was said to the accompanying sounds of uncontrolled hilarity from outside the shed.) Youve made real progress and I thought youd appreciate that. Now look what youve gone and donemessed everything all up again. Shame on you! I should think youd be proud of yourself, all got up with new gears and stuff and all nice and shiny and clean and everything. Okayyou and I are going to come to an understanding here. You are going to work! You are! Youre gonna work if I have to get a plumber to go over every bit of fuel line and pipe you own, so just quit sitting there snickering. We need you here. Soyou just sit there and think it overbecause Ill be back!
Harry turned and went outside to face the music, which didnt resemble that which came from Davids flute in any way whatsoever.
The generator sat there, pleased with itself.
<Sure got him good.>
But after awhile it began to consider,
<Maybe I was a bit of a snark. Guess it is kind of cool to be all spiffed up and operational. Yeah! Ill be useful againemployedappreciated. Never thought of it that way. Everybodyll think Im one great hunk of machinery instead of a rusty old slacker. Yeah! Good stuff! Hey, you dirty old lazy water pump! Dont lump there looking envious. Wanna bet youre not his next project?>