Serial Saturday: Nightmare Engine of Doom Part 4 – Enzo’s Piloting Skills Are Tested

“I am a fine dirigitatator,” Enzo announced, staggering unsteadily to his feet. “I have diriged dirigibles all over the world.”

“Oh…thank…goodness,” the stewardess replied, looking over Enzo’s head with expression that mixed hopefulness and desperation. No one else claimed ability as a pilot, however, and after a moment she led us to the pilothouse, or whatever the name was for the place where the dirigible was piloted. I was tempted to stay in my seat, but I felt a certain amount of responsibility, given that Enzo and I shared a fraternity in our clandestine organization.

“How is that you find yourself without a pilot?” I asked as we made our way forward. Enzo’s lurching, staggering gait seemed to be making the stewardess nervous, and distracting her seemed a kind thing to do. “I would have thought you’d have two pilots, against the eventuality of one of them becoming incapacitated.”

“Yes, well…” the stewardess said as she opened the ornate brass-bound door.  The cockpit, or whatever it was called, was well-appointed, with several comfortable chairs and a generous sweep of windows looking out in three directions. What drew the eye, however, was the tangle of two corpses (or what I assumed were corpses, as had they been alive it would have seemed a bit cold-blooded for our guide or the other stewardess hovering nearby to have left them in what would have been exquisitely uncomfortable positions). Also, the great spray of blood rendering much of the light coming through one section of window pink seemed to indicate that at least one of the men had died. Both men wore blue uniforms and held long knives, one of the sort I believe called a “Bowie” knife, the other a strange, curved blade of a design unfamiliar to me.

It seemed that the pilot and his assistant had fallen to quarreling, and the argument had turned deadly. We all stared at the gruesome scene for a moment before Enzo barked out a laugh.

“That’s what you call, ironic, in’t it?” he asked, and gave me a hearty elbow to what would have been my ribs had Enzo himself been slightly taller. “If they hadn’t installed a backup dirigitator in here, we’d have more people dirigitating the dirigible than we do now.”

I gave up trying to follow what Enzo was saying, instead focusing on straightening up and wiping tears of pain from my eyes.

“What happened?” I gasped to the stewardess after a moment.

She shrugged, elegantly. “An argument over a recipe. For bisque.”

Enzo snorted as he made his way toward a set of controls. “Killing each other over bisque. A woman’s the only thing worth killing over.” He turned and jerked a thumb toward me. “Or a sheep, if you have certain predilections, I suppose. Not that I judge.” He scrambled atop one of the empty chairs, after several attempts. “Or money. Money’s worth killing over, of course,” he continued, looking around vaguely. “Land. Insults. I’d kill someone who insulted me, naturally. But not over a bisque recipe. Now then…”

He looked around at the controls for several seconds, at one point nearly falling off his chair as he peered at the various levers and dials.

“Not the model I’m familiar with,” he announced, “but of course not so very different. We’ll start with a nice turn to the right, or ‘port’ as we say, to get a feel for her.” He leered over at the stewardesses, apparently under the impression he’d managed a double-entendre, as he yanked a lever.

The comforting rumble of the engines ceased and the bridge, or whatever it was called, fell deathly silent.


Copyright © 2011 SM Williams


~ by smwilliams on October 29, 2011.