Serial Saturday: Nightmare Engine of Doom Part 7 – Enzo Reveals a Cunning Plan

For a long moment I soared outward, free of the clinging bonds of gravity. Then a trailing buckle from my work belt snagged on the window frame, and I whipped back to slam into the side of the gondola with stunning force. I hung there for a few moments, collecting myself and reflecting on all the mockery my habit of wearing a work harness with various hooks and buckles had earned me over the years. It was true that they did occasionally catch on doorways, furniture, and on one memorable occasion the ball gown of a pastor’s wife. But they were remarkably handy for hanging tools from while I worked, and now they appeared to have saved my life.

I watched the ground go serenely past, far below for a time, then looked up to see the stewardess leaning out of the window and peering down at me.

“Are you all right?” she asked. I had to admire her unflappability, if not her grasp of the obvious.

“I am in a bit of difficulty,” I admitted. “I wonder if you might give me a hand up?”

She did so, and soon I was scrambling back into the engine room. Once safely aboard, and with the window shut, it was not difficult to fashion a new diversion flap from a handy cabinet door. Once that had been accomplished, I returned to the driving deck, or whatever it was called, to receive my accolades for a job well done, and perhaps regale those present with a short tale of adventure.

“About time you got back,” snapped Enzo as I walked in. “Damn mix is still off–it’s like you shoved a cabinet door into the chamber or something. Did you use the right ritualistic incantations?”

“I didn’t use any arcane power at all,” I replied. “It scarcely seemed necessary, and it doesn’t do to use occult mechanics for trivial matters.”

“It doesn’t do to use occult mechanics for trivial matters,” Enzo replied in an annoyingly high-pitched tone. “I’d have thought that our not dropping from the sky and splattering all over North Dakota would qualify as non-trivial.”

“Oh, we wouldn’t splatter all over North Dakota, not on the way to Topeka,” one of the stewardesses said.

“Of course not, of course not,” Enzo said, and for whatever reason threw me a wink worthy of a music hall performance. I’m sure everyone else in the sky-cabin, or whatever it was called saw it as well, but they presumably had no more idea than I did what it meant.

“Anyway,” Enzo said, “the point is that it will take all my considerable skill as a diridgitator just to keep us aloft, much less heading toward Topeka (here he had another one of his facial spasms that stood in for winks), with the cobbled-together mess he’s made of our engines.”

“The engines are better than they were before I got there,” I replied. “And perhaps if you can avoid yanking on inappropriate levers for a time there will be no more damage.”

Enzo opened his mouth at this point, his grin telling me that he was about to make some joke about yanking inappropriate levers, so I continued on, speaking over him. “Anyway, when I came in you appeared to be dozing, and you haven’t touched a control since I got here. So I imagine we’ll make it to Topeka in good order.”

He grinned at this, and gestured for me to lean down closer to him. “Just so you know,” he said in a harsh stage-whisper that enveloped me in juniper and alcohol fumes, “we aren’t headed for Topeka. We’re pointed at Saskatoon.” He grinned and nodded. “Saskatoon.”


Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on November 26, 2011.