Happy Saturday! If you need to catch up, go here.
Rags and Rhymes
Rags and Rhymes smelled like sex. There was no nice way to say it, so no one mentioned it, but everyone thought it. Jackie didn’t mind. It was one more potential thrill to light up her senses, and tonight she could use the distraction.
Punch was sitting in his regular spot behind the right leg of the stage. He had his own room upstairs. It had been part of his compensation for the damage done the night of the fire. He preferred to be as close to the action as he could without needing his makeup. When he saw Jackie, he pursed his lips and shook his head at her.
“Girl, you better change out of them knickers.” He jerked his chin at the audience. From
his perch, three Wave Guards were visible in the front row. Then he saw her wrist and frowned, “Let’s go.”
Punch’s rooms looked like a mermaid and an alchemist got married. Spangles, sparkles, seashells, and lace framed a chemistry contraption that turned out bottles of everything from ink to Idlewine. There wasn’t a sip or a drop Punch hadn’t tried.
“Lily Quee know your walking around in them duds?” His voice was burnt caramel. It
eased into the space and made you thirsty.
“She might. Is she working?”
“Her bit’s already done. She’s probably out sifting through spare thoughts on the gambling deck by now. You want me to send for her?”
Jackie did, but she knew better than to increase the actors on the stage. If there were three of them, someone would talk. It was just how the world worked. On the other hand, she didn’t have any spare pay. Lily would owe Punch.
“No, it’s bad enough she’ll owe you. I don’t want to take away from her time on the floor.”
He took a breath, but there wasn’t a reason to argue, so he got to work.
The wrist was sprained, possibly broken. He could splint it and take away the pain, but only time would fix it for good. That meant her facet of the Jewel was done. There was no way Marty would give her time off, and he’d probably snoop around until he figured out she’d been shattering. She’d need to disappear for awhile; she only hoped the seeds she’d swiped turned out to be of some value. Lily Quee’s dream of entertaining the world would need to be put on hold. Jackie only hoped Ty would wait and not leave with someone else.
As Punch finished tightening the laces, she asked, “Do you know anyone who knows botany?”
He raised an eyebrow, but answered her fast. “Diddle down on Mason has an entire underground garden of glowing shrooms and stems. Start there. Tell him Punch said silver strings. He’ll know what you mean and let you in.”
Jackie accepted a dose of pain medication – a green liquid that tasted like she’d licked varnish. She made it to Lily’s dressing room before falling into a dreamless sleep surrounded by silks and splendor and distant applause.
(see you next Saturday! I’m also going to be posting Part Two of my Miscon experience later in the week. Have a fabulous weekend and go create!)