This brings me up to about half of what I was shown on vacation. And speaking of which, I’m taking a tiny one; after last week’s industrial fun of 650 mile daily drives followed by canyon hikes at 5500 feet, then an 18-hour flight and wait back, the DayJob Sunday and each day this week until now, I dozed off twice yesterday. Not while compounding or anything such as that, but still. So, with today and tomorrow off, I’m doing as little as possible today and maybe some audio recording tomorrow. Very, very tired.
This is the third and last of the pub arc. I think we’ll see Roland and Sky one more time before Part II of this work-in-progress closes. I do know there’s a lot of politics coming up next.
“Know that if Sky is what you reach for, Cousin, I will give you my complete support,” Robert said with another formal nod.
“I thank you, Cousin.” Another drink and a pause. “So you are here to see how the political winds are blowing between our home and the Canadians.”
If there was electric power there was likely signal. And that meant Roland had access to the sum total of human knowledge. Classified or not.
“From what we’ve heard so far…”
“Is correct, Cousin,” Roland said. As rude as the others. “The Canadians have, to date, offered no improvement to the lot of the Kentuckians. In fact, their tariffs… oh. I see now. Your centurion, Hill, has a meeting with Deke Webb tomorrow at ten hundred. You’re expected. I’ll tell you this: Webb is shrewd and will likely set himself up as Governor. You might want to back a winning horse.”
“Thank you for that, Roland. Um…” He paused, hearing Sky’s voice at the bottom of the stairs. “Does she know who and what you are?”
“A little and a little less.” The nearly twenty-five year old man acknowledged the hit. “She’s seen my eyes and knows there’s something up my genes. Sky knows I’m a doctor with multiple specialties but nothing, nothing, Prince, about my family.”
“Understood.” Robert took a long draw from his ale just as she ran back up.
“Still talking? So boring!” She pulled her green apron over her head and tossed it onto the table. “I’m on break! C’mon, Roland!”
His cousin waved for Robert to not get up when he did. A bouncy Sky lead him to a door in the corner labeled “Office,” pulled a key from her pocket, and unlocked it. The door was just slowly swinging shut as he saw her tugging her pants down.
“They are not really going to – ”
“Ooooo!” came the sweet cry from the other side of the door.
“Yes. They are.” Robert stood and finished his second pint on the way to the stairs. Sky’s cries of “Ah! Ah! AH!!” were too much as he made his way back to the ground floor.
By this time, Mitch was chatting up some attractive woman in her early thirties at the end of the bar just by the door to the outside deck. Robert didn’t know if that was business or pleasure but didn’t want to interfere in either case. He went to the bar for a third pint.
“Sorry for the noise,” the bartender said in apology. “She’s a great waitress but also a force of nature.”
“Yeah, I see that. No worries.”
Settled again by the front window, he considered what his cousin told him about Deke Webb. It would be quite the coup to have him in our camp, Robert thought. Governor? Why did you use that term, cousin? The Empress could make him a Marquis. Only Clay Rigó was a duke: same territorial authority but a connexion to the imperial family.
His third ale half gone, there were slow steps down the stairs. With a silly smile and legs slightly apart, Skylar Zim was returning to work.
“I’ve asked you to not bang the customers…” Gus began.
“I was on break.”
She shook all over, like a dog. Her eyes came back to her.
“I’ll go check on the outside! Hey, Bob! Roland says y’all are cousins! Glad it was you who felt me up! Later!”
The bartender, Gus, found a reason to be somewhere else. Robert went back upstairs.
“If that’s a regular routine, I’m surprised she’s not pregnant,” he said from the top of the stairs.
“Me, too. I tested myself, just in case. Sperm count and motility seem fine. God is obviously waiting for the right time,” Roland replied, picking up a pen after wiping a little sweat from his forehead.
Robert sat and looked out the window, this time from the second floor, as his cousin shuffled papers about.
“Is she that good?”
“A damned wildcat.” He saw Roland’s jaw drop in the silent laugh of the Machine, Fausta. “She’s become my disease.”
A quarter hour passed.
“I’m back to base,” Robert said to the twilight. “How long are you here?”
“I need one more week at the hospital. There are some doctors who do not belong here and must be removed. That’s politics and I put it for last.” Roland leaned back in his chair. “And then there’s Sky.”
“You know Mother must know what you two are doing.”
“She’s said nothing?”
“I’d forgotten what an albino is. Can she have children? The Empress will impale you if she cannot.”
“It… that’s right, you’re human. Sorry! Didn’t mean it like that! Um. She felt and smells different right now. I think this was the time!”
Roland smiled and stood with his hand out.
“No such things…” he began.
“…as coincidences.” Robert finished. “I hope you’re right. And I’m expecting that invitation!”
Down the stairs again, Mitch now had three women and one man paying attention to his stories. He eased into his view and made two hand gestures. Mitch responded with “good here.”
Outside, Robert had just straddled his ebike –
“Bob?” From just behind him.
“Roland. He spoke well of you.”
“We barely know each other. But.” He turned around. Robert tried to take a deep breath through his nose but could not tell anything. “If you don’t cleave to him, I’ll personally take you back to Georgetown in the middle of snowstorm to let you die.”
Her arms were about his neck this time.
“Deal!” she whispered. And was gone.