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   Chapter 19 No.19

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 4940

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02

Lil led the way onto the galley, where all but the captain were already present and seated. At one table lounged Gunner. At another perched Coop. The third was empty.

"That there's the captain's table. You don't sit there unless you're invited. Anywhere else is up for grabs."

"Where is the captain?"

"He's getting the ship set to guide herself for a while. Once he's set a course, he can't leave her for more than a few minutes at a time before the wind sets us off in the wrong direction again, but a good look at the wind gauge and some careful figuring can usually get him time enough to come down and have a meal. Of course, that's assuming he hasn't got that feeling he gets when he decides he can't leave the deck, which is as often as not. He's a mite skittish about not having at least a lookout up there."

"Me bein' a mite skittish is what's kept this bucket in the sky instead of in the drink, let's not forget. And it's hazy out there. Low clouds. Let's make this quick so I can put someone out there on lookout, " Captain Mack said, marching in through the doorway.

Nita took a seat at Lil and Coop's table. A shallow notch cut into the table formed just the right size to fit the bottom of a bowl, and another was sized for the bottom of a mug. When the captain was seated, Butch emerged from the kitchen with a pile of tin bowls, mugs, and spoons stacked precariously in one arm. She fitted them into the table in front of each of the crewmembers, neve

do it when the time comes."

"What?!" Nita cried, jumping to her feet.

"Settle down, Nita, " Lil said, putting a hand on Nita's arm.

"Settle down?! He just threatened to throw me overboard!"

Her hand clamped down harder, and the other revealed a cocked pistol. "Wasn't a suggestion, Nita."

Across the table, Coop pulled a pistol of his own, as did the captain. Gunner unholstered two things which might have been pistols as well, though they seemed to have more optics and barrels than could ever reasonably be called for.

"Have a seat, Nita. I'll explain what this is about. Gunner, on deck for lookout, and we'll discuss this little outburst later."

An angry sneer on his face, Gunner eased the hammers down on his weapons and stalked out the door. Nita looked to Lil and Coop. They still had their weapons steady, and most worrisome of all, their faces remained as chipper and friendly as ever. As there were few other options, she lowered herself to her seat.

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