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   Chapter 24 Going Walkabout and meeting Frank

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 13587

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04

It did not take very long for the ship to be allowed access to the harbour of Walkabout. At least not long compared to the larger ships with more people and goods of exotic origin that lacked the proper papers. Since there were no exotic goods on the black ship they did not need papers for that (this indestructible tenacity to paperwork was a remainder of ancient civilisation which was taken as a memory of the good old days).

There was the slight problem of disembarking as the ship had no ladder or gangway. This was solved by the harbour master who had the driver of a nearby hoisting-device lift the crew from the deck and carefully place them on the quay.

"We should have that fixed someday, " Carmolo noted. He had objected to coming along because the responsible staff corporal inside him did not want to leave the ship unsupervised. The others however had convinced him that the ship would be fine. To make sure that it would not go anywhere without them they had even covered the large crystal with sacks and cloth that came from a compartment underneath the stern. Jirdie had discovered the hatch and when the rags came from the compartment Barthomeu understood where the old cleaning rags had gone that the renovation crew at home had used.

Rebel then took charge and led the group down the harbour, only to end up at a solid brick wall. "Oh. We should have gone the other way, " she decided. "I don't come here so often, and certainly not in the harbour." After retracing their steps and passing the ship again ("Hey, that's a pretty yellow flower, who painted that?") they found their way out of the maze that Walkaboutians proudly called the harbour.

"Will we ever be able to find the ship again?" Carmolo worried.

"Don't worry, Nilsie has the nose of a hunting dog, he'll find it, " Ninnie assured the man. "So, where to now?"

Rebel asked a few passers-by and then walked off with the group, into Harbour Lane which led to First McAbercrombieson Park. From there they turned into McAbercrombieson Lane and then they took a sharp left into Barbie Alley where a pungent smell of fish welcomed them. According to Rebel, who was seen as their local authority on all things Oz, the smell came from Shrymp, a synthesised version of shrimp that was much easier to grow in bottles than going out onto the ocean to fish for them.

Most of the Harmony Clan growled about dishonouring tradition and the true fisherman's craft but they agreed that the smell was quite appealing. A few more streets further and Rebel came to a halt in front of a building, which fa?ade sported a huge picture of a kind, round face. The man in the image smiled and had a tooth missing which turned out to be the door into the establishment. His nose announced that this was Frank's Bar.

"That is Frank, " Rebel explained. "Or was."

Most people nodded as they looked the big face over. "Looks nice, " Zopierama said, "but he's quite bald."

"They did that because no one really knows what colour hair he had." Rebel then opened the tooth and let everyone in. The inside of Frank's Bar looked like a handmade cabin, done by someone whose hands were not used to making something look like a cabin. It was also very very roomy, and littered with wooden tables and chairs, none of which looked like any other. This was also true for any combination of table and chair. The air inside the bar was permeated with the smell of light beer and cheap coffee, carefully mixed for the air-conditioning system.

"Frank! Are you here?" Rebel called out as they stood and let their eyes get used to the dim light. "Every bartender here is named Frank, " she explained.

A man came from behind a screen. He wore dark blue denim trousers, white shoes and a light blue shirt that had seen better days and more brilliant colours. His head was bald save a few bandaids which indicated that his baldness was not hereditary. "Howdy folks, mates, people, I'm your Frank for the day. How may I help you?" His accent was gruesome but fitted him.

"Hi Frank. These people are new in

es, we don't know how to do that. We learn to tell things, we remember the things that we were told, we talk to our machines that print things, and the rest is written down with images."

"Well, basically writing is images as well." Rebel picked up her pen and wrote another sentence on the sheet of paper.

"Employer is with one 'l', " Jirdie said who sat next to Rebel and looked over her shoulder.

"Thank you, " she responded and then slapped him. "You don't read other people's letters!"

"Why not? At home we used to do it all the time!" Jirdie complained as he rubbed his arm. "You hit hard for a girl, you know that?"

"Something the matter?" Frank asked as he brought four fresh plates.

"Not really, " Rebel said. "I think. The people who I thought could write can't, and the ones I presumed that couldn't read apparently can."

"Oh. Well, that's fine then." With that Frank left for the kitchen again, as four of the Clan members yelled "HOME FOOD" once more and started to eradicate their second helping of chicken on a raft. Luckily for Rebel, Jirdie was one of them so she took a breath and under the attentive eyes of the three people from the boat she finished her letter. After that was done Barthomeu asked if he could look at it closely. She gave him the paper.

"Fascinating, " he said after some studying. He held the paper out for Zopierama. Carmolo had joined the eaters of the second round. "See how she made these neat groups, and the flowing pattern of the line? I am very surprised that people can put information on a sheet of paper by hand that way."

Rebel snatched the letter back from him. "Okay wise guy, here's more paper and a pen. Show me how you do this, with images."

Barthomeu asked her what she wanted him to put on the paper. Rebel pulled him close and whispered in his ear so no one could hear it. "Oh. Is that all?" He kept the pen over the paper and then made a number of random dots in less than a quarter of a square inch. It took him six or seven seconds.

"Now, Zopierama. Can you tell me what Barthomeu wrote?" Rebel was curious, as were the members of the Clan.

Zopierama took the paper and looked at the dots. "Your name is Donna 'Rebel' Abrahams, as you told us, and when you came on board you were very wet. You said that you had come in through the hull of the ship which is still very difficult to believe, but we have no better explanation for it."

Rebel's jaw dropped, showing her still silver teeth. "What? He wrote all that in an image with a few dots?" She looked at the paper and then asked Carmolo to read it out. He recited the exact same words and then told Barthomeu and his girlfriend that their food was getting cold.

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