Excerpt: Caryn’s Magic Towne

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Here’s an excerpt from Caryn’s Magic Towne – A re-write expanded for the soft-cover book coming out this fall. I’d love to have you comment and critique it.

Appearances Can be Deceiving
Green balls, rice and lemon buttered fish was soon on the table and Colby, rapidly eating the delicious meal, paused for a moment, held up a Brussels sprout on the end of his fork and said, “This tastes wonderful boys! But I’ve never heard of these little cabbages being called green balls before.”

“My partner has some strange descriptions for things,” chuckled George, “but he’s usually right.”

“Well, I have to say he was certainly right about your cooking skills. This dinner is delicious. I’ll have to remember to call these Caryn's Magic Towne by R H Politzlittle things green balls from now on. Oh, and Ollie…, I like green balls now too.”

Conversation soon turned to the fishing boat’s surprisingly stellar performance with questions, answers and more fish, rice and green balls for the enjoyable repast. With the mission completed, nervous tension dissipated and the three men laughed and joked, finally relaxing after a long and very trying day.

Just as they were holding up their cups of hot chocolate to toast their success, a loud banging on the front door and a very familiar voice yelling, “Please let me in! This is most important!” interrupted their festivities. They froze with cups in midair, looking at each other until Ollie jumped up, pulled the door open and there on the threshold stood Simms, once again, jumping around in a nervous tizzy.

“Hi Mr. Simms,” he said, “Come on in. We were just having rice and ––”

Simms quickly interrupted. “No, no, no… No time to talk,” he wheezed out through heavy breaths, “The Queen needs your services again. It’s the Princesses. They are going to die unless you get them to the Rock Island hospital…. soon, very soon!”

“Die…? Oh––my––gosh! I thought the doctor would be able to take care of ––”

Once again, Simms cut Ollie’s words short. “The doctor has diagnosed a fatal disease, fever and all, and there’s only one place they can be treated so we have to get them there before they expire. Please hurry!”

Colby jumped from his chair and took command. “Ollie, George, let’s get the ship ready to sail. Simms, you get the poor girls on board and we’ll leave straightaway.”

Simms flew back out the door, George tried to gulp a few more bites of rice and Ollie grabbed his coat and ran after Colby yelling, “I’ll top up the fuel tanks and get her warmed up.”

They moved like lightening taking only a scant few minutes before they were pulling away, this time, for a serious medical emergency. George, still amazed at the ease of control and agility of their rebuilt boat, used the side thrusters to push HMS Protector from the dock and turn her toward the sea. With Ollie watching forward and Colby watching aft, his right hand carefully pushed the throttles forward. A bit left he judged, then a bit more speed. Whether high tide, low or anywhere in between, he knew every inch of the cove and expertly maneuvered her out through it to deep water where he turned southward and pushed the throttles up to thirty knots.

“John said we can go faster,” mentioned Ollie as he and Colby moved in close flanking George at the controls. “And we have to get the Princesses to the hospital as soon as we can. So, can we go faster George?”

Colby added, “Ollie’s right George so let’s take the throttle stops up a bit.” Then he pressed the stop-lock detents and moved them up to the half power setting. “We’re in open water now so, go ahead George, nudge her up a bit. Let’s see what she can do.”

The fishermen looked at each other with a bit of trepidation as George slowly inched the throttles forward. Thirty-five, then forty and finally fifty knots, flying over the water and the ride was still as smooth as glass.

“I can’t believe this,” mumbled George. “How ––”

Colby laughed. “She’ll go a lot faster boys but I thought we’d better break her in easy. Don’t want my new ship… um… I mean this new ship being pushed too hard till everything’s checked out.”

“Wow, faster than this…? No way!” exclaimed George incredulously.

Colby’s Freudian slip passed by George completely unnoticed but not Ollie. He wondered about it for a few seconds, then mentally tucked it away and spread a chart out on the table. “From here…,” he began, trying to be nonchalant about the, my new ship statement, “… it’s a straight line to Rock Island. But it’s way south –– even further away than the north islands. I hope we can get them there in time.”

Colby looked at the chart, agreed that they were on the best heading and Ollie, indicating he was hungry, patted his stomach. “We didn’t get a chance to really finish dinner and I’m still hungry. John, will you take the wheel while we go below and make some sandwiches?”

“Sure, I’d be happy to,” agreed Colby with a much too confident expression of pride and satisfaction.

“Thanks John,” grinned Ollie, “three sandwiches, coming right up.”

“Oh, none for me boys; I’m not all that hungry. Guess I ate more than either of you did.”

“Okay. Come on George. Let’s go make some peanut butter sandwiches.”

When the fishermen walked away, Colby chuckled as he overheard George asking Ollie if they had any jelly on board for the sandwiches. Then, turning his attention to the entire compliment of gauges, he scanned each one and smiled; pleased that the equipment was exceeding expectations and everything was working as planned. “You are my greatest achievement,” he whispered lovingly rubbing his hands over the cluster panel, “and together, we will enjoy even more victories as we crush our enemies into oblivion.”

Below deck in the privacy of the galley, Ollie put his hand to his mouth and whispered, “George, this is weird. I know there’s something that’s, just…” –– He looked around to ensure no one was listening –– “…something is just not right!”

“Okay,” sighed George dubiously, shaking his head, “What it is this time. And why are you whispering?”

Ollie put a finger to his lips. “Shush, quiet George,” he admonished. “The only people on board right now are the children, the doctor, Captain Colby, the Queen herself and two of her aides… and us.” He stared at his friend for a second before adding, “Oh yeah, and Simms too.” George’s facial expression still sent a so what message so Ollie continued whispering his concerns. “And why don’t we have any Marines with us? What’s that all about; don’t they always travel with the Queen and the Princesses, you know, for protection?”

George shrugged and then started thinking, with Ollie glaring at him, silently mouthing the Queen, the Queen! Suddenly he realized what Ollie had said and burst out with, “You mean the Queen is on our boat?”

“Quiet George… Shush!

“Oh –– Right –– Sorry,” whispered George with his head pulled down looking around to see if anyone else heard his outburst. “You mean the Queen… the––Queen is here… on board with us?”

“Yup, for real, and so are her daughters. I think that’s the entire Royal Family.”

George put a hand up to his face and started thinking but, after a few seconds, he smiled and began laughing. “Wait a minute Ollie,” he blurted out, “if the Queen was actually here, there would be guards all over the place and there aren’t any. You’re just joking aren’t you, trying to play a trick on me. Ha, ha…! Okay, I get it now.”

“No George, no,” pleaded Ollie. “This is for real!”

“Sure it is. Okay, you’ve had your fun. Now where’s the bread and peanut butter? I’m hungry.”

“No George, it’s her, really, it is. And before we left I heard Dr. Green saying she should go incogneet-something so they wouldn’t be recognized as the Royal Family or they’d have lots of crowds and questions. Said he knew all the people on Rock Island and it would be better if they sort of snuck in as commoners. That’s like totally weird too huh…. don’t you think?”

“Well…. He is a doctor isn’t he? He should know what to do. I guess that seems a little strange but they know what they’re doing. We’re just fishermen!”

Ollie was starting to get frustrated with George’s lack of agreement but he pressed on with even more evidence. “Okay, then why did the girls become sick all of a sudden? They were cold when the Marines brought them back but otherwise ––” He suddenly stopped mid-sentence when he heard footsteps but it took only moments for them to disappear into silence so he continued his story whispering even more softly than before. “Anyway, they were fine, not sick or injured so, what happened?”

George shrugged again. “Don’t know.”

“And why was it so easy for the Marines to rescue the girls on that island? I thought the bad guys would have lots of men up there but… only two? And, they gave up, didn’t even try to escape. Nobody does that when they think someone’s going to grab them.”

“Oh Ollie, you’re living in a total fantasy world. Where would they escape to? Besides, nobody in their right mind would even try to fight those Marines so let’s just make a sandwich and relax while we deliver the girls to the hospital and then this will all be over.”

This time, the usual, “Okay George,” never came from Ollie’s lips. Instead, he was grumbling, disappointed that his partner hadn’t understood what he had just related. So he made his sandwich and silently ate.

When they returned to the bridge, Colby suggested that George take the wheel. “I’m going to make some of that delicious hot chocolate,” he said with a smile. “You just keep her on course and we’ll have the girls there in no time.”

George took Colby’s place at the controls, looked at the speedometer and gasped out loud. “It says ninety knots! Is this possible?”

Ollie’s mouth went agape as he too looked at the gauges, then out the window and back at the speedometer. “Y ––Yeah George,” he gulped, “I think so ’cause I’ve never ever seen waves go by this fast!

Although the strong headlights lit their path like daylight, the whitecaps were just a blur as they, almost literally, flew over them. HMS Protector was up on her stilts cutting through the water on submerged planes that held the entire hull above the surface and allowed her to scream over the waves without touching them. The propellers had retracted up into the hull and a steady powerful stream of water, sucked in the front and pumped out of jets in the rear of the submerged planes, pushed them to speeds they had never before experienced. Incredibly, it was still totally calm, much like riding on a smooth sheet of ice or glass.

Colby handed each of the mesmerized fishermen a cup of warm frothy chocolate. It was a little sweeter than normal but they were so engrossed in the ships performance, they didn’t even notice and instinctively sipped and ooooo’d and ahhhh’d while scanning the gauges over and over trying to believe that what they were witnessing was actually happening.

“This is unbelievable,” babbled George.

“Totally,” added Ollie.

“Impressed…?” queried Colby. “We’ve been working on this technology for a very long time and we needed just the right kind of boat to put it on. Yours was the perfect choice and, as it turned out, you two were the perfect dupes.”

Ollie shot a questioning look at Colby. “Dupes?”

“Um, yeah, I guess that’s the right word,” Colby chuckled. “How’s the hot chocolate… good huh?”

The fishermen were incensed at being called dupes and started to protest but their world began to blur. Ollie leaned against a rail and mumbled, “I’m dizzy.” George put a hand up to his face, stumbled and added, “Yeah, me too….” and slumped to the floor, unconscious.

Colby grinned, took a sip of his untainted hot chocolate, looked down at the fishermen and said, “Yup. Dupes, that’s the right word. Okay,” he breathed, “time to change course. Rock Island Hospital,” he mumbled sarcastically while turning the ship’s wheel, “I wonder if there is such a place.” He looked back at the fishermen and sighed, “Oh George and Ollie, so trusting, so naive. Hmm, maybe I’ll let you live for a while.”

~*~

Oooooooo…, Ollie and George are in trouble now. I wonder what will happen in the next chapter. {;p) 

5 Comments
  1. Jack Eason says

    RH, the only criticism I have – and its a very minor but necessary one, is that the usual form for showing someone cut off mid sentence is as follows: …

    Using an elongated dash is incorrect. Normally a dash is employed to express a pause, or two briefly identify something or someone. 🙂

    1. RHPolitz says

      Thank you Jack. I appreciate your comment.

      I’ve seen it done both ways and spent a lot of time changing text from one (…) to the other (–). I’m still not sure if the difference is a manner of style or accepted usage but, from what I’ve been reading lately, the jury is still out. 🙂

    2. RHPolitz says

      Oh, forgot to mention; I agree with you and originally typed the text with the (…) and was told to change it. ~sigh~ Guess I’ll just have to see how the readers respond to the ‘style’ I used.

  2. RHPolitz says

    Just received the Author’s Proof book and it’s being read by several people for comments. Looks like it will be out on August 30 as scheduled.

  3. RHPolitz says

    Oh, and Jack, we did make some additional changes to the “… ” and the “–“s.

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