Aug 17th 2011, 10:18 by E O Hatterpol | 1228 AU FROM SUN
NIXIE gaped at Ravi, wondering what he would say next. Ravi opened his mouth to speak. I tried to chug the rest of my beer before he could say his first word.
Something is wrong with me, y'all. But something is so right.
"I think I know someone who can help you," Ravi said. "She has a certain... connection with the books aboard."
It probably took forty-five minutes on foot to get from the tip of the whale's triangular tail to the front of the bookstacks, which was still pretty far back, mind you.
At last we were confronted by a desk so tall we could not see who sat behind it. It was piled absurdly high with objects: a lamp whose turn knob had an ornament and a wind chime hanging from it; a giant clothespin holding several loose photographs; cans here and cans there, all filled with pens and pencils and markers; books; framed photographs; jewel CD cases; stacks of paper; potted plants; telephone; multi-function printer; computer tower; computer monitor; three inboxes. To me, it looked like an unimaginable amount of clutter.
An old man of about 62 with a beergut stood next to it, flirting amiably with whoever was up there. His eyes were big, round and so far apart they might as well have been on either side of his head; his lips were fat and puckered, and when he spoke they moved in such a way as to remind me of a fish popping dried bits of food from the bottom of its aquarium into its mouth.
"Carptain," I said tightly. "Nice to finally meet you."
"You as well," he said. I didn't believe him; he had the air of a celebrity who secretly disdained his fans.
"When do you think we'll get out of here?" I asked.
"Just as soon as upgrades are finished," he replied. "We're reinforcing the hull, adding some machine guns post-pirates, and hooking up breaming technology."
"Great! Just promise me that when construction is finished, you'll wait for me to come aboard before leaving this time," I snorted.
I had to explain.
"The blue whale was in danger," the Carptain said, annoyed. "I was saving the grand lot of you, wasn't I?"
I was about to respond (aggressively, to be honest), but laughter like a good witch's cackle cut me short. The sound of a dozen trinkets being pushed aside shuffled through the air. We all turned to the desk to look.
What I saw next can only be described as a larger-than-life character: a woman of about fifty-five whose bright red hair was done up in a beehive two feet tall, with felt bees here and real flowers there, and even a brooch around one side; snazzy lime green cat's-eye glasses, with eyeglass strings attached made of multi-coloured beads and pearls and gems; and lime green lipstick, with a black dot between her lips and cheek.
She had a wad of gum in her mouth, which she blew into a huge bubble that popped over her nose and chin. Once she got it all back inside, she opened her mouth to speak.
"You were justifying your cowardice as being for the greater good, Carptain. You nearly left this poor boy all by himself, and it was he and this wonderful Bookman who saved us from those pirates, too, not you," she said.
The Carptain looked sullen, like he had been put in his place. She had said it all quite teasingly, but it was still the rock hard truth.
"So, E O," she said, turning to me, "how can I help you, hon?"
WHAT should I do next, Flybrarians?
A: Nothing! Who the shell IS this chick, anyways?
B: Be upfront, homie. You need information on zonbis & Ravi says she's the best around. Let her know what's up.
Choose Our Own Adventure in the comments section below, on Facebook, Google+ or @EOHatterpol. Feel free to write how you think it should happen, too!
Storyline ideas and other brainstorms can be mailed to EOHatterpol[at]gmail[dot]com; constructive and destructive criticism is also welcome.