Dr. Charcoal is all out of Bubblegum (Day 1 Late Afternoon)

Doctor Charcoal didn’t want to go to the normal old bazaar, which was just fine with Serena. She’d been to ‘the strip’ on New Kasmir, and to ‘the arcade’ on Beaumonde, she could skip whatever fancy word they wanted to call the huge meet up of vendors selling everything from clothing to cotton candy.

“It only looks like cotton,” she explained to Doctor Charcoal as he ushered her down one of the alleys behind a row of warehouse looking buildings. “Only it’s not really cotton. It's just sugar. Did you know cotton is what they use to make clothes and stuff, like some of the sheets that we have on the Lunar Veil? I know this on account of I wash them all, and Lyen’s teaching me my letters, so I can see when it says cotton, c-o-t-t-o-n, only there’s only a couple that do, most say something else that starts with a p and it’s a super long word like photosynthesis. That’s my favorite word to have with anyone. Hey, look, rats! Did you know that rats are really good swimmers? And that a family of rats is called a mischief? And rat is super easy to spell! R-A-T…..”

But, true to her word, Serena knew how to haggle prices, even if she had no clue what they were shopping for. Striking up conversations came natural to the teen, and it was a pretty simple strategy. Ask how much, if they won’t give an answer, offer a little more than half of what you want to pay. If they do give an answer, offer half and work your way up. Athoantine, Desnite, Tatroenese, Qodreunium -- everything had such pretty names to be bought in such an ugly place. No one got fresh, but someone did offer to pay for one of her pigtails, which was a weird thing for someone to want.

“So what kinda medicine are you gonna make with all this?” She asked Doctor Charcoal on the way back.“Mistah Doctah Adluh gave me medicine a couple a times, once it even tasted like bubblegum. Have you ever had bubblegum? Mr. Cortez gave me bubblegum and it was amazing but sticky. He said I couldn’t have no more on account of I ate it like candy, and he said you’re supposed to chew it and blow bubbles, only I don’t know how to blow bubbles, except of course if they were real bubbles on account of that’s just soap, but I couldn’t help it, it just tasted so good! Mistah Doctah Adluh said the same thing about the medicine, you can only have just so much of it which I don’t understand on account of won’t more just make you better faster? Is your medicine gonna taste like bubblegum? Why do you keep rubbing your head? Are you getting sick? If you are, Mistah Doctah Adluh has medicine for that. It doesn’t taste like bubblegum, it’s a tablet you gotta swallow so it don’t taste like anything. Or I guess it would if you chewed it, which I do NOT recommend. You want me to see if he has any of those pills for you? I can make you some tea! I make the best tea, unless if you ask Ms. Meadow. She always complains that it’s too hot, or too cold -- CREW CHIEF!” she hollered, the moment they stepped onto the ship. “ME AND DOCTOR CHARCOAL ARE BACK! WE HAD THE BEST TIME! GUESS WHAT? NO ONE GOT FRESH BUT SOMEONE WANTED MY PIGTAIL! I’LL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT AFTER I GET LAUNDRY STARTED!” She turned back to the Doctor. “Thanks Doctor Charcoal! This was a lotta fun! We should go out more places together!” She turned on her heel and skipped off into the ship. “CREW CHIEF! I’M BACK!”

“I’LL MAKE SOME TEA.” The Crew Cheif shouted from some other part of the ship.

“Crew chief is gonna make tea! Oh boy, Doctor Charcoal!” Serena giggled. “You are in for another treat! And then we can talk more!”

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