The Grease Monkey Gets The Tour Part 1 (Day 1 Afternoon)

“Over there,” Serena said excitedly, happy to play tour guide. “That’s the shuttles. Yasmina - wait til you see her, you never seen anyone so pretty in your life -- she lives in that one, on account of she uses it for work. She’s a bonafide companion. And she braids hair, only you don’t got enough to work with for that. And this, ‘course is the cargo bay. We got a table up there just for the crew, smells like clove cigarettes but sometimes you just don’t want to be ‘round the passengers, or at least, I don’t. Sometimes. Unless I’m working, of course.” Speaking of passengers, she reminded herself to see Mr. Cortez before he left, this was supposed to be his stop.

Patch let the words of the young woman flow right past him as he took in his surroundings. He took a deep breath and let out a satisfied sigh as he followed his tour guide around showing him the particulars of the ship. He didn’t need the guide, to be honest. He knew these birds better than most and he relished in the thought of being back in his element. Besides, the company was nice and Serena’s enthusiasm was refreshing. He occasionally punctuated her tour guide spiel with the obligatory “Wow!” and “Ya don’t say!” to give the impression that he hung on her every word. As they passed a bulkhead, he briefly rested a hand on it and smiled before the girl hurriedly moved him along to see the next sight.

“The galley,” Serena chirped. “I’m not supposed to talk about the food or how bad it is, but I think Roose -- he’s the chef -- I think he does a great job and he’s super nice, and he had his knee operated on and we took him to the carnival in a wheelchair after. He threw a knife at a stuffed bear ‘fore we got kicked out of the bar. The cockpit is up that way, only we’re not supposed to go there less it’s an emergency, you gotta follow the chain of command which isn’t an actual chain, it just means that you tell Crew Chief and he tells Riley which is a good thing on account of she likes to holler and sometimes she asks questions you aren’t supposed to answer on account of they’re rhetor…” she mumbled the second half of the word, unsure of the pronunciation. “They don’t need answering. Like if someone says do you have to repeat everything you hear? I mean, do I have to? No, course not. That’s what makes it.. You know, rhetoric. Down that way is the med bay. Mistah Doctah Adluh used to be our doctor, but now it’s Sistah Doctah Lyen. She’s a nun, and she’s got pretty eyes, just like mine.” The teen stared at him for emphasis, to show him the eyes she was speaking of.

The old man was still in his reverie when the young girl’s drone suddenly stopped. He snapped back into the moment to have Serena standing there staring at him. Having missed just about everything the girl said...something about a nun?...he tried to fake it. “Oh, absolutely!” he said with all the conviction he could muster. He hoped that was the right answer to whatever it was she was waiting for and decided that, if he got away with it, he’d try to pay closer attention to the girl. She was being so nice, after all. He’d have plenty of time to get to know the old girl. She was his home now.

“Over down here is the engine room. You’ll probably spend a lotta time there on account of you’re a mechanic.” The teen scooted down the ladder into the greasy, noisy engine room, waving a hand around to all the enginey stuff. “Oh! Hey Dream -- I mean, Drake… have you met Mr. Kookaburraski? He’s new but I thought you might know him on account of he’s a mechanic and has the same belly color as you, even if you have abs.” And boy does he have abs! the teen noted.

Drake had been busy removing a part that the prior mechanics had left in. All it did was gum up the works and personally he preferred just to bypass it for a direct line. “You mean pasty and pale from a lifetime in a sunless environment?” Drake asked extracting himself from under the heartbeat of the engine, bypass complete and useless square crap in hand. “Kookaburr - uh … Kookaba- … that’s an odd name, Sir. New passenger?” Drake asked wiping his hand of grease not noting he had a grease streak across his nose.

“Kowalski” Eddie said with a chuckle. “Kid seems to have a bit a trouble with it. Honestly, I’m kinda curious how many different ways she’s gonna butcher it!” Patch laughed. “Friends call me Patch on account of…” ‘Wángbā dàn, now the kid’s got me sayin’ it!’ he thought to himself, “...I’m a fellow grease monkey.” He put out a friendly hand. “You seem to know your way around a Trace.” The old man nodded, impressed. “Ain’t gonna pass an emissions check, but it takes a lotta strain off the catalyzer. Not to mention the cost!” Patch gave an exaggerated roll of his eyes.

“Drake’s not a grease monkey,” Serena explained. “He’s a pilot, and sometimes he lets you sit in the cockpit so you can see the stars. He used to fly fighter jets and everything.”

“All true.” Drake chuckled, shaking Patch’s hand. “Mom was a military grease monkey so I grew up around all kinds of machines. I fill in when there’s a need.” Though he was still wondering why Serena was giving a passenger a tour that included an engine room. Maybe he liked engines and she was being nice?

“Same color belly!” Patch exclaimed, pointing to Serena. “I had no idea what the heck you were talkin’ about, kid.” He turned back to Drake. “Another Purple Belly!” he engulfed the pilot’s hand with his other, shaking it excitedly before catching himself. Lt. Thorne would probably not approve of such familiarity. He released Drake’s hand, stiffened to attention and recited that old familiar phrase. “Staff Segeant Edward Kowalski, Retired...sir!” The old man barked. “I’m the new ship’s mechanic, sir.”

“That’s a lotta names to remember,” Serena commented, happy that she was mostly just Serena or Pigtails to the crew chief.

< Prev : Can We Patch It? Yes We Can! Part 8 (Day 1 Morning to Afternoon) Next > : The Grease Monkey Gets The Tour Part 2 (Day 1 Afternoon)