The Deep - Part 4 (Day 1 Afternoon)

Patch leaned in and winced as he examined the young girl’s scar. “Now, what’d ya go gettin’ yourself shot for, kid?”

“In the back, no less!” She exclaimed. “Amos wanted us to take off, so he pulled a gun on the lieutenant who now is a captain only she don’t wanna be called captain, and the Crew Chief - he’s still the crew chief, and I went to tell the crew chief about the explosion outside the ship and then I seen Amos and he seen me and I went to get Mistah Doctah Adluh on account of Amos had a gun and Mistah Doctah Adluh has guns, only ‘fore I could take two steps he shot and I don’t remember a lot after that ‘cept I woke up in the med bay and I got a lotta cookies and Yasmina braided my hair pretty.”

“Yeesh!” the mechanic exclaimed. “So why was this Amos fella tryin’ to hijack your ship?” he asked, taking it all in.

“From what I eavesdropped, I think he had something to do with the explosion happened outside the ship. There was a factory an’ someone blew it up and people were mad and they were lookin’ for him. Can I have a soda pop if you have one? I like the fizziness on account of it makes my nose tickle.”

The old man gestured to the spot recently vacated by Vas on the other side of the cooler, inviting the girl to sit. “Help yourself! Dig down to the ones at the bottom. They’re so much better when they’re real cold!” He circled the conversation back. “So, uh...your boat get into scrapes like that on the regular?”
“Not a lotta scrapes,” she replied, digging into the cooler to find a cold, fruit flavored soda. “A lotta cuts, mostly hands, an’ the last mechanic got hit in the head with a wrench. Mistah Doctah Adluh used to say the med bay needed a revolving door. But no, not many people get scraped up.”

Patch looked at Serena for a moment, unsure if she was pulling his leg. He briefly entertained the idea of asking her, but then thought better of it as he’d likely have to then awkwardly navigate around her insistence that she had been nowhere near his leg. “Kid…” he tried to choose his words carefully. “Do you know what figurative and literal means?” He wasn’t sure if he had just insulted the girl, but he just had to know!

Vas returned his shorts over his shoulder now wearing blue swim trunks. He kept the shirt on. “Annnnnd I’m back. You ready to learn not to drown?” Vas said tossing his short on his towel.

“Oh, I would be,” Serena tried, “Only Mr. Keynoteski was just about to give me two more words for my bank. Figurative and litter all, though the second is a shame on account of no one wants trash on the beach.”

Vas patiently sighed and look to Patch for what he ACTUALLY said.

“Nah, kid, it’s not-” Patch exhaled trying to find the safest words, which was not a skill he had honed very well. “So, ya know how some words sound like other words? Like Sea and See you two were sayin’? Well, literal ain’t like trash everywhere.” He gave a small laugh. Honestly, he never even noticed how the word sounded before now. “Literal is when ya take somethin’ someone says and it means exactly what they say it does. Like…what you do.” He looked at Serena uncertain if he was getting through to her. “Does that make sense?”

Serena looked to the Crew Chief, then back to the mechanic. “Sea and See are homophones, words that sound the same but are spelled different and it’s the worst part about learning letters. So Literal is like a homophone - got it. Okay, Crew Chief, now we can float.”

“Yea not even close. We can talk about it later.” Vas said, literally handwaving the situation.

The teen loped after the Crew Chief back towards the water. “Be a lot easier if people just said what they meant instead of trying to homophonize it,” she said putting a spring in her step.

Patch sat there, dumbfounded as to how he could have possibly screwed that lesson up so completely. He shook his head and watched the two head for the water.

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