Summertime is quite a lovely time to enjoy on the Sherbet Shore. Seeing as time and seasons don’t necessarily align with reality, it’s a pleasant surprise to see Draem mimicking Raelity for a change. The misty breeze brushes off a caramel mountain and two dots appear on opposing horizons.
From the East, a large figure approaches, slicing through the water and causing waves 4 feet high to spread in its wake. Upon closer look it is the SS Falkori and at its helm, a disgruntled Fish in a captain suit sounds a thundering horn playing an accelerated mariachi version of Bach’s Sleepers Wake. At the bow, a young woman stands wrapped in purple sashes like the most elegant and fashionable zombie life has ever seen, although she was quite alive, even in dream. She holds a purple umbrella in one hand and theater glasses in the other as she surveys the horizon.
From the West, a little dot can be seen jumping from one cloud to the next like an untied balloon you just let go, albeit without the propulsion noises resembling a toddler’s raspberry. The young woman gives a quaint smile and signals the captain to turn to shore. The boat veers at a radical 90 degrees sending various objects flying although the captain and his passenger remained nonplussed.
Forty four seconds later, the boat came to a screeching halt on the water tossing the young woman at remarkable speed, something that would be impressive enough, if she hadn’t spread the umbrella and landed as gently as the final feather of a pillow fight. The pinballing dot from the West continued its rambling trajectory, eventually making its way in the direction of the purple girl and a minute’s time was sixteen seconds more than the dot had needed to land four feet from the young woman.
“That took you long enough,” said the young woman, peeking back to the boat to make sure the captain was getting her cargo off the ship.
The young man’s legs were shaking a bit although he was able to manage a smile of relief as he dusted off pink cloud wisps that had clung to his black coat. “My apologies, madam; master Odstein had something I needed to tend to.”
“You know, at this rate Fäet is going to work you to the bone,” she said earnestly.
The young man, waved off the comment. “Not at all, madam. He’s the one that keeps me in check.”
“Writing of vampires, photogeni and werewolves?”
“Therians, Madam Claudette,” said the young man with much emphasis on the odd word. “Remember they hate it when they get called werewolves.”
“Fine,” she said almost regretting allowing him the opportunity to one of his semantic lectures before looking at his arm, which had a ribbon coiled around his arm. “How was your trip, JD?”
The young man quickly unwrapped his arm, sliding the ribbon into his back pocket. “A little crazy, I really still need to figure out how to ride ribbons. Although I was able to catch sight of quite a few lovely surprises along the way.”
“Oh good!” Claudette exclaimed. “So did I! Come along, tell me as we get ready for lunch.”
JD looked over her shoulder and could see the large fish in a Captain’s suit walking on his tail fin while a crab and a large shoestring potato unloaded several boxes of cargo. “Who are Captain Scaley and his friends?”
Claudette gave a small giggle as she saw her crew unloading the boxes from the dragon ship. “That’s Captain Phish, and his first and second mates, Chips and Pincher.”
“I’m guessing pincher is the red one,” JD remarked before turning his attention back to the woman in purple.
“Don’t mind him, he’s just a little crabby from the long boat ride. How is your queen by the way?”
At the question, the young man’s beard glowed a bit brighter and the smile that melted on his face showed just how much love could be pumped from a heart. “Divine as always, although battling some Suffering Succotashes in the Mundane Caves.”
Claudette looked concerned. “Really, I don’t know why a job has to be such hard work.”
“Truer words have rarely been drunken to, although we came for a nice time not to talk of work.”
“Fair enough,” she said simply. “Send my regards to Jane.”
“Will do,” he responded gingerly. “Now I must ask, where did this magnificent apparel come from? You look great.”
The young woman blushed at the compliment. “Well it is from Aunt Purple. She says she outgrew it and I don’t know what that even means because she’s the same size as she’s always been. I spoke to her on the phone recently.”
“Oh really,” JD said, “How did she sound?”
“A little blue although not quite, you know how she is.”
JD nodded assuredly as he pulled out a set of visors from his coat. “Please excuse me one second, I have to look for something first. Meanwhile, please spill it, what did you see on your way here?”
He took a deep breath and put on the visors that clouded his eyes as if the glass became fiery at the touch of his face. He gave a little grunt and started looking around. He nodded for the young woman to answer his query so she obliged.
“Well, I remember that time you told me of the peppermint turtles and I think I saw them at a distance although I’m not sure. They were quite a ways away and the Falkori was dead set on getting here. “
“Dragon boats are rather stubborn, aren’t they?” said JD matter-of-factly.
“Don’t get me started. Anyways, I passed Piecrust Reef and saw some surfers on gravy waveys and I really don’t see how you guys can just fly on the water.”
“Well it takes practice and a few loose screws, although it does keep us in check and does help us manage.”
“OH!” she interrupted him grabbing his arm and startling JD a bit. “Sorry, it’s just that I saw one of the tequila sunrises!”
He turned around with his eyes covered by the visors and a Cheshire grin gleaming her way. “How was it?”
“Bright and strong. I can see why some people couldn’t get up after a few of those. Luckily I had ---“
BANG, interrupted a squishy sort of a bang twenty feet behind them. JD and Claudette looked over and saw a disgruntled, svelte bald man smashing pumpkins in a patch.
“Who’s that?” asked Claudette.
“That’s William Glasser, Pumpkin Smasher. That’s what he does all day, smash some pumpkins although I think it used to sound much better a few years back. Luckily, this last batch isn’t that bad and it doesn’t sound like mere squashes squishing. His attitude is a tad terrible from time to time, however.”
“I bet,” said Claudette and noticed JD had apparently found what he was looking for.
“Here we go,” he piped and looked like a mime carrying a heavy box even though nothing was there.
The lavender lady signaled for her crew to follow and set up camp and JD opened a lid out of thin air where there was nothing. A bright light shone intensely from the void causing Claudette to cover her eyes. “Dang it, JD. Warn me when you open something from that mid dimension of yours.”
“Sorry,” said JD apologizing for the startle and produced a green bottle of what looked like liquid light and a scroll.
The Falkori crew set up the picnic and both of them sat. JD looked at the tangerine sands, “I wonder what flavor it is today.” Taking a pinch of sand and tasting it he nodded approvingly. “Peach mango, all right. Anyways, tell me a bit more of the voyage and I’ll tell you what these are.”
Although she wasn’t thrilled at him not revealing what he’d brought, she humored him. “Well, most of what I saw was aquamarine dolphins jumping in the sea of champagne although some candy floss patches did float from time to time, which the Falkori ate voraciously. Other than that, the other highlight was the flock of kite gulls.”
“Oh wow! Were there many?” asked JD.
“Well there were at least four dozen, all tied to one peppermint post. It was very sweet to see.”
“I’m sure it was, although I might swing by to free and see them run.”
“JD, you should know better than to tangle with too many dreams at once.”
“My dear madam, when have I ever been logical or sensible?”
They both laughed as Pincher brought some sugar saltines for them to eat with some latte pâté. “These are wonderful,” said Claudette.
JD acknowledged the accurate truth she’d stated so simply, before brushing his hands and getting the bottle and map. “Ah, but the real wonder are these two beauties.”
“Ok, now you spill it!”
Cradling the green bottle, the young man handed it to her, which looked like it was made of a green crystal and laced with tiny vines and an ornate lettering which read: Nova – a product of Odstein distributors, bottled in Raelis – alcohol per volume: don’t ask and just pace yourself.
“Oh wow!!! This is from the O.H.?”
“That is correct,” replied JD quite proud of his gift. “Still first pressing and some people have really loved it. That’s for you to take home and sip on once in a while.”
She was beaming, “Thank you so much, dear. And the other gift?”
“Ah how little the elation of one gift lasts when there is another to be given. Here you go.”
She took the scroll a bit shyly, although she knew he meant it in gest. When she opened it, the parchment was a large 16” x 16” parchment, largely blank except for four details. First was a border that showed odd etchings as if on a gridline, second was a compass in the shape of a heart, third was a little sliver of what looked like a coast line with the words Sherbet Shore identifying it and fourth was a small engraving on the bottom: let us explore and discover common ground.
Claudette looked at JD and his Cheshire smile flashed once more before he disappeared replaced by the roof of her room. She sat up and puffed with indignation, “Dreams really should be more considerate and well mannered.”