So, Richard Crawford (one of my best friends that I've never met) gave me this prompt: Water, Adipose, Jellyfish, Pocketknife.
I had some problems with this one at first. Water, no problem. Jellyfish, EASY. Pocketknife. Workable... but Adipose? Fat? Really? I don't like the word "fat". It has a lot of emotional connotations that I'm uncomfortable with. So, I was pondering, and pondering... I finally made this tweet:
So, here you are... a continuation of last week's story... I'm thinking I might make a habit of this, continuing to make my flash fics looking into Scanlon and Landers.
A rap on the door was all it took for Johanna Scanlon, III to straighten up from her slouched position. Hastily she kicked the half-eaten box of chocolates under the sofa and stashed the periodical – full of helpful articles such as “Is excess adipose tissue causing your bustle to rustle”, the sort of article that drove her to eat an entire box of chocolates and then actually have adipose tissue problems – into a nearby waste basket. Where it probably belonged in the first place. Stupid periodicals. She would definitely have to have Watts stop bringing them to her in the morning.
Jo licked chocolate off her fingers. “Yes, Watts?”
It was not Watts. Jo got to her feet. “Professor Landers!” She spared a momentary glance at the periodical, hoping the damning titles were out of sight to her visitor. “How did you get into my house? Is it not bad enough to have you invade my airship? And then promise to treat me to lunch, only for it to be 'discovered' that you'd lost your wallet? Sir, did you fail to get the impression I wished never to see you again?”
Landers shrugged, a sheepish smile tugging up the corner of his mouth. “Water over the submersible, my dear Miss Scanlon. Would you believe me if I said I came to repay you?”
“Then perhaps it is best that I don't say that.”
“You could start by telling me how you got in here, before I have you removed.”
“So you can tighten your defenses?”
“Then I don't think I'll say that, either.” Landers held up one hand. “I'll not draw a weapon on you, but if I could ask for a little latitude -”
“A very little...”
“I'd like to show you something.”
Jo tilted her head. Despite her annoyance, and the two pounds she was out for the extraordinarily indulgent lunch, she found him attractive, and – even worse – intriguing. Before the so-called theft of his personal belongings, she'd been delighted by his conversation, fascinated by his adventures.
“Truth is, Miss Scanlon, I didn't know where else to go. There's been a bit of a... well, grist in the gears, in my current situation. My assistant - “while he spoke, he was emptying his pockets onto her desk. Pocketknife, a handful of gears, displacement wrench, several scraps of paper with tightly-packed inked equations, and a... was that a clockwork spider? “-proved even less trustworthy than he was competent. He's made off with the Haliphon -”
“And let me guess. I'm the only owner of an airship you know in Bath, and you'd like my assistance in recovering your Emetic Octopus.”
The Professor heaved a great sigh. “Antimony is used for more things than inducing vomiting. Unless you merely wish to show off your education, may I continue?”
“Were you planning on saying anything else pertinent to launch?”
“Well, there was some discussion about the schematics he made off with, but... well, no.”
“Then you can save it once we're underway,” Jo said. She pulled her goggles from the hatrack, slapping the talk-back. “Watts? Watts! Could you phonautograph down to the docks; tell Reston to get the Meduzoa ready for lifting.”
“Yes, ma'am,” Watts's voice came through, tinny as always, but clear.
“Come on,” Jo turned to her uninvited, but not entirely unwanted guest. His face twisted in an attempt to hide his incredulity. “You doubted? You would not have come here if you had not anticipated that I would assist you.”
“That's not the issue.”
“Then what is your dilemma now?”
“You mock the Haliphron after naming your airship the Jellyfish?”