Episode Seven

June 27, 2010

New Moon

“I swear to you, I’m not with stupid or anyone else!” Capelli Moon shouted, not quite sure what she was saying.

“That’s what they all say,” the Captain replied, shaking his head, “but I know you’re with stupid, it’s right there on your t-shirt, and I know you’re the one who kidnapped Hopewell!”

“I already told you, I don’t know anything about a monkey!” Capelli wailed, on the verge of tears.

Not one single thing since she’d gotten to Scurvytown was going as promised. She’d been handcuffed, manhandled, and put through a series of ridiculous tests, and all for a 5-year welcome center bracelet which meant she was stuck there for the next few years.

As if to prove her point, the Captain gave her a dismissive “Whatever,” and turned on the nearby garden hose.

Capelli had only heard rumors of water torture, and as the water spilled out of the hose, she turned on her own waterworks.

The Captain had his back turned to her, as he waited for the hose water to get cold. He took a long drink, as he was feeling a bit parched in the hot summer’s sun. Interrogations were hard work, as it turned out.

He turned off the hose, and Capelli stifled her tears by holding her breath. She was beginning to feel a bit woozy in the sun.

“Oh, silly me!” Captain Tullis exclaimed, “I didn’t even offer you a drink!”

“No thanks,” Capelli said, futilely, as the Captain turned the hose back on and sprayed it at her.

He sprayed her mouth with the hose, which she instinctively spit out. He then got a glint of wicked in his eyes and sprayed her ironic and apparently erroneous “I’m with stupid” t-shirt. “I’m with stupid” was a movement a few years back in which a bunch of politicians decided to lay blame elsewhere, and “stupid” was clearly to blame. In the end, trying to pin a failing economy on the idiots of the country only ended up backfiring, as stupid outnumbered the self-proclaimed intellects, and no one specific was there to take the brunt of the abuse.

“Oh come on now!” She cried, struggling against the ropes which had her hands tied to chair she was on which she was sitting.

“Haha! Choice of words, stupid girl!” The Captain said, laughing, as he turned his back on her once again to turn off the water.

It was at this point that Capelli decided she’d had enough of being interrogated by a madman, and stood up and tried to run away, which admittedly is not the easiest thing to do when your arms are bound to a plastic chair.

“Oi! Stupid girl!” Captain Tullis shouted as he plodded after her.

He caught up with her easily and slammed the chair onto the ground. Capelli fell backwards into it with a soft cry. The Captain moved to face her and clamped his hands on her shoulders and looked deep into her eyes. She trembled at the smell of his breath, which if she had to guess was a mix of pickled beets and rocket fuel.

“You know what, stupid girl? I am beginning to think you didn’t steal my monkey after all!” He said, bits of spittle hitting her face.

“I really didn’t! I’m just here to write a book, I swear! Ask that lady at the welcome center, she just checked me in!”

“Well then, now since I’ve got you all tied up, I have to figure out what to do with you,” he mused, rubbing his patchy gray beard.

“You could just let me go,” she said.

“That sounds like a good Plan B,” he agreed, nodding. “But let me think a minute first.”

“You know what?” Capelli said, her own Plan A in full swing, “I should have mentioned this sooner, I feel silly having talked for this long without saying something, but you totally have fruit punch mouth.”

The Captain reeled back. “That’s not fruit punch, that’s lipstick, silly girl.”

“It doesn’t look any lipstick I ever saw. Go see for yourself.”

The Captain ran into his houseboat and checked in the mirror. He wiped at his mouth with his sleeve, but sure enough, it was fruit punch and not lipstick. It must have been from the giant glass of Catty’s infamous Moonshine punch he’d downed earlier.

Capelli Moon chuckled to herself as she freed the ropes that were tied around her arms. They had come loose when the Captain slammed the chair onto the ground, and she finally saw her chance to at freedom, all because he tied knots like a sissy girl.

Captain Tullis was mildly disappointed when he returned outside and noticed that she was gone. But as she was no longer his number one suspect, it was back to the moonshine festival with him, and later on, maybe he’d see if Catty Broadsides and her ghosts had turned up any clues. The night was still young, after all.

Meanwhile, Capelli ran through the heavily wooded area, until she ended up at the beach. She wasn’t sure where to go because she’d never felt more unwelcome anywhere in her entire life. Funny how the welcome center had a tendency to do that to people.

She sat on a bench, watching the waves rush in and thought about the course of events that brought her to Scurvytown. When she thought about it, all her childhood dreams were to blame for her current predicament.

Capelli had always wanted to be a doctor, but when she graduated from college and was applying to get into medical school, the fierce competition backed her into a wall. She had never been one to put up a fight, always picked last at sports, and generally seemed to have her head in the clouds. That said, she was a bright girl who rarely studied, but seemed to always get good marks in class. Testing just sort of came naturally to her, but unfortunately, so did being a bit of a ditz.

In the end, she opted for journalism school instead, as she was promised a future filled with travel and intrigue. Traveling was the number one thing she daydreamed about, and when she was told she was being sent to Scurvytown on her internship, she was delighted. After all, to those on the mainland, Scurvytown was considered, “A Gateway to Foreign Lands,” which was supposed to mean that once you traveled there, getting passage to other ports was even simpler. After her visit to the welcome center, Capelli now knew that it was a five year waiting period to go anywhere after arriving in Scurvytown, and that included back to the mainland.

Now, as she sat on this bench listening to the soothing sounds of the waves hitting the shore, she realized what a fool she’d been. Her low marks on the geography portion of the placement exam were brushed off as “standard.” After all, no one really could remember all 89 states in the union and their capitols. A few of her classmates had gotten assignments in Europe: one in Paris, one in Rome, and another in Brussels. Someone had even gotten placement in Tokyo. But not her, no, stupid girl was exactly the right nickname for her. She kicked the sand with her foot and it hit something.

She bent down and began to dig, hoping she’d find something interesting. But as she uncovered the object, her heart sank. It was a stuffed monkey, and it looked like it had seen much better days.

“Hopewell,” she breathed, understanding almost immediately that this was the monkey the Captain had been accusing her of taking. It was funny, the entire time, she had assumed he was referring to a live monkey.

Sure enough, stitched into the butt of the monkey were embroidered letters that spelled out his name. Capelli heard a noise that sounded like someone sucking in air really fast, having just witnessed something startling or embarrassing. She looked around, but there was no one nearby. She felt a chill in the air.

“Now what do I do with you?” She asked the monkey, pausing for the slightest of moments in anticipation of an answer.

She heard a dog barking and looked around again. It wasn’t safe for her to have the monkey, she realized, but she couldn’t return it, not after spending the last hour not having the slightest idea why or how she was being accused of taking it.

Quickly, she buried the monkey back in the sand, and sat back down on the bench, sighing deeply. The sun was beginning to set, and it made her feel awash in sadness. She thought about calling her mother and begging for her to find a way to get sent back home.

She could practically hear the conversation in her head, and no matter what, it was a battle she wasn’t going to win. And after all, in-her-head-mom was probably right. She was most likely safer in Scurvytown than back on the mainland. Too bad she couldn’t be in a fun city like Tokyo or Paris.

As she lamented her lot in life, she didn’t notice that she had company. A medium sized dog had sidled up next to her. It startled her when it barked at a nearby bird.

“Oh!” She cried out.

It nuzzled her hand with its head in an awkward head-butting fashion, and as she petted it, it wagged its tail. As she scratched the pooch, it rolled over and she realized the sweet thing was missing one of her rear legs. It sent a chill down Capelli’s spine as the stump twitched, where it would normally be scratching contentedly.

Capelli sighed and began to daydream about ways to get back home. Right now on the short list were: swimming the shark infested waters, stowing away on some boat headed back to the mainland, or Fed-exing herself to her parents house. She didn’t notice when the dog began to dig in the sand, and by the time she realized it, the canine had rescued Hopewell out of his sandy grave.

“Wait a minute,” she said, grabbing onto the stuffed monkey.

The dog pulled back in a futile game of tug-of-war. Capelli relented when she heard the sound of ripping fibers, which sounds like a euphemism for farts, but was simply a few threads in Hopewell’s stitching giving into the force of physics.

The 3-legged dog took off running, which was surprisingly a fairly fast gait. Capelli watched her go as the sun was beginning to set out over the water. Oh well, it was probably best if a dog ran into town with the monkey, unless of course it was the dog who was the kidnapper in the first place. Capelli chuckled at the thought.

She could hear festival revelers cheering at something. She was thinking a drink sounded pretty good right about now, and after all if you couldn’t beat them because you were too much of a wuss to stand up for a fight, you might as well join them.

Suddenly, someone put a hand on her shoulder, and she let out a startled squeal. It seemed to be the theme of the day.

“Don’t turn around,” a calm male voice whispered in her ear.

Capelli’s shoulders sagged. She couldn’t believe yet another denizen of Scurvytown was bossing her around.

“I saw what you did, and I have half a mind to report you to the Captain for the kidnapping, but I know who really did it.”

“Who?” Capelli asked, turning around to face the person.

“I told you not to turn around,” the voice said.

It belonged to the ghost whose memorial bench she was sitting on. As this was her first introduction to the island’s ghosts, Capelli let out a blood curdling scream and lost consciousness.

*****
This episode went live on Sunday, June 27, 2010.

Stay tuned for next week’s episode. It might be the final day of the Moonshine festival, it might be something totally else, haven’t decided yet! Ooh the suspense!

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