Just then I saw Lena come out onto the patio. She looked around rather hesitantly. Mindful of Teresa’s request, I decided to be polite.
– “Your costume is wonderful.” I said. “You look very exotic.” From the expression on her face, I don’t think she understood me. Keep it simple, stupid, I reminded myself. There was no internet service at the cottage, or I might have tried to find an online English-Slovenian dictionary. Lena was smiling at me tentatively, a drink in one hand, and a piece of paper in the other.
– “Why do you have a paper?” I asked her.
– “Ah. My instructions.” she said.
– “Really? You must be the only one who still has them. Did Teresa forget to take them from you?”
Lena shook her head. “No. Teresa give them to me.” She showed me the paper. I needn’t have worried about sneaking a peek at her secrets; they were written in Slovenian. I think.
– “What does your language sound like, Lena? Can you say something for me?”
– “What I should say?” she asked.
– “Anything. Read me your instructions – I won’t understand anything, anyway.”
Lena smiled, and started reading. It was quite funny, really. Lena read slowly, and enunciated very clearly, as if there was a chance that I might understand. I did catch ‘piratsko’ more than once – but that was about it. She did have a lovely voice, though. And while I watched her, I decided that her face was quite beautiful. But she was so damned tall!
I excused myself a few minutes later, and went inside to get a couple of beers. I ran into Craig coming up the stairs, with a beer in each hand. On impulse, I gave him the pirate recognition signal. His face lit up. Craig tucked one of the beer bottles under his arm, and placed three fingers against his earlobe. Only then did he look around to see if anyone was observing us.
– “You too?” he asked. Then he lowered his voice to a whisper. “You here to rescue Redbeard?”
I wasn’t expecting that, but I responded fairly quickly. “Depends. Nice to know I’m not alone. But we’ll need some weapons to pull it off.”
– “You’re right.” he agreed. “I’ll let you know if I come across any. You’ll do the same?”
– “Absolutely.” I said. Nice to know. Unless Craig was a far more accomplished liar than he appeared to be, he had just told me that he didn’t have a weapon.
I returned to the patio and handed Leo a beer. Teresa was there.
– “Colin, could you do me a favor?” she asked. “Would you go downstairs for me? There’s a red cooler down there, next to the pool table. Could you fill it with beer, and some of those vodka drinks? There are a couple of bags of ice in the freezer. It’ll be more convenient to have some of the drinks up here.”
– “As you wish.”
I picked up the cooler and headed back in. I was just beginning to go down the stairs when Eliza appeared at the foot of the staircase, with a bottle of wine in each hand.. I backed up, and told her to come ahead. There was no way I was going to be able to pass her on the stairs with this cooler.
I will admit that I looked down her blouse as she came up. Mother of Mercy … I was going to need to put some of the ice in my pants, to reduce the swelling.
We ate a great meal out on the patio, and admired each other’s costumes. The conversation and the booze flowed freely. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. When we were finished eating, Teresa assigned galley duty to Ben, Sheila, Eric and Claire – they had to clean up and do the dishes. We would all get a turn or two, so no one complained.
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.