Thursday, June 21, 2012

Misplaced Hero - Episode 14

The Case of the Misplaced Hero
by Camille LaGuire

Episode 14 - Rozinshura is Disappointed

PROFESSOR THORNTON WAS feeling the signs of impending sobriety, and he didn't like that one little bit.  And when Captain Rozinshura took Thorny's arm and hurried him out of the tavern room and away from that lovely old rustic bar... well, Thorny liked that even less.

Even with the limp, the captain moved faster than Thorny could manage, just like the soldier who had arrested him.

"You people are in too much of a hurry!" said Thorny.

"This is not a hurry," said Rozinshura. "This is the pace of revolutionary progress."  He then paused for effect and added, "Also, I am frightened, and you are drunk."

The captain pulled open a door and pushed Thorny into a tiny room was packed with boxes, barrels and baskets. There was just space for a desk and a comfortable chair with extra cushions.  The captain sat in the chair and propped his bad leg on a barrel.  He indicated that Thorny should find a perch on a box opposite him.

One of the soldiers showed up with a mug and a bucket.  He emptied the bucket onto the desk. It contained  a scattering of personal items, including Thorny's wallet, keys and watch.

Rozinshura took the mug and handed it, and the now empty bucket, to Thorny.

"Drink this.  Try to keep it in."

Thorny took a sip.  It was a horrible sludge, and he immediately threw up into the bucket.

"Try harder," said Rozinshura.

Thorny drank again, and it didn't taste quite as bad.  He struggled a little, but kept it down, and after a moment, both his stomach and his head felt better.

"You are a doctor," said Rozinshura.  "What sort of doctor? You are a specialist?"

"English," said Thorny. "I'm a doctor of English."

The captain leaned forward as if he hadn't quite heard.

"Angliss? What is that?  Is it good with injuries?  Bones?"

"Only the bones of literature."

"Lita... ligaments?" said the captain. "An expert in ligaments is good!  We have injuries and --"  He paused to rub his bad leg.  "You can do operations, yes?"

"No, no," said Thorny.  "You've got it wrong. I'm not a medical doctor.  No bones.  No ligaments, and I faint at the sight of blood.  I'm a doctor of philosophy."

"Philosophy," said the captain, and he stared for a moment, and then he seemed to deflate into his chair.  He made a rude noise and said a number of things in his own language which Thorny was sure were not polite.

"We have injuries.  We need doctors.  Awarshi doctors are butchers.  Worse than butchers. I would trust my butcher before I would trust an Awarshi doctor."

"I am very sorry," said Thorny.  "I don't know anything about butchery either."

"Then go away," said Rozinshura.  "I shall call on you if my philosophy becomes broken.  Now, go."

Thorny paused. "What about Pooki-whatsis?  He'll want to arrest me."

"If you sneak out quietly, he may not see you."

"And...."  Thorny paused a moment longer.  "What about the girl?  Her only crime was helping me."

The captain let out a slow sigh and shook his head.

"No, her only crime is that she is pretty," he said.  "There is nothing I can do. He is a colonel, I am a captain. I could only help you because you are a foreigner, and I thought you are doctor."

He looked down at the wallet and keys and things, and shoved them across the desk. Thorny grabbed his keys and watch.  There was a small book lying half across his wallet, and he started to reach for that -- to push it aside -- when the captain leaned forward.


Rozinshura was looking looking at the book.  There was a bit of paper sticking out among the pages.

He gestured for Thorny to sit down again and took up the paper. He squinted at it and moved his lips as though deciphering something in his head.

Then, with a gasp, he half rose out of his chair, and then settled back into almost a crouch.  He looked up at Thorny through narrowed eyes.

"I think, Doctor Specialist of Drunken Philosophy, that you are a spy after all."

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