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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
JenEllen BS: Once a Mudcat, always a ? (Story thread) (151* d) RE: BS: Once a Mudcat, always a ? (Story thread) 02 Apr 07

Pere Les Serrures shivered a bit uncontrollably as he looked out from the balcony to the Pacific. The breeze coming in off of the ocean always chilled him. His frail shoulders were wrapped in a woolen shawl and the oxygen tank he had been tethered to so long ago hissed ceaselessly at his side. If he had the strength, say, of his current wife, he would have thrown the canister into the sea long ago. As it was now, he could barely lift his own arms, but the hiss never faded into white noise for him. It was a constant reminder, like the hiss of the disappointed crowd, or of the gas chambers that he narrowly avoided by making his deals with the devils. Every night it had been the same. His sturdy Peruvian nurse-wife would shuffle around the house on her fat little legs, and he would sit on the balcony looking for the green flash in the sky and thinking of days gone by.

In the days since he had received the phone call from Joam alerting him to the business in America, and his granddaughter's involvement in it, he had become increasingly agitated. He sat out at night, scanning the skies, and shouting out to 'La Bera' for water. He often thought that the stumpy thing had a kind heart, but the typical temper that one finds in browner people. She might sweetly bring him a glass, or she might turn a hose on him in a screaming rage. At this point he was beyond caring.

He heard the pots in the kitchen clatter, which only meant that the woman must be soaking the ever-present beans for the following day. He softly sighed and closed his eyes, desperately trying to remember the face of his beloved first wife, but only came up with the icy eyes of his long-dead daughter.

Peyrrine. When she had been little, she had been his GiGi, but in the times his memory could recall now, she was simply Peyrrine. Tall, slim, and with the detachment of personality that often frightened him despite his previous dealings with undesirable types on every continent. This girl who grew into such a woman. He remembered hearing her snap her collarbone. The cannon fired and her shoulder caught the lip as she flew from it. The noise, paired with the smell of the flash powder sickened him even in memory, but nothing scared him so badly as seeing her defiant face as she rolled out of the catch-net and back to earth.

He thought she had been joking when she said she had fallen in love with the tumbler. All of the boys looked the same to him, it was really only their father that he ever had any business with, but he knew better than to defy his daughter. When she had announced her pregnancy and he forbade her going anywhere near the cannon, she simply laughed. He wondered if his granddaughter knew how much time she spent air-borne before her mother's belly grew too big to fit in the barrel.

His business partners also took notice of the new additions to the family. The addition of the Portuguese family had made the circus profitable in more ways than one. The letters arrived in the dark of night, whoever delivered them didn't even startle the animals in their cages. There was simply one line of neat handwriting, detailing the object to be taken, and nothing more. The details were left to himself and Fechamento. For years the arrangement worked well. The circus prospered while others around it caved to popular culture. They stole enough to keep themselves afloat. That was until Fechamento started dropping hints about their shared granddaughter.

Les Serrures' memory may have been fading, but that day stood out clear in his memory. The two men sitting in the shade of the car, watching the young girl go to her studies. The big Russian and the little Chinese woman had proved excellent nursemaids from the moment that Peyrrine had decided that motherhood wasn't as glamorous as the big-top, and the unlikely pair schooled the girl as much as possible given their nomadic lifestyle. It was that sunny day, when Ivan was feeding the elephants, that their granddaughter needed a quiet place to study. They watched as Ivan grinned and she stepped into his enormous hand, one push and she had vaulted to the top of the elephant's broad back, and nimbly turned around to catch Li Su, who was tossed up quickly after.

Fechamento grunted in surprise, but Les Serrures had shot him a look that ended all thought of discussion. His granddaughter was not going to be involved in their business. No matter if the gigantic Russian could break into or out of anything with brute strength, no matter if the Chinawoman could squeeze between bars and slip into pipes, no matter if their granddaughter had inherited both her father's agility and her mother's sense of cool calculation. He'd see them all dead before it happened.

But it had happened. And now he sat, a useless husk of a man, waiting for the flash in the sky that would mean everything in his life to this point was for a purpose.

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