Conversations Atop a Camel


Author's Notes: Well, this came out of nowhere. It simply appeared on my screen in a puff of smoke and with some accompanying calypso music. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but I posted it anyhow because, well, it made me laugh.


Yes, this little bit of fluff was partially inspired by ellbee's very fun "Conversation With a Door", I will freely admit that. I will also freely admit that none of the characters are mine, even though I mention none of them directly, since there is no narration, only dialogue! Mwaha! Right, then. On with the story.


Information on fox-hunting gathered from http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/foxman/ Please note that this is a pro-Hunt website and if that offends you, don't pay Foxman a call.


~


"Hey--she's, uh, she's quite a rider."


"I should say so, old man. Been doing it since she was born, practically."


"Yeah?"


"Horses, of course, not camels. Evie's been falling off them since before she could walk. We both had lessons growing up, but she took to it far more than I. Loves animals--horses, dogs, that imbecile cat of hers... 'Course, I'll never forget that time she crashed the hunt."


"What? She did what?"


"You do know what a fox hunt is, don't you? Gangs of riders and hounds chasing a--"


"No, yeah, I know."


"Yes. Well. When Evie was about fourteen, she decided the tradition was rather barbaric. I suppose she had a point, although at the time I could have throttled the little beast... I should have known something was amiss when she begged and pleaded with me to bring her along. Pretended she was sincerely interested in the hunt, the little brat. Then she charged ahead of the field master and snatched up the fox just as it was being run to ground. God only knows what she did with the wretched animal once she'd got it, I seem to recall that it bit her at least once... In any case, the afternoon was ruined. I was shunned by my fellows, and we were both politely asked not to participate in any more sporting activities."


"You're making that up."


"On my honour bright, my good son! Just you ask her about it. Although be prepared for her to bend your ear about how cruel your average sporting chap is to the dear little woodland creatures."


"Maybe I'll do that."


~~


"Mister O'Connell?"


"You can call me Rick, you know."


"Why would I want to do that?"


"Uh, 'cause it's my name?"


"Thank you, no. I don't think I know you well enough for that."


"Can I call you Evelyn?"


"I suppose you will in any case."


"Yeah, probably. Maybe I'll call you Evie."


"You're welcome to try, but I won't answer to it."


"We'll see... okay. Evelyn it is. So, Evelyn, what's on your mind?"


"My brother says you wagered five hundred dollars against those rude Americans that we would be the first ones to the city. Is that true?"


"Yeah."


"Where are you going to get five hundred dollars, Mister O'Connell? Because I--"


"I won't need to get it. We're gonna win."


"Is that so?"


"Yeah, that's so."


"Well, for your sake, sir, I sincerely hope you're right."


"Are you warning me again?"


"Oh, push off."


~~


"Has she always been such a...?"


"Stubborn brat?"


"Yeah."


"Oh, don't mind Evie. She's only being so disagreeable because, truth be known, she fancies you."


"She--what?"


"Likes you. She likes you, old chum. In that special way a young girl has."


"She told you that?"


"Didn't have to, it's written across her face for all the world to see. She bought that dress for you, my good man. I've known her forever, and I've never seen her wear anything like that."


"Huh."


"I wouldn't look so worried about it, O'Connell. It's only an innocent little schoolgirl crush. She's probably written your initials and hers together in her notebook with little hearts around them. Evie's always been a bit of a late bloomer in regards to matters of romance."


"Really? Looking like that?"


"Who's to see her, cooped up in that stuffy library all the time? Besides, women are never accurate judges of their own looks. That's why they need us, old man."


"If you say so."


"I say, you will be decent about it, won't you? Don't take advantage of her, that sort of thing."


"Right, no, I wouldn't..."


"I mean it. Ordinarily I'd say carry on, full speed ahead, but she is my baby sister. A chap's got obligations, and all that."


"Got it."


"Good show."


~~


"Why can't you leave me alone?"


"It just makes you crazy that I kissed you, doesn't it?"


"Not at all. In fact, I'd completely forgotten, until you brought it up."


"Bullshit."


"You have a lot to learn about how to speak to a lady, Mister O'Connell."


"I know why you're mad, too. It was probably your first kiss. Now, every time you kiss someone, you'll be thinking about me."


"I sincerely doubt that."


"I don't know what you're so sore about, anyway. A condemned man's entitled to a last meal, isn't he?"


"Must we discuss this? You've made your point. It was nothing personal. Any port in a storm. One last hurrah. Just a mousy librarian, but she'll do in a pinch. If I hadn't been there, you might have kissed Jonathan instead!"


"Whoa, hang on a second--"


"I refuse to discuss the matter further, Mister O'Connell."


~~


"Everything all right, old mum? You're all red in the face. Are you drinking enough water?"


"I'm fine."


"Has O'Connell been pestering you?"


"I'm fine, Jonathan, really."


"Well, I must say that's a relief. I'm all for defending your honour, but he's rather a large man, and I'm liable to get my nose broken if I do anything rash."


"Look, do shut up. He can hear you."


"I say, have you named your mount yet? I think I'm going to call mine Duchess, she's got rather a regal air. I daresay she reminds me a bit of Elizabeth, especially about the--aha! Look at that, Duchess, a smile from Evie. That's better."


"Idiot."


"Careful, my girl--your face will stick that way if the wind changes."


"Is that how yours got the way it is?"


"Oh, ha. I'll have you off there in a minute, Your Nibs. See how high and mighty you are with a snoot full of sand."


"Just you try it."


"Don't tempt me. Hmph. Bloody cheek."


"Jonathan..."


"Yes, sis?"


"Thank you."


"Think nothing of it."


~~


"Evelyn?"


"For goodness' sake, what do you want now?"


"I'm sorry, okay?"


"What for?"


"For earlier. Also, I wouldn't kiss your brother if I was dying of the plague and he was the cure."


"I'm sure he'll sleep more soundly knowing that to be the case. Good night, Mister O'Connell."


"Evie...?"


"Yes?"


"Heh. Gotcha."


"Good night, Mister O'Connell."


~~


"Mister O'Connell?"


"Yeah?"


"Did you... did you hear that?"


"Yeah. Just a jackal. Did it wake you up?"


"Yes. Had I been sleeping long?"


"Couple hours."


"There it is again! Do you think it's very close?"


"Nah. We won't even see it. Your brother's snoring'll scare it off if it gets curious."


"It sounded awfully like a person... and so mournful."


"Maybe he accidentally insulted a girl jackal, and he's trying to apologize. Only she won't accept his apology. He probably feels bad about what he said, and wishes he could take it back."


"It's very dark out here, isn't it? I don't think I've ever seen so many stars in my life. If only it weren't cloudy, we could see them all."


"Fine, ignore me."


"I... I forgive you, Mister O'Connell."


"Would you just call me Rick, already?"


"I don't think so. Not yet."


"Not yet?"


"No."


"But soon?"


"Perhaps. Do you know the stars, Mister O'Connell? The constellations?"


"A couple."


"Would you like to learn?"


"Sure."


~~


"Do you really think we'll win your silly bet?"


"With you on our team? We can't lose."


"Mister O'Connell, I've just realized that you haven't said a single insulting thing to me in over three hours."


"Must be a new record."


"Do you know, if this sort of thing keeps up, we might actually get to be friends!"


"Scary thought."


"By the way... thank you for saving my life, when we were on the barge."


"Oh. Sure. And, uh, likewise. Any time."


"I may hold you to that..."


"I wouldn't be surprised."