Archie's Mad Quest
Acting Lt. Archie Kennedy opened his eyes, gave a feeble moan and closed
them again. His clothes were in complete dissaray: the half of them that
wasn't missing seemed muddied or torn. His head hurt unbearably, there
was a dull throbbing in his temples and his mouth was quite dry. It was
one hell of a hangover. (What did you think? :-)
It all started so innocuously with a pledge to the King's health, but
soon deteriorated into pledging first all the officers and then the
ship's crew, and when the ship was the Indy, with 117 aboard, well....
That French fellow, Monkey Taunt, or something like that, protested it
smaked of republicanism but was swiftly overrulled. They were momentarily
stymied by how to go about the business of pledging everyone, five
officers all wanting their crews to be pledged first, but Captain Pellew,
able leader as he always was, proposed a solution: toast everyone
would never know if they did pledge everyone, for he passed out somewhere
along the letter G. His last memory was of Mr. Bracegirdle doing a limber
handstand on a center table.
What he needed most now was a "pick me up." He slowly and carefully
opened his eyes again and looked at the empty bunk next to him.
Hornblower must be lying somewhere on deck he supposed. Horatio had
refused to drink until he became aware that it was his duty to do so. it
would be unpatriotic and even ungrateful to the excellent seamen not to
drink their health. "Good Old Horatio! So devoted to duty!"
thought Kennedy fondly.
He decided Horatio wouldn't mind if he loked for relief in his sea-chest.
He *had* to have something useful there. The chest was simply too big! At
each stop Horatio kept buying a larger one. The current one was about
three times the chest of anyone else on board, but Horatio was beginning
to complain t was too small. Kennedy sighed determinedly and dived in.
To his chargrin, except a few frilly shirts, the whole space of the chest
was filled with...hats!! Hats of every sort and variety, every shape,
size and shade of blue, lovingly wrapped
up in tissue paper with various labels such as "hat for noble posture"
or "crying hat" attached to them. "No wonder he has no money
for a bloody
uneeform," muttered Archie, no better for his quest. "Not after
bloody hats!" The oblong object at the
very bottom of the chest which raised his hopes at first, proved only to
be a bottle of Vidal Sassoon.
There was no help for it, but to brave the sunlight and go on deck...Dare
he? He paused breathlessly...Captain Pellew was still on the dock
somewhere...maybe in his cabin. Gingerly he stepped on deck.
An astonishing sight greeted his eyes. Alexander Rayne, the 9th Earl of
Edrington, his hair discheveled, his eyes wild, face working, was barely
restrained by three of his soldiers. Kennedy was
flabbergasted. Whatever could have caused the cool-as-steel Major, whose
wildest expression was a Jeeves-like raising a left corner of his mouth
quarter-inch, to become so moved? He wouldn't have thought there was enough
liquor in the world.
Seeing Archie's questioning look, one of the soldiers grunted: "His
Lordship's gone and lost his teddy-bear. Awful fond of it he is."
At the fatal word, the 9th earl gave a low moan, and dropped his head.
Archie nodded undestandingly (owwww, that hurt!), but Edrington's sobs
pursued him all the way down the hatchway.
Finally he was in Captain's quarters. His sea-chest was decently small,
and Archie hunted through it fevereshly. He threw negligently aside a
bunch of what looked to be book orders for "How to
become a good captain in 12 easy lessons," digging through the Captain's
earplugs, cough syrup and throat medicine. He was rather more careful
with Pellew's labeled and catalogued seaweed collection. At last, he found
looking glass jar! He was saved!! Then he gave a double take, and then a
triple one and then...you get the picture. He stared at the jar that
promising and gave a low moan. The Captain's secret was out. It was