You’re Supposed To Put Sugar In It, @DanielDurrant6 #FourthWallFriday
“Oh hey everyone! G’morning and welcome once again to a kick-ass Fourth-Wall Friday here at the sunny cabin!” Sitting back in her deck chair, the Cabin Goddess kicks her heels up on the railing and rubs a bit more bug juice on her exposed wrists and necks and looks up with a grin,
“Well it is always sunny here in Interior Alaska during this time of the year! Sorry, been one of those weeks. But, back to the work at hand, the post!.
“Throughout the next few months we have a really special treat. Siren’s Press authors have signed up for a bunch of Fourth-Wall Fridays, today’s is their first stop. I am very pleased to welcome Daniel Durrant into the arms of the Cabin Goddess!“
Pouring a bit more coffee from the thermos and gesturing with an exceptionally large wooden spoon she points at her coffee cup and quietly whispers…
You’re Supposed To Put Sugar In It, Daniel
I opened my eyes, hoping the falling sensation would pass. It was rather like that strange feeling you get in bed from time to time – that sensation of plunging down despite the fact you’re wrapped up in a warm duvet. It seemed I had fallen a long, long way, but when I looked around, my backside was parked in a supremely comfortable leather wing chair. So I hadn’t fallen anywhere, at least not in the conventional sense of the word.
“Sir?” she repeated. “Your order?”
“Um.” That wasn’t what I’d intended to say, but nothing else was available. Something had gone terribly wrong. I tried to speak, but one look around the room rendered that impossible. This wasn’t the bar I’d been drinking in. That bar was bright. Modern. Expensive. It had oversized beer taps featuring brands you’d never heard of. Low level lighting that kept changing colour. It was, in short, the kind of bar a guy takes a girl to, hoping the designed-in coolness might rub off on him.
This bar was very different. Gas lamps provided a dim but warm light. It had apparently been trimmed by someone with a severe velvet fixation. But above all, most crucially, in the last bar, the waitress had been wearing clothes.
“Sir.” She smiled. “Your order? I will take any order you give me, sir. Any order at all.”
“Absinthe,” I said, not because I wanted one, but simply because that was my last memory. It was my one thread of continuity, and I was going to hang on to it. The barman had given me absinthe, along with the assurance “this is so back in right now”.
The waitress walked away. Definitely no clothes. I tried to focus. Logically, my date had to be here, and I was together enough to know that being caught ogling a naked waitress wouldn’t end well. That thought left me with something of a paradox; to be aware of that, I was laugh-a-bit-too-loud drunk at most, and certainly not trashed-enough-to-take-your-date-to-a-strip-club drunk. What the hell was I doing in here?
The waitress returned with the drink, which was much more complex than I’d expected. In the other bar, it had been a shot glass filled with spirit. Here, it came in an ornate glass served on a tray with a spoon and three small silver flasks.
“Will there be anything else, sir?” She looked disappointed when I said no, but it wasn’t personal anguish. It was the kind of disappointment you get from a shopkeeper when you don’t buy anything.
I looked at my drink, feeling like a man with no idea which fork to use in a fancy restaurant. I pondered it for a moment before deciding that since the staff dress code was ‘nothing’ it couldn’t be that formal here. Hoping the alcohol might help, I downed it in one.
“Good Lord, old boy!” a man exclaimed. “Small wonder you’re confused – you’re supposed to put sugar in it.”
The voice meant nothing at all, but when I looked up, I recognized him immediately. He was tall, slim, hair almost to shoulder length. Possessed the sort of confidence born of obscene wealth. He was the eldest son of the Duke of Suffolk.
“Hello, Rupert,” I said. “Pleased to meet you.” He couldn’t possibly be real, but manners are manners.
“You don’t sound surprised to see me.” He sat down opposite.
“Well,” I said, setting down my glass, “Absinthe has been known to make people hallucinate.”
“That’s questionable at best,” another man interjected. Again, the voice didn’t mean anything – I’d never heard it aloud – but it was undeniably him, copied and pasted straight from my mind’s eye into reality. Doctor Rankine. Unsurprisingly, his appearance was just as I’d imagined: a little shorter than Rupert, not bad-looking, but he wore the distinct pallor of a man that spent far too much time indoors.
“Hello, Edward.” I shook his hand. It felt alarmingly solid. On inspection, I found the first flask contained more absinthe. I refilled the glass and drank again.
“You know, you really should soften it.” Rupert pointed at the second flask on the tray. “Use a little water, at least.”
“Actually, the effect is wildly exaggerated,” Edward said, taking a seat. “Even genuine grand wormwood absinthe contains only small amounts of thujone. You would have to drink an enormous amount to experience any psychoactive effect.”
“Here’s hoping,” I replied, drinking more of the bitter liquid. It didn’t change anything. “Look, Edward, you’re the scientist. I made you clever enough to complete thermodynamic equations whilst being shot at, so do your stuff. If this isn’t some booze-induced trip, then what is it?”
“My stuff?” he repeated, with a pained expression. “Very well.” He sighed. “I would postulate the most likely explanation is a highly improbable, but nonetheless manifestly possible, extension of the observer effect.”
“You what?” It wasn’t the most intelligent response I’d ever given, but it was at least better than Rupert’s; his was to simply order more drinks from the naked girl.
“Consciousness itself is actually a co-ordinating force at the sub-atomic level,” Edward explained. “And recent experiments in decay mechanics have confirmed that all matter is cosmically entangled. So it follows the kind of micro-level effect you perceive as “thought” may in fact have a macro-level consequence elsewhere in the universe.”
“I think therefore you are?” I spluttered.
“Very droll.” Edward smiled for the first time, finally seeming to relax. “I must tell Charlotte that; she reads Descartes.” He blushed as the waitress leant over the table to serve the drinks. “It’s a shame you can’t meet her, but I’d never bring her in here, of course.”
Don’t bet on it, I thought. “This really is in my imagination?”
“Yes.” Edward paused. “And no. You imagined it. But it is real.”
“So I’m aboard the Dominator right now?” I asked, looking around once more. There were no windows, but if it were true, the brutal waters of the Northwest Passage lay outside.
“Welcome to the Crows Club,” Rupert said, raising his glass.
“Cheers.” With nothing better to do, I drank with them. I still didn’t feel any different. That surprised me, considering the stuff was strong enough to strip paint. The moment of clarity made space for guilt to creep in. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen my date?”
“Your date?” Edward examined his pocket watch. “I think he’s even more confused than we realised,” he said, glancing at Rupert. “Your date is the same as everyone else’s. The calendar insists upon on it.”
“Um,” I said. The word was underrated, I decided. It was trustworthy, dependable; a kind of verbal failsafe. “I meant my – um – the lady I was meeting.”
“Oh! I see. Well, you needn’t worry about her,” Edward assured me. “The observer effect is by definition confined to the observer. In any case, some other factor must have functioned as a bridge. The spark to your tinder,” he added, looking pleased with his analogy. “Yes, there must be something, some additional element!” Edward sat upright, leant forward. “May I enquire what you were doing when this began to unfold?”
“I was in a bar,” I said, lifting my glass. “Drinking one of these.”
“Stop!” Edward pulled my hand back down. “That must be it – literally, the additional element! Some ingredient, the thujone itself, perhaps anethole -” he trailed off, murmuring chemical compounds. “You must be careful,” he said, returning to intelligible language. “Drinking that likely bought you here. It may well be keeping you here.”
“Does it matter?” Rupert shrugged.
“Of course it matters!” Edward said. “It may not be safe.”
“Safety is overrated.” Rupert beckoned for yet more drinks. “Edward, you are sometimes so busy thinking that you miss the point.” He turned to me. “Consider this. If my good friend is correct – and he invariably is – you are responsible for the entire reality we inhabit. Therefore, you are responsible for my good self, and all the marvellous things I have experienced. I’m very grateful, but the best I can do to express that is buy your drinks.” He waved his arm at the ladies around the room. “Take a moment to imagine how grateful they might be.” Rupert pointed at a girl near the bar. “Look at her. Imagine what she might to do to thank you.”
I looked. The girl was slim, beautiful, and wearing a slip so ethereal it’s very existence could just be a trick of the light.
“Oh, at least have one more.” Rupert refilled my glass. “No harm in that.”
“This is risky,” Edward warned. “There may be a critical mass, a point of no return.”
“Shan’t force your hand, old boy,” Rupert said. “It’s your choice.” He refilled my glass before opening the third flask on the drinks tray. “But for the love of God, put sugar in it.”
by Daniel Durrant
Published by Sirens Call Publications
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Smashwords • iTunes • Goodreads
In a world driven by steam and power-hungry Industrialists, can one man change the course of history?
Edward Rankine, inventor and engineer aboard the battle-cruiser Dominator, has devised an ingenious plan to open the frozen Northwest Passage.
Believing he is performing a service for the benefit of mankind, Edward is appalled to discover there is a saboteur in his midst.
Working with a crew of ‘Jacks and Jills’, mechanically enhanced humans sentenced to a life of servitude, Edward is forced to battle on the icebound waters of the northern seas.
Not only does Edward have a mutiny on his hands, but he must also find a way to save the passengers aboard the Dominator, possibly abandoning his own noble ambition in the process.
Will Edward’s plan succeed in the face of adversity, or in failing to clear the Northwest Passage will he stumble upon something greater?
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Fourth-Wall Friday – January – June 2014 Signups now open
Ever wonder what happens if you were to break into your world build and sit down and have a beer with your main characters? I think I would love to have tea with Jane Eyre, or discuss the best way to take care of vampires with Jane Yellowstone…maybe having Susie Shotgun take me out for some Angels Tears…
Interested in being part of Cabin Goddesses Fourth-Wall Friday? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. I hope everyone (authors and readers alike) takes time peruse the archives and find out just what other authors have done and enjoy a lot of amazing world builds! Or check out the PINTEREST board with every Fourth-Wall Friday pinned!
Allow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse. Or perhaps walk in the door, tuck into a corner & watch your characters get into trouble before you take a chance and talk to them…