Maraccan NightsBy Cipher Muse
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"Knew a girl, once," mumbles Vila. |
Blake looks up at him, surprised by the non sequitur. A brief quirk at the corner of his mouth alerts Jenna to his intentions even before he speaks.
"Did you indeed? Only the one?" but he keeps the smile out of his voice.
At this Avon gives up the pretense of concentration on the Galactic Conqueror gameboard and sneers at Vila rather cheerfully.
"At least he was able to count them all."
Vila has done something Supreme Commander Servalan would pay millions to be able to accomplish. He has managed to ignore them both. He continues, his voice growing melancholy and sing-song.
"She had a way with her hands that was just magical. And she was very clever with maracas..."
Jenna simply stares at him, while Blake and Avon exchange a speaking glance. Nobody interrupts the small man, however, and Vila continues.
"She came from a town called Sevil or something, and the way she danced was like finding a strongbox with a lever lock. Easy as can be but full of good stuff... I almost married her, you know. I would have, if my mum hadn't come sniffing around and stuck her nose in. "
Jenna makes sympathetic noises while Blake tries to keep his face sober. Avon is ignoring Vila again, plotting the complete destruction of Blake's plastic fleet. Vila feels he has his audience's attention.
"The fruit on her hat was was probably what set Mum off. Always aware of the cost of food, was my Mum. Well, she had fifteen of us to feed, didn't she? I don't think Carmen liked me much after Mum pinched her bananas for a gelatin mold. Livid, she was. Turned the maracas straight on my mother and what's a lad to do?"
Even the devastation of Blake in effigy on the game board cannot insulate Avon fully from Vila's tale. Avon arches his eyebrow and says in his usual clipped manner, "What, exactly, did Carmen DO with said maracas ?"
At this, Vila's melancholy vanishes. A fond smile lights his pallid countenance.
"She was a very clever girl. But, Avon, would I divulge tender secrets to the likes of you? There'd better be a soma in it for me."
Blake laughs aloud at this, and Jenna smiles somewhat wistfully. With a tremendous sigh, Avon turns around and fixes Vila with a dark stare.
"Very well, Vila, put it on my tab."
"All right then. She had this trick, needed a pair of maracas, the old-fashioned wood sort, and one of those anti-grav brassieres..." He pauses for a moment, a little smile on his face.
They all wait for several beats, until the suspension is painful.
"Well, come on, man! What was the trick?" bellows Blake.
Vila is startled, then appears thoughtful. Suddenly his face wrinkles stubbornly.
"No, I've changed my mind. I'll take the secret to my grave. Have to respect a girl like that."
At the collective groan he simply crosses his arms over his chest. Jenna suspects that he is repressing a grin. Blake looks ready to argue the point, but Avon turns from him in rather triumphant disgust. Before Blake can get a word out, however, the rec room door slides open with a whir.
There stands Gann, clad in sombrero, bandoleros, and with maracas firmly in hand. He shakes them with great enthusiasm.
"You'll never guess what I found in the second level store-room!"
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