Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Outlandisher - Chap. 11 McRandall Does Manhattan

August 17, 2009 
Chap. 11.
McRandall Does Manhattan

If Gerremy McButler thought things were going to improve with sun up, he was very much starting to doubt it now.  Forgetting to close the shutter before collapsing on the bed, he had awakened to a pigeon roosting on the bedstead, cooing at him. His head ached ferociously, probably as a result of the Ambien-Whiskey cocktail he had mistakenly drank the night before.

His body aches, from slumping over the table half the night, had only been aggravated  by the lumpy mattress and his unattended knees hurt from the fall in the street the previous day.  To top it all off he had a stuffy nose, probably as a result of the cold room and the thin blanket that barely covered him.

He was used to strange things happening to him and,  Murphy's law being what it was, they usually did.  But this one was by far the most bizarre.  He felt like this might just be another movie he was filming, only this one had no director and no crew.
Sitting up and surveying the room in daylight, he noticed that his visitor from the night before had left a few things behind on his departure.  Still laying on the back of the chair was the Captain's red coat and his sword and belt.

When he got up to use the chamber pot, he also noticed the captain's trousers on the floor in front of the twin replica of the "fun house" antique mirror which had been the travel conduit through which he found himself in this predicament in the first place.

Where the hell had the man gone without his trousers, he wondered?   Could it be he had found his way through the mirror  to another time?

With this possibility in mind, he went over the mirror, trying to find any weak spots, but with the same frustrating result as before, nothing happened.  There had to be some trick to it and he just didn't know it.   The only person with a clue or answer to the riddle had to be Jamie McFraser and he would have to find him first.

Perhaps Claire would be interested in coming along with him to find Jamie.  She might even offer some clues too.   After all she had made a similar trip once herself.

Stretching  and studying his figure in the mirror, he noticed a few of what looked like flea bites on his torso.  Absently scratching them, he decided he was pleased with his naked reflection.  True to what Jamie had said, he had forcibly dropped several more pounds since he had been here....wherever here was today.

 Relaxing his abdomen, he was pleased it was leaner and  not the flabby paunch he sometimes saw between movies.  Sticking his pelvis out, he admired his manhood and hugged it protectively with his hands, almost in appreciation that he hadn't lost it the night before.   He'd seen the madness in the dragoon's eyes when he had screamed out and had no delusions that the man got off on inflicting pain and God knows what other mayhem.

Smelling the back of his arm, he realized he still smelled of piss and thought he would almost give anything to have a hot shower.  He'd had to remove the fallen privacy curtain which was covering the chamber pot before using it and the whole room smelled like stale urine.

He hugged himself, shivering from the cold and,  looking for a change of clothes, decided the Captain's discarded pants and jacket were better then the bloody, urine soaked Kilt he was wearing the day before.

He threw some water from the pitcher over his face and torso and after drying himself off, he managed to struggle into the Captain's trousers which, due to his size, fit extremely snug through the thighs and crotch and instead of coming down to his ankles, hit him mid calf.  He was unable to close the top two buttons of the flies and decided the linen shirt, which was still serviceable,  would cover it the two he couldn't manage.  Pulling on his boots, which hid the shortness of the pants, he looked in the mirror and felt he was at least, passable.

It was too much to hope that the jacket would fit and indeed it was tight across the shoulders and barely slid over his biceps.  The sleeves were much too short, but if he rolled them up with the shirt, it wasn't too bad.  Of course he could not close it, but that didn't matter.  At least it gave him a modicum of warmth and he'd be damned if he'd freeze to death.

 Slapping on the sword, the outfit was complete and sheathing the big knife, he felt he cut an adequate, if not dashing figure. 

He rolled up Jamie's soiled clothes in a ball and tucked them under his arm.  He would return them to Claire and hoped she would feed him breakfast in return.  Getting ready to go out the door, he  spied the sporran containing his precious Ambien and strapped that on as well.  It served to protect his vitals in case they decided to pop out of the pants, which they threatened to do at any moment.

Eyeing the mirror once again,  he made a face.

GMcB:   Dinna go anywhere, ye blasted horror!   Ah need tae find out how tae book my return ticket back tae sanity an' ah'll be back wi' the travel agent as soon as ah kin locate the bastirt!

He opened the door and went out, being on the alert for one naked, deranged dragoon.

New York City

Captain F. Neil McRandall of his Majasty's Dragoons rubbed his eyes vigorously and blinked again, afraid he was losing his mind.  He was standing before a bank of large windows and gazing down several stories at what had to be a hallucination.  Clad in a linen shirt and little else,  he had been drawn to the windows as the only source of light  after finding himself sitting bare-assed on a wood floor in a semi-dark room. 

Thinking he had fallen and banged his head he reached out and been reassured by the presence of the ornate mirror he had been leaning against.  It was a false reassurance, because the mirror had been the only familiar object in all this.
The last conscious thing he remembered was staring lustily at the unconscious figure of Gerremy  McButler,  whose very tempting backside was once again scenically positioned to afford him a delicious view of the object of his desire. Glancing down at himself and deciding the situation required him to proceed without McButler's cooperation,  he had stepped back and using the mirror to steady himself, had removed his trousers when suddenly he had heard a loud "whooshing" sound and felt himself being sucked into a vortex that had deposited him here, wherever here was. 

Well, wherever it was, he was alive and the sight that lay before him,  unreal.   He was looking at a street lit by what looked to be some kind of light source hanging from large overhead poles stuck in the ground.  It was obviously late evening, but there were several people walking about below and something had just whizzed by, a carriage of some sort, but moving without any visible means of propulsion.  Where were the horses?

There was another one 

He turned back to the room with the intent of locating some candles to explore the situation more closely. There was just enough light to make out what looked like a settee near the infernal mirror.

Perhaps he should wait until daylight?     Chances are he hit his head when he fell and he was dreaming all this anyway.

 He walked to the settee and discovering it was soft, sat down.  Perhaps he should lie down and see if it would clear his spinning head?  The settee was large enough to accommodate him and then some.  He realized there was some kind of fabric draped over one end of it, and pulled it over himself for warmth.  He forced himself to close his eyes.

Claire McFraser's Cottage, Inverness

Claire Avoyant McFraser sat by the kitchen hearth, drinking a cup of tea and frowning.  She had returned with a slab of bacon to go with the eggs she had collected from her two chickens that morning, to find Gerremy McButler missing.

She wondered for the umpteenth time what the hell was wrong with her that she had this effect on men.  First Jamie had flown the coop and now this McButler had done the same.  Perhaps he had returned to the Inn he had been babbling about?
She smiled at herself, remembering the scene from the previous evening.  He wasn't Jamie, but he had a certain naive charm that was hard to resist.  He had certainly proved his metal at Inverness Castle among the other lairds, but there was still a boyish quality that lurked close to the surface and in that large frame of his, it was very appealing. 

 She wondered whether he would be back?  She still had so much to ask him about the future that had changed so much since her own WWII recollections.
Well, she couldn't sit here all day.  She had to harvest some of her herbs if she was to prepare more of her healing balms and tinctures.   She hadn't had any patients for a few days, but she knew they would start to trickle in soon enough.
Clearing the table, she pulled her basket over her arm and went out to her garden.

Small Hamlet near Edinburgh

Jamie McFraser had always prided himself on being good at whatever he set out to do, however this acting thing was a little harder than he had bargained.  Wearing a dark wig and sporting a charcoal blackened beard and some fake blood, he strolled onto the makeshift stage and bowed to a fat little man dressed in flowing robes.

McFraser:  Yer lairdship, the battle is o'er an' ah am the only one left to tell the tale.  The English knew we were coming so we lost the element o' surprise we counted on.
Fat Man:  Are ye telling me we've a spy in our midst, MacGillicutty?

McFraser:  Aye.  Tis exactly what I'm tellin' ye.  It is imperative ye find who's passing on information or ye will see a repeat o' today when we attack again come the morn.

Fat Man:  Very well!   Send in Captain MacRyan and go get your wounds taken care of.

Turning to go, he had stubbed his toe on the uneven boards and stumbled badly to the amusement of the gathered crowd, one  who had shouted out "Grace be thy name, ye big lout?"

Unable to contain himself, he had retorted in kind to the jeering man.

McFraser:   My grace may leave something tae be desired, sir, but yer face looks like yer mother sat on it to keep ye quiet when ye were but a wee bairn.!

Of course, the man had jumped on stage and the melee that had ensued, as others got involved, had ended his chances of continuing with this particular troop and so thus had put a damper on his acting for the moment.

He had to eat, so he was now forking hay into a horse stall at the local blacksmith.
He wondered how Gerremy McButler was faring wi' Claire?  Thinking about it, he found himself feeling a stab of jealousy.  Would those two go that far?  He dinna ken McButler all that well, but he was sure Claire could protect herself from any o' his advances.  But would she want to?

He smiled to himself thinking of his feisty wife.  Just then,  however, the dark haired daughter of the smithy peered her pretty head around the corner with a cup of ale and some bread.  She sat down next to him as he ate it, cute dimples in evidence as she smiled shyly at him.
Hmmmm.  He was hungrier than he thought.  Putting Claire out of his mind for the moment, he thought the bread tasted a little better all of a sudden.

New York City

Allaine Seigelson looked up and made a face as he entered Gerry McButler's loft in Manhattan.  The Sistine Chapelesqueness of the ceiling was a little too ornate for his liking, but he had never said as much to his friend, which was quite unlike him.  McButler had been so excited to show him, he hadn't had the heart to say what he really thought about it.
Thinking of Gerry now, he frowned.  He had tried to reassure Rusty the day before, but truth be told, he was very worried about his lengthy disappearance.  It was only 9:30 a.m., but he hadn't been able to sleep and felt he needed to check Gerry's loft for any visible clues to his whereabouts before letting anymore time go by.  Perhaps he had left something on his desk to indicate where he was going?
As he walked into the Great Room he was surprised to find a tartan on the floor next to the sofa.  He noticed the ugly mirror that Rusty had told him about and a pair of boots, still in a box, sitting in a chair nearby.  Picking up the tartan, he draped it over a corner of the sofa and noticing a pin in the shape of a lion that had slid behind the cushion, he laid it over the tartan.

This must be the Scottish finery that  Marta was speaking of and GB's Dressed to Kilt outfit. He noticed the white shirt hanging on the back of the chair where the boots were.  All that was missing was a kilt....
Suddenly he heard a noise coming from Gerry's office and thinking it might be his friend, called out.
Allaine:  Gerry is that you?  Where have you been damn it!  You had us worried to death here.

Getting no response, he headed towards the other room, only to see a strange man, clad only in a long shirt, standing at the door with one of Gerry's antique candlesticks raised over his head.

Allaine:  Who the hell are you?   Where's Gerry?

Sizing up Allaline and finding him non threatening, McRandall slowly lowers the candle stick?

McRandall:  Gerry?  You mean McFraser's friend?   The big fellow with the funny haircut?

Allaine:   Don't think I've ever heard of a McFraser among Gerry's friends, but then I don't know all of his Scottish chums.  I've been trying to reach him for days, though and he's not taking my calls.  When did you see him?

McRandall:  Last night?

Allaine:    Really?   Where?

McRandall:   (shrugging his shoulders)   The  Red Bull Inn in Inverness.

Allaine:  (surprised)  You mean he's in Scotland? 

McRandall:  Where else?
Allaine:  So you just flew  in today, eh?   Nice of Gerry to let you use his apartment, but the little shit should have let me know he was going to take off.  He was supposed to stay in New York until after Dressed to Kilt.

McRandall:  (incredulous)  What?  New York?   You mean the colonies? 
Allaine:   That's kind of provincial isn't it? (laughing)  It's 2009 and some of you Brits floor me still calling us the colonies.  You're English, of course?

McRandall:   2009?

Stunned and trying to make sense of what's happened to him, he nods slowly so as not to make Allaine suspicious.  He looks like a friendly sort and he needs a friend at the moment.

Allaine:  I understand you're probably still a little groggy.  Flying makes me nervous and even taking something,  the trip is exhausting.  I  can never figure how Gerry can sleep on the plane anywhere he goes.   By the way, did he say when he's coming back?

 (mumbling  to himself)  I hope to hell he called Connery and let him know he wasn't going to do the show before taking off. 

Another thought striking him, he look at McRandall.
Allaine:  Was he alone?

McRandall:  Alone?

Allaine:   Yeah, I mean was he hanging out with anyone else?   A girl, maybe?

McRandall:   A girl?   I'm not sure you can call her a girl, but he seemed to be very cozy with McFraser's  crazy wife.

Allaine:  Wife?  Exactly what do you mean by cozy?

McRandall: I observed him leaving her house in the early morning and McFraser was nowhere in sight or I would have known. 

Allaine:  Oh fuck!   Damn it Gerry!   If the tabloids get wind of this, true or not, it's going to cost him the other 50% of his fan base. (mumbling to himself again)   It was bad enough when they thought he was schtupping Shana Moakler.....

Looking at McRandall again.

Allaine:  Say, have you eaten yet?   I'm starving.  There's a place on the lower east side that makes a wonderful toasted bread with a hole in the middle filled with eggs and truffles and cheese.  They make great coffee too!  Why don't you join me for breakfast and tell me all about it?   What did you say your name was?

McRandall:  It's McRandall.   F. Neil McRandall.  I'd love to join you, but I seem to have misplaced my pants and  have nothing suitable to wear.  I can't very well go like this, can I?

Allaine:   Airline  lost your luggage, eh?   Can't trust them to get your bags to your destination anymore.

McRandall shrugs.

Allaine:  Come on, let's see if we can find something of Gerry's that might fit you.    You're a slim fellow, but there's got to be something from his skinny days.  The kid never throws anything out....

Seated at a popular lower east side eatery called 'inoteca, and enjoying the morning sun, Allaine Siegelson munched on a brunch time favorite, the decadent Truffled Toast, while sipping on a just right, strong cafe latte.

Looking across the table at Gerry's new friend. who was having the same, he had to admit he found the guy strangely puzzling ....and in some of the circles he'd moved in, that was really saying something.

Though a nice enough looking fellow, there was something paradoxical in that while something about him suggested a worldly sophisticated decadence, the look didn't mesh with the really innocent questions coming from his mouth, questions that suggested small town naivete. 

A good judge of character, Allaine would have sworn this was a man of dark tastes and anything but naive.

He had been able to fit him with a pair of Gerry's smaller size jeans and with the help of several strategically placed safety pins, they served him well enough to be carried off with a practiced ease, though the way he eyed everything around him in wonder, again sounded some strange alarm bells in Allaine.

McRandall seemed to know little of Gerry's life and still less about life in the big city, although he claimed to know London quite well and,  what had been immediately apparent to Allaine after watching him get google-eyed over several tight jeaned young models walking by, was that F. Neil McRandall definitely preferred  men over women, weather he was ready to admit it or not.

Thinking of the many things he had to do, he felt the best he could do for the fellow was orient him to the big city and point him in the direction of his appetites....which judging from the looks of him, were turning out to be considerable and perhaps hereto unexplored in any great depth, though he knew darn well that New York had nothing on London in this regard.

Perhaps the guy was still in the closet and afraid to operate in his home town, in which case the city could offer him a modicum of freedom in which to explore his wild side.
Well, he would be frank with McRandall and if Gerry had trusted the guy with his apartment, he would do the same.  But first he had to find out exactly where Gerry was and get in touch with him. 

With that in mind, he leaned forward and engaged F. Neil McRandall in conversation once more so that he could figure out what the hell to do next!

Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction that exists only in the twilight zone of the writer's mind. Any and all resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

Songs out of tune, the words always a little wrong...Canzoni Stonate

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