Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Outlandisher - Chap. 5 - The Weight of Water

August 11th, 2008

Ah'll bet Paul Newman was never picked apart
Chap. 5
The Weight of Water

No sooner had Jamie McFraser departed then the rumbling in McButler's gut started. He figured it must be hunger pangs, since he had skipped lunch that day and it was probably close to dinner time. Ignoring it, he walks up to the twin replica of his mirror again. Still intent on finding a way back, he runs his fingers over every inch of the reflective glass searching for a clue, but finding only hard surfaces. Frustrated and willing to try anything, his humor asserts itself and he yells at the mirror:

GMcB: "Open sesame!"

When nothing happens he tries another tack:

GMcB: "Mirror, mirror oan the floor.....please take me back where ah wis before!"

Seeing no change in the mirror, he humorously tries once more:

GMcB: "Magic worts o' RockNRolly.....take me home tae feed ma Noly!"

Still nothing, he turns away in frustration.

GMcB: "F_UCK!"

Unbeknownst to him the mirror flickers to black behind him and the shimmery vortex appears momentarily, then returns to normal.

Turning back to the mirror for one last look at himself and figuring out he doesn't look all that bad, he opens the door to start exploring this earlier version of his beloved Scotland, thinking to himself, it couldn't be that bad... After all, hadn't he always dreamt of just this kind of scenario, being back in the days when men were larger than life? Now he would get to test his metal and find out if he had anything in common with these tough Celts he had so often admired from the distance of time.

Suddenly emboldened by this thought, he finds himself ready to face the world and starts by walking down the hall of what seems like some kind of boarding house. Making a mental note of the location of the room containing his only hope of passage back home, after a few turns he encounters the apparent landlord of the joint, who looks him up and down and grumbles to himself. Gerry explains to the man he is a relative of Jamie McFraser and will be staying in his room for several days while Mr. McFraser is away on business, which was the story he and Jamie had agreed on.

The landlord, apparently satisfied with the explanation and commenting on the resemblance, "apairt from the taste in clothin' " as the landlord insinuatingly leers, he informs a relieved Gerry that Jamie has paid the room for a week in advance.

Once out on the street and wide eyed at the look of everything, he is busy watching out for passing carriages when he walks right into a muddy puddle of water. Realizing he will indeed need a sturdy pair of boots to navigate this place, he stops what looks like one of the local merchants walking by and asks where he may find a boot maker. To McButler's chagrin, after taking one look at him, the man starts laughing raucously, but eventually gives him instructions to an establishment a few blocks down the road.

Still stung by the merchant's laughter, he prepares himself for the same reception from the boot maker. Fortunately for him, the boot maker is so intrigued by his tennis shoes that he obligingly takes one of them off for the man to study. Suddenly realizing he has no money, he makes a deal for a pair of elegant boots in his size that had been declined by another customer, in exchange for his now muddy pair of sneakers. Content with the trade, the boot maker even throws in a pair of stockings to seal the bargain.

Upon leaving the boot maker, his stomach rumbles again and he realizes if he expects to be fed without selling either his watch or his favorite stretchy beaded bracelet, he'd better follow the directions Jamie had given him to the home he has been sharing with Sassy Hack.

Moments later, as he stands in front of the humble abode, he is suddenly struck with an attack of stage fright, the kind which is usually reserved for his appearances on late night talk shows such a Leno.

GMcB: Gude, how ah wish ah had a fag right now!

These were the occasions when he missed them the most since he quit smoking.

Trying to talk himself through the sudden panic, he starts a conversation with himself that could almost pass for the litany he used to go through as a child and then as a young man, when he fluctuated between unbridled confidence and boasting bravado and the absolute terror of being found a fraud or of appearing ridiculous.

Stardom had brought him a modicum of relief from these tortures and he was mostly the hard assed joker these days, but alone sometimes, and deep in the place where he resided, a part of him was still the insecure kid who wanted to be loved and accepted without all the pretense. But it was a cruel world out there and he had learned not to read the nastiness spewed by others, recognizing their own insecurities as the source of their diatribes. But it didn't stop the hurt altogether. Not really....

But then he had to accept it as the price for the other side of fame....the misplaced adulation of the unsatisfied and unexcited, who were turning to a face on the screen to fill a void, perhaps a dissatisfaction that needed to be dismissed at all costs in order to maintain the illusion they lived fully fulfilled lives. That was, after all, what the dream factory called Hollywood provided for some.

GMcB: Och! Ah bet Paul Newman was never picked apairt the way I've been. (brightening) Perhaps there is something to be said for the 18th century wi' no paps and no' media and no internet!

There would certainly be no photographs in the morning of himself in plaid kilt, floral shirt and tennis shoes....and no nasty comments either, based on speculation that most times had no basis except the imaginations of the commentators, and when that wasn't exciting enough, pure fabrication. Anything to feed the masses clamoring for news.

Feeling somewhat better at this thought, he lifts his hand to knock on the door and face this Claire Avoyant McFraser person who could perhaps give him some comfort, some food, and maybe even some hints on how to return to his own time. But before his knuckles reach the door, he realizes he is being scrutinized by a pair of hazel eyes peeking through the curtained window.

Suddenly the door flies open and a lovely, petite woman with a scowl on her face gets in his.

Claire: Okay, what in holy hell are you doing standing at my door for such a long length of time?

GMcB: (taken aback) Havin'  a nairvous breakdown?

Barely are the words out of his mouth when he is hit with a major cramp tearing at his gut. He doubles over in pain and mortification.

Claire: (seeing his distress) Well a therapist I'm not, but from the looks and sounds of you, I'd say you are about to experience an explosive intestinal disturbance, to put it delicately!

Still bent over and clutching his gut, he replies through clenched teeth and a desperate look on his face.

GMcB: Ah'm afraid there is no time fer delicacy, much less polite introductions.

Pushing his way past her.

McB: Where's the ...the toilet, please?

With shock on her face at the phrase used by this stranger, she quickly takes his hand and leads him to the chamber pot behind the curtain in the bedroom.

GMcB: (looking down) Ye've got tae be f_uckin' kiddin' me!

She has barely drawn the curtains to give him privacy when she hears a stream of curses and a grunt of pain! She quietly lets herself out the door, closing it behind her, as she goes in search of her medicinal herb box, and smiles all the way down the hall.

Later sitting across from her in front of a big fireplace that doubles as a kitchen, and sipping a very sour tasting remedy that immediately seemed to quell some of the fire in his gut, Gerry McButler felt he had now suffered the ultimate mortification. He was truly going to develop a tough arse, as Jamie McFraser had predicted, because his comfortable designer briefs now lay somewhere in a passing cart, wrapped in a bunch of leaves held together by his stretchy, beaded bracelet, where he had quickly disposed of them through a window before making himself presentable again with the help of a pitcher of water and some scented soaps that Sassy Hack had discreetly placed at his disposal.

If he thought it had been drafty before, he would now experience what his hardy ancestors had found entirely natural ....the manly, unbridled freedom of his privy parts.

In the coming days, Gerry McButler would also literally become very familiar with the phrase, "freezin' yer tadger off."

If there was any consolation in anything that had happened to him in the last 6 hours, it was the fact that tucked safely in his floral shirt pocket was the refill of his Ambien prescription which he had picked up at the pharmacy earlier that day before this whole adventure had started. Thankful for small blessings, he turned his attention to the small, lovely, but apparently formidable woman sitting across from him and thought perhaps she might join the very small list of blessings he would accrue over the next few days.

Next: Claire "Sassy Hack" Avoyant McFraser 

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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