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GRNW Round Robin > GRNW Round Robin part 2 by Andrea Speed

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message 1: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Baxter was pretty sure this was a joke. It had to be, right?

He started looking for visible cameras, or loitering people who probably had the sound recording equipment, as he ran between the stacks. This was for one of those prank shows, right? What else could it be? Well, see if he was going to sign their waiver.

He decided to phone someone, 9-1-1 seemed appropriate, but for some reason he was no longer getting any signal. That figured. He pocketed his useless phone, and wondered what he should do now. Flag down a librarian? You’d think they’d already be up in arms because of all this noise.

The men in the old fashioned hats were still running after him, and the one with the crooked nose was occasionally shouting orders, even though Baxter could hardly make them out. Although he would swear he heard the term “hornswoggled”. Was that even a real word?

As he rounded mystery section, a hand reached out and snagged the front of his shirt, pulling him into the neighboring aisle. His first impulse was to shove the guy or maybe punch him, and then he smirked at the very thought. The closest he had ever been to a fight was a brief, ill advised attempt at joining a group dance at a birthday party.

The man who had him now had an eyepatch over his left eye, and black hair that looked wind tossed and effortlessly sexy. A bandoleer of tiny knives crisscrossed his very nice chest, some of which was visible through the deep vee neck of his silky black shirt. His skin was a sunkissed bronze, and his one eye was a deep, rich mahogany. “Why are Black Burt and his men so interested in you, my pretty boy?” the man asked. He had a faint Spanish accent, and while he was still holding on to Baxter’s shirt, he had lessened his grip.

“Uh, um … I don’t want to be in this show, okay?”

The man canted his head like a parrot, studying Baxter with his eye. “What show?”

“Whatever show this is. I don’t know, I don’t watch lots of reality television.”

“Tel-e-vis-i-on?” The man repeated. He frowned and shook his head. “You speak in riddles, guapo. But any enemy of Black Burt is a friend of mine. Come.” The man didn’t actually wait for a response; he simply started pulling Baxter into the self-help section. Weirdly enough, he thought he could smell sea salt, and hear that water sloshing noise even louder now. Did this library have a water feature? That was risky.

“Hey, wait, didn’t you hear me? I don’t want any part of this show.”

The man muttered something in Spanish, nothing which Baxter recognized. Okay, he wasn’t fluent, but it was hard to be in Los Angeles for any period of time and not pick up a little Spanish, even if it was all food related. So Baxter decided to start again. “Look, who are you, where are you taking me? And why are those maniac LARPers after me?”

“I am Rodrigo el Rojo, perhaps you have heard of me.”

“Umm …” Considering the amount of knives he was wearing, and the rapier in a scabbard on his hip, Baxter wondered if saying no was wise. If this wasn’t a prank show, then it had to be a bunch of demented cosplayers, and who knew how crazy they were. Maybe their idea of fun was terrorizing random citizens. You’d think that would be illegal, but he’d heard Seattle could be pretty weird.

“Black Burt is a scourge. He must be stopped before he press gangs any more doomed souls to his cause.” Rodrigo let go of him but then spun dramatically, so close to him Baxter was forced to take a step back, putting him right up against the shelf. Rodrigo leaned in, kissing close. He smelled like tobacco, salt, and … gunpowder? “Are you with me, guapo? Or do you walk the plank?”

Baxter suddenly wondered if that was coded euphemism for sex. Like, anonymous library bathroom sex. To be honest, the guy was kind of hot, and his tight black pants showed he had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. But what if it was code for something really weird? What if walking the plank meant you liked to be spanked with a two by four, or something even worse? “I’m with you, I guess,” he said, still unsure what he was agreeing to, but it had to be better than walking the plank.

“Excellent,” Rodrigo said, giving him a proud grin, and clapping him so hard on the shoulder he almost drove Baxter down to one knee. How strong was this guy? “How are you with a blunderbuss?”

It took Baxter a moment to understand what he’d just asked, because for a moment, he thought it was sex code again. Also, did he just hear a seagull? “What?”

Rodrigo frowned at him, and moved a book aside from a shelf. He couldn’t help but notice it was Co-Dependant No More. The one eyed man then pulled out a short sword in a leather scabbard, and held it out to him hilt first. “Are you better with this then?”

With reluctance, Baxter took it, and almost instantly dropped it. It was way heavier than he thought it would be, and only then did he realize he was expecting to be handed a fake, a prop sword, like the kind they used in theaters. He started to pull it out of the scabbard, but he could tell just from sight this thing was wicked sharp. He could actually hurt someone with this, or himself if he wasn’t careful. “I – no. You can’t be serious. People could get hurt.”

Rodrigo glared at him, which was remarkably intimidating coming from a well built man with an eyepatch, even if he was wearing a silk shirt. “Be you a landlubber, matey? Then what has Black Burt got to do with you?”

“I don’t even know who that is. I –“

“I have ye now ye scurvy dog!” The man with the crooked nose jumped out at the head of the aisle, waving a wicked curved sword of his own. Behind him were two paunchy men with bad teeth and swords of their own.

Rodrigo flung his hand out towards them, and the two henchmen staggered, dropping their swords and grabbing their chests. They both had little silver knives poking out of their sternums. Boy, those dye packs sure looked like blood. Curved nose – Black Burt? – scowled at Rodrigo. “Missed me, shark bait.”

Rodrigo pulled his sword out, holding it in front of him in a perfect Errol Flynn style pose. This guy was good. He was definitely the best community theater had to offer. “No I didn’t, bilge rat.”

Metal clanged as their swords came together, and Baxter quickly ran away, towards the periodicals. There had to be someone on duty there, right? Crap, maybe he should head for the elevators. Maybe the crazies were confined to this floor alone.

Was it just his unfamiliarity with the layout, or was the library actually changing? He couldn't remember it having this many shelves and aisles before. It had become dense and weirdly maze like, and seemed to be shifting shape around him. But that seemed crazier than a bunch of cosplayers on a rampage.

Suddenly one of those guys in a tricorn hat jumped into the aisle in front of him, holding out a rusty dagger. “Where are you going with that doubloon, you mangy cur?”

Baxter realized he was still holding the sword Rodrigo gave him, but he dropped it, because he didn’t know how to use it even if he had wanted to. You could put someone’s eye out with that thing. “I –“

That was all he got out before a super thick book – the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary? – flew out of the stacks and cold cocked tricorn hat, dropping him like a garbage bag full of beer cans. The hot man he’d seen before, the one who gave him the coin, suddenly appeared from the reference section, and grabbed Baxter’s arm. “Hurry, this way. They’re readying the cannons.”

Baxter was so stunned he allowed the man to pull him deeper into the stacks. It seemed like daylight had all but disappeared in this section, and the humidity was way up. So was that brackish water smell. Were the books starting to mold? And where did the sun go? “Cannons?” That was all Baxter could say right now. Everything else seemed miniscule next to that.

“Sorry to involve you in this,” the hot man said, totally ignoring his question. “But I think I might be able to finally end this curse.”

Baxter decided then he shouldn’t have had sushi for lunch. It had been bad, hadn’t it? It had gone off and was giving him hallucinations, and none of this was actually happening. “Curse? Cannons weren’t enough; you had to bring a curse into this?”

There was a loud crack, and confettied bits of book rained down on them, followed by the sulfurous smell of gunpowder gone bad. Handsome guy grabbed him and pushed Baxter behind him, shielding him from the monster at the head of the aisle. Or if not a monster, then a hipster who had really gone way too far.

As far as Baxter was concerned, he was a beard with legs. A big, bushy black beard that seemed to fall to the man’s waist, and things shimmered in the tangles of matted facial hair. Thumb tacks? He also had small smoldering things near where his chin must have been, and Baxter thought they were cigarette butts at first, but they didn’t smell right. Were those rolled up check out cards? He was also holding one of those old timey guns with the long barrel that was still smoking. Right, a blunderbuss, what Rodrigo had tried to offer him. “Give it back before I put the next one between your eyes.”

“You’re not stopping me this time, Black Burt,” handsome man said, quite handsomely. So if this was Black Burt, who was the guy with the crooked nose? Baxter really needed a program with a cast list.

And that’s when the cannon went off.

message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul | 30 comments Great segment Andrea :)

message 3: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
THIS. IS. HILARIOUS. Wow, Andrea! I loved where you took this!

"Well, see if he was going to sign their waiver." HA! That and so many other lines here totally made me laugh!

I can't wait to see where things go from here. (And I love it that everything is still at the library!)

message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim (dephal) | 16 comments I love this very much. :-)

message 5: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
I really like how both this chapter and part 1 ends. They both cap off with an exciting way that the next person can take in any direction. I love it! :D

message 6: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Thanks everyone. I was afraid I was throwing in too many characters, but you know how I love my weirdos.

I like the idea of LARPers on a cos fueled rampage. I'm keeping that idea in my back pocket for the future.

message 7: by Tara (new)

Tara Spears | 55 comments I knew you would get the humor rolling. Great segment! Now I need to do a character outline... *Gah, but she grins anyway*

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