Pon

 

Pon (who resembles a famous actor)

Pon (who resembles a famous actor)

Pon lay in the cramped crew bunk he’d been assigned. He had been ready to change his mind about his sudden decision but as he was rushing from the engine room to the boarding deck, the fireworks began, and with a groan, the ship began to move. Now he was exhausted, sick from the fumes and the movement of the ship and staring at a ceiling inches from his head.

Pon was not comfortable with the ocean or any water in general and this sudden trip by his mistress (for his allegiance did lie with her, not her father) was unsettling in the extreme.  He did not understand her decision, for why would she engage him in conversation or inform him of her thoughts.  However, if she believed that an ocean voyage was the best course of action, so be it.

But he had decided:  she was not going alone.  Ting Ting could never protect her mistress from the suspicous foreigners that surrounded them and jostled all of them as they had made their way up the gangplank.  Once he had found her cabin (there had been a slight mistake at first and they had entered the wrong cabin—his mistress had been very disturbed), he & the other men deposited her trunks, had bowed and withdrew. 

But at the end of the gangplank, he handed out the money to each man with his train tickets and told them to board the train to the farm, writing on a piece of paper the name of the stop (for none of them spoke or wrote English).  He hoped that they had done as he had bid, but he felt sure that at least one would return to the mansion to inform Master Chen about his daughter, hoping for additional money.  Well, hope away, he had thought, for Master Chen had the anger of ten dragons and would surely kill the messenger.

Then Pon waited.  He watched passengers arrive in various ways, some in fancy cars, some in taxis, some on foot, one running, carrying her bags, bumping against her legs.  He pulled an apple from his pocket and munched it—it was a late apple and wrinkled from winter storage, but still sweet, tart and snapped as he bit it.  He always had several in his deep pockets because a servant of Master Chen’s never knew when he would be without food.  Not that Master Chen was not wealthy, oh no, for he was very wealthy, but that Master was as various as the weather and one day would be hearty and laughing and the next day would have eyes like the devil and a laugh like demons and the smallest mistake would leave a servant locked in the dark room without food for days.

Soon two officers met at the wharf with a man and began arguing.  Pon slid off his perch and approached slowly, wiping his hands on his pants.

“You promised a replacement engineer on the hour,” snapped one of the officers, who seemed to the one in charge.  The other officer was more reasonable, “Have you anyone who could be available within our boarding period?”  The man, most uncomfortably, responded in a thick Irish brogue.  “Surely I would m’am and sir, if I could but I can’t, there bein’ so many ships hauling keel today.” 

Pon stepped forward.  In flawless English he said, “Excuse me, I was sent from the office as the replacement engineer.  Sorry I could not arrive sooner.  Obviously from my dress, I was called in at the last moment.  Can you provide me with uniform and kit?”

Dumbfounded, the three stared at the Chinese man standing in front of them in his worker’s dress.  The officer in charge was the first to recover.  “Get aboard and find the quarter master.  She’ll have uniform and kit for you.  Hurry, we’ve not much time.”  She turned to the Irishman who had claimed to have no engineer.  “Good choice.  I like this man.  Looks kind of pirate-y.”  And she laughed and slapped the man on the back so hard that he staggered, which he would have anyway, because he’d never seen Pon before in his life.  She and her First Mate boarded the ship together, sniggering.

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11 Responses to “Pon”

  1. gailkav Says:

    Ah, so a certain Asian actor lookalike has arrived on the Vulcania. I am content. Pon will be a fine engineer, and keeping an eye on him will be easy – as he once said, in another sea going tale, “the eye does not go wanting.”

  2. dg Says:

    Pon is beginning to show himself quite the shrewd character. I can’t wait to find what other surprises he has up the generous sleeves of his robe…

  3. Anita Marie Says:

    My Grandmother’s ( Filipino ) was a pilot and multi-lingual. Her German and French accents when she spoke in those languages were flawless. That always surprised people and she liked it. For some reason as I read this I thought of her.

    It can only mean trouble.

    Yay.

  4. Anita Marie Says:

    Sorry, chopped off part of my comment- I was refering to my Grandmother’s younger sister.

  5. Heather Blakey Says:

    Suitably enigmatic! I will watch Pon with interest.
    E

  6. rosylee Says:

    Pon is a juicy character already. Can’t wait for the rest!

    I particularly loved the description of the apples in his pocket too.

  7. porchsitter Says:

    Mysterious, exotic, and definitely capable, but can he be trusted?

  8. FairyRainbow Says:

    And rightfully so, to kill the messenger! Also, has Pon heard of slipping some Prozac in the drink or breakfast of the Master? If he can’t find Prozac, a healthy dose of laxative could also see the Master our of commission for a day or so….

  9. shewolfy728 Says:

    Oh, I like Pon. This promises to add some more adventure to the voyage!

  10. gwenguin1 Says:

    Pon is shaping up to be quite the character, I am going to enjoy watching Pon add dimensions over the cruise.

  11. Sue Says:

    I wonder what Pon is up to, volunteering to engineer?

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