“I AM ZEE CAPTAIN,
GLORIOUS GOVERNOR OF ALL THINGS IN CAPTANIA!”
With that, Captain gestured towards the frozen wasteland in a long, dramatic pause.
YOU HAVE DISCOVERED YOURSELF IN A MOST PROSPEROUS PARADISE NATION OF DIGNIFIED LOVE! CONGRATULATIONS!"
I lifted a brow, wondering which question was best to utter first. My Directorate issued Dead Zone Tour Guide Emotive-Goggles lifted one of their lenses, replicating my facial expression. Who knew that my "blink-powered" G-Goggles would function this long when all other electronics had given up?
“...So, what am I supposed to call you?”
I asked finally.
“SILLY CHAP! I JUST TOLD YOU! I AM ZEE CAPTAIN!
BUT I HAVE MANY OTHER JUICY TITLES WHICH CAN APPLY: YOUR GRACE, LADY OF THE LAKE, YOUR EXCELLENCE, YOUR AWESOMENESS, ZEE ALL-MIGHTY ONE, OR MY LIEGE... BUT ZEE CAPTAIN IS ALSO A MOIST SUFFICIENT TITLE!"
I stared at the self-proclaimed lord incredulously, it appeared that "Zee Captain" was completely serious. Extra radiation with your fries, anyone? I decided it was unimportant. Lord? Governor? Lady? Captain? Whatever.
"The end of the world isn’t the best time to start getting picky about who you hang out with,"
I thought. "Besides, a little nuttiness couldn’t hurt anyone, right?"
My own tired mind was acting rather odd. For some weird reason I couldn't even begin to assign Captain a gender, no matter how hard I thought about it.
It's as if something was wrong with my brain, whenever I thought of it,
my thought-pattern skipped a beat and simply settled on "Captain".
I filed it under "possible brain cancer/radiation poisoning/extreme exhaustion" and moved on.
“My name is Charles Snippy,”
I introduced myself.
. . .
My enigmatic acquaintance wore a respirator, like all humanoids in the wasteland. But, Captain's respirator was different. It seemed to catch the light in such a way that it looked like a perpetual smile.
Tapping it with a finger and pondering, Captain twirled around as if on a ballet stage.
SNIPS, SNAPS, SNOOPS, SNEEEEPZ, SNIP-PIE, SNAPPER, SNIPPING, SHNIPPENG, ZSHNIPPEH, SNOPPEH, SNAIPPEH, SNIPPEH!”
Captain hummed, testing numerous variations of my name.
I just stood there, listening to that endless rant, wondering how many more variations of my last name there could be.
Noticing my silence, suddenly, Captain hugged me tightly and proclaimed:
"DO NOT WORRY!
CAPTANIA OFFERS JOBS EVEN TO A SAPPY-CHAP OF PITTANCE SUCH AS YOURSELF! WHY, YOU COULD BE ZEE MOST PERFECT CANDIDATE FOR MY NEW SNIPPING DIVISION IN WHICH A POSITION HAS JUST OPENED UP DUE TO UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCES. IS IT NOT KARMA ITSELF THAT BROUGHT YOU TO MY OFFICE, WITH A NAME SO FITTING?"
"Unfortunate circumstances? Karma?"
"FALLING PIANOS DO NOT STRIKE TWICE! OR DO THEY...?"
Captain spoke looking up into the sky, as if expecting something extraordinary to happen there.
I looked at Captain and then, too, looked upwards.
Nothing was there except for gray, thick, stormy snow clouds.
We stood silently in one spot, just staring at the sky, for what seemed like several minutes.
"Can we go now?"
I asked, feeling rather awkward.
Captain shushed me.
"YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN ZEE PIANO MIGHT STRIKE AGAIN!"
I sighed and shuffled on my tired legs.
"WE MUST DEPART!"
Captain spun suddenly.
"I DO NOT APPROVE OF THAT CLOUD'S STARES!"
"Really?" I whispered with concern for how low Captain's sanity could descend.
"AH, BUT I HAVE ZEE SOLUTION!"
Captain continued, and dug deep into the pocket of the black trench coat, pulling out what looked like... white rice.
"Huh" I blurted as Captain threw the rice forward as if this was just a merry wedding party. "ONWARDS! WE MUST FOLLOW ZEE TRAIL OF RICE, MR SNIPPY! BUT TREAD LIGHTLY! MOST LIGHTLY!" Captain boomed, and marched forward.