CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS FOR UNWRITTEN THINGS AND HINTS OF POSSIBLE THINGS TO COME IN THE MAIN CHRYSANTHEMUM TANGO –STORY.
Hello, Ms. Gee (and Mr. Jay too, for I assume you will read this letter as well),
I am glad you took the time to write back to me again. And I am always delighted to hear about someone talking to plants. Yes, I do talk to plants too. All the time, in fact. Their voices are hard not to be heard. One plant talks with many voices, many pieces of consciousness forming a whole, but with the pieces still having their seams, after all. Plants know a lot of things, and I am glad that at least some people listen to them. And talk to them in return. They appreciate both the carbon dioxide the speaker is breathing at them and being acknowledged and treated with respect.
Thank you for telling me more about the “Time for Thinking” -club, Gee. So now it consists of you, Jay, Pinky the Thinky, Mr. Bucky Duckson, and me. Or are there more members? In any case, that is quite a group you have already gathered. I am familiar with Mr. Duckson in passing. Writing poems is a good gift to the world. His words cause thoughts and feelings in people. Meaningful ones. It is always lovely when one achieves that with symbols on paper, or metaphorical paper on a computer screen, or whatever else people can write on.
I do not write poems. I am not very good at creating anything. I like Jay’s poem. I have a feeling one of my colleagues would not, however. He does not have a very good sense of humour, especially when it comes to time.
I also do not think I have met Pinky the Thinky. I am glad Pinky the Thinky is excited about me being in the club, though. I am glad they is in the club as well. Perhaps you can tell me more about this being.
So you have members, a name, and some rules for the club. That is good. As far as I know, that is all one needs for a fully functioning club. Though I am still a bit unsure about the rules… I apologise; I am sometimes not very good at understanding things. So we have to think, which is good and understandable. And we also have to guess when someone says “guess what?”. That is… trickier.
I have thought that guessing is what one does when one cannot think up the solution and tries to get it right by chance. I may be mistaken. Would guessing in this case mean deduction? Or is it used to come up with unexpected answers through guesswork?
I could not guess what you were about to say after talking about Mr. Jay’s poem. I did take a moment to try to do so, though, but I got stuck wondering if I was supposed to deduce or just guess blindly… though I did slip into deduction and thought that maybe a clock near you suddenly violently exploded because Time reacted to the poem. I am glad that did not happen, though. It was a good, good-natured poem, after all. Nothing to throw temper tantrums over.
Again, I apologise for not understanding how this works yet.
However, I can help with answering Mr. Duckson’s query. I am reasonably fond of chocolate. Especially dark chocolate. The kinds that are dark enough to taste like coal and ashes, and maybe have some lively, fiery or sour taste in them as well. Such as pieces of lemon or ginger.
I can also perhaps tell a story. I am probably not very good at that either, but I shall try.
I have had my share of adventures in my time, I suppose. At first I was going to talk about meeting my best friend, Amelia. She was kind to me, rented out a room for me – it was the first home I ever had outside of the home I made for myself after I was born. She taught me about friendship, about people, and how to use a stove – something that still frightens me. And I was going to tell how my biggest adventure is being a friend to her, and to the others I am friends with. And especially being an honorary uncle to a remarkable young woman. But when I talked about stories with Amelia, she pointed out that if I was going to tell the story to a child, they would probably find those kinds of things boring in the context of adventures.
So I asked Amelia’s children – who are around your age, Gee – what they want out of adventure stories.
“Pirates!” they said.
“Danger and swordfights!” they said.
“Zombies! Rescues! Chases and giant monsters!”
And so on.
Amelia told me that a good adventure story – in her opinion, at least – is usually something that is not too far away from real life, but that is far away enough to be exotic and exciting. Exciting in a positive, thrilling way.
After a while of thinking I decided to start with something that is not too far nor too near, hopefully. Something that could possibly fit into a book of short adventures in the hands of a skilled writer, I suppose. Or then not. But it has a voyage. And perhaps a bit of danger.
I have travelled quite a bit because of my work. Many times I have boarded ships as well. The ship I boarded this time was fairly large, a cargo ship transporting tea and coffee to rich people in England. It sometimes took passengers who did not mind the not very luxurious travelling conditions as well. It had gone through the trip many times before with its experienced crew, but this time the captain decided to go rogue, so to speak. To turn the ship to a different direction and deliver their cargo somewhere else. Apparently the rich did not need all they had.
The crew was talking worriedly, most of them not sure why the captain had decided to change course like that. One of the crewmembers, a young man who was not from England like the other sailors, started lighting small lanterns. He added leaves and something else into the flames, making the fire smell oddly stifling and unpleasant.
“What are they for?” I asked. The other man was startled. I was used to that. Usually people paid no mind to me and forgot I was there. This man recovered quickly enough and greeted me:
“I haven’t seen you before,” he said, “Are you one of the passengers? What’s your name?”
I told him. He told me his name. Then he said:
“What the captain is doing isn’t very smart. There’ll be a storm coming. I’m lighting the lanterns to ward off death and to lead us safely to land.”
I looked at the lanterns. Their flames were almost blue and the smell made me feel uncomfortable.
“Do they work?” I asked.
“They should. And if they don’t, then at least they can show our spirits the way back home.”
He thought about it for a while. Then he said:
“And maybe they will keep the ghost ship away too. They say there is one in these waters. Though it sounds odd; how does a ship die?”
“Sometimes the living ones can breathe life into objects too. With their beliefs and stories,” I said, “Then they can also die when the people that made it alive do. Or that is what I think, at least.”
He did not speak to me anymore in a long while.
The journey continued smoothly for a while, but then the fog came. It was a thick fog, one born from storms and sea air and maybe out of betrayal. The lanterns shone in the mist, the crew was shouting orders and reports at each other. They were seasoned sailors, but something about the mist and the rising waves frightened them. I sat on the deck, far away from the lanterns. The waves and the fog became a storm, the wind beating the sails and the rain and lightning falling down around us. The men around me became more and more afraid. I was excited and thrilled. Everything was unsure, nothing was going according to plan. I did not know who would survive. I hoped they all would.
The storm grew angry, and the men started falling, hitting the deck and sometimes the waves. Something crashed against the ship, almost tipping it over. For a while, everything was chaos, and the lanterns went out before they were lit again. The young man who had lit them before grabbed my arm and looked at me with a reassuring smile.
“All is well, don’t worry.”
I was stunned about someone worrying about me for a brief moment. But I had no time for more than a second of that before the young man who had spoken to me shouted:
And we looked. In the mist another ship could barely be seen. It had no lights on it, and it was struggling against the storm like our ship was. Its sails flapped eerily in the wind. It was visible for only a moment, and then it was gone into the fog.
The men immediately started talking about the ghost ship. The idea of a vessel that remained with its long dead crew, causing misfortune on sea. A wisp of memory and stories.
I knew it was not that. I could see the people on the deck, very much alive, breathing and with blood moving in them, afraid of the storm. And of us. In the fog and the storm, we were the ghosts to them. Soon after that moment, it all was over and eventually the storm settled, leaving behind a deceptively calm sea.
If you are wondering what became of the two ships who were ghosts to each other, then I can assure you that the people on both are probably still doing what they love. Still at sea, voyaging and seeing the sights they want.
And I am here. Doing my job and being me, for good or ill.
I do not know if that story was good or not. It was not the most exciting thing that has happened to me, but it was exciting enough. I think I am not very good at comparing things like that. I have more stories, however. Perhaps I will tell you more if you do not deem them dull or inappropriate.
I hope you enjoy your cookies. They sound great. And I do get the joke. Comparing a second helping of cookies to seconds of time. Sometimes cookies are indeed like seconds. Lovely, gone too quickly, and sometimes unhealthy.
I wish you all the best.