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Subject:Mr. Blue Sky
Time:12:03 pm
I awoke to find myself in a foul mood. My face and my chest hurt. I'd made it to 160, as promised to Jayne last night, but it was at the expense of my health. Perhaps it was the whiskey I'd so haphazardly imbibed, or the disgusting late night snack I'd made of some rancid protein. Or ...perhaps Serenity had just absorbed the sour feelings of the crew, following Inara's announcement.

I didn't know and I didn't rightly care. My head was pounding and I felt the need to step outside and put my feet in the dirt. I tied my hair back and dressed silently, keeping the lights dimmed in my quarters. Some mornings, the world just seems sharper and harder than other mornings. My bunk, for instance. Brutal. Punishing. The stairs down to the kitchen. I passed by and saw the pilot and the children sitting at the table. I lifted my hand as a hello, but no one saw it. Just as well, as I don't think I could handle the sound of any of their voices.

I needed air. I left the ship and found myself smack dab in the middle ...of a raucous cacophony. I slouched a bit and shielded my eyes. Hardly the breath of fresh air and stillness that I was craving.

Dust clogged the air, drifting over from the dirty street and coating the sides of Serenity. I stood in her shade for a bit, plotting my course. Patting her hull, I was moved by whimsy and tried to listen to her -- like River seems to be able to do. I was rewarded with a hulking, profound silence. I grumbled and wiped my hands on my hankerchief. What was I thinking? Is that what I'm doing now? Crediting mysticism? Listening to objects?

I sighed heavily and made my way towards the free trade market across the street. I might as well stock up on some supplies. I had a chunk of change that I'd rather not leave unattended on the ship. I might as well turn it into sweet apples, rice cakes and chocolate shavings for Kaylee. Perhaps some pemmican and some tins of preachers. Peaches, I mean. Tins of peaches. I shook my head for a moment and rubbed at the space between my eyes. Perhaps I might finally be going senile.

Tins of peaches. River loves peaches.

[[Open to anyone who wants to go to the market, jiggety-jig.]]
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zoes_pofu
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Time:2004-11-11 11:00 pm (UTC)
After my talk with River I figured it might be a good idea to pop out and get Zoe something nice from the market.

Okay, so it was a shameless ploy to pre-empt any heat from my gorgeous but freakishly strong wife should River go back on her promise and spread the word about our 'baby' discussion.

Plus, I always liked to get her a little gift, a souvenir from wherever we set down. It was a thing, a ritual. Funnily enough, despite outward appearances, my Zoe did like a nice surprise now and then.

So, I head out to the market and as I was crossing the street I saw the good shepherd striding past the first line of stalls. I hurried to catch up to him.

"Hey, Shepherd Book...you out shopping for a keepsake too? Or just stretching your legs on a bit of solid earth for a while?"
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shepherding
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Time:2004-11-13 01:17 pm (UTC)
Wash caught up to me right as I'd figured out that the sundries two blankets back were approximately twice the price as the ones I was currently looking at. Marketing practices in the free market were more brutal than a pack of reavers, I reckoned. The two stalls were probably in cahoots, trying to drive up the prices of everything.

I smiled and turned at his question and then frowned immediately, catching a good glare off of a looking glass across the aisle. My head. My aching eyeballs. My poor, withering brain.

"A little bit of both, I expect, Wash. I need a little time on terra firma to shake off these sky legs," I held a can of cherries in oil aloft and nodded at the label. "Something about cherries in oil seem a bit off to you? Why wouldn't they be packed in syrup like the good Lord intended?"
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zoes_pofu
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Time:2004-12-24 01:35 am (UTC)
"Cherries in oil? Sounds like a bunch of fèhuà. Then again, considering some of the fare we've had on board Serenity lately, I'm willing to give it a try. Those apples won't last long."

I inspected a bag of spices at the same stall. It had sticks of cinnamon bark, nutmeg, cloves and some other less recognizable items in it. I took a tentative sniff and smiled.

"Well, I'll be, still pretty fresh. I'm thinking Zoe might appreciate a little more spice in her life." I gave Book a grin, and wink, and was very proud of myself for not following up with a nudge.

"Besides, she could use it in her tea, or coffee. Or her bath....mmm cinnamon Zoe, I like the sound of that. Boy that woman loves to bathe properly, you know?" Then I noticed the shepherd looking a little uncomfortable at my ramblings. "Not that we get much chance for baths, unless we're grounded some place nice, but still..."

I decided I'd get it, seemed the perfect surprise for her. But as I haggled with the vendor, I felt someone barrel into me from behind. I spun around and saw a young kid sprinting off down between the stalls. Then I realised I was missing my wallet, with my precious coins in them.

"Why you little monkey, you piece of wúnéug de rén!" And then I took off after him.
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shepherding
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Time:2005-01-04 08:47 pm (UTC)
Oh my. Young entrepreneurs already and I'd only just stepped off the boat. Rushing the sale, I quickly handed over the silver, bagging the wares and graciously tossing a "Xie-Xie"(1) to the vendor.

Cherries in oil, spices for Wash's Zoe and a little vial of gun oil safely contained, I smiled and said, ""Tzoo-foo nee."(2) Formalities, formalities ... it didn't hurt to be civil, even in dark days.

Securing my own purse and bag, I followed Wash through the market, keeping a close eye on the little vagabond who'd snagged his wallet. Quite a runner, that boy. My hangover beat in time with my left foot's contact with the dirt. Wash, however, had a bit to learn about giving chase. He was yelling after the boy and attracting a fair bit of attention from the rest of the market, also giving away his position to the thief.

Silence is handy, it turns out, when you want to overcome someone in a crowd of people. It allows you to anticipate their direction without giving them the chance to surprise you.

I bumped into an old woman who smacked me in the knee with her crutch. Apologizing, I kept my head tucked, my bag close and watched the pickpocket fake left, but go right. Splitting off from Wash's path, I circled around the booths and followed the kid past a small gaggle of caged geese and toward the mouth of a small alley.

"Wash!" I shouted across the lane, "This way!"

The geese honked at my voice. Laughing at me, the stupid things -- they betrayed my position. Bah. Either way, someone would have them as a roast before the week was through. Laugh it up, dying species! They'd make nice pillows in their next incarnation.

1. Thank you.
2. Blessings on you.
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zoes_pofu
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Time:2005-01-25 12:20 pm (UTC)
Tzao-gao, I'd gotten all turned around and lost sight of the little whipper-snapper. I spun on my heel, trying to catch a glimpse of the fleetfooted ho-tze de pigu. Needless to say I was hopping mad, mostly at myself for not keeping an eye on my purse.

Just when I was about to give up, I heard Book call out to me.

"Wash. This way!" Some geese honked in reply and I sprinted in his direction. Then spied the cramped alleyway he was pointing to. Without much further thought I barreled on through, eager to catch the monkey who had so easily relieved me of my coins.

I skidded to a halt when I rounded a corner and came face to face with the boy. And two big burly youths who were standing behind him with really intimidating expressions on their faces. I'd just walked into an ambush, in typical Wash fashion.

"Uh...okay, this is the part where I say, nice kid, pat him on the head, and back away slowly right?" I commented with a forced smile and tentative step backwards.

"No, you stupid lâotou. This is the part where you hand over any other valuables you got. Including those boots." Replied the young boy, gesturing for his two helpers to start manhandling me into submission.

"Hey, take it easy." I protested, starting to empty the pockets of my vest and pants. Where was Book? Maybe it was a good thing he hadn't followed, no sense in both of use losing our shirts in this little escapade.

I bent down to untie my boot laces, but apparently not quick enough because the next thing I knew I was sprawled on the ground, a pain in the back where one of the guys had punched me hard. I tried to suck in some air, but for some reason my diaphragm wasn't cooperating.

"Get up, qingwa cào de zôugôu." For a kid of about ten, this guy really knew how to cuss. It was actually pretty impressive.

"You kiss your mu qin with that mouth?" I quipped, then inwardly groaned at my own sheer stupidity. I braced myself for another blow...








Tzao-gao = Oh crap
ho-tze de pigu = Monkey's ass
lâotou = old geezer
qingwa cào de zôugôu = frog humping 'yes' man
mu qin = mother
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shepherding
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Time:2005-01-28 05:05 am (UTC)
Good lord. By the time I rounded the corner in the alley, Wash was already down. And yet, amazingly enough, still talking back to his assailants. Ah, the lamentable triumph of the human spirit. Especially Wash's.

I held my hands up and approached, speaking in calm and even tones. The young thug that appeared to be preparing to brain Wash with a small bludgeon froze in his tracks as I cautioned, "I wouldn't do that if I were you. There are serious repercussions to knocking out this man."

"A shepherd?" The young man, obviously a brain surgeon or rocket scientist, observed. The younger boy who we'd followed through the market scoffed and stepped forward.

"You don't have no business with us, shep... get a move on."

"Can't do it, son," I said, continuing forward. "Now, be a lamb and give this gentleman back his wallet. Before someone gets hurt."

The boys laughed. As boys do. Wash looked at me from the ground and I motioned to him to get to his feet.

The one that was getting ready to bop Wash's lights out decided to make a play for me. As my hands were still up, it wasn't much to use the boy's momentum and help him follow through on his slow-as-molasses strike. I grabbed his wrist and gave it a firm chop with my other hand, causing him to drop his bludgeon.

I twisted his arm behind his back and simultaneously looked back to Wash, who was looking at me with incredulous eyes.

"Get up, man," I grunted, holding the struggling boy in a choke hold. "Get your damned wallet back."
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zoes_pofu
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Time:2005-01-28 08:35 am (UTC)
"I wouldn't do that if I were you. There are serious repercussions to knocking out this man."

Hearing Book quietly but firmly tell the húndàn to back off was...well, the term 'like mana from heaven' really seemed appropriate. Him being a shepherd and all.

"You don't have no business with us, shep... get a move on."

"Can't do it, son. Now, be a lamb and give this gentleman back his wallet. Before someone gets hurt."


Book was standing his ground, and I looked to him for guidance as to what the guay to do next. I was just about to get up, when one of the boys rushed the shepherd. But before I could even shout a warning, Book had the idiot disarmed and pinned. I was majorly impressed by the old guys skills.

"Get up, man. Get your damned wallet back."

I blinked at him and then scrambled to my feet.

"Oh, right. Time being of the essence...got it." I turned to the other dangerous looking youth and tried to affect an air of macho confidence. "Stay out of my way, and you'll get out of this with nothing more than a bruised ego." He backed up a step, looking more uncertain than before and eyed his little comrade in crime for instructions.

I grabbed the boy by the scruff of his collar before he could bolt again.

"Pony up, little man." I muttered, and grabbed my belongings back off the runt when he emptied his pockets. Then I let him go and he scooted back a few paces.

"So scram before I call the authorities." I turned back to see how Book was doing, but then felt a sharp stinging pain in my back. I stumbled forward, groping behind me to see what the problem was. My hand came away with blood on it.

"Uh. Not good." I mumbled, staring at my hand in disbelief? Then had just enough time to look up and see the second youth coming at me with a what looked like a small letter opener. Was that what he'd stuck me with? At least the wound didn't seem mortal, just painful as hell. I managed to jump back in time to avoid his next thrust.

"Okay, my boots really aren't worth that much. This is ridiculous." I protested to my attacker. Didn't seem to be in the mood to agree with me though, and I found myself backing up towards Book.




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shepherding
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Time:2005-01-29 01:17 am (UTC)
I just wanted to buy some groceries. Can't a man step outside his vehicle for a few brief moments without running into a gang of criminals? It's exhausting, man!

And now Wash had been pricked with a small shiv. Oh hell. That was completely unacceptable. These kids were out of control, these kids today. I remember back when I was a young man that criminals were at least in their late teens before they were fighting with knives.

Moving quickly, I dragged the struggling child in my arms forward with me, toward the boy who was menacing Wash with a little metal blade. The boy in my grasp was somewhat of a human shield, even at probably under a buck twenty-five in weight. So, not only was he a human shield, but he was also capable of being a weapon.

As he twisted toward my right, I swung him savagely to the left, getting enough momentum to strike the his buddy who had made with the stabbing. On their contact, I let go and both the boys tumbled to the ground, dazed. The third came at me, just like one would expect, but I was ready for him. I pulled a maneuver that a good man named, well Goodman actually, showed me about thirty years ago. I clapped him mightily on both ears with my cupped hands and subsequently used wind ki to shove him forcefully in the chest. Now, not only would he have a headache, but also ringing ears and a sore breastbone.

He yelped, gasped, moaned and clutched at his ears. It could have been worse. If I used quicker movements, I could have broken his breastbone completely away from his ribs like a young chicken. But I didn't. He was just a boy. So, as he wouldn't be able to hear for a few minutes, I addressed his nefarious companions.

"Be glad that you picked us to toil with, boys! I don't kill children! The next pocket you pick might belong to someone who doesn't make that distinction! NOW GET OUT OF HERE AND LEAVE US BE!" I bellowed angrily. I tried, in my daily life, not to let anger get the best of me, but they'd just ground their boots on my last hungover nerve. So I was no longer of the mind to be pleasant or accomodating to anyone, regardless of their age.
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