Captain's Association: A Party to Remember, Part II
Kapitan, it is I, Leningrad.
Here with another week of holiday cheer. Supposing you’re into that sort of thing. Holiday cheer. Supposing you do not know that holidays are a colder form of opiate.
Of course, there are a lot of people out there who find the holidays depressing. Or annoying. Or who don’t celebrate any holidays during the month of December.
Or who didn't want to be invited to parties anyway.
But, I digress.
Here we have week two of the Belle Holiday Preparation story. Filled to the brim with more holiday weirdness than you could hope to find anywhere else. We do hope you enjoy yourself.
And to all of you Jehovah’s Witnesses out there, we apologize.
Captain: *whispers* Clearly, she’s meditating.
Mississippi: *whispers* How oriental of her.
Captain: *whispers* Maybe we should -
Captain: Sorry, you… scared me.
Fubuki: Oh, my deepest apologies, Senchou. This room, of all rooms, should be a place of tranquility and peace. There should be no fear here.
Captain: Tranquility? Is that what you were going for with the… two dozen or so trees you’ve squeezed in this room?
Fubuki: You don’t like them?
Captain: It’s not that I don’t like them. I’m more just perplexed how you managed to fit them through the doorway.
Fubuki: I have my ways.
Captain: And all these trees are in support of a holiday?
Fubuki: “Holiday” might impart the wrong idea, Senchou. I am preparing for Rohatsu - or Bodhi Day, as it is known elsewhere.
Fubuki: Rohatsu commemorates the day Siddhartha Gautama experienced enlightenment for the first time. It is a day which calls for reflection and meditation.
Captain: And tea?
Fubuki: Your nose is keen. Tea, and cakes as well. I’ve done some experimenting, in an attempt to find the right flavors to use for the day.
Fubuki: Might you like to try a few?
Captain: Well, now that you mention it…
Mississippi: Let’s not get too sidetracked now, Captain.
Captain: Ah, of course. A little later, Fubuki?
Fubuki: Of course, Senchou. I will return to my meditation.
Captain: Thank you, I’m looking forward to it.
Mississippi: Feeling a little more relaxed now, Captain?
Captain: I mean, I’m not looking forward to removing two dozen trees from that room here in a few days… but other than that, yes. Having a moment to breathe was pleasant.
Mississippi: Well, you’d best hold onto your breath for what’s coming next…
Appear: De Ruyter, Canarias
Canarias: You can’t make me do it, De Ruyter.
De Ruyter: Oh, come on, Canarias. Be sensible. Be practical. This is an important matter for a Spaniard.
Canarias: If you want a Spaniard to help you out with something this ridiculous, talk to Velasco. I refuse.
De Ruyter: Velasco already has holiday plans. Besides, you’re perfect for the role. Everyone looks up to you already.
Captain: What’s going on here?
De Ruyter: Kapitein! Good, you are here.
Canarias: Dear Capitán, you are required to come to my aid.
Captain: I’ve yet to actually be told what’s going on.
De Ruyter: It’s quite simple.
Canarias: It’s anything but.
Captain: Those two sentences do absolutely nothing to illuminate the situation.
De Ruyter: Very well. Listen. In the Netherlands, we have a tradition which takes place before Christmas. It’s called the Arrival of Sinterklaas.
Canarias: And it has a ridiculous association with Spain.
De Ruyter: It is not ridiculous. Sinterklaas was actually the primary source of the North American idea of Santa Claus.
Captain: Is that true, Mississippi?
Mississippi: I’ve heard talk to that effect.
De Ruyter: You see? And his arrival involves just what you’d expect - going from town to town, giving gifts to children.
Captain: So, what’s the problem?
De Ruyter: Well…
Canarias: Go ahead. Tell the Capitan.
De Ruyter: According to tradition, Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands from Spain, so I was hoping…
Canarias: There is no humor in this situation, Capitán.
Captain: My apologies, I’m sorry. But, just so I’m sure I’m understanding correctly… De Ruyter, did you want Canarias - of all Belles - to dress up as Sinterklaas?
De Ruyter: It is a pragmatic choice. She is of Spain, and well respected.
Captain: Again, my apologies.
Canarias: Capitán, you will, of course, dismiss this idea in such a way that it never arises again.
De Ruyter: You mean you agree with me?
Captain: I mean no such thing.
De Ruyter: …
Captain: De Ruyter, if Canarias doesn’t want to take part, you ought not push her to do so.
Captain: Canarias, what De Ruyter is asking of you is not a demeaning task. It is prestigious. You could be gracious and help with her celebration.
De Ruyter: So where does that…
Canarias: … leave us?
Captain: I’ve no idea. You are well experienced, both of you. Figure it out.
De Ruyter: …
Mississippi: *whispers* The wisdom of Solomon, Captain.
Captain: *whispers* Can we get out of here?
Mississippi: *whispers* Yes, I think it would be best if we just slipped out this door behind us here.
Hide: De Ruyter, Canarias
Mississippi: For what it is worth, precious, I think that you handled that neat and tidy.
Captain: You know, I can’t be expected to solve everyone’s problems all the time.
Captain: So, who’s next?
Mississippi: You’d best prepare yourself, Captain.
Mississippi: Right through this door here…
Captain: Did someone cut the power? It's very dark in here.
???: Soon, you’ll see the light. *Whoosh*
Mississippi: Well, I’ll be! Look at the size of that fire! Might I suggest a touch more asbestos against this bulkhead, here?
Captain: Good grief. How thick are these walls? Are we protected from flash here?! Where does the smoke vent?
[Redacted]: Do not worry, Kapitan. You know you can count on me to act responsibly.
Captain: I know, [Redacted]. It’s just that… that is a laaaaaarge fire in a tiny, tiny room.
[Redacted]: Oh? But Mississippi explained that I would be able to celebrate in this way...
Mississippi: Indeed I did, [Redacted]. Don't mind us. You've taken all the safety precautions we discussed, and the Captain and I are checking to see how your preparations are coming along.
Captain: Could we get you anything? A pail of water? Twelve pails of water?
[Redacted]: I assure you, Kapitan, this fire will be tended carefully. And thank you, both, for taking the time to see how I was doing. It means a great deal.
Captain: What is your particular holiday?
[Redacted]: You’re really interested?
Captain: Well, sure. The fire’s caught my attention.
[Redacted]: This fire burns for Zartosht No-Diso, the death anniversary of the prophet Zoroaster.
[Redacted]: Traditionally, special prayers would be offered at a fire temple on the anniversary. But as I have no temple, I’ve done what I can with what I have.
Captain: Well, it does have an impressive fire.
Mississippi: [Redacted], we shall certainly admire your fire...but there may be few others, darling.
[Redacted]: Do not worry, Mississippi, I am fine. Zartosht No-Diso is a solemn day, one which I do not mind spending by myself.
[Redacted]: Not only that, but I find other holidays fascinating. I have half a mind to assist Belfast with her straw suits once I’ve finished my own preparations.
Mississippi: Oh, I would like to see that.
Captain: J-just, if you would, please don’t…
[Redacted]: … Wear a straw suit in here?
Captain: For the love of all that’s holy.
[Redacted]: Do not worry, Kapitan. I will take all due care.
Captain: Thanks, [Redacted]. Good luck with the rest of your preparations.
Captain: Ready, Mississippi?
Mississippi: Of course, Captain. Let’s move right along.
Well, there you have it. Week two. The conclusion to this three parter will be published next week. Hopefully the anticipation won’t cause you to lose too much sleep.
Until next time, Leningrad
P.S. The first person who sends me fan art of Canarias dressed up as Sinterklaas will win my eternal love and devotion.