Nathaniel Cannon and the Panamanian Idol No. 16

“Did you two have a nice chat?”

Besides tha’ the conversation was pleasant, I found out how we migh’ go abou’ gettin’ an invitation tae the cap’n’s table,” Iseabail replied archly. Cannon sat up, suddenly interested. Iseabail continued. “He’ll aye be dinin’ there tonigh’, an’ all he had tae do was give yon Russian skipper a gift.”

“I don’t know if you noticed, but we’re traveling light.”

“Ach, that’s a problem, aye. Unlike yon crew, I dinnae think he’d take tae a bribe.” Iseabail nodded at something over Cannon’s shoulder, and he turned around. The steward returned with a teacup. He set it in front of Cannon, dipped his head, and left.

Cannon took the teacup, absently stirring in a few sugar cubes, and blew across the top of the cup. Steam wafted past his nose in little curlicues.

“Barbarian,” Iseabail said.

“Oh, give it a rest. I’ve seen what you do to good coffee.”

“Good? Tha’s a stretch.”

Cannon blinked. “We get ours from the island it’s named for.”

“Wha, Coffee Island?”


“… oh.” Iseabail reddened and stared into her tea.

Cannon smiled to himself. Discipline required that he clamp down on his crew’s more notorious wags when he was Captain Cannon, zeppelin commander. Every now and then, though, he got to be Nathaniel Cannon, roguish pirate, and he relished the occasional chance to engage them on their own battlefield. They never seemed to see it coming. No reason to let Iseabail stew in it, though. Not for long, anyway. “Never mind. What did Wailani give the captain?”

Iseabail recovered herself and met his eyes. “He didna relate.”

“We’ll have to ask him after dinner,” Cannon decided. A sudden commotion on the lower level drew his eye. From the excited chatter, Cannon gathered an ocean liner was passing below. “We’ve done all we can for now. Come on. We may as well have a little fun.”

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