Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Treasure Box"

This poem is spillover from the July 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kengr, [personal profile] siliconshaman, and [personal profile] conuly. Special thanks to [personal profile] kengr for help estimating the weight of the donation and to [personal profile] siliconshaman for help estimating its worth. This poem also fills the "silver and gold" square in my 7-1-16 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] mama_kestrel. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Treasure Box"

Vivian Dennett struggled to pry the top
off of Planned Parenthood's donation box.
When it finally came loose, she saw
why it had gotten jammed so badly.

"Well, drat! Some darn fundie
must have crammed this thing
with brass pirate tokens," she said.

That had happened once before,
during the Tennessee Pirate Fest.

Orlena Leonard stirred the contents
of the box with her hand. "Uh, boss?
These things are heavier than brass,
and some of them are bent."

"Holy Mary Mother of God, this is
all REAL?!" Vivian squeaked.
Who would do that?"

"Maybe a pirate who loves
sex ed," Orlena guessed.

"Don't be silly," Vivian said.
"Real pirates are desperate crooks
from Somalia or Singapore, not
like Pauline, the Pirate Queen."

"But maybe like that weird lady
Ginnie Maile who came in wanting
some Plan B?" said Orlena. "She talked
funny -- 'I love these modern sheepskins,
but they cannae take much of a beatin'
then, can they?' She seemed like
the sort to pull such a stunt."

"Maybe she did," Vivian said.
"We know that it couldn't have
been any of our regulars."

"Yeah, most of them are as
poor as church mice," Orlena said.

"Best we get this out of sight then,"
Vivian said as she tried to pick up
the box. It didn't budge.

"If that's real gold," Orlena said,
"then a boxful probably weighs
several hundred pounds."

"Oh, dear," Vivian said faintly.
"I wonder how much it's worth?"

"Let's see ..." Orlena picked out a coin
and used her smartphone to look it up.
"These look like Charles the First crowns,
so if they're real, about $2,500 each.
That's a lot of rubbers and Pills."

"We can't leave this out here!"
Vivian exclaimed, her eyes wide.

"Well, we can't lift the box, it's
too heavy," Orlena said.

Vivian grabbed some of
the coins, but discovered that
a handful weighed so much
that she struggled to lug it
to the safe in the office.

Orlena tried to keep up
for a while, but after Vivian
dropped a handful of the gold,
the younger girl said, "Maybe
we should try something else."

"I'll have to call somebody,"
Vivian said, and retreated into
her office where Orlena could hear her
making panicky calls to the bank and
to an armored truck service.

Meanwhile Orlena made
her own arrangements, covering
the box again, pulling the shades
on the windows, and so forth.

Presently the armored truck
arrived with a team of burly guards
led by a tall mixed-race man who
introduced himself as Hard Knox.

He brought a scale, a handcart,
and a stack of sturdy canvas bags.

The men sorted the coins into
fifty-pound batches and loaded them
into the cart, which they then hauled
to the truck for safekeeping.

Vivian and Orlena were
relieved to see it go, albeit
not for all the same reasons.

A few weeks later, the coins
went to auction and brought in
just over $20 million.

Watching the news,
Gráinne Nuala groaned.
"I give 'em a treasure box full
of untraceable, tax-free gold,
and what do they do? Sell it!
Ach, these landlubber goodies."

With all the attention on the auction,
Orlena quietly made her own contacts
among certain coin collectors whose
obligations had kept them away from
probable pirate gold being sold off
by Planned Parenthood.

She slipped up behind them and
whispered, "A word in your ear, Senator..."

Gráinne Nuala was pleasantly surprised
to see that several of the despised bills
against sexual education and health care
went down without a bubble after all.

* * *


Vivian Dennett -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and chin-length brown hair going gray. She wears glasses. She is short and plump. Vivian is the office manager for the Planned Parenthood clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Qualities: Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Dutiful, Good (+2) Networking, Good (+2) Organized, Good (+2) Planned Parenthood Office Manager
Poor (-2) Thinking in a Crisis

Orlena Leonard -- She has sorrel skin, almond-shaped black eyes, and black hair worn in dreadlocks pulled back into a ponytail. She is tough and sturdy. Orlena grew up in a ghetto but managed to make her way to college. Now she volunteers at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee while working toward a degree in Gender Studies.
Qualities: Good (+2) Determination, Good (+2) Gender Studies Major, Good (+2) Planned Parenthood Volunteer, Good (+2) Thinking Outside the Box, Good (+2) Tough
Poor (-2) Disadvantaged Childhood

Gráinne Nuala -- She has fair skin, green eyes, and long wavy red hair. In Terramagne, Gráinne retired but did not die. She is immortal, and sometimes still goes to sea as a pirate or privateer. While she loves some things about modern life, many remain a mystery to her, and sometimes she struggles to fit in. So she looks for niches such as pirate faires where her quirks are easily overlooked. Gráinne has mastered the sea and its people, a long-time pirate queen whose keen mind handles both tactics and strategy. She enjoys word-cracking and other pastimes. Gráinne has used many aliases over the years. Sometimes she dresses as an old woman, Granny Newell. She bore Kenzie's ancestor as "Gwen Nolan." She visits the Planned Parenthood clinic as "Ginnie Maile."
Origin: When the Tudor conquest of Ireland caused trouble, Gráinne slept in the court tomb on Clare Island, pledging herself to her ancestors if they would give her the power to protect her clan. They offered her that power -- but at the price of becoming a living ancestor, doomed to outlive all her kin. She accepted anyway, and became immortal.
Uniform: Gráinne can dress to blend into a variety of places, but left to her own devices, she favors clothing from her own time period. That includes traditional Irish clothes and pirate garb. However, she also enjoys cross-dressing, so she often appears in breeches instead of skirts.
Qualities: Master (+6) Pirate Queen, Master (+6) Courage, Expert (+4) Languages, Expert (+4) Intelligence, Expert (+4) Tough, Good (+2) Charisma, Good (+2) Irish History, Good (+2) Lover, Good (+2) Scrimshaw, Good (+2) Word-cracking
Poor (-2) Fitting in with Modern Life
Powers: Average (0) Immortality, Average (0) Minions: Connemara, Average (0) Regeneration
Her minions have gone through various names over the years, including Salty Dogs, Corvairs, and Red Washers. Currently they are the Connemara, derived from cwn na mhara, hounds of the sea.
Motivation: To protect Ireland.

Nolan is an Anglicized form of Irish Ó Nualláin meaning "descendant of Nuallán".

Macnamara means "son of the hound of the sea."

"Actually the family was earliest known as Clann Caisin - and later as Clann Cuilean, ('clan of the holly tree', in remembrance of its assimilation of the remnants of the Fir Bolgs who held the holly in the same awe as did the Druids the oak.) It was not until the 12th century that the evolution to MacNamara began - first as MacCumara (son of the hound of the sea), then as Mac Conmara and Mac con na Mara ('con' being the genitive of 'cu'), and finally, at least among the chiefs and tanists, as Mac Namara. The area of Galway known as Connemara has no relationship to the clan as it designates the lands of those descendants of Conor who settled by the sea as opposed to the progeny of Queen Maeve and those who occupied lands in what is now eastern Galway. As late as the 19th century however, some members of the clan, notably the Gaelic poet Donnchadh Ruadh, adopted the Mac Conmara style as do a handful of Celtic revivalists to this day."
-- McNamara

“My name is McNamara, in Irish it’s Mac Connemara. It means son of the hound of the sea. So in other words, a pirate, which is what everyone in my family was in the 1500s.”
-- "A Chat with a Man Who Knows All About Irish Whiskey"

cwn, the old oblique caseform of ci "hound, dog" (from Common Brittonic nominative singular *cū, oblique *cun-). As "hound" was sometimes used as a kenning for a warrior in early Welsh poetry, the name may also be translated as "Princely Warrior".[2]
-- Maelgwyn Gwynedd

In Welsh mythology and folklore, Cŵn Annwn (Welsh pronunciation: [kuːn ˈanʊn], "hounds of Annwn") were the spectral hounds of Annwn, the otherworld of Welsh myth.
-- Cŵn Annwn

Coovara (coo VAR a) hound of the sea (Cú Mhara)
-- Irish Dog Names

Muirchu: The Sea Hound

"The story of Gráinne Ni Mháille or Granuaile (Anglicized as Grace O'Malley, Grany Malley) reads like the most brazen and unlikely sort of adventure fiction, but there's history as well as myth in the legend of the Irish noblewoman who led a band of 200 sea-raiders from the coast of Galway in the sixteenth century. Twice widowed, twice imprisoned, fighting her enemies both Irish and English for her rights, condemned for piracy, and finally pardoned in London by Queen Elizabeth herself, Gráinne was one of the few sea-raiders to retire from the sea and die in her own bed, though where she's buried remains a mystery."

Nuala is an Irish female given name, derived from Irish mythology - being either a diminutive form of Fionnuala ("fair shoulder"), the daughter of Lir, or an alternate name for Úna (perhaps meaning "lamb"), wife of Finvarra, king of the fairies.
-- Nuala

The Court Tomb on Clare Island is one of its more famous archaeological sites.

Note that in the photo, Gráinne is wearing men's clothes, something she has always enjoyed doing, although sometimes she wears women's clothes instead. The heavy rings on both hands serve as a discreet form of brass knuckles. The pistol is also quite real and she excels in its use. People just think that these things are all props because she is at a pirate faire. To Gráinne, this is an opportunity to wear some of her real clothes without getting stared at.

Hard Knox (Wardell Dewan) -- He has butterscotch skin, brown eyes, and short nappy black hair. He is mixed race with heritage including African, Irish, Cherokee, and Pakistani. He carries his broad, tall body with confidence. Wardell practices mixed martial arts with an interest in kenpo (for ending fights efficiently), jujitsu (for pins, locks, and throws), and karate (for kicks and punches). His work as an armored car driver commands a handsome salary, so he lives in an exclusive subdivision with his wife and their six children. The older four were born before he gained superpowers, and the younger two afterward; the youngest is already flickering. He loves children's books, and as a hobby he reads them in voices, often volunteering at a local library for storytime.
Hard Knox works for Knoxville Armored Transport in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has never lost a shipment. His bosses proudly describe him as "unfuckwithable." His skills as an armored car driver include bonded messenger credentials, cargo management, basic vehicle handling, combat driving, and navigation. Hard Knox subscribes to Soupçon and otherwise follows news about people with superpowers to keep current on potential problems or opportunities, such as supervillains who might target him.
Origin: Wardell was exposed to unknown zetetic materials in a well-planned raid on a supervillain lab, in which the marines provided heavy ground support for SPOON's aerial assault team. The mission was a success in terms of capturing the supervillains and stopping production of zetetic weapons. However, one culprit triggered a self-destruct sequence that blew up the lab, causing a number of casualties. As a result of his injuries, Wardell was hospitalized for months and given a medical discharge. His new superpowers grew in slowly over the next year. When he realized his potential, he made a thoughtful survey of possible careers, and decided to become a driver because of all the reports about supervillains attacking armored cars.
Uniform: On duty, Hard Knox wears a long-sleeved gray shirt and pants under a bulletproof vest. Off duty, he wears understated men's clothes most of the time, but he also harbors a fondness for t-shirts with characters from children's books.
Qualities: Master (+6) Armored Car Driver, Expert (+4) Mixed Martial Arts, Good (+2) Soup News, Good (+2) Marine Veteran, Good (+2) Big and Tall, Good (+2) Children's Literature, Good (+2) Confident
Powers: Good (+2) Armor, Good (+2) Invulnerability, Good (+2) Iron Will
Motivation: "We deliver. Guaranteed."

* * *

"Treasure box" is among the countless nicknames for a vagina.

Planned Parenthood has a location in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In Terramagne-America, this is the blastproof reception booth in the Knoxville Planned Parenthood. The donation box sits on the corner of the counter. Those handsome marble-topped counters conceal an extra foot of armor, which is how they can stand up to a full box of gold without collapsing. The center space has a pull-out shelf for disabled access. It's got a bit less armor than the surrounding area, so staff are taught to hide behind the thicker flanks in case of assault. Bomb scares are less common in T-America than in local-America, but still happen enough for people to take precautions in high-risk areas.

Check out Tennessee Pirate Fest.

Modern pirates are quite real, and a serious threat in some waters. Worth noting is that piracy is illegal throughout much of Terramagne, although some countries still field privateers.

Pauline, the Pirate Queen -- a comic about an anthropomorphic tortoiseshell cat who is a pirate. It was introduced by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.

Plan B is a morning-after-pill to prevent pregnancy. It is widely available for free at Planned Parenthood in T-America, and vigorously promoted as a way to avoid unintended consequences. Ideally they want people to use it for backup when primary birth control fails, but it also works in cases of molestation or other rape.

Although condoms are about 98% effective, there are many horror stories about their failures. Among the most common reasons for breakage are high friction, a big dick, and/or a tight pussy. You can see how their usefulness might be limited in rowdy pirate sex.

Sheepskin condoms have been around for thousands of years. They have different pros and cons compared to synthetics, but are the only option for some people.

Goody is an archaic title for women, short for goodwife, and related to "goody-two-shoes."
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, economics, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, history, humor, poem, poetry, politics, reading, weblit, writing
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