25. Security – a contradiction in terms?

Ship Security

Is Velma missing? How would one know if there was foul play on such a large ship? Has she fallen overboard? Is she locked in a cabin somewhere? Or, knowing Velma, is she fencing pirates and sliding down a mast with a dagger thrust in the fluttering sailcloth? Does she have a damn good excuse for not getting in contact?

Don’t be silly Lucy, dear. Foul play with so many witnesses? Douglas Fairbanks’ dramatics?

No, I think you have to be grown up about this, and accept the fact that Velma is a glad-times girl who has ‘flapped off’ with some floozy from A Deck, having entwined, all chintzy pearls and secret Flapper handshake at her ‘mysterious gathering’.

Still no one talks about it. Still I get long looks, should I enquire.

Bourbon makes my lungs go ‘wheeze’ and my eyes water, but I neck it back, anyway.

I still hope to run into Velma at the bar. Bourbon was her drink – sad, I know, now there’s a whole bottle of it sitting in front of me – but she wasn’t there again this evening. That other apologetic measure, sitting by itself on its little, doily disk, resolutely refused to drink itself. The ice melted. Eventually, I slipped down from the barstool and headed for the security office.

A bit of Dutch Courage, don’t you know?

I might have been a little squiffy, but the lifeless Cretan behind the window was no help whatsoever. He said, and I quote, ‘Must be round somewhere.’

So is the horizon, my officious little friend…

It’s not as if someone is reported missing every five minutes, is it? Perhaps I’m just jumping to conclusions again, but there’s something about their lack of concern that seems – inhuman.  But these are the same people who arrested old, Mrs. Galois for carrying knitting needles yesterday. So at least they can be girded into action in the event of a dangerously dropped stitch…

Is this just a combination of incompetence and poor judgement? We’re in the middle of the ocean, and a woman has gone missing – surely something can be done?

Oh Maud, I wish you were here to keep me straight.

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