Mort changed the channel. Since Scratch was at work, there was little to do. He considered digging out the checkerboard, but the only other one about was Grog, and he tended to be a sore loser where that kind of stuff was concerned. Pocket Pirate was hiding in the china cabinet, where he'd snuck in ever since Scratch stuck the Ren Faire mugs in there.That left Louis. Being a dragon, he didn't stand on ceremony and call the oversized lobster "king" like everyone else. But they got on. Mort put down the remote.
Getting down to floor level without spilling his basket was tricky. His wings caught on the handle and he nearly tipped it off the shelf. Finally, he managed to land with a soft thump. He trotted to the bedroom door and peered out. Scratch still wasn't home--the coast was clear. Off he went.
In the kitchen, he considered sneaking into the food-cupboard to look for some Cheez-its. But Scratch hadn't been to the store lately, so Mort doubted there would be any in there. He poked his nose in briefly, anyway, and inhaled a potato chip. That would tide him over until he could sweet talk Scratch into going grocery shopping. He closed the cupboard door.
Mort wandered over to the china cabinet. Pirate waved from the top shelf. "Yar there, ya scurvy dragon! Care to have a pint with me? O'course, there's nothin' in these mugs but ye can pretend, can't ye?"
Mort thought a moment. "I was really hoping for someone to play checkers with.Would you like to?"
"Nah, lad. Methinks it'd be safer up here with the treasures of the ship. Maybe next time."
"Do you think maybe Louis would be interested?"
"Hmmm, I don't know. It seems like the King would probably do better with the chess set. But you can ask him," said Pirate. "At the moment, he's hanging out on Scratch's bed, reading a romance novel. I think."
Mort snickered. That sounded like something the big lobster would do. He decided to investigate. He snuck over to the bedroom door and peeked in.
Louis sat propped up on a pillow, a box of chocolates at one claw, and a book in the other. Mort read the title. Slithering Heights?
The back read:
'Princess Prawn had all she wanted--a fine den in Big Ocean, all the shrimp she could eat. But somehow, the Princess wanted more. There was a hunger that only Billy Bob, the Stablelobster, could fulfill. But her visits came with a price--the Net. Will Prawn and her precious Bill escape the lobster tank and find true love?'
Mort giggled. Louis looked up and waved a big floppy claw.
"Hello there! We did not see you come in. We were just having a relaxing 'Beach Read', but since We are no-where near a beach, Scratch's bed had to do. It is just as well; We sunburn very easily. What can We do for you?" said Louis, big lobster-lips flapping.
"Nothin'. Just bored, I guess. Everyone is busy , and it's too hot to go out and look for shiny things. So I have nothing really to do. I have a checkers set. Wanna play a game? I'll go easy on ya, promise."
"Maybe in a bit. We are almost finished with Our book. We must say, some of the things in here made Us blush to read! But, perhaps We can find a book you would enjoy, too. What do you like to read about?"
Mort looked at the bright red lobster and wondered "how can you *tell* if he's blushing? Or sunburnt for that matter?" Aloud he said,"I don't know. I collect shiny things, do you have any books on treasure? Or Dragons?"
Louis looked over at the bookshelf. "I don't think so.... Maybe We could interest you in a book on the GNP of Lobsteronia? Or perhaps one of Scratch's plant books? Maybe an instruction manual on molting? It's titled 'Molting for Dummies!'. You're a dragon, you probably molt too...."
Mort looked down at himself. "Not really. I shed my skin like a snake, not a big hunk of stuff like you do..... But thank you anyway. If you change your mind, I'll be in my basket watching TV. Maybe I'll polish my shiny stuff." Mort hopped back off the bed.
Back in his basket, Mort picked up the remote and began flipping channels again. Maybe JTV was back on the air and he could drool over their jewelry sale. He did love the shiny things.