Flaming Zeppelins

Free Flaming Zeppelins by Joe R. Lansdale

Book: Flaming Zeppelins by Joe R. Lansdale Read Free Book Online
Authors: Joe R. Lansdale
Tags: Fantasy, Western
Cody.”
    â€œNo shit?”
    â€œNo shit.”
    The man took the jar from Hickok and examined it carefully. “You do look like him.”
    â€œIt’s him,” Annie said.
    The man gave the jar back to Hickok, studied Annie. “My, but you are lovely. And who are you?”
    â€œI’m Annie Oakley, this is Sitting Bull, and Wild Bill Hickok.”
    â€œWell I will be twisted and peed on. I am honored. I know of all of you. My name is Bemo. Captain Bemo to my friends. This ship is my creation, the
Naughty Lass.
    â€œI named her that because she was a bitch to build,” Bemo said. “My original name for her was
Sea Shark,
but no one in my original crew liked that one. Lots of grumbling about the name. I changed it to
Nasty Sea Shark,
but that didn’t excite anyone either. I even considered
The Real Nasty Sea Shark,
but by that time I’d lost everyone. I should have just called it what I wanted. I didn’t have to answer to anyone. Not then. But, I wanted to please. Finally, I decided on the
Naughty Lass.
”
    â€œBy the way, we’ve heard of you, too.” Hickok said. “And the
Naughty Lass.
”
    Neither Hickok nor the others mentioned Bemo had been considered a pirate, noted for destroying vessels on the high seas. It had been his way to combat war, destroying the ships that made war or carried goods for war. Every navy in the world put a price on Bemo and his ship, but the bounty came to naught. Since the attacks on ships ceased, it had been thought for the last few years that he had lost himself at sea.
    â€œBut you’re supposed to be dead,” Annie said.
    â€œDon’t believe everything you read,” Bemo said. “And while I’m on the subject, there were some photos that got out. Me…unclothed, and well…I just want to say, if you saw those photos… Well, it was cold.”
    â€œPhotos?” Annie asked.
    â€œTaken by a disgruntled crew member. A female crew member, I hasten to add. I posed for them, caught up in the moment, you might say. Quite a mistake. They appeared in some French periodicals. So, again, don’t believe everything you read, or see. In fact, I’m certain those photos were doctored. They can do that sort of thing, you know.”
    â€œDon’t believe everything you read is right,” Hickok said. “Including the stuff in Buffalo Bill dime novels.”
    â€œSome of it’s real,” Cody said. “And I thought it was
Naughty Ass.
Not
Naughty Lass.
I’m a little disappointed.”
    â€œCome,” Bemo said. “Sit. I’ll have food brought. All of it from the sea. Afterwards, seaweed cigars.”
    â€œI hate I’ll miss that,” Cody said.
    â€œYou’re being snide,” Bemo said. “But you really will miss out. This seaweed is high in nicotine. Quite tasty. Better than Cuban, actually. The only thing missing is it isn’t rolled on the thighs of Cuban women. That’s how it’s done, you know.”
    â€œIf that’s true, I miss it already,” Cody said. “The Cuban cigars, that is.”
    â€œThese were actually rolled on the thighs of my crew,” Bemo said. “That’s not something I like to consider while I’m smoking.”
    â€œBy the way,” Hickok said. “Who is your crew? They are unusual.”
    â€œUgly,” Bull said.
    â€œYes, they are,” Bemo said. “They’re monkeys. Or they were. They have been altered through surgery, genetics and chemicals. Their intelligence has been raised, and for the last twenty years or so, they, and…others, have been receiving training in all the basics. Reading, Writing, Arithmetic. The last part gives them trouble, but they try. I think their English is quite good, don’t you? Come. Please. Take a seat.”
    The seal didn’t give up his seat. He gave them a quick, uninterested glance, went back to reading.
    There was plenty

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