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From the logbook of the Skyra Brae
November 18–

Leaving the Purser to procure the standard-issue supplies, I set off in the opposite direction to pursue the more elusive items on the supply list. I could not, for instance, send the Purser in search of ‘five pieces of antique lace’ or ‘coordinating plaids’. ‘Vegetables, unspecified’, is license enough for one trip.

Limping back to the ship in dire need of sustenance, I was waylaid by the women of the native tribe by whom we moored. They insisted one painting my nails a peculiar shade of blue. My initial resistance quickly succumbed to the excellence of their beverages*.  It was local tradition, they said, to honor a medicine man who appeared to them briefly and then, it seems, disappeared quite thoroughly. He must have made quite the impact, if they’re still dressing for his reappearance. Every year at this time they get the village ready for Himself, though whether he comes or not, like Saint Nicholas in the night, I couldn’t make out.

I meant at first to procure turpentine or engine solvent to wash it off as soon as we left the area, but I do say it has grown on me. It reminds me at once of an old, old ocean, or a brand new summer’s night, when the moon is just risen through the ether. The bluest blue you’ve ever seen. But I suppose that’s neither here nor there. But I shall keep the paint until it wears off.

I should like to exult in detail over the spoils of my supply run, but as the miscreants aboard this vessel cannot keep their noses out of the log book, I shall restrain myself until after the festive season. Rest assured that the results of my handiwork are legion and wondrous to behold.

* The Italian coffee machine on board has consumed such unreasonable amounts of fuel of late that I curtailed our coffee intake until our grease monkey could requisition either the required substitute parts or a French pressing apparatus

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