I’m less than 200 words from 50K and about halfway done. This is tempered by the rejection e-mail I got yesterday. Stupid, ill-timed rejection letters.

“All right, folks,” Gil said. “Let’s start unloading this stuff!”

Cochran went back into the ship. When Nancy came out with an armload of big hinges, she saw him sitting in a folding chair outside the ship. She tossed the hinges on the ground, went back inside, and pulled out a load of blankets and pillows instead.

“Getting laid?” Cochran asked.

“You make it sound like I’m an egg,” Nancy said.

“Mmm. Eggs,” Cochran said. She didn’t know what he was talking about and wasn’t going to ask; it was probably some old German sex joke she didn’t know about.

She plopped down and waited for Gil to come out. He was carrying a mesh bag full of crap.

“What are the two of you doing?” Gil asked. “This is going to take days.”

Nancy lay flat on her back and looked up at him. “You know, I could use a beer,” she said.

Cochran pulled a flask from behind the chair, took a swig, pointedly failed to offer her any, and belched.

Barlen came out of the zeppelin door behind Gil, took one look at the two of them, and stopped. Nancy patted the blankets beside her. It was a nice day. Blue. Full of clouds. Probably sliding on towards autumn. She should find out what day it was. What month. What year. Did they even use a calendar?

Barlen put down the heavy frame he was trying to carry and sat next to Nancy, who put her head on his knee and pretended to fall asleep. She’d expected to be completely restless from being cooped up in the zeppelin for days, but now that she had the run of the castle, she was content to doze in the sun and remember her fantasies about Barlen. She picked up one of his hands and studied it. Yes, it was just as strong and stubby as she remembered.

“What, you’re all just going to…?” Gil trailed off. “Damn it. I want a beer now, too.”