15. Dateline Chin Wey / Doogans Takes the Stage

Doogan here and I’m lucky to be alive.

In the weeks following my previous dispatch, much has occurred that would baffle and astound my loyal readers at home. My companion, Lieutenant Merian Archer of the United States Rocket Corp, and I had come to the tiny up-river market village of Chin Wey and were seeking passage to China Station so that I can continue my quest for vanished American botanist, Dr. Raullo Ortega, creator of the Ultra-Violet Photosynthesizing Accelerator. Unfortunately, our sorry financial condition gave us little esteem in the eyes of the various river junk captains anchored at the decrepit jungle wharf.

In our desperation, I remembered my youthful apprenticeship on the variety desk of the St. Lewis Evening Bugle. Digging into my vaudeville memories I convinced my partner to join in a small street performance. While neither Lt. Archer nor I could soft shoe worth a hill of beans, our recently acquired chicken, Cassilla (aptly named after my first wife who was burlesque hoofer sporting legs not dissimilar), showed a marked ability to perform the lindy hop. Soon we were in the market square with Cassilla dancing while Lt. Archer played rocket pack percussion using chopsticks in accompaniment to yours truly as I hammered out a passable rendition of ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ on my Remington Portable Noiseless Typewriter.

The sizable crowd our act drew was testament to our showmanship; however, my upturned hat remained sadly empty, perhaps due to the rural population’s unfamiliarity with sophisticated western culture. Our audience did eventually bestow upon us a sizable contribution of slightly over-ripe vegetables which, when combined with a soup stock made from our star attraction, kept us from starvation for another day. Despite our theatrical ambitions, passage up river remained an elusive goal.

I must pause here with a note that matters were about to take a dramatic turn. Until then, turn the lights off Ma and let the cat out. This is Broadway Doogan signing off.