1527: The Before time of Lock, Shock and Barrel – Chapter 3

Title: The Before time of Lock, Shock and Barrel
Author: Miyuki Kawaiinoda
Media: Film
Topic: Nightmare Before Christmas
Genre: Romance/Drama
URL: Chapter 3
Critiqued by Ghostcat

 

Hello, dear Patrons and welcome to the final chapter!

In the last chapter/short story, Shock was accused of attempted murder and treason before being burned at the stake in 17th century France. The real murder of her boyfriend/fiance was promptly forgotten by everyone, since she was never charged with that crime.

:flips through notes:

There was about twenty-five hundred more words, but that was the gist of it.

Now, to the final chapter!

Miyuki: HELLO BOYS AND GIRLS!!! I LIVE O.O!!!! ^^; Sorry this took a while to get out but I gots it out….Now without MORE adieu…ON WITH THE SHOW!!!

…I think the phrase the author is looking for is “without further ado”, and perfectly illustrates why you should look up words or phrases that you are unfamiliar with and also that the author should probably work on bettering their English before branching out into French.

~*~

:groans:

Not this again.

The early morning air seeped through under he window sill.

That’s a lot of seepage, it almost sounds redundant.

:alarms blare:

Hmmm, I wonder if I should let the agents know it’s Syl’s laundry day and she has a tendency to wash everything she wears at the same time?

:loud panicked screams:

Oh, I think they just found out.

Barrel wrapped the thread-bear blanket tighter about himself.

Thread bear?

It’s going to take a lot of those to make a blanket. I bet it feels like hugs!

One thing he hated about the attic was the early morning drafts that tended to blow in, despite his efforts to keep them outside.

Did he try doing stuff with the thing? That usually works.

He sighed and sat up, scratching his head he looked around the room.

“Now that I’m up….what to do.”

:looks around the Void:

Yes, you have so many things which with to do activities that it will be hard to decide.

He looks at the door and notices he faint light coming from the crack underneath.

‘That’s not morning light….the suns over there.’

Maybe it’s your lucky day and the house caught fire. That’ll warm you up.

He walks towards the door and sneaks downstairs. He peers around the corner of the stair well. His eyes fall on the two men talking in hushed whispers in the parlor.

:a hand scoops up the eyes:

:WHAP!:

Bad sensei!

Even if he hadn’t dropped his eyes I’m surprised Barrel can see anything against the glare; the light was bright enough to see it around a corner, up at least one flight of stairs, and through a closed door.

“So you’ve got what I want?” the darker haired man asked.

“A cours Sam, a cours. Have I ever let ye down?”

Oh, sweet mercy.

:downs contents of coffee cup and holds it out:

Ninjas! WE HAVE DIALECT!

:a flurry of ninjas enters the Riffing Chamber carrying a large bottle of espresso liqueur and fills the empty coffee mug:

Leave the bottle.

The darker haired man smiled and slipped his hand into his cloak. His beady eyes fell on the man sitting across from him.

That’s a lot of detail considering the perspective should be from Barrel’s vantage point hiding out in the hall.

“Where is it then Jason?”

Jason makes a motion with his eyes to the attic.

That’s a weird thing to do. Why didn’t he just point? It’s almost like he knows someone else is watching him.

“Up there, the boy has no idea it’s even there. Ye can pick it up tonight. After ye pay a cours.”

:drinks deeply:

I assume these two are up to no good, which makes it a bad idea for Jason to tell Sam the general vicinity of [thing]. If he knows where it is, then Sam can just go steal [thing] rather than pay for it.

Sam’s eye glitter for a moment.

I’m going to pretend he lost the other one in a tragic moose-keeping accident. They’re very excitable animals.

“Of course. So long as everything is as it should be.”

Which I guess we’re going to have to assume is the case since the author’s trying to be all mysterious.

“A cours, if there be one thief ye can trust it’s me, Good Ol’ Jason Therwell.”

:empties mug and pours out a fresh cup:

Thanks, Captain Exposition.

Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t be inclined to trust anyone who self-identifies as a thief. That could just be because my only experience in the area is with Contacts and Syl.

“You rang?”

:Ghostie groans: Why couldn’t it have been Contacts?

“He’s gone down to Purse Party Paradise, said something about picking up another crate of wallets.”

:covers eyes: Would it kill you to put on a bathrobe or something? We have an entire Wardrobe Department; if Mariko-san can find a poodle skirt for Gumdrop, she should be able to whip something up for you.

“I like to let the ladies out to breathe every so often. Keeps ’em perky.”

I immediately regret having this conversation with you.

“You say that after every conversation we have.”

And it’s always true.

Sam smiles slightly and stands.

“all right…two days you got it. Two days.”

Jason nodded.

“Yeah I got it.”

That gives him plenty of time to sneak in and steal [thing]!

‘So do I.’ Barrel thought as he quietly slipped back into the attic and curled back under his sorry excuse for a blanket and waited for the sun to be truly up before he moved.

Or maybe Barrel’s thinking about stealing [thing] before Sam has a chance.

He blinked a bit as a shaft of sunlight fell over his eye.

Sudden time jump is sudden.

He yawned and heard the familiar movements downstairs. He sighed and rolled up his beddings and put on some cloths then headed downstairs.

I thought he only had one blanket, but now he had plural bedding? and if he can hear movement downstairs, how is it neither of the men heard Barrel moving around while they were discussing [thing]?

~*~

I’m so glad this is the last chapter.

Jason glared at the slightly pale boy that came down the stairs. EH huffed and set a bowl of grayish soupy gruel on the table.

I think someone watched Oliver Twist recently.

“eat up.” he muttered, “there’s a festival in town and we’re gonna be busy.”

Doing what exactly?

Barrel nodded and quickly finished his breakfast. He leaned back a bit on the chair and gave a very large grin to his benefactor.

“So Jason, where we hitting tonight?”

Didn’t he just tell you there was a festival in town? I would assume that would be the place.  I’m not sure why you need to wait until night time, though.

Jason returned the grin.

“We’re hittin’ in front of the palace itself. Seems there’s something going on there and there’ll be a crowd. Oh will there be a crowd, remember Barrel…slow and steady.”

:headdesk:

And now Captain Exposition has forgotten about the festival, even though he’s the one who brought it up in the first place.

Barrel nodded and jumped off the chair heading for the door. He grabbed a scarf and hat and headed into to town. He had to brush up for the night’s events.

I assume based on the very vague references that these two are criminals who are either pickpockets or burglars of some kind, but I don’t know why Barrel’s running out to practice stealing just so he can do more stealing later. It’s like this is just an excuse to get him out of the house.

~*~

:takes a big swallow of liqueur:

Jason waited for the boy to be on the other street then ran up to the attic.

So it was just an excuse to get Barrel out of the house. I wonder why Captain Exposition didn’t order Barrel out so he could go check on [thing]. He couldn’t have know that Barrel would voluntarily leave.

Fumbling around an old wooden plank, he hastily lifted it up and pulled out a strong box. He grinned and rubbed his hands together and opened the box. He pulled out the diamond necklace and gave a breathy laugh. Sam would pay highly for it, very high. He stuffed the box and necklace back in the hiding place and headed back downstairs.

Captain Exposition is really living up to his name. This scene serves no purpose except to let the audience know what [thing] is and where it is hidden.

He walked off towards the other side of town to get a much anticipated bag of money.

Because people often request payment in bag form. Every other day I have someone come into work wanting to withdraw a sack of cash from their money market account.

I can spot a few problems with this; if he’s selling the necklace to Sam, then why did he tell Sam it would be two days? Why didn’t Captain Exposition just sell it to Sam that morning? IsCaptain Exposition planning on selling the necklace to someone else and then stealing it back to sell to Sam? And if he is going to go sell it, why isn’t he taking the necklace with him? Someone isn’t going to hand a known thief a Bag-o-Money and just trust that he delivers the goods.

~*~

:downs mug and refills it:

I’m going to need another bottle at this rate.

Barrel yawned as he walked back in to the house, his pockets loaded with fruits and breads he had ‘borrowed’ off the carts. Most importantly to him was some sweets he had snuck off the bakery tray. He snuck back up to his room hoping, but not knowing, that Jason wasn’t there.

He went out to steal food? That would explain why he was so eager to leave after his bowl of gruel, but how is stealing food from carts considered practice for something like pickpocketing or burglary?

He sat in the corner on top of his beddings and began to eat, slowly savoring the candy.

He stole fruit and breads or pastries, neither of which are candy.

As he munched happily he noticed a bit of disturbance in the dust on the floor. Curious, he walk over and inspected the wood plank.

‘Odd. Never noticed this before, maybe it’s the light.’

He never noticed the floor before? Seriously?

Barrel’s a special kind of stupid, isn’t he?

He shrugged and opened the box.

I think the narration skipped right over the “prying up the plank and finding the box” sequence of events.

He sputtered, his eyes widening like saucers. Inside the dingy little box was a diamond necklace.

And as a certified geologist he can easily identify real diamonds from costume jewelry.

He gulped and racked his brain. ‘When…and…bloody hell…’

:headdesk:

He heard two men discussing a valuable stolen item only hours before, and one indicated it was hidden up in the attic, yet now he seems shocked that there’s a valuable item in the room. Did he forget about it that quickly?  I guess that would explain why he didn’t tear the room apart when he realizedCaptain Exposition wasn’t there.

He glances around quickly and placed the necklace in hi pocket. He hurried over to his pathetic little corner. He gathered up as much as he could and packed it up.

Dude, just leave the pitiful rags and GTFO already!

He was rich, fuck old Jason.

:adds shot of Brain Bleach to mug’s contents:

He was probably going to have a heart attack when he found out anyways.

You better hope he does, or you are in for a world of pain if he ever finds you.

Besides…Barrel deserved the money much more then the senile old man.

I don’t know of a compelling reason why Barrel would think that, it’s not as if Captain Exposition was constantly beating him or abusing him in any way. Barrel didn’t even help out when Captain Exposition stole the necklace, since it is obvious he had never seen it before. He’s just straight-up stealing it.

He climbed down the drain pipe and landed in the cold alley.

Why did he do that? Captain Exposition isn’t in the house, so Barrel could have just gone down the stairs and out the door.

He glanced around one last time then headed at full run towards the Themes River and Puddle Dock.

I assume that’s meant to be the River Thames, which means Barrel is probably in London. According to the Intertubez, Puddle Dock is a real place (or it was a real place before it was paved over and turned into a street) and is located in the Blackfriars district of the City of London. I kind of assumed that they were somewhere in Britain based on the hit-or-miss dialect used, but this chapter suffers from the same chronic lack of descriptive narration as the first two chapters. It could literally be taking place anywhere – and this chapter didn’t have a helpful AN giving the time period so this chapter could be taking place in any time period.

~*~

I’m gonna need a bigger mug.

Jason sneered when he entered the house his beady eye shifting left to right. Something was wrong here.

Captain Exposition seems to have a lost an eye while he was out doing stuff. The loss must have heightened his senses and that’s how he knows something is wrong without any definite proof that this is the case.

“BOY! BARREL! WHERE ARE YE!? GET DOWN ‘ERE AT ONCE! Barrel…” He sneers and storms up towards the attic. “BARREL!”

STOP SNEERING! :points rolled-up newspaper at fic: I will summon the giant demon sheep, don’t think I won’t.

He stops short and looks from the open and empty trunk to the open window. He looks at the corner his eyes widening as realization sets in.

Hey, he found his other eye! It must have been in that empty trunk that the SDQF just dropping on top of the little box the necklace was in.

“The little bastard…HE ROBBED ME!!!!”

“Doesn’t he know how expensive coal is?!?” :Captain Exposition slams the window shut: “I’m not paying to heat the whole neighborhood!”

Jason rushes out of the house. He steps into the alley his eyes wild. ” WHERE ARE YOU BOY!!! YOU HEAR ME AND HEAR ME GOOD!!! I’LL SHOW YE TA ROB FROM JASON THERWELL!!!”

I know Barrel isn’t exactly the sharpest tack in life’s bulletin board, but does Captain Exposition really think he stuck around or that he is just going to pop up from somewhere and go “Here I am! Please come kill me!”?

He heads down towards the Themes screaming and shouting along the way.

How convenient that, out of everywhere in the enormous city of London, Captain Exposition randomly decided to go in the same direction that Barrel did!

~*~

:headdesk:

Barrel waits nervously on the bridge besides Puddle Dock.

Let’s see … :Googles: That would probably be Blackfriars Bridge, or William Pitt Bridge as it was known when it first opened back in 1769. There’s another, much smaller, river in the area, the River Fleet; it was a reeking cesspit even by London standards (In Victorian times it was said that it took thirty tides to float a dead dog out of the city via the River Thames) so it was eventually bricked over and turned into an actual sewer around the time the Blackfriars Bridge was built.

He fingers the necklace carefully assuring himself it was still there.

And lets other pickpockets know where he keeps his most valuable loot. You’d think a thief would know better.

He sighed his breath coming out as steam in the cold dusk air. The next boat was due at 7:00…it was 6:30.

Wow, the day just flew by.

I dug around and found a sunset/sunrise chart for London; if dusk is around 6:30, that would make it some time in late March or early April. I don’t really know if that supports the fic or not; the only information about the weather than has been given is that it was cold early in the morning and it is now cold at dusk.

Half an hour more of freezing then he’d be free. Free to do as he pleased and go where he wanted. With full payment resting inside his coat pocket.

I’m curious as to how this is going to go down for Barrel. He can’t contact Sam, the original buyer, because he doesn’t know how – even if he did, such an action would likely leadCaptain Exposition to him. His only option would be to try to fence it himself, and I don’t think that would work out very well. He’s a grubby little street urchin with a very valuable item; if he strolls into a pawnbroker wand tries to sell it they are going to know it’s stolen. An honest pawnbroker would call the police, a dishonest one would cheat him by offering an absurdly low price or possibly just outright stealing it from him.

He huddled into his jumper, it was getting colder. He looked into the murky water below. It was pitch black. He shuddered. He hated water, he couldn’t swim.

I bet even money he drowns.

But taking the boat to the station was the fastest and safest way he could think of. Not to mention cheapest.

…He’s on a bridge waiting for a boat?

I don’t think the author understands how a bridge works; bridges go over the water, to get on a boat you have to go to a dock. And what station is he going to? The railway station? The police station? The frickin’ International Space Station? Does he even have any money to begin with?

He whistled to stay warm and brave and kept an eye out for the fairy.

:snergle:

~*~

:groans:

Please tell me we’re near the end.

Jason heard the merry tune before he saw the boy standing on the bridge.

Barrel is very not good at hiding.

He could see the lights of the distant fairy steadily approaching.

:snerk:

I guess Barrel is bumming a ride from Tinkerbelle.

So he was trying to escape? Jason chuckled grimly and started for the bridge, his heavy boots sloshing in the puddles as he walked across the cobblestone street.

Did it rain earlier? And it must not be as freezing cold as everyone keeps pretending that it is, or those puddles would be icy.

Barrel stopped his song abruptly and looked about. He’d heard a heavy clunking wet sound.

I think it was the plot.

He looked around and saw the hunched figure step out of the fog.

Captain Exposition must have damn good eyesight if he managed to spot Barrel though the thick fog that suddenly appeared.

His eyes widen when he recognized the gait. Jason.

If Barrel recognizes Captain Exposition by his gait, then why didn’t he realize who it was when he heard those footsteps?

“I see ye’ve spotted me boy.” Jason said walking onto the bridge.

He knows this because he saw Barrel’s eye widen slightly despite the distance between the two and the sudden fog? Captain Exposition has the eyes of an eagle! Or eye of an eagle, depending on how many he has at any given moment.

He drew closer to the boy pinning him against the barrier between the walkway and thin air.

…Do you mean the guard rail? Because things have names, you know.

Barrels eyes grew wider. Jason gave a snort.

:Ghostie yawns:

“Jus’ give ol’ Jason what he wants and I may be inclined at let ye go wif out ‘arm. Don’t an well…” His eye flickered to the murky water below.

Captain Exposition just can’t keep his eyes in his head for some reason.

And I’m calling it now – Barrel’s going for a swim.

Barrel panicked, he looked around. He gulped and nodded reaching into his pocket and handing the necklace to Jason.

:headdesk:

Don’t just hand it over, dumbass. Tell him you hid it somewhere and offer to take him to it, then you can have a chance to get away from him. Once he gets the necklace from you, there’s nothing keeping you alive anymore.

Jason snatched it out of the boys hands and stuffed it where it belonged, with him. He turned to the paling boy and sneered. “Now…at teach ye a lesson fer stealing from ME BOY!!!”

Barrel stole from Captain Exposition’s boy? Is that what he calls that box under the floorboards?

Barrel reared back on instinct as the wrinkled hand raised to back-hand him across the face.

Captain Exposition is sure taking his sweet time with it.

He hit the railing on the bridge and tumbled over the edge. Jason’s eyes widen and he made a mad grab for the coat but missed. He watches as the Themes swallowed the pale boy beneath it’s inky surface.

I KNEW it! Not that it was terribly difficult to figure out, but I’ll take any small victory.

Of course, this would never actually work. The only way for Barrel to go over the railing would be if his center of gravity went over the side, and for humans the center of gravity is located around the hips/waist area. Guard rails and handrails are typically built well above the height of an average person’s waist precisely to avoid accidents like this. And the fic never reveals Barrel’s age, but if he’s the same size as the film version then he likely couldn’t even see over the railing – the only way he would go over the edge would be if Captain Exposition picked him up and tossed him over the side.

~*~

Is there going to be one of these damn things after every blinkin’ paragraph?!?

Barrel hit the cold water and sank down.

People don’t sink, they float.

He opened his eyes and looked around desperately.

I hope you enjoy getting typhoid and malaria in your eyes, because for most of history the Thames is an open sewer.

Which way had he fallen in? which way was up?! He panicked and started to swim up, well in the direction he thought was up.

I thought he didn’t know how to swim?

He went for a few moment then realized….he was swimming down.

Which is something that can happen if you panic, that’s why it is recommended that if you do fall into water that you let yourself go limp. Humans are naturally buoyant, it would actually take much more effort for him to swim downwards than it would be for him to float to the surface.

His lungs all ready bursting for air he spun around ad started for the surface.

Which should be far easier and take much less time than it did for him to swim in the wrong direction. Now his buoyancy is working for him, not against him.

His ears were ringing and his eyes began to sting from the pollution in the water.

I’m surprised his eyes haven’t started melting given what he’s swimming in.

He was getting tired. He could see the moon through the water, he was almost out.

Wasn’t it dusk just a few seconds ago? How long has he been in the water?

Reaching out the tips of his fingers broke the surface but were jerked back at his pant leg caught on some old fishing equipment.

Fishing equipment? Like what, a rod and reel? Floating debris might be an annoyance, but it shouldn’t keep him from reaching the surface when he’s that close.

And who the hell would fish in the sewage-choked Thames?

He reached down trying desperately .

To find the rest of that sentence?

He gasped drawing water in. He heard a rushing in his ears, his chest felt as if it were on fire. He struggled until his strength gave out. He stretched his hand out as a last effort, then sank back down towards the bottom his eyes rolling back.

I’m really questioning how this would happen. People dump stuff off of bridges – bodies, garbage, non-specific fishing equipment, etc. – but the debris would either float at the surface or sink to the bottom. If this junk is heavy enough to weigh down Barrel, it would have to be on the bottom – yet he’s only inches from the surface.  That would mean the river in this location is ridiculously shallow, likely only a few feet in depth. If it’s that shallow, Barrel should have slammed into whatever this fishing equipment is when he fell off the bridge. He definitely wouldn’t have been able to swim towards the bottom for as long as he did without hitting the junk.

And this particular bridge serves as a dock for a fairy/ferry, so any debris that was that close to the surface would affect the fairy/ferry and would likely have been dealt with to keep the dock/bridge open.

~*~

:groans:

If my hand-eye coordination wasn’t severely impaired by massive amounts of espresso liqueur, I’d throw something at this fic.

Barrel opened his eyes…well he thought he did anyways.

Yay, more vagueness. That’s just what this fic needs.

He felt grimy and very slimy. He looked around…he was still underwater. But he was awake. He looked around and saw a grinning face. His eyes widen before he blacked-out once more.

~*~

It’s a good thing he blacked out when he did, or his eyelids would have met at the back of his skull. I am wondering how someone who is dead managed to black out, though.

*hides* You guys are gonna shoot me!!! I’m am soooo sry it took so long to post ^^;

:insert standard “you’re not on a schedule” lecture here:

But I had lost the inspiration for the fic. Don’t know how I got it back buts I did

Not a whole lot of it, though. Like many fics, you can see the author’s enthusiasm drop as the fic progresses.

^(^_^)^ Hope you enjoyed it. There may be a short epilogue then this fic is over ^^.

Nope, no epilogue. This is the last chapter posted, and given how many years have passed I seriously doubt there will be another chapter added. The fic wasn’t abandoned, though. Its status is listed as “Completed” in its summary. I find it a little odd that the author would put the fic in that status even after stating that they were going to add another chapter.

That’s it for this week, Patrons! See you next time with another fic!

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17 Comments on “1527: The Before time of Lock, Shock and Barrel – Chapter 3”

  1. AdmiralSakai says:

    “So you’ve got what I want?” the darker haired man asked.

    “A cours Sam, a cours. Have I ever let ye down?”

    Why does he want a corus?

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    Barrel yawned as he walked back in to the house, his pockets loaded with fruits and breads he had ‘borrowed’ off the carts.

    Ok, so either he got a very small haul, or has very big pockets.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    He glanced around one last time then headed at full run towards the Themes River


    Didn’t know they used to transport those by water.

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    Jason snatched it out of the boys hands and stuffed it where it belonged

    Ew.

  5. BatJamags says:

    Now without MORE adieu…

    Without more farewell? The fuck does that mean?

    I think it means the author is making a mockery of both my first language and my second.

  6. BatJamags says:

    Sam’s eye glitter for a moment.

    Eliza, was it really necessary to invade the fic just to pretty up his remaining eye?

  7. BatJamags says:

    JASON THERWELL

    Hmm… The author’s English names are slightly better than their French names.

    But that’s still not a real name.

  8. BatJamags says:

    et’s see … :Googles: That would probably be Blackfriars Bridge, or William Pitt Bridge as it was known when it first opened back in 1769. There’s another, much smaller, river in the area, the River Fleet; it was a reeking cesspit even by London standards (In Victorian times it was said that it took thirty tides to float a dead dog out of the city via the River Thames) so it was eventually bricked over and turned into an actual sewer around the time the Blackfriars Bridge was built.

    So, the last two chapters took place in the late seventeenth century, and we’ve suddenly jumped up to the mid-to-late eighteenth century at least.

    The author does at least seem to have a better knowledge of London’s layout than of Boston or Paris, so I suspect they might be from there.

    • GhostCat says:

      The setting still suffers from overwhelming vagueness – for example, the bridge is never named – but using such an obscure place as Puddle Dock makes me think they have at least visited the area before.

  9. BatJamags says:

    Did it rain earlier? And it must not be as freezing cold as everyone keeps pretending that it is, or those puddles would be icy.

    I think the author is going for a generic portrayal of Victorian-era London, complete with awful weather.

    Though, if I’m correct, the weather really is pretty bad in London.

    • GhostCat says:

      There’s not really enough detail to pinpoint the time period, but it does have a sort of vaguely Victorian/Edwardian feel.

    • "Lyle" says:

      Depends on your definition of bad. It’s very similar to the weather I grew up with, which I love. Now I live on dry, high-elevation desert and I would hit someone with a fish to get a little rain around here.


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