In Verse Proportion; Chapter 37, Slade 180

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 37:  Slade 180
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 184

The next day the engineering teaching assistant arrived before breakfast.  “You need to meet,” she chirped, “with the architect.  They are going to start work on your nest.”

Well, that’s a step forward, he thought.  “Is he meeting us over breakfast, or before breakfast, or after breakfast?”

The hen released a noise that Slade took as exclamatory, the bird equivalent of “Oh!”, and then paused.  “Well,” she continued, “I think he wanted to meet now, but we could have the meeting in the cafeteria.  Or you could come meet him on the ground where the university wants to build it.”

Slade thought for a moment, and decided, “It’s probably important for us to see where we’re building; it might make a difference in what we’re building.  We can meet him there, and then invite him to discuss details over breakfast.”

This seemed to satisfy everyone, and as Shella grabbed a jacket they headed out the door.

The architect introduced himself.  Slade decided it was important to communicate clearly, so after awkwardly introducing himself as “Bob” and his wife as “Shella”, he established the language link with the teaching assistant.  That was getting easier, at least.

A substantial piece of ground had been set aside.  From the smell, Slade guessed it was not far from the stables--it wasn’t a horse smell, because they didn’t have mammals, but it was definitely the smell of contained animals.  Still, he thought they could get used to it, and beggars can’t be choosers.  Obviously someone thought that they should be classed as non-whatevers, not parakeets and therefore zoological specimens.  It was certainly the height of discrimination, but hey, it’s probably how humans treated primates who were being taught language.

“O.K.,” Slade said, “I think it’s probably big enough.  I’m not eager to mow the lawn anyway.  But you know that this is going to have to be a big house.”

“Yes,” the architect answered.  “All the ceilings and doors must be high, so you do not need to duck.”

Slade nodded.  “Yes, but that’s probably not enough.  All the rooms have to be larger because the furniture is all going to have to be bigger--bigger bed, longer sofa, wider chairs, higher tables.  Figure I’m almost twice as tall as the average parakeet, and that doesn’t go away when I lie down, or sit.  I’m just big.”

The architect seemed to be absorbing this.

“Let’s go eat,” Slade said.  “I’ve got quite a few things we need to understand.  Coming?” he said to the teaching assistant, and the four of them headed for breakfast.

“I know that there are water pipes somewhere, and sewer lines, so we’ll have indoor plumbing.  I presume you have the basics of that already.”  Observing the confirming nod (and realizing he was getting better at parakeet body language) he continued, “There is also natural gas running somewhere--it lights the lamps on campus, yes?”  Again there was visible agreement.  “But as far as I’m aware, you don’t have hot water, other than in the steam engines.”

“Hot water?” the architect said.

“Yes, we’re going to do this.  The water pipe comes into the house in the basement--we’re going to need a deep basement--and it splits.  One pipe carries cold water normally through the house.  The other goes into a boiler, like the steam engines already in use but heated by the gas.  That then has pipes that run to all the sinks, tub, shower, and there are two valves, one for the hot water and one for the cold, which feed together into one pipe, so that we have hot and cold running water.”

He waited a moment for this to settle while he grabbed some food from the line.

“Then we’ll have a second boiler,” he said, “much the same design, but it’s kind of a closed system.  The pipes that come from it run up through the house to what are called,” and he realized that if they didn’t have the device they wouldn’t have a word for it.  “Never mind what they’re called.  We’ll be inventing them.  The idea is that in cold weather the hot water runs up into these things, and the heat spreads into the air of the room, and as the water cools it falls down through a return pipe to the boiler, and we have hot water heat.”  Slade would have preferred hot air heat, but he was pretty sure that was a bit beyond him.  “The pipes that carry hot water will have to be insulated, both to retain the heat and to protect the structures around them.

“Now, about rooms.  I don’t want to make it too complicated, but we’ll want a large kitchen.  It will need a sink--a double sink, if you’ve got such a thing, and hot and cold water.  We’re also going to create a gas stove and a gas oven, so the gas pipe is going to have to run to the kitchen as well.  Counter tops for work space, considerably higher than those to which you’re accustomed--Shella will help you figure out how high they should be.  There also should be space for a large table, so we can have multiple guests for dinner once we’re able to cook there.  We’ll want a large room for entertaining guests, and a private bedroom for sleeping, closets for our clothes, a bathroom probably between the living room and the bedroom.  I think we should have a few extra rooms, although I’m not yet sure how we’ll furnish them.  We have some books, so we might do a small library.

“Anway, that should get you started.  Any questions?”

The architect had at some point started taking notes.  He looked up and said, “Not yet, but I’m sure I will have.”

“That’s good.  We’re always somewhere on campus, at least so far, so let us know when you need our help.”

Slade turned his attention to his neglected breakfast and dug in.

Next chapter:  Chapter 38:  Brown 207
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #437:  Characters Relate.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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