It was a though morning. Miss Raae´s hands are stiff. Her arms and shoulders are stiff. Her eyelids are impossibly heavy. Is something important happening today? She can not remember. Her coffee plopps down on the night table accomapnied by a glass of water. A barely audible knock at the door.
Captain Cannon is in the room proving that she can be low key.
– Hello? Are you awake? Soft voice from Captain Cannon.
– No… Miss Raae croaks.
– Here are the keys to The White Ship. Still Captain Cannons voice is soft.
– Go away… Miss Raae knew there was something… What was The White Ship? She forced her eyelids open.
– Today is the Big Print`n Ship Day!
Off course. How could she forget?
– Good luck. I´ll see you later. Captain Cannon is smiling down at her.
It is time to get out of bed and become Captain Raw. She will be clashing wills with Little Lilly today and her mentor Lilly will not be there with her diplomatic whispering. Show that moody machine a sliver of weakness and who knows what kind of trouble would be the result. 19 #lillygrams need to be printed today. No question about that.
Some hours later the PDFs are done. Stamps and envelopes are bought at the post office.
Raw gives herself a breather and a coffee in the sunny backyard. The birds are tweeting and a hot lunch of rice, corn, eggs and bacon is warming her bones. Soon it is time to face off with Little Lilly and she will need her strength. Mr Vea and Ms Raae packs up, locks up and leaves. The walk towards the docks was pleasant. Looking down on The White Ship Capatian Raw remembers:
– Woops! The paper! You go back and get it. Give me the suitcase.
– You will go down there alone? Mr Vea sounds worried.
– We need to speed up. Slowing down is not an option.
– Sure thing boss. I am just saying, are you going to confront that monstrosity all alone.
– I´ll be fine.
Capatian Raw did not worry. She knew how to handle machines. Moody or not.
The hold of The White Ship was larger than she remembered. Little Lilly was sleeping, that lazy thing. Raw can hear a low rumble of snoring filling the large room. Hm… How to connect the laptop with Little Lilly? Wi-Fi maybe? Blue tooth? No, nothing shows up on the screen. She realize the snoring has stopped. Little Lilly is awake
– Oh! I´ll be right over.
She pushes the chair all the way, touching the side of Little Lilly´s «head» and steps up on it. What looks like a door bell speaker is at head height. She leans close. A faint, but deep and melodious whisper:
– My sweet little girl. I am pleased you have come here to attend to the needs of an old lady. How are we feeling this moring?
– Eh… Good… Good, decidedly good.
– That makes me happy. First of all I want you to clean up that mess over in the corner. Then go to the galley and get some coffee from James. That´s a good girl.
Just like that the conversation was over. A little frustrated, but relived they had gotten off to such a good start, she hurried with her tasks. A good thing James showed up in the galley with his immaculate black suit, black tie and spotless white gloves. She had been looking for the coffee without success. James asked polite questions about her family and business. Meanwhile he made it look placid make the coffee and set the silver tray with biscuits and little white cups with white saucers. He had fluid almost graceful motions.
– See you soon.
He handed her the tray with the tall shiny silver coffee pot. Back in the hall like room. Stepping up on the chair she saw a little squarish chute had opened below the little speaker. There was just enough space in the little room within for the little white cup on it´s little white saucer and the tiny cookie. Slowly a green straw was lowering itself into the steaming, fat liquid. Head to the speak Raw waited.
– Aah! Thank you Benedicte my girl. I see James have given us far to many cookies. He is growing softer with age. I remember him in his youth. Hm. Make sure you only two cookies. Promise me that, right now.
– I promise, Little Lilly.
– I can tell you have gained between 3 and 6 kilos since we first met las summer.
That´s my opening, Benedicte thought. That little insult there is my opening.
– Lilly said to ask you how to connect.
– She did, didn´t she. Yes, you need a so and so cable. Get that fool of yours to bring it when he comes with the papers.
– He is no fool.
– Harlequin then, whatever. I don´t find him amusing. Not compared to his father. There was a Teller of Stories. A true magician with the human word. A shame he is not here. You humans have such short expiry dates. A shame, a shame.
The conversation was over again. This time Raw noticed a little green light beside the speaker had gone dark. When the light shines green, Little Lilly signals she wants to speak, Raw thought. She made the phone call to Vea explaining about the cable and got this photo back as confirmation:
The «talk to me light» was back on.
– You should get more coffee from James. Mister Støwer and the Harlequin are about to arrive.
Raae explained to her guys what was going to happen and who would get what tasks. Then she set about making the cover letters. They would say «Please call us on the phone with any feedback, we want to talk to you.» Mr. Vea said:
– We need to be more concrete if we want them to actually call.
– You have known about this for a month so why did you not write your own text for it?
Benedicte Raae said angrily.
– I am sorry.
– Yeah. Don´t distract me with new ideas today. We need to keep the momentum moving forwards fast. Or we won´t make the shipment today.
Lil´Lilly was happily printing and soon the very first #lillygram was finished.
The first #lillygram would go out to Benedicte´s number 1 fan, Bent Raae, her grandfather. Just then Captain Cannon arrived like a wirlwind and sped up the printing process.
Then it was off to the local post office at Carl Berner Place.
19 #lillygrams shipped off! From 12 hopeful customers.
Støwer is counting to make sure all the #lillygrams are there. Right in front of his forehead you can see Gourmet Thai, the take out place where the party dinner was ordered.
Now! Party in the backyard of The White House at Rodeløkka. Photo moment:
– Say Monkeys!
Ola almost shouts. In the background is Støwers better half miss Grimeland. She had brought her business partner Therese and their own party food from Gourmet Thai. Just like Jeff and Lauren did. Benedicte´s American relatives visiting for the summer. We ate. We drank. We were merry.
This has been an episode in a story to be read for children about a small family run business that makes tools for parents. Please write feedback about your child´s reaction to the story in the comments field below.
To be continued.