Thursday, February 4, 2016

Alternate world Violet revisited

I'll bet you didn't know alternate world Violet-- Catalpa Valley's version of Bizarro world. Well, there most certainly is. Ask Mac Pike its creator who also happens to dwell and causing loads of trouble over yonder at  Uncle Mac's Garden Shed. Here is where you'll find all those bizarre dreams Violet tells us about, but are they dreams or are they just in her head? Well, wasn't it Dumbledore who said, "Just because it's happening in your head, doesn't mean it's not real!"  Hmm, that would make this alternative world real? Who knew?

Violations of every Bloomin’ thing

                            A rough day in the kitchen            

Violet nudged her way through the front door, key chain dangling from her mouth, bags filled with fresh groceries in either hand. She shoved the inner door shut with one booted foot, turned toward the dining room to cross to the kitchen and froze in her tracks. Something was very wrong.

First of all the kitchen light was on. She never left unnecessary lights on when no one was home, and no one was supposed to be. Moreover, she smelled fresh coffee and…cigarette smoke? In this house? Unconscionable! Unthinkable! Utterly impossible! Someone was going to get an earful they’d not soon forget! 

Violet placed her grocery bags on the dining room table and bustled to the kitchen, fore finger already uplifted as she prepared to launch a salvo of admonitions at the as yet unknown transgressor.

A young woman Violet had never fixed eyes on before sat at Violet's kitchen table; looking for the entire world as though she was the homeowner, and Violet the visitor. Her right elbow rested comfortably on Violet's freshly delivered copy of The Catalpa Daily Bilge Pump, opened to the crossword puzzle which the strange woman had apparently been working with Violet's official telephone message recording pen.* 

The elbow connected, via a tanned and muscular forearm to a well manicured hand which held the smoldering remnant of an unfiltered cigarette. One of Violet’s coffee mugs, nearly empty, weighed down a corner of the paper and Violet noted in passing the half filled coffeemaker on the kitchen work counter.  A plate held the other side of the paper in place; a few crumbs and a used fork indicated that the stranger had helped herself to the fresh cheesecake she had made for the children before leaving for the store. A small mound of ashes revealed that the plate had then been pressed into service as an improvised ashtray.

*A major social gaff in Catalpa Valley.

Violet, bubbling over with indignation halted at the other side of the table and sputtered, “What, WHAT! Who, WHO?”   She paused then and took a deep breath, striving for composure so that she could continue coherently.

The woman’s mouth twitched slightly, it could have been the start of a smile and she spoke. Her tone was neither loud nor confrontational, her voice calm melodious; hinting at a southern upbringing. “You are eithuh Thomas Edison or a barn owl," she said. “Ah was expectin’ Violet.”

Violet was a three syllable word, the way she pronounced it. “Now why don’t you pour yourself some coffee and top off mine while you’ve got the pot, and then sit yourself down. We need to talk.”

The woman’s left hand emerged from beneath the table where it had previously been hidden by the cheerful checked table cloth. It held the biggest handgun that Violet in her brief experience with such things, had ever seen. Her unwelcome visitor placed it on the table with a businesslike thunk, took a final drag on her cigarette and stubbed the butt out on the cake plate.

Violet opened her mouth. What came out could best be described as a squeak.

“Oh don’t you fret about the pistol, Violet Honey, that’s not for you. Ah just couldn’t know for sure who was comin’ through that door now could Ah?

Violet shook her head violently, and pointed at the cigarette butt, her outrage overcoming the shock and flash of fear the sight of the gun had provoked.

Ashtrays, Sugah, you don’t have any! Ah looked you know, Ah really did.”

This was at least partially correct, although she hadn’t looked very hard. Her instincts told her there would be none.

“Now how about that refill? And Violet honey, there’s a block full of kitchen knives just to your right there? Ah know you aren’t plannin’ to go anywhere near them, and if you were even thinkin’ of throwin’ that coffee at me Ah know you’ll just put that thought right out of your head now won’t you?”

Violet didn’t have to, she had no thoughts of attacking this insufferable woman, her mind simply did not work that way. She realized that the stranger must come from an entirely different world than the one she was familiar with.

Seeing little choice, Violet brought a clean mug and the pot to the table, filled both mugs and returned the nearly empty pot to its burner. While she poured she had time to take stock of the interloper. She saw an attractive but somewhat hard looking woman, perhaps a few years older than she, probably a few inches taller as well had they both been standing. She wore her gleaming, nearly black hair in a short bob under a camouflage patterned forage cap. A brown tag on the caps’ front spelled out “Delacroix” in black letters. A denim vest covered a T shirt with the rock star Pink’s name and picture adorning the front; the t shirt successfully enduring considerable strains and stresses from what Violet had to believe were artificially enhanced if admittedly eye catching breasts.

The lines of her neck, shoulders and upper arms indicated an unusual degree of muscle tone and mass, this was a woman who worked out often and hard. Her posture, even seated was unusually erect. She reminded Violet of Sergeant Bonnie Crabtree, the New York State Trooper who was first to respond when the children had found Judge Fennimore Thornwhistle’s body in the compost heap last spring; completely ruining what would have been the first worm census of the gardening season.  

“Who are you”? Violet asked. “Why are you in my kitchen? How did you get in, anyway? I know I locked the house when I left.”

“If you need a name Angie will do. Angie Frangipani. Ah am in your kitchen because that’s where the cheesecake and coffee are, or more precisely, were. Ah got in because your locks aren’t worth a shit if you’ll pardon my language. A cub scout could crack this place if you gave him a paper clip and 5 minutes to fiddle around at the keyhole. You should probably get a good security guy to go over the premises.”

“I know a few” she said, “If you’d like a referral.”

“Nobody ever breaks into houses in Catalpa Valley,” Violet said. “Not before you came along that is. And if your name is Frangipani why does your cap say ‘Delacroix’?”

“My cap is a compulsive liar, has been from the day it was sewn. My shirt says ‘Pink’ and Ah can’t sing. My underwear says Victoria’s Secrets and Ah am as open a book as you could find in a Barnes and Noble reading room. Who are you goin’ to believe, Honey, me or the laundry?”

Violet glared at her. The woman coolly returned the look. Violet could not help but notice the highly unusual coloring of the strangers’ pupils; not yellow exactly but gold, rich and deep with lighter flecks. Wolf eyes, she’d heard them called. They contrasted wonderfully with her tanned skin and dark hair.

“Okay. The name is Delacroix right enough. Lacey Delacroix from the bayou, me." She put down the empty mug and extended her hand. “Ah don’t expect you’re all that pleased to see me, but maybe you will be before I’m gone.”

Violet regarded the hand as though it held an irritated rattlesnake. It remained extended. Almost against her will Violet took it. Delacroix’s handshake was quick, and firm, almost masculine and although there was no attempt to apply undue pressure Violet was aware of the woman’s physical strength. She thought again of Officer Crabtree.

“Are you some kind of a cop?” she said.

The woman actually smiled then. It was a broad, brilliant and apparently heartfelt smile and the effect was quite astonishing. It was difficult not to return a smile like that, but Violet remained impassive.

“Ah was two kinds of a cop once, Sugah. But that was a while back when. Let me tell you a little story before ah leave.”

“Oh you’re leaving? No need to trouble with stories on my account then. No need to detain you,” said Violet, with unaccustomed but sincere nastiness. “I have to make a whole new cheesecake! And air out this place!”

Her hands fanned the air vigorously by way of illustration.

“Okay, no stories! Down to business then," said Delacroix, no longer smiling. “Ah am here in my professional capacity.”

Seeing Violets’ uncomprehending look, she amplified. “A fixer, a problem solver, an expediter if you will. Someone who gets things done that need to be done, but which are frowned on by the squeamish and the do-gooders.”

Violet had begun to rise from her chair, but at these words, stopped and stared at Delacroix.

“Ah am not going to do my original job, at least Ah don’t think I am. Now why don’t you tell me all about John Yearly?”

Violet sat down.

“You know John Yearly?”

Delacroix said nothing.

“John Yearly. Well, he, he is persistent. He thinks he likes me in an uncomfortable, sleazy sort of way and he thinks he is Gods gift if you know what I mean. He is sure that really, deep down inside, bouts of projectile vomiting notwithstanding, I really...” she swallowed uncomfortably, “am attracted to him and will one day realize it and a happy Yearly he will be. He is course and selfish and rude and…”

Delacroix broke in, “You make him horny and he’s a pig.”

“Ooh,” gasped Violet, eyes widening, fingers flying to her lips as her face flushed a remarkably flattering shade of pink. “Well I wouldn’t say that.”

Delacroix grinned, “Ah bet you wouldn’t.”

“But that about sums it up,” Violet said.

“Would you like never again to be bothered by the Yearly who offends daily?”

“That can’t be why you broke into my house! To talk about that, that…”

“Asshole?” suggested Delacroix.

Violet took a deep breath; “Urm. Well, yes,” Violet cleared her throat, “asshole!” and flushed. “But I can’t seem to get the point across no matter what I do.”

“That’s where Ah come in,” Delacroix said.

“You can’t scare him off if that’s what you mean,” Violet said, “and why would you want to, anyway?”

“Call it a change of mission, and Ah am not goin’ to do much at all, Sugah, you’re goin’ to do most of it all by yourself. It’s high time you stood on your own two feet, if you know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean.” said Violet, rising.

Delacroix spread her hands wide, palms up “That’s not what I mean!” she said, sounding just a bit exasperated.

Violet sat down.

“Now, what Ah need from you,” Delacroix said, “Are the locations of a few people from town who might be able to help; one would have shown up about 5 years ago, and he’s probably goin’ by his real name, Patrick Xavier Muldoon. Ring any bells?”

Violet nodded vigorously. “Father Muldoon from the First Church of the Invalid Assumption, he came along about 5 years ago when Father Fatinyatz passed away. And his first name is Patrick. And I’m sure he has an X”

“Dozens, likely” Delacroix agreed, “So Patrick, Paddy, Three Fingers Muldoon is a priest? Are you shittin’ me, Sugah?”

“I sh…kid you not,” said Violet, “He’s very nice.”

“Oh Ah am sure he is.”

“Now the second fella would be here less than two years, foreign guy, don’t know what name he’ll use but he’ll be involved with candies, cakes and confections.”

“Yes!” said Violet, unaccountably pleased to be of help, “Mr. Rinderpest opened Black Forest Wonder Bars and Fine Strudels about 18 months ago! He makes the most wonderful things! Heinrich Rinderpest!”

“Gray haired fella, walks bent over, talks to himself?”

“Chatters like a magpie,” Violet agreed.

“That, Violet, is one Eric Barkmann, the best marzipan forger in Europe.”

Violet looked bewildered. “Europe has marzipan forgers?”

“You have no idea. And Barkmann was the best. He can take a little almond paste, some third rate Domino and if you can believe it, karo syrup,

“Karo syrup!” wailed a visibly stricken Violet.

“Yes! Karo syrup and not an egg white in the mix, and make it look like genuine Schluckwerder or even,” she lowered her voice to a conspiratorial level, “Niederegger Lubeck!”

“The fiend,” whispered Violet, shaken to her core by mankind’s unbounded capacity for wickedness.

“But what he is really good at is creating a final product that looks fabulous. He can make awful marzipan knock offs look so tempting it totally fools the taste buds into ignoring the occasional crunchy roach.”

Violet gagged.

“He’s a renaissance man in a way,” Delacroix said with undisguised admiration. “Now where can I find these pillars of society?”

Violet gave her the directions. Delacroix wrote them down on a relatively clear space of newspaper ad copy and then ripped them from the newspaper. Violet winced.

“Well Honey, Ah will be back this time tomorrow or thereabouts and fill you in on the game plan. It will all be over by tomorrow afternoon and you’ll never see me or, for that matter, Yearly, again."

Delacroix stood up, her movement supple and fluid. Standing she had about 3” on Violets’ 5’3”. She tucked the directions into her vest pocket, slid the pistol into the back of her jeans where the vest could hide the butt* and turned to the stove. Flipping on the gas burner she held a cigarette to the flame, and then snapped the burner off.

*The pistol’s, not Delacroix’s.

“Yeep!” exclaimed Violet,“Gaaah! I cannot believe you!”

Delacroix looked at her; exhaled a plume of vile smelling recycled nicotine and poisonous by-products and looked momentarily puzzled.

Then brightening, she said, “Oh Sugah Ah am sorry where are my manners? Would you like one?” She held out the pack.

“Get...” Violet began, “Out. Get out now. Do not come back. Do not come near me. Never come near me again or I’ll, I’ll…call the police!”

“Do you like the local policemen, Violet?” Delacroix asked as she turned for the door.

“Of course I do!” Violet shot back. “They are very nice men!”

“Then why, Sugah, would you do something like that to them? Ah will see you tomorrow as I said, and you will not call anyone.”

The woman was out the door; Violet watched her from the window. Two things were readily apparent. The first was that Delacroix was remarkably graceful; and moved like a dancer or a martial artist, or a big jungle cat. And second, Delacroix had a world class ass.

“Oh boogers,” she muttered as she began to open windows, “Now I’m thinking like Yearly. Rather queerly.” And for some reason, she giggled.

Then she noticed, without any real surprise, that her pen was missing.

©2013 Mac Pike All Rights Reserved

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