Hot Bottoms

Ferns need their thirst quenched

Dust covered with edges singed

Green is parched to brown

Bees alight, but clover hot

Little bee bottoms say ouch!

M. Raynes

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Detours

Bang-beep-drill-vibrate

It’s build/construction season

Be prepared to stop

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Litter Box Treasure

It can’t be real. It must be gossip. People are bored or unhappy with the state of our country. I know i am. The latter, not the former. They’re dreaming up tall tales.. saying that they’ve found expensive treasure and jewelry in.. their toilets. Seriously!?

There’s an item in the Oregonian about it this morning. A twelve year old girl found an expensive emerald ring in her home’s master bathroom toilet. Her parents weren’t home at the time. The next day she disappeared, but Farley Friday called them to say Rosalie is safe. I guess this kind of thing can happen when your parents work for The Agency.

Last week, a ruby necklace appeared in someone’s fridge, wrapped beautifully and sitting on the top shelf next to some leftover involtini. I love involtini, especially when it’s made with eggplant, but to find rubies? Maybe i could retire.

Then, i heard yesterday that my old high school friend, Millicent, who lives to the east in Pendleton, found a ten carat cognac sapphire pendant in her kitchen sink. It was as if the drain coughed it up. In Pendleton?! That’s out in the middle of nowhere. Why would treasure end up there? My friend, Elinor, who’s the one who passed me that tidbit, can’t believe it either. I told Elinor i’m going to spend today turning my house upside down looking for gems. I need to clean my fridge anyway. Who knows what’s growing in there. My boyfriend likes to do experiments, then he forgets about ’em. It could happen that i find diamonds in some moldy, months old taco casserole. Elle said she’s doing the same. She’ll not leave a stone unturned. Then i suppose, you know, a watched pot never boils.

First, some lunch to fortify myself. My kitty, Rowan follows me to the kitchen. I say, okay sweetie, you get food too. I feed him, make myself a tuna salad with lots of pickles sandwich, pile a few salt and vinegar chips on my plate, grab a ginger ale from the fridge and sit down to watch an episode of Frasier on Netflix. Rowan, who ate super fast, sits beside me on the couch.

We’re fifteen minutes into the show when my phone buzzes with a text. I pick it up from the coffee table and read it. Then i read it again.

Gwen – This is Isabelle. Yes, THE Isabelle – Time to scoop out Rowan’s litter box. You’ll find a surprise.

I laugh out loud. Who IS this person? It cannot be that Isabelle. The middle of the Three Sister Fates. This is a bad joke. It’s funny though. I’ll say that. I just changed the litter in Rowan’s box yesterday. The only stuff in there is cat litter. Should i go along with the joke? I go to text back whoever this is, but a text comes through.

Hey babe! You’ll never believe what i found in Spencer’s litter box! I’m coming over and bringing it with me. Either we’re going to be rich or we’ll have super powers.

My heart pounds. That’s my boyfriend, Ryan. It can’t be what i think. I go down the hall and look into Rowan’s box. Should i? I pick up the scoop to dig in, then i hear a voice come from the living room. Rowan runs past me and into my room. He must want to hide under my bed. I say, come out, sweetheart! It’s only the TV. But my heart pounds again. I tiptoe back down the hall. I look around the room, and i see no one. I look at my door and realize, yes, i locked it. No one came in. But i look at the TV and it has turned off on its own. Again the voice. It’s the voice of a young woman.

She says, Gwen.. look under your pillow. Look under the pillow on the right side of your bed.

Who are you? Where are you? This is a really bad joke. Not funny at all. And you scared my cat!

I’m Isabelle, Gwen. I’m Fate. You have to do what i want. This isn’t a prank.

I say, but what about Rowan’s litter box?

My assistant got it wrong. She meant Spencer’s litter box. Your boyfriend’s kitty. Now, go look under your pillow. Do it now! Ryan is on his way over. You have part of the puzzle here!

But where are you?

Nevermind, Gwen. Your pillow. Go look!

I sigh. I walk back down the hall and into my room. I find Rowan sitting on the pillow on the right. He sees me and jumps off. I go over and lift the pillow. I can’t breathe, and i feel dizzy. I pick up the most beautiful bracelet i’ve ever seen. It’s a wide gold bangle inlaid with large diamonds and emeralds.

I say, look, Rowan! Look what Mom found. Isn’t it magnificent?

Well, Mom. It’s about time. Now both of us have powers that you never dreamt of.

I feel faint. My cat is talking to me. I say, Rowan? Am i losing my mind?

He says.. yes, he says.. Nope. This is all real. Now we wait for Ryan and Spencer to get here and, we leave for Four Lions Eleven Blue Diamonds for our meeting with Fate.

To Be Continued

M. Raynes

A Cake and a Rabbit

I’m following Duncan de Seckcee and a woman i’ve never seen before. I’m staying as close as i dare. Any closer, and i’m sure they’d spot me. I can’t have that. My boss, Farley Friday told me to tail Duncan and figure out what he’s up to. He left The Agency a few months ago, and Farley heard through the grapevine that Duncan has started a spy business of his own.

I’ve never met Duncan or any of his brothers, but i’ve heard plenty about them. I heard just last week that someone turned Duncan’s older brother Daire into a tuxedo cat. Apparently it was an act of revenge by a scorned witch. There are two agents assigned to that case.. to find the guilty party and the spell that’ll turn Daire back into a human. I talked to Agent 231 about it yesterday while i waited to see Farley. She said she’s heading to Fifteen Rubies Three Roses this afternoon to find Aurelie Kaczka, the prime suspect. Wait.. how did i get on the subject of Daire de Seckcee? Oh right, he’s Duncan’s brother. I need to focus. Still following Duncan and the mystery woman.

I want to figure out who this woman is. Is she a personal friend of Duncan’s, another former Agency Agent, one of his girlfriends, or maybe his only sister, Drusilla de Seckcee? I saw Ms. Unknown get in the car with him, and she bears a strong resemblance to Stephanie, the youngest of the three Sisters Fate. But that can’t be right. Can it? As high up in the organization as the Seckcee siblings are, i don’t think any of them have met the Fates personally. Then again, there are many secrets.

Duncan and his companion are three cars ahead of me. We’re in the city, and traffic is slow. Less of a chance i’ll lose them. I see his Audi take a right on to SE Gentlee. I stay back enough, but follow. Right away, i think, why is there hardly anyone here? Duncan’s car and mine are the only two moving. There are only three cars parallel parked on the right, and they’re quite a distance apart. Nothing on the road looks familiar. I see Duncan pull over to the right and stop. I slow down and pull over in front of a little brown house that sits between a shoe repair shop and a flower shop. I take out my binoculars. Duncan and Unknown are deep in conversation. They’re parked in front of a small diner called, Lois’ 15th Street. Fifteenth Street? This is Gentlee. I know i followed them down Gentlee. I’m not normally easily confused.

I look through my binoculars again. The woman is getting out of the car. Now i see her clearly! I know who she is! She’s Daphne Innes! One of my favorite authors. What’s she doing with Duncan?

He’s not getting out of the car. Daphne is getting something out of the back seat. I adjust the binoculars. It’s a covered round cake tray. Can’t tell if there’s a cake under the cover or not. Now Daphne’s pulling out a suitcase. A suitcase? I put down my binoculars and grab my phone so i can text Farley.

I text, what do i do? Followed D and a friend. On SE Gentlee. Stopped and watching them.

…….. No answer from Mr. Friday. I probably should have texted him Daphne’s name. For some reason, i feel confused and dizzy. I look through the binoculars again. Daphne walks into the diner, and wait! Duncan drives away. I feel like i should follow him, but i feel too woozy to drive. What’s wrong with me?

I look at my phone again. Still nothing from Farley. Too late to tail Duncan. I decide to go into the diner and check out what Daphne is up to. Maybe i’ll sit and order some late lunch. Then i’ll feel better. I lock my car then walk across and down the street. Now there’s no one around. No one driving. No one parked. I feel a little better walking. I stop at the diner’s door and look inside. There are only ten tables. No one eating. Looks like i’ll be the only customer.

I go in and take a table for two in the front to the left. Where did Daphne go? To the restroom? I feel tingles all over. I need to eat, but no server comes out of the kitchen. I think i’m the only one in here. I look toward the counter and see Daphne’s cake pan, and yes, there’s a cake. It’s a yellow cake. Its sides are naked, but the top and between the four layers have lavender frosting. I want a piece. I’m desperate for it, in fact. I walk to the counter, take off the cover, take the cake knife conveniently there and cut into the cake.

Then i hear a voice. I drop the knife on the counter.

The female voice says, i wouldn’t eat that if i were you. It’s meant for another.

I look around and still see no one. The voice again.. seriously, do not eat any.

I look down the counter and see a gorgeous rabbit. An orange rex. She’s the one speaking. No, i’m not bonkers.

She says, hello, Veronica. That cake is meant for Farley Friday. Daphne saw you following her and Duncan. She asked me to warn you. Don’t go back to The Agency. The agents are dangerous. Follow Daphne to Three Pearls Nine Mysterious Firs. I’ll show you the way. You’ll be safe there…

To Be Continued

M. Raynes

An Introduction

I have no idea how i came by this ability. As far as i know, no one else in my family has it. Do i dare eat any of this eggplant parmesan i baked? I have no desire to cast a spell on myself. That sounds silly. I should know better, right? But, i only realized that i have this power three months ago. I don’t quite have it under control yet. As i said, i don’t know how this happened. I turned twenty eight last week! All those years thinking i would never have any special talent, then, snap!

My twenty two year old sister can hear the future in classical music. My mother can communicate with rabbits. They tell her things. I know what you’re thinking, but i’ve seen and heard it. My Dad can read stories in trees. Yep. I’ve seen that too. There were times when i was a teen, that i felt like i was in the cast of a lame Disney movie. Then again, i also learned that animals are a lot smarter than most us humans think.

So, my family has these supernatural abilities. I’ve felt left out. I have a degree in French Literature. I speak four languages besides English. I’m a successful novelist. I write popular romantic suspense stories. I know, they’re not literature, blah, blah, blah. But they’re not like Fifty Shades of Grey either. I’m intelligent, talented and successful. I couldn’t create magic though. Not until this past Valentine’s Day. It took baking six chocolate, peanut butter frosted cakes for a party to make me see what my specialty is! I can cast spells when i bake! It caught me by surprise.

There have been mishaps with my baking in the last few weeks. A week ago, i baked my boyfriend some peanut butter cookies. An hour after he ate two, he proposed to me. Now many people would think that’s a great thing, but Jonah and i have only been seeing each other for six months. Our relationship, if i can call it that, consists mostly of a mutual interest in watching classic foreign films, a love of Greek food, and fabulous sex three times a week. Those things do not a marriage make. There have been other incidents with cakes, pies, lasagna, and my special Irish Stew that i’ll relate sometime.

Duncan de Seckcee somehow got wind of my new found talent, and he recruited me to join his new spy agency. He left his job at The Agency at the New Year. He got tired of the long distance travel, and all the lying that goes on in the world of spies. To me, lying goes with the job of espionage, but whatever. I figure he heard about my baking magic from my gossipy Aunt Elise.  At first, i was unhappy. Well, why sugarcoat it? I was pissed. Really, really pissed off. I have to hone my powers. I was honest with Duncan about that. He said, no worries, Daphne. You’ll be a great agent.

So, tomorrow, Duncan and i have a lunch date in Six Leopards Twenty Peridots. I remember going there once with my parents and sister when i was fourteen. Interesting place. He’s made reservations at a French restaurant. He wants to discuss where the Three Fates might be hiding. Rumor has it they might be nearby. But that’s only rumor. Fate is tricky. I’m so looking forward to this job…

To Be Continued

M. Raynes