Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rowan opens the door at my knock, still in her robe and looking muzzy-headed.

"Jack? What are you doing here at this ungodly hour?"

"I come bearing gifts," I say, profferring two large flat boxes. "Doughnuts."

"Oh, goddess… do you know how bad these things are for you?"

"Nah, I'm healthy enough to live forever. Besides, these are no ordinary doughnuts." I bend close to her ear and whisper conspiratorially, "These are Krispy Kreme."

"Good gods. You know you're setting my diet plan back a year?"

"Live a little, Priestess. Life is for the living, money for the spending. No pockets in a shroud."

"Well… when you put it like that… what do you have here?"

I switch to the singsong delivery of a carnival barker. "I have plain glazed, crullers, cake doughnuts of various flavors; doughnuts filled with raspberry, blueberry, apple, lemon, chocolate and Bavarian Cream; an Epicurean delight for every palate. Come one, come all! Get 'em while they're hot!"

At this point, Laila shows up, barefoot and in her robe, looking (if possible) even more muzzy-headed than Rowan. "Do I smell" - her eyes go wide - "doughnuts?!" she exclaims delightedly.

I seize a Bavarian Crème before they can all be gobbled and for the next few minutes we're all engrossed in deep-fried, melted-sugar-glazed goodness. When I produce a large carafe of hot coffee, the joy is complete.

I see Ramji leaning in the doorway, watching the ladies choose their sugared delight like they're making a choice between the Hope diamond or the Koh-i-noor.

After setting four mugs on the table, he waits until no one is reaching in the box, then quickly takes a doughnut at random. Rowan and Laila stare unbelievingly as he slips into a chair next to Laila.


Eyes wide and round, Laila asks, "Don't you have a favorite?"

He grins. "It is a fried pastry. In my mind, it is all good."

When all are sated and gooey glaze has been wiped from sticky faces, Rowan gives me a cool appraising look. "So, Jack… did you come here to feed the starving, or did you have some other motive?"

"What other motive? Apart, that is, from trying to catch you in your jammies."

"I don't wear jammies," Rowan says pointedly and smiles sweetly as my eyes cross.

"That's not fair," I complain mildly. "I'm too old for such revelations."

"Hey, you said it yourself - you're healthy enough to live forever. So what's up?"

"Well… if you recall - not to bring back bad memories, hon," I say, nodding to Laila, "Thaddeus recommended that you tell Rath's brother what he's been doing. I'm here to remind you of that, and to help if I can."

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