It's been a long strange spring. Between breaking my wrist while out walking dogs at the beginning of February, and now enforced solitude on account of the Covid19 crisis, I haven't done any writing. SO in an attempt to reignite my creative brain, I asked for a little help from my friends.
Here's the link to the original Facebook post, and the story that came from it is below.
Thank you to my friends and contributors, David, Laura, Holli, Chris, Brenda, Heather, Joe, Gregg, Ione, Debbie, Gerry, Sandra, Sally, Diana, Steve, Steven, Joe & Deb, Sue, Tony, Theresa, Barbara and Kerstan!!
It was a beautiful late spring day. Sven Xavier, a Lieutenant in the Grand Army of Scruffypupperton, approached the immense, overgrown greenhouse, machete in hand.
“Tallulah!” he called out sweetly. Honey come on out! I got your letter and rushed home with my machete! I’m here to uncover the greenhouse for you so you don’t have to plant potatoes in the pantry anymore!”
“My hero!” Tallulah exclaimed, coming out of the kitchen doorway, potato dirt up to her elbows.
As Lieutenant Xavier slashed away at the vines, Tallulah followed him around, admiring his fine machete-wielding form, and filling him in on all the local, small-town gossip.
“Miss Savanah, next door, has run off on a grand adventure!”
“She has?” Lt. Xavier asked, grinning at his sweet Tallulah. “Where has she gone?”
“She’s fallen in love with an International Puzzle Champion and followed him on a competitive puzzle piecing tour of Patagonia!”
“No way! She’s abandoned Colonel Ketchup?”
“Left him gathering crust on his edges. Last I saw him, he was staring out the kitchen window holding a strainer like he’d never seen such a thing before.”
“Imagine that,” he replied.
“I know! I suppose he’s just been eating spaghetti soup since she left.”
“And you know Miss Pressley Neville Amberson, the high school cheerleader? She’s gotten a full ride scholarship to MIT!”
“My my! Wasn’t her granny the one who took psychedelic mushrooms at the Nebraska State Fair that time?”
“Yes, indeed! It was 1985, and as I recall the story, they had to sneak in under the fence because all they had money for was funnel cakes.”
“I’ll just bet that ended badly,” Lt. Xavier laughed, mopping his brow.
“You’d be correct, but not as badly as what happened to Mr. Chadwick on his trip to the Cotswolds.”
“Do tell,” chuckled Lt. Xavier, swinging the machete expertly."
Mrs. Chadwick talked him into taking a bike tour around the countryside, but Mr. Chadwick spent the fist night getting loaded on microbrews at the Wild Duck Inn, picked a fight with some local toughs, and earned himself a week of digging ditches!”
“I’ll bet Mrs. Chadwick was mad!”
“She went ahead on the bike tour and left him behind I hear she started up a flirtation with a ginger named Harry!”
“Right? And don’t you know, Mr. Chadwick’s identical cousin Elliot ran into some real trouble just last month!”
“Elliot? Hmmm, wasn’t he part of that skate punk band that played around at coffee houses?”
“That’s him. He hooked up with a kitchen witch from Louisiana, and they were arrested breaking into the old college library, looking for his Granny’s grimoire.”
“What did they want with that?” Sven asked.
“He claimed they were hunting up a banishment spell.”
“Who did they want to banish?”
“A particularly vindictive occupant of the Oval office, I believe.”
“If it works, I feel like they should rename the library. Put the Chadwicks name in big golden letters above the door. That would make a perfect library,” Sven winked.
“Miss Gretchen, the old librarian didn’t think so.” Tallulah chuckled. “When she heard about the break-in she kind of flipped out.”
“What did she do?” Sven asked, hacking a huge chunk of ivy away from the greenhouse door.
“She fired up her old Model T and blew threw town of a Saturday night blasting U2”
“And Beautiful Day.”
“She was absolutely teetering on The Edge,” he laughed aloud. “Look out, Tallulah, I’m fixing to take out that lower vine.”
“Wait up, Sven, let me check here first. Little miss Lollipop the bunny had a nest under here this spring.”
Tallulah dug around in the ivy at the base of the greenhouse. Nothing furry ran out. “Looks like she’s moved on.”
“Making supper for her babies in Atlantis,” joked Sven, raising his machete.
“Didn’t you tell me you ran across Reggie in New York last month?”
“Haha, yes. Can you believe it, that crazy motherscratcher? ‘Mr. Reginald Duckworth III’s All Star Avant Gard Air Guitar Extravaganza’ played at Carnegie Hall!”
“You are kidding me. What music this time?”
“Schwing!” In unison, Sven and Tallulah posed and played their air guitars.
“You know they got that idea from Mr. Chapman,” Tallulah rolled her eyes.
“That senior year performance at the LNE drama center?”
“That’s the one. Those boys were so loud! Mr. Chapman did more shushing that semester than Miss Gretchen the librarian ever had to!” she laughed. “Are you ready for a lemonade break?”
“Yes, ma’am!” Sven stuck his machete upright in the dirt and followed Tallulah into the kitchen.
The TV in the breakfast nook was playing news. The Administration was on stage, sharing their version of the truth.
“Mind if I change the station? I have to listen to that milktoast bobblehead VP at work, I could use a break.”
“Go on ahead. Zelda was watching earlier.”
“Where is Miss Z? Did she come spend her break with Aunty Tallulah like usual?”
“She did! Nothing like coming home and plugging yourself into the PS4 to save the world!”
Lt. Xavier tuned the station to MeTV and found an episode of the Rockford files. “Oh man, look at that old Nova. It’s just like the one Jeffrey Boyd Way used to cruise “O” street in, back in 19 and 86.”
“And then he and Michelle sneaking off to Stray Cat Park to trade peanuts for leaves with Bottomsley,” joked Talullah.
“Isn’t that where they dreamed up that tall tale of Setius Magnu?” asked Sven.
“Haha yes! The wild adventures of the Exoarchaeologist, uncovering extinct civilizations on alien moons.”
“Far out!” laughed Sven, downing his lemonade.
“Say, on my way over, I noticed something going on over at the Rosebud place.”
“Oh yeah! That’s quite a story. Do you remember back when we were kids when the Carson gang ran wild, shooting out people’s front windows?”
“Oh yes, and they stole every single light bulb out of every porch light on Main Street!”
“Yes! They claimed they were environmental warriors, reuniting everyone with the sun and the moon and the great outdoors!”
“And they never told what they’d done with all those light bulbs, and nobody ever found them til now.”
“They’re at the Rosebud place?”
“Yep. Jamie Rosebud’s nephew was part of that gang, and when they went to dig a grave for their pet turtle, Monte, they turned up a bunch of glass. Turned out the gang had buried all those bulbs in their back yard!”
“Oh for the love of goodness. You’d think this whole town was dreamed up by a frustrated author generating original content somewhere in the Midwest,” Sven scoffed.
“You’d think somebody that frustrated could come up with something more creative than buried treasure in a turtle’s grave,” Tallulah chuckled.
“How about a knight in shining armor?” she speculated.
Sven busted a move, complete with clanking armor sound effects.
“That’s it!” she chucked a poppy at him from a vase on the table. “Sir Dance-A-Lot frolicking in a field of flowers.”
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling like once we finish up that greenhouse, you should go try on that new swim suit I know you bought. You’ll look like the Queen of Sheba, daydreaming out by the swimming pool.”
“You going to stay here and lay in the sun with me?”
“Maybe, or maybe I’ll hitch a ride with Johnny out to Lake Calaveres or Lake Geneva and go fishing. Maybe I'll take that ol' apple stealing Diamond Jim with me.”
“My hero,” Tallulah smiled, and kissed Lt. Sven Xavier on the cheek.