Twenty Five

Good gravy, I had no idea Cassie was learning to hack. Aside from Daria and Sloane, seems no one else did either.
Janah, “She’s the perfect candidate, doesn’t distract, laser focus. No cans of Monster, Red Bull and Snickers, eating never enters her brain. Daria had a project and snagged the best talent to help.”
“I’m pretty good, she didn’t ask me.”
“She knows you have a full plate just keeping our plates full. Why tie you up sitting in front of a screen. Susan is traveling, and I suspect there’s another reason Daria didn’t ask her.”
“She knows we try to keep extended family out of the Shadow thing, considerate of her, be upsetting to have my mom murdered by a Shadow.”
“And if Daria asked, Susan wouldn’t turn her down.”
“We need to clear out the Shadows we know about, what’s the plan.”
“You and me to Connecticut, Sloane will want to go. Send the twins and Zi to Pennsylvania, Eloise if she want to go. Once we confirm they are Shadows, we find a spot to dart them to oblivion with Oblivion.”

Today after breakfast, I ask the family to hang for a minute so I can cover the plan.
“This should be reasonably simple, they have no clue we know who they are. Zi and Daria can spot Shadows, Janah will out ours in Connecticut. Nikko has businesses to attend to, particularly since Dari and Zi will be traveling. Amaya is writing and we need people here to look after Oceane and Cassie. Chloe, Danika and Su, make sure you know where they are all the time.”
Danika, “Do your work, be safe, the girls will be fine. Unless they’re in the pool, they wear their personal GPS.”
“Good then, we leave tomorrow. Blue Sky is flying the twins, Zi and Eloise to Philadelphia, then taking Janah, Sloane and me to Hartford. After they finish in Philadelphia, they’ll drive to Harrisburg. Flights home haven’t been scheduled, we haven’t booked hotels, if you need an overnight, just check in someplace.”
Amaya, “Daria and I will pack up drones and pharmaceuticals, antidote will be in the cases. I know I do not have to say it, but I am saying it, take it before you start loading darts with Oblivion. I will never forgive any of you if you die from handling the drug. In fact, I shall never forgive you if you die for any reason.”
Dasha, “Eemaya, we do not go to die, we go to keel.”
“Be sure that is how it goes urchin. You will come to my bed this evening and reassure me.”
“Da, you will be most reassured girl when Dasha ees done.”
Amaya sighs, kisses Dasha’s soft cheek, “Precious angel.”
Dasha rewards her with a blink.
“Daria and I shall make preparations after tea. Until then, stay away from my door, I am being geniusy the rest of the day and need solitude. Chloe, please come in at two and remind me how splendid I am, then you may go practice kendo or whatever.”
Chloe, “Good idea, after all the fun with our guests, I may have forgotten suri ashi and how to mizo no yo-ni.”
Nikko, “We could all use a session, Daphne, you in?”
“Yep, two thirty?”
That settled, we move along to our respective projects, mine is to clear breakfast dishes and think up lunch. Then I her Dash rambling to herself.
‘We will haf tomato bisque zoup wiz chop ohnyon, corn and mushroom. Easy to make, it will not anyway hurt to haf vegetarian lunch…asiago, romano, parmesan for adding if someone wants…sesame cracker, enough.’
“Dahfoney, I am making zoup now, we haf tahini?”
“Let me look,” I dig around the pantry, we try to keep it organized, but stuff gets shoved around. With the size of our family, there’s a lot of cans and boxes.
“Yes, add it towards the end, you remember?”
“Da, sesame paste ees maybe burn, I only anyway add a little. Do you want garlic een zoup, or leaf out today?”
“I say we go garlic free, maybe add a couple of bay leaves and a little chopped parsley, what do you think?”
“Gud.”
“And skip other spices, we’ll put salt, pepper and habanero powder out, they can scorch to taste.”
She mixes ingredients and sets the big pot on the stove, turns the burner to almost nothing, just warming the soup to mingle ingredients for an hour, then off until time to heat for lunch.
Janah passes through, “Yum tomato bisque, when’s lunch?”
“We finished breakfast an hour ago, munchie.”
“That was then, this is now.”
“Lunch is not now, lunch is at straight up noon, two hours from now.”
“I’ll catch some sun, then bubble in the tub, just about right,” she goes outside, t-shirt comes off, she settles nude on a reclining chair.
She won’t need entertainment, Oceane and Cassie are playing in the pool equally nude, with occasional dives and a few laps. Sloane comes racing in, she’s been running the hill. If there’s a downside to being part wolf, it’s the need to run frequently.
She stops at the door, too crummy to come inside, “Water.”
I fetch a glass, clink in ice cubes and fill it from the spigot on the refrigerator, “You are a sweaty piggy.”
“I am, going to the pool shower in a sec, I needed to hydrate,” she hands me the glass, “one more please.”
“Undress there, I’ll take the shorts and shirt, leave your shoes in the sun.”
Glugs the water, strips, hops over to the outdoor shower. The family is used to the girl with a penis, she doesn’t cover up anymore, didn’t seem fair, the rest of us wear near zip around the house, Oceane, Cass and Janah sometimes nothing at all. It’s a definite change of scenery, a pretty girl with a hairless boy appendage. I wonder, the three girls who like to be nude also like to play with Sloane’s add on. Can’t think of why one has anything to do with the other, so I do something I don’t need to wonder about, stir the soup.
Lunch comes and goes, the soup was well received, Chloe even ignored instructions and brought Amaya a bowl. It came back empty.
Tea also comes and goes, taken in silence today. We travel on deadly dangerous business tomorrow. Cocktail hour rolls around, to lighten the atmosphere, I ask about Amaya’s book/screenplay progress.
“I am using Janah’s suggestion, a mind dump. What I have for now is a long mish mash of unformed word salad. Like free association, I have no idea if it makes any coherent sense. Tomorrow I will reread and what comes next will either be obvious or I will brain dump more text until something does.”
Chloe, “I peeked at the first few pages while Amaya sipped soup…”
“Which was excellent by the way, thank you to whoever concocted the recipe.”
“It was a joint task force, Dasha and I made it up.”
“There are three opening scenes, much like she brought up yesterday, the second set of twins are already in the game, as adversaries in one, as trainees in the next version, not part of the third version opening.”
Amaya, “I am leaning towards student assassins. I have not written it yet, but it occurred to me to have the experienced twins rescue teens twins from child selling assholes. They see potential and train them in the art of death. In the former screenplay they used a variety of methods, although their primary tool is a silenced Glock. But they know sniper, garrote, a few poisons and blades. There would be the rescue, learning, growing up, becoming professionals, with adventures along the way.”
“Is there intimacy?”
 “I have not decided on the sex part, twincest will not work, the movie is about action and snappy dialogue, not about sex. I may have each twin wake up in bed with one of the other twins, implying sex but not showing it. There will be no romantic relationship, that would not be in character for these characters.”
“It’s not in character for them now, or any of us, we don’t do much romance, I’ve never bought a Valentine’s Day present for anyone.”
Amaya, “That stuff is juvenile, we never do Hallmark Holidays, we barely do Christmas. Christmas presents for each other went out the window long ago.”
Nikko, “Considering everything we have, it’s unseemly to buy more just because it’s a holiday. Who has a private race track and Formula One cars?”

Twenty Six

Janah’s surfing Hartford, “The city proper is only a hundred twenty four thousand people, but that’s misleading, most people don’t live in the city. The Greater Hartford Metro is a million two. Like a lot of places, the city is relatively poor, the burbs medium middle to country club to private jet rich. Bunch of insurance companies, Hartford, Aetna, United Companies.
Colt Firearms was established here in the mid eighteen hundreds. A long history of success and profitability, subsequent ups and downs, until it filed for bankruptcy in June of 2015. The AR-15 was their savior, but they blew it and the contract for the military version, the M-16, was given to another manufacturer. In handguns, Sig Sauer and Glock flushed them down the pipe. Maybe Colt should have aimed low.
“I’m not inclined to weep for the demise of any weapons manufacturer.”
Janah giggles, “Does that include drones we make to kill Shadows?”
“The exception proves the rule. Besides, our drones shoot tranquilizers, only the occasional poison dart. And we use them on unique targets, Shadows, not spray them over combatants and civilians like bullets from an automatic weapon. It isn’t remotely the same thing.”
The Citation is descending to Hartford-Brainard, a smaller general aviation airport than Bradley, the city’s commercial airport. Zip down the steps, SUV awaits, bags directly from plane to car, no TSA, no lines at baggage.
Sloane, “Who is this guy?”
Janah, “Name on the account is Brandon Weber, the address is an apartment in Southington, twenty three miles south on I-84. He doesn’t show up with a social, likely not his real name.”
“We going to sit outside his place and enjoy the breeze? It’s cold today.”
“Going to have to. If we figure out which car is his, maybe we can stick a Nano on it.”
Nano is the name of the GPS tracker we use. Works great, small, fits in a magnetic case, just attach it to the metal bumper strut and follow from any distance.
The beauty of using the drone is that we could be on a hotel balcony, the Shadow miles away. Follow his car or catch him leaving his apartment, tap the screen, dart fires, dead Shadow. We like to retrieve the dart if possible, but it isn’t a major concern. It just tells the cops how he died. With no dart, they might see a puncture  wound, but the poison itself is undetectable.
“Eloise can maybe figure out how to make a self destructing dart. Retrieving the thing is dicey and can’t be done at all in some situations.”
“Send her a text while we’re screwing around, no, never mind, she’s working and we don’t need her distracted thinking up a way to do it. We’ll mention it when we get home.”
We’re at the apartment, a smallish complex, three buildings, looks to be maybe thirty units, two stories each. His on an upstairs corner with windows front and side. Blinds are closed.
“This is handy, parking spots are numbered by apartment, he’s in twelve, and there’s twelve on the canopy. Ten year old Buick something. One sign he’s a Shadow, they generally don’t drive flashy cars or live rich.”
I look up the place on my phone, “Rents from eight hundred to eleven hundred, looks decently maintained, do you want me to stick a tracker on the car?”
“Check the plate first.”
I call a contact who calls a contact who calls me with a name that isn’t Brandon Weber, I thank him and click off. He doesn’t know who he called, he doesn’t want to know, I don’t know who he is, I don’t want to know.
“Car is registered to Bryce Watson.”
“It’s him, must have a fetish for B-W. Sloane, when we pull behind his wheels, hop out and stick the tracker on.”
Parking is behind the building, there are windows facing the rear, but not Brandon’s, his place is on the front side.
Sloane jumps out, click, jumps in, we move off.
“Now what?”
Janah, “With the blinds down it probably doesn’t matter, but in an excess of caution, find a spot out of his line of sight.”
An hour, then going on two, “I need to pee, and I’m going to need caffeine.”
Janah checks the phone, “Carousel Coffee, take a right.”
Relieved and caffeined, we’re parked down the street from Weber, “Guy doesn’t get out much.”
Janah, “We need to move this bit along, Sloane, hand me the darts and drug.”
She injects the dart with a couple cc’s of Oblivion, hands the dart to Sloane, “Load it, then get the drone airborne. Daphne, do the Shaolin strut and see if you can get Weber to appear.”
I wait until Sloane had the machine in the air, we watch it circle the complex.
“Higher, don’t need people pointing at a drone. If Weber appears, wait until Janah gives it a go, we need to be sure this dope is a Shadow, not just a crazy who fell into a chat room.”
I exit the vehicle, I like to throw in a little cop talk now and again, although I’m not sure who’s the perp, me or the Shadow.
Janah, “Cut the crap and get this sucker where I can see him.”
I walk the front sidewalk, around the side, down near his car. While I’m there, I snag the tracker, we aren’t going to be following him anyplace. Someone drives past and backs into space eight, my back is to the car, I turn and walk around the building. I’ve got oversize sunglasses and my hair is tied in a ponytail and down the back of my jacket. We didn’t much disguise, this isn’t a refocusing where we leave the target above ground. Janah always has to temp dye her hair, pure white is way too memorable.
Nothing so far, I’m looking up at the apartment, the blinds shift just slightly, good, if it’s Brandon, he’s noticed me.
Still nothing. There’s only the front door, unless he jumps out a window, he’s got to come out the door.
Shadows don’t do fear, so there’s something else rattling around his deranged mind.
“Going to knock, tell Sloane to have the it within twenty yards, clear line to his door.”
Up the steps, bang on his door, “Hello in there, I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, have you accepted Christ as your personal savior?”
“Fucking Shaolin, think I’m going to come out so you can stick a dart in my ass?”
“Actually, I was thinking your neck or chest, but I'm flexible."
The door cracks, there’s an energy surge, fat and wide. I’m blown over the railing, sailing out then down. I manage to back flip and land on my feet. The lawn is recovering from winter, as least it isn’t concrete, and it’s kind of squishy.
“Nice shot Brandon, it’s going to leave a mark,” I race back up the stairs, keeping a careful eye on his door.
“You back for more, you have a death wish priest?”
“Well, yes, yours.”
He senses I’m not directly in front, and he knows there’s a dart waiting if he steps out, he thinks we’re at a standstill.
I don’t, I shift to the door, kick the crap out of it lock high and it slams against Brandon, who slams to the floor. He’s really pissed, I don’t recall a face so crimson, like one of those culture sensitive Redskins fans in Washington.
His nose is bleeding nicely. Before he can collect himself to blast me with another qi shot, I pick him up by the belt with my owl claw hand, stick four stiff fingers in his throat followed by a fast hard dim mak strike to his heart. While he struggles to breathe, I turn him to the open door and hear the thwip! of a dart puncture his back. Sloane was slick enough to go dead center rather than a riskier neck shot. Considering the possibility he may have shifted, I could have gotten the dart instead.
He’s twice dead, his heart would have exploded from the dim mak strike, except it was stopped by the drug. Just as well, his windpipe is crushed, might have asphyxiated, can you die thrice?
I pluck the dart, zip down the steps, the drone is already in the SUV and Janah’s at the wheel ready to rock. It was noisy and messy, citizens and the constabulary are bound to show up soon.
We’re just on the interstate when two cruisers and an EMT van hit the exit on the other side.
Janah, “We need to change the plates back to the rental plates. If we’re stopped with a drone and tranquilizer darts, even a newbie patrolman would get suspicious.”
She takes the second exit, drives to a DIY carwash, backs next to a vacuum machine, the rear of the SUV is invisible from the street. She does a plate change, the plate we brought was from Texas, it goes in a dumpster and we head north in the direction of Hartford.
“Too bad there was no time to search the apartment.”
“We did what we came to do, how are you feeling?”
“Like my chest has been sledge-hammered,” I lift my shirt, a circle of purple so dark it’s near black.
Sloane, “Mom! Janah we need gel packs, a bottle of pain reliever and a room. Must be an Embassy Suites or whatever around here.”
Janah, “We passed Homewood Suites on the way in, that’ll do,” she takes another exit, a Walgreens on the corner.
Loaded with gel packs, the kind that instant cold, and a bottle of ibuprofen, we check into the hotel. Sloane is cracking open gel packs, I’m on the bed clicking TV channels and swallowing a couple of pills, which hurts, amazed my sternum is in one piece.
Janah, “It may be fractured, but there isn’t much to do but keep still. We’ll get an x-ray when we get to Prescott, no, we’ll fly to New York and get it done quietly at dad’s hospital.”
Janah makes a call, half hour later she says, ‘I’m going to the drug store, there’s a prescription for Vicodin waiting. No arguments about intoxicants Shaolin, this supersedes vows.”
“Not arguing, Coke Zero please, I don’t care about food.”
She’s out and back with the pills, “Get these in you, I’ll find us something to eat.”
A two liter Coke Zero, bottle of wine and boxes of Chinese. I sip Coke, eat a little Szechuan chicken and a bit of hot and sour soup. Janah works cold qi for an hour while we nibble and PBS plays one of the BBC mystery things they do so well. It’s only eight thirty, but I’m buzzed on codeine, take another Vicodin and disappear for the duration.

Twenty Seven

We’re landing at Teterboro, short hop from Hartford. Susan, my mom, and her pal Taylor, are waiting.
“You look pale, how’s the chest?”
“Been better, I’m managing, Janah has me cranked up on Vicodin.”
She has us at the hospital in twenty five, then I’m in for an x-ray.
James, Janah’s dad, I’ve called him dad for years too, has the image on a computer screen.
“Hairline fracture, all your years of training, you have the bone density of a rhino’s femur. Must have been a heck of a blow to crack it.”
Janah, “She flew off a balcony, not just fell backwards, up and out.”
“Ouch. Lucky you didn’t injure anything else in the fall.”
“She landed on her feet.”
James grins, “Should have guessed. A month of nothing, we’ll check it again. You have Vicodin left?”
“Yes, I’m on it today, then I need to join the real world. Enough space head.”
“Two or three days of it isn’t going to turn you into a junkie, you have a painful injury, it’s not spiking dopamine like you’re just getting high.”
We go out to tell mom and Taylor, faces relieved, Sis says, “I never get used to you guys coming home injured. I need to call Lacy.”
“Speaking of home.”
“Yes, let’s go.”
I’m situated in bed, flat on my back, my head on a couple of pillows. At least I can see the flat screen. Sloane sits in the chair next to me.
“You don’t have to park here all day.”
“Yeah, I do, just take a pill and chill, want anything?”
“Too spacey,” I drift off to someplace between sleep and wonderland.
When I wake up, Sloane is there, but she’s changed clothes, Dasha’s on the other side of my bed, then the room is full of family.
“How’d everyone get here so soon?”
Nikko, “You’ve been in and out, this is Thursday afternoon, you were injured Monday, came home Tuesday. You don’t remember going to the bathroom or anything?”
“Nada, nothing, geez.”
“Good, Janah and Daria did qi to keep you still and out of it, they’re asleep for now. Burned a lot of juice keeping you juiced.”
Janah and Daria have powerful qi, they’ve been cooling and warming, increasing the blood flow around my injury and supplying healing energy to it. I might be invincible by now.
“It worked, no more pills please.”
“You haven’t taken any pain pills since Tuesday night.”
“Is there tea, can I get up? I’m feeling pasted to the bed.”
I get in motion slowly, but only as a precaution. I actually feel fine, more stiff from lying around. Amaya and Chloe are preparing formal tea, we sit at the low table, I’m a little creaky but my chest is good. Thick tea, sweets, entertainment, then thin tea, a two hour process. One that takes us away from the violence in our lives.
Tea took so long it’s approaching cocktails.
“How did Philadelphia go?”
Dasha, “We keel Feeladelfia Shadow easy Dahfoney, wiz dart. He ees just leafing house to car, Eloise take him down, I get dart, we go to Harrisburg. Shadow ees fat woman, she ees more problem, but we anyway keel.”
“What more problem? Anyone hurt? I don’t see any obvious injury.”
“Nyet, no eenjury, only she makes some things fly around, she ees angry because Zi ees Shaolin. Fat Shadow tries to push energy at sister, hah! Sister ignore, fatty ees frustrate, she cannot hurt Daria. Eloise sticks her in blubber neck wiz dart, dead.”
“Find anything useful, like leads on other Shadows?”
“We haf one computer from woman, man ees dead in driveway we cannot explore house. Sister finds more email, same as chat room. She will track down the Shadows and we will go and keel later, no rush now.”
“You mean they’re in a state of confusion and worried.”
Zi, “They spend so much time yelling at each other, typing in caps, calling each other names and pointing fingers, they couldn’t plan a pizza delivery at the moment.”
“Eloise, you have two more Shadows on your belt, good job.”
She blushes, looks at the floor, pushes her glasses up her nose, they immediately slide back down, “Zi and the twins kept her busy, she had no idea of me or a drone, the man was wide open.”
“You kept your composure and did what needed doing, darts are a lot safer than going head to head, I’m the proof. Oh, we have a project for you, no idea if it can be done. We prefer to retrieve the darts, but it isn’t always possible. Can you make them self destruct?”
She blinks, stares off into space, “I need to think it over. You don’t care if it leaves a mess? Right off I see either a small incendiary or acid.”
“It would have to be enough to make the dart disappear without injuring anyone in the vicinity, like pieces of syringe flying.”
“No, I see that, give me a few days to come up with viable options. It’s kind of like the ice bullet problem.”
“What’s that?”
“What if you could make a bullet that disappeared once it did its job? Someone came up with the idea to make a bullet of ice, which would melt inside the body. Problem was, it couldn’t handle the force coming out of the gun, even frozen to liquid nitrogen cold. Essentially, it wouldn’t pierce a body deep enough to do much damage, much less kill. This problem is not quite the same, the dart will pierce the skin and inject the poison, but we want it to disappear like an ice bullet.”
“Well, I don’t see how you avoid bits of melted plastic, and there’s the needle still stuck in the body.”
“I see a way around that.”
Eloise, sheesh, I ask her to think up a way to make a needle, syringe and propellant disappear, and she says a few days. I was thinking a few months, lots of trials and maybe get to good enough.

Twenty Eight

A month passes, x-ray shows a layer of new bone over the old.
James, “Orthopedist said she’s never seen anything like it. Broken bones frequently heal stronger, but not an entire layer of new bone.”
“I can thank Janah and Daria for that, they worked themselves to exhaustion.”
Janah and I pass by Susan’s on the way home from the hospital.
Sis, “You’re all better, and even better.”
Lacy, “Amazing, but you two have amazed us since forever.”
“Traveling soon?”
Taylor, “I suggested Japan, my two traveling comrades instantly agreed, Kyoto. We’re going to the Shunkoin Temple Guest House, for three nights, then to Shōren-in for three, move on to Daitoku-ji for the last three.”
“You’ll be monks by then.”
Sis, “Hardly, we plan on lots of long walks around Kyoto, including a fair number of establishments that serve adult beverages. Staying in temples seemed more interesting than hotels. We remembered when you guys went to Kyoto and stayed in the Shingon complex.”
Janah, “It was neat, food was great too.”
Lacy, “Then a complete culture shift, from Kyoto, we go to someplace in Arizona. We have connections to people who have a mega playground near Prescott.”
“Danika and Su will be happy to see you again. You’re not flying from here are you?”
Sis, “It’s a push, not many direct flights from New York, there are more from San Francisco. We fly private to San Francisco, then first class to Kyoto. When we return to San Fran, private to Prescott. I told Su I’d text her our arrival.”
“When to you leave?”
“Um, second week April. Just occurred to me, we’re leaving a Japanese Buddhist temple tour and going to stay with two Shaolin priests. May lead to interesting discussions.”
“Just don’t start a jihad over philosophical differences.”
Janah, “Su’s an expert on all things Buddhist, she can explain how the branches grew. A couple weeks with her and you’ll be teaching Buddhism.”
Lacy, “How’s the rest of the family?”
“No change, we don’t age, we almost never change.”
Taylor, “It’s heavenly, I’m twenty nine until whenever.”
My mom, who I call Sis, and our former headmaster at Chapmans, Lacy, had just bumped forty when we discovered our life extension proteins and super-RNA. None of our family ages, we’re like vampires that drink RNA instead of blood. It’s better, we don’t have to sleep in coffins during the day or roam the world at night looking for fresh blood, one dose does it. And, except for Sloane’s wolf  molars, none of us have pointed teeth.
“Instead of an activity recap, why don’t you come over Sunday for a long lunch? Pass it along to Kara and James please. Dasha and I will figure out food.”
Sis, “Goody, we’re in, I’m sure Kara would like to see her daughter, it’s been a stretch.”
Janah, “I’ve talked to her, she’s been painting and hasn’t seen anyone.”
“We’re off, see you Sunday,” Janah and I make the short hike to our place, Dasha is prepping lunch.
Janah, “Smells good, what is it, soup?”
“White bean zoup wiz red, yellow, orange peppers, ohnyon, chop up garden burger and cook een zoup also. All vegetarian. Warm boule wiz buhter.”
Boule is a crusty French bread, shaped like a ball with a flat side on the bottom. Comes in several sizes, from a dinner roll to a loaf and can be made with any type of flour. She bought the roll size, more crust to crunch.
Janah, “Too bad it’s only eleven.”
“Zoup needs to simmer anyway longer, go and find something to do, come back een an hour,” she turns to stir the pot, takes a taste, “needs something, Dahfoney, what ees missing?”
I take the spoon and taste, “Nice bite of spicy heat, cane syrup for contrast.”
“Da, sure, ees it, hint of sweet, I will not anyway add until later,” she looks around talking to herself, “Where ees timer? Ah, here, okay forty five minute, add cane syrup, zoup peerfect.”
Janah goes off to…something…I plop at the table and watch Dasha fuss around the stove. She pours us cups of black tea and sits.
“Sister haf found more Shadow peerson, we will go maybe next week and keel. Go wiz Eloise, maybe Zi, she ees good to draw out Shadow. Three cities, we will keel them all.”
“Janah and I can take one.”
“Nyet, you will make recovery, Nishiko ees to run company by herself while we travel, maybe she needs Janah for helping. Eemaya ees still writing book, almost feenish, but then haf to make screening play. Vesnushki haf special request for modeling and new line for Chloe Couture website. Fahmahley ees busy and you must feed, Sloane must look out for Cassandra and Oceane. It ees anyway decided.”
“Good, do it the simplest way possible, dart from distance, okay?”
“Da, you must never worry about sisters, we do not let Shadowy person take mind, we will make his head explode first. Eloise likes to shoot wiz dart, and she haf new dart that comes apart after inject poison Oblivion. She ees showing us after lunch, on roof, you will see.”
I hadn’t heard, I knew she had two or three ideas, and I recall her saying acid was too dicey and another thing that made handling the darts dangerous. That left an incendiary, an elaborate firecracker to break up the syringe and some third method that was only a vague idea she didn’t explain.
Dasha stirs, then puts the boules in the oven to warm, butter we have in keepers that don’t need refrigeration so the butter is always soft. Mush it into the cup, add a bit of water to the receptacle to seal out air, voila, fresh soft butter. Change the water at least every other day, Dasha does it every day.
Girls start to show up, soon the table is filled, even Oceane and Cassie didn’t have to be nudged, Sloane and Janah will eat anytime, or all the time.
Sloane, “Fantastic Dasha,” she layers the inside of the boule with butter, tears off a bite, “ummmm.”
Nikko, “Nice recipe, who thought this up?”
“Dasha, I was out getting microwaved, we stopped by Susan’s afterwards.”
Dasha, “We make sometimes black bean zoup, and we also haf white beans wiz sausage. I think to make white bean zoup, only put beans in bleender and zap until zoup. Garden burgher makes good sausage substitution.”
Zi, “It sure worked, you can throw this in the rotation anytime.”
Chloe, “How did the x-ray go?”
I recap, then tell them about Susan’s trip.
Nikko, “Kyoto, we had a nice time in Kyoto, they’ll enjoy the temples, going for total immersion.”
“Then to immerse in Oceane’s pool in Arizona, and zip around in karts, I doubt dirt bikes are in the mix. Amaya, Dasha said you’re about done with the book part.”
“Yes, I was going to start structuring the screenplay this afternoon, but I talked to Harry Childers and he’s dying to sick his screenwriters on it.”
“You’re good with that?”
“Actually, it could work better, in the past, they take a book and make it into a screenplay. Then I read that and make adjustments. The people he uses are good, they often add scenes that work and know what to leave out. It’s a movie and has to fit in two hours, the entire book would run long.”
Chloe, “Childers said they also like digging into the book first, just for the entertainment. The quality of her work raises the bar for them, he said they have arguments about what to leave out because they want to include everything.”
Amaya, “Maybe I should have a four hour epic. Two sets of twins implies the movie should be twice as long. Throw in an intermission, like the old days.”

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