Fifty Seven

Katya, Katja and the others arrive, tonight Dasha, Ellen and I will grill filet mignon, naturally with marchand du vin. For starters Dasha is working on seafood okra gumbo. Stuffed baked and creamed spinach will accompany the entrée. Chocolate soufflé with warm vanilla crème for dessert.
Ellen, “Great ride on Blue Sky, three hours from New Orleans, tasty breakfast omelet and here we are. God, the palace is as gorgeous as ever.”
“Thanks to Danika and Su, I swear they must clean and reclean.”
“I see Su, where’s Danika?”
“Up the mountain with Cassandra creating alternate universes, Sloane went with them. She won’t sit and meditate, she’ll race around the mountain while Danika and Cass contemplate the Void or whatever.”
“We’ve been practicing qi meditation, it’s not easy, but it’s easier with us doing it together. Katya and Katja can sit for hours, Mani’s doing well, Sarah and I get fidgety after an hour. We stick with it though….Chloeeee! How’s the world’s most wonderful movie star?”
Chloe grins her high sparkle, “Amaya’s still keeping me, doesn’t get much better.”
Amaya, “Cannot possibly get better.”
“That’s what I said.”
I mental Janah, “Amaya and Ellen, so many luscious possibilities.”
“Our whole tribe is replete with luscious possibilities, you mean you’re having so many lascivious thoughts.”
“Yeah, that.”

After settling, the twins are with the twins and Eloise in the workshop. Oceane graces us with her presence for a minute on her way to the pool.
“Lunch light in an hour, finger sandwiches, chips. Tonight we have an extravaganza, a hint, filet mignon marinating in the fridge.”
Ellen, “Let me know my duties, love cooking in this kitchen.”
“Thank you. As usual, the kitchen, pantry, refrigerator and bar are open, help yourself..”
Sarah, “Where’s Sloane?”
“Up the mountain, they’ll be back before lunch. This afternoon, swim, karts, lounge, whatever your pleasure.”
Ellen and Amaya are whispering, I suspect pleasure will be first on their list after lunch.
Janah, “And stay out of Amaya’s head, voyeur perv.”
“Spoilsport, maybe I can corner Sarah or Mani, or Sarah and Mani.”
“Mani maybe, you heard Sarah ask about Sloane, your daughter is going to get first shot, and likely several more over the course of the visit.”

Sarah discovered the joys of Sloane’s boy part a couple years ago in St. Martin’s.
Sloane discovered Sarah’s slim runner’s bod and curvy tight legs.
Sarah, “Think I’ll get in a run before lunch,” she goes off to change.
I can guess where she’s going to run. She knows where Danika’s cave is, it has the most amazing view of our valley. Sloane won’t be far from that. The remainder of us take spots by the pool while Oceane puts on a diving show, then starts in on laps.
Mani, “She never tires of it does she?”
“Nope, a water baby to the core. It’s good for her and when Cassie’s around she swims too. Cass would sit on her bed cross legged all day, but Sloane keeps her running and dirt biking, then the pool here or the endless pool in Manhattan.”
Zi, “Whatever are the twins up to? Must be something interesting in the workshop.”
Dasha and Katja come along, “We leaf Katya and Daria wiz Eloise, she haf new gadget device. She will make them for Katya to take home also.”
Zi, “What sort of gadgets?”
Katja, “Remote that will open any garage door, also unlock any car. Also device to shut down any security system but does not alert security company or police. She gave us already plug in to bypass passwords on computer, and she has one now to crack key codes to break in buildings.”
Zi, “Eloise is amazing.”
Dasha, “Eloise figures out hardware, sister and Dahfoney’s mom write code to make it work.”
Zi, “I need to join the twenty first century.”
“That’s over, Daria and Eloise are in the twenty second.”
Dasha, “Next she ees making remote device to change red light to green or other way around. Eemaya will like, she does not anymore haf to stop at light.”
Amaya, “Can she scramble radar guns?”
Dasha blinks, is silent, her mode when she’s mentaling her sister, “Sister says they will work on it, thanking you for gud idea.”
Amaya, “Am I totes cool, or what? One genius gives another genius inspiration.”
Ellen takes a lingering look at smooth legs, “You are definitely inspiring.”
Dasha, “Dahfoney, ees time for us to inspire lunch. Food will be out in ten minutes, soda, tea, wine, beer and Champagne are een refrigerating, peek your poisoning,” we walk off to unwrap platters of finger sandwiches and put out bowls of chips.
Amaya, “Undemocratic socialist is sooo adorable, she keeps Daphne in line anyway.”
Mani, “Our twins don’t have much accent, they have no trouble keeping us in line despite it.”
Ellen, “And it isn’t going to change, we have amazing lives because of those two, they say jump, we get one question.”
Mani, “How fucking high?”
“Word.”
Sloane and Sarah come screaming down the hill, Danika and Cassie proceed at a more sedate pace.
Sloane, “We need to shower, back in a sec.”
They go off to Sloane’s room, Dasha mentals her sister to come down, girls make sandwich selections. Champagne is a popular accompaniment, Amaya pops the cork on two more bottles. Then a lazy poolside luncheon, nineteen girls in all, it’s a buzz of multi-conversations, except for Oceane and Cassandra.
Oceane is explaining the origin and early life of the eggs in the egg salad, but is uncertain as to the pickle relish. I think it’s made in Mexico and Oceane has no conception of a Mexico, or Latin America. She has a general idea of New York, it’s surrounded by water and she feels it’s warmth for her. Understands the concept of Arizona since we’re here a lot and her Olympic pool awaits. Canada is easy, there’s a huge lake and animals. She gets LA, that’s where Shutters on the Beach is, the ocean right outside in plain view. New Orleans is between a big river and a lake, she remembers that part. She’s foggy to blank on the rest of the world.
Ellen stares, mouth open, “What the frick?”
Cassie is levitating next to Oceane, who is feeding her a bit of egg sandwich.
Mani, “How in hell…..?”
“Sorry, didn’t occur to warn you, she’s learned a new trick. Fortunately she doesn’t fly. I’d hate to have to track her GPS all over creation.”
Ellen, “But people can’t do that.”
Sarah, “You want to revisit that thought Ellen?”
“No, well, yes, I get what you mean, but that is…I don’t know what that is.”
Mani, “That is beautiful, the child has no concept of cannot.”
“Mani’s caught it, Cassie is with us, but not constrained by us. She lives here sometimes, and beyond sometimes. Don’t ask me where beyond is, I’ve never been there. Janah has, but she doesn’t levitate except when we have sex.”
Ellen, “What is it Janah, where?”
“In you, your you covers it over, when there is no you, it is.”
“Is there more Champagne?”
We laugh, “Spend no time looking for it, that’s when it hides. Keep after your meditation, just that will lead you to just this. Intent and persistence, which is not desire and effort.”
Amaya, “I think Ellen’s brain has been stretched enough for the first day, Chloe and I will gently massage it to relieve any strain. Come along girls.”
“Ellen gets Amaya and Chloe? She may never regain sanity.”
Janah, “I’d worry about Amaya and Chloe. Ellen’s a thoroughbred, and best in the longer distances. Remember, she’s got Mani and Sarah pacing her, and the twins encouraging peak performance.”
“Wow, a genetically modified sex machine.”

Sarah, Sloane, Oceane and Cass disappear. Two sets of twins evaporate. I snag Eloise to join Nikko and me. Janah plots with Mani, Zi and Danika. It’s just one, nobody stirs until tea time.

Fifty Eight

After last night’s filet fest. Dasha and I opt for a lighter fare breakfast, Miso soup, smoked salmon, blini with sour cream and caviar, or for the veges, preserves and cream cheese.
It’s only seven, half the girls are up with tea or coffee, then breakfast. The other half apparently need extra recovery from the evening’s intimacies. Sloane, Oceane, Cass, and Sarah are MIA, as are three quarters of the twins and Eloise. Dasha’s up, she never misses breakfast prep. Amaya, Ellen and Chloe are also incognito.
Janah, “Just as well, we can’t fit nineteen people around the table anyway.”
Our dining table seats twelve comfortably, two more with a little scrunch. Last night we split between the dining table and outside which has three big laminate patio tables and plenty of room.
Nikko, “Appears some girls had longer nights than others.”
“The children must have played hard.”
Ellen comes in around seven thirty, “Sorry I missed helping, it was a late night.”
“We went simple, have coffee and I’ll freshen up the platters. You want Miso soup?”
“You bet.”
At eight Amaya appears, “Daphne, kill Ellen. She made me stay up until all hours doing the filthiest things. I am abstaining from all sex for at least…a while.”
“That’s vague enough, don’t paint yourself into a corner, Sarah’s around and you know how she gets.”
Amaya smiles, “I do,” she leans over and kisses Ellen, “Fond memories, we should make a few more before you leave. And, the answer is still no, you may not take Chloe with you.”
Ellen, “I tried to persuade Her Worship that a few weeks in New Orleans would be good for expanding Chloe’s horizons.”
“And Amaya said she’ll be the judge of Chloe’s horizon capacity.”
“Something to that effect, isn’t happening anyway,” Ellen’s hand slips along Amaya’s bare thigh.
Half hour later Sloane zips down the steps, Sarah behind holding her hand. They slip into seats quietly, I pour coffee for them.
After a cup, Sloane says, “Geez, needed that, is there more mom?”
“Needing extra juice?”
She looks at Sarah, she’s smiling innocently, “What’s for breakfast?”
“Miso, salmon, blini both ways.”
“Can I have everything, including blini both ways?”
I look at Sarah, “Me too, I normally don’t do marathons,” she giggles.
Dasha preps the blini while I give them each a bowl of Miso and a plate of smoked salmon with cream cheese and sour cream blend, diced onion and capers, crostini to stack it on.
Sarah, “Oh God, this is good.”
Ellen, “Wait until you get the blini.”
Finally get girls fed, they go off to plan the day, Dasha, Ellen and I have another coffee and think over dinner.
Dasha, “We will haf fruit and yogurt for lunch, just leaf in refrigerator, some of them won’t anyway eat lunch. What ees dinner?”
“Steak last night, fish or chicken tonight. We can get good roast chicken in town without the cooking hassle. And I’ll pick up chuck, we’ll cut it into pieces, brown the meat, and start chili today, it’ll be better resting overnight and heated again tomorrow. I’ll think up sides in the store.”
Amaya returns for a coffee refill, I ask, “Got time to haul me to the store?”
“Sure, when?”
“In a few actually, we’re making chili for tomorrow and it needs to start today, roast chicken tonight.”
Ten minutes later Amaya’s behind the wheel, Ellen in the passenger, me behind. She switched us to Mercedes when Escalades got to clunky-boxy looking. This one is the AMG GL63 SUV, seven passenger, 550 Hp turbo V8. Naturally she had to have the performance steering wheel. Amaya doesn’t do downscale. I have to admit, the thing is gorgeous, comfortable and powerful.
Ellen, “Awesome ride, we have a Mercedes SUV, this one is a couple scales up from ours. Punch that sucker and let me feel the juice.”
Amaya floors it, turbo kicks in, bang!
“Zero to sixty in four seconds, in a five thousand pound car.”
“Damn, this is the one with the five hundred seventy horses isn’t it?”
“The same, I love it. We keep similar versions in Manhattan, they get a surprising amount of use, particularly when it’s freezing or hot. Nikko and Zi have to visit properties all over the city, it’s better not to have Chloe on the streets. If she gets spotted there’s a whole production and she doesn’t like to turn fans down for photos.”
We hit Sprout’s, buy all the roast chicken they have out, then the chuck, which I get the butcher to cut in one inch chunks. Cutting eight pound of chuck is tedious business. The rest of the produce we’ll need, fresh cilantro, a ton of onions, chipotle peppers, garlic, bacon to add fat to the mix.
Then to Fry’s for four more roast chickens, making nine in all.
I mental Dasha, give her the summary, “Anything else?”
“You haf ice chest een car?”
“Yes, and freezer packs, we must need ice cream.”
“Da, let me see what else,”
I hear the fridge door open, then the pantry, “Hot fudge, some kind of cake meex or maybe brownie. We haf plenty cheeps, crackers, chiz, like that.”
“A few more things only, Amaya, you and Ellen take the basket and round up a bunch of Ben and Jerry’s? Heavy on the vanilla. I’ll meet you at the checkout.”
Stocked, Amaya zips us back home, Dasha comes out to help haul and we get things squared away.
Dasha, “Ah, you got butcher to cut meat, gud. I will brown on griddle, then into slow cookers.”
All our kitchens have diner style griddles. With so many people it’s impossible to do pancakes, bacon, eggs in pans. Or to brown large volumes of meat before adding to the cookers.
“Run the vents or the house will smell like street vendors in Juarez.”
“Da, okay,” she clicks on the overhead system, like the rest of our stuff, it’s a three vent commercial system, and they vent to the outside, no smoke, no cooking smell.
I hear engines off in the distance, “Nobody around, they must be at the track.”
“Sloane, Cassie and Sarah haf dirty bike, the rest are een karts, later Eemaya will haf formula one racing. Daria, Katya and Ellen will maybe do evasive tactical.”
We bought two used and stripped SUVs to practice evasive driving. Some of us went to Bondurant School south of Phoenix to learn. We wound up doing racing as well, it’s just too much fun. Katya’s crew went last year for the tactical course.
“Ellen, go have fun, there’s not much to do here and tonight I just need to warm stuff.”
Everyone out of the house except Dasha and me….and her all tasty in a tiny t-shirt.
She turns and leans against the counter, “You will make me feel gud Dahfoney.”
A few minutes later she’s feeling electric, I hold my tongue on the c-spot while she vibes through climax.
“You make gud sexy girl Dahfoney, thanking you, I appreciate your beezness, come and geev me orgasm again soon.”
I’m laughing, Janah’s in my head, “How many times have you gone down on Dasha in the kitchen?”
“Lost track, we have three kitchens after all. It adds spice to the food preparation process.”
Dasha and I decide to go a few rounds on the mats. First the qi dummies, our version of heavy bags. There are three, one fat guy, one muscular mesomorph, one thinner, but hard. When we make contact with a pressure point a buzzer goes off, one second for light contact, two for a good shot, three for a paralyzing hit.
Half hour of that followed by a half hour of MMA and we’re on the mats guzzling water and catching our breath.
“We haf gud working out, Janah and Daria will come and feex us wiz qi now.”
She mentals her sister, I tap into Janah and a few minutes later we’re getting knots, bruises and strains relieved. Dasha has a power punch that can create a star show, I know, I’ve seen the lights.
Katja and Katya came to observe, impressed that bruises virtually disappear before their eyes.
Katya, “We are working to develop qi, our progress is pretty good, not like this.”
Janah, “Keep going, it took us forever and we had years in a Shaolin temple to work on it. Not to mention the guidance of three Qi Masters.”
Katya, “Will you transmit to us?”
“Can you light the candle?”
“Da, together and individually.”
“Then tomorrow, Daria and I need to recharge from working on these two.”
Around three thirty, girls wander in for showers, racing is fun, but you stink of engine exhaust. The three bikers stink of everything.
Sarah, “Wow, no way to keep up with Cassie, I did catch air a few times, my jumps are improving a little. I wiped out twice.”
“You don’t get to practice like they do, no much dirt biking in the French Quarter.”
Katja, “If you like it, make a course at the gun range in Houston. There is plenty of land, not much hills, but we can push around the dirt and make them.”
“Super! Thanks Katja. Mani tried it, she’s more cautious but she’s getting the hang of it. If we had a Houston set up, we’re gold.”
Mani, “Eloise showed us photos of your gun range, it’s super. Tomorrow we shoot.”
The range is a couple miles from the house, nothing they shoot will travel that far, and all the targets face away from the compound. The only thing past the targets is mountain we own and the whole acreage is fenced and posted as a firing range. It includes skeet, trap and sporting clays. We give the local constabulary access one day a week, or by appointment. It’s saved Amaya a couple of speeding tickets, her face and figure probably have nothing to do with their leniency.
As long as the road is clear, she’s free to bang away at a hundred. She doesn’t press it much, we have a race course at home, she can do any speed she can handle.
Tea slides into cocktails, then I cut the chicken into pieces and spread over baking trays to crisp the skin. There is Tonkatsu, cherry preserves or orange sauce for dipping, habanero powder to liven it up. Sides of baked beans and potato salad, Dasha decided on brownies for dessert, with or without ice cream and hot fudge.
We’d normally watch a movie, but tonight is clear and if we shut down most of the external lights, the star show is better than a movie. Everyone hangs late, I suspect last night’s frisky festivities have satisfied for a while. Besides the girls were active most of the day. Around eleven we peel off to bedrooms and the beautiful silence of our mountain valley.

Fifty Nine

Still early, only Dasha and I are up, Ellen comes along at six thirty.
“What are we making for breakfast?”
Dasha, “Today, traditional American. Bacon, glaze ham slice, eggs to order. Omelet can haf chizz, mushroom, ohnyon, red or yellow pepper. Janah and Oceane will like. You will make greets Ellen, box ees on counter, add whatever you like or just only greets wiz buhter. Pahncake, toast or beeskit, we haf all three. Gud breakfast, light lunch, chili wiz nacho, margarita and beers tonight. We will be illegal alien girls for old white American fascist to grumble about.”
We laugh, Ellen says, “Chock full of them in Houston, good thing too or the city would shut down. No white girls signin’ up to clean hotel rooms and no white guys landscaping other white people’s homes.”
“Illegal peerson ees problem een New Orleans?”
Ellen, “No, New Orleans has all kinds of people, the Vietnamese have created new New Orleans cuisine. If you like to eat and play, you’re damn sure welcome in New Orleans.”
“Gud, then ees anyway gud place. Arizona ees conserving people, but they don’t make a big deal. Lots of Hispanic, they do okay, een Prescott, not so many. But here, people don’t get much into political, they haf cowboy mentality, minding your beezness, leaf and let leaf.”
Ellen, “I think some of it is a few people making a lot of noise. We hire Hispanic girls to work in the shops, they get along fine with white girls. We serve donuts to the entire social spectrum, workin’ folks, kids, the white collar crowd, retired guys. They come in the shop, jawbone each other, talk about the family, flirt with the girls. Nobody mentions political crap or immigration.”
“Do people come in with guns?”
“Sign on the door, big one, says no weapons, take your business elsewhere. They enforce it too. One in a while some hardass tries to argue. His problem is, the cops all come to Katya Donut. Pick up the phone, cop there in two minutes. The dope shuts up and slinks off. Word musta got out, we haven’t had a carrying customer in months.”
“But you carry.”
She grins, “The twins own the shops, they make the rules, nobody claims fairness. The staff that work there don’t carry, we carry for other reasons and we carry concealed. Besides, we’re criminals.”
An hour later, Ellen’s cranking out eggs to order, Dasha’s does omelets, I’m pancake chef today. We don’t need toast, everyone wants either a biscuit or pancakes except Sloane, she has both. Wolf metabolism.
Katja, “When can we go to the range?”
Daria, “Anytime, it’s eight thirty, maybe ten.
“Da, good, we brought small Glocks, two rifles in the cases.”
“We added to our gun collection, shotguns for clays, rifles you recommended, mini-mags, .380 and .223, same scope you use. Glocks from the smallest to the biggest. A few revolvers.”
I ask, “How long are you going to be, any idea?”
“Through lunch anyway.”
“We’ll put something together for you, it’s nice at the range, you can take a break and eat.”
Dasha, “We haf cheeken left from last night, I will make cheeken salad, cracker, wedge of chizz and drinks. It will keep een ice chest.”
I pulled the crock pots first thing, now that the chill is off, I stick them in the heating units and start the chili. Two pots of regular, one smaller pot of  vegetarian. Same ingredients except chopped garden burger as a meat substitute.
“There’s not enough chicken to make for the girls staying here, what do we have for a simple lunch?”
Dasha, “Tomato bisque zoup, add spicy corn and mushroom, wiz chizz and cracker, no, we haf French bread that needs to be used, maybe garlic bread.”
Our armed and dangerous are locked and loaded, I stick the ice chest in the back of one of our used SUVs. Amaya would fall in a faint if they returned in the Mercedes reeking of pungent nitroglycerin. I’m told that today’s gunpowder is basically sawdust soaked in nitro. Cordite is a thing of the past.
Both sets of twins, Eloise, Ellen, Sarah and Mani are off. The rest of us have no real interest in guns. Girls want pool time today, enough engines and noise for a while. I prepare the soup, make garlic bread, put out Havarti, Swiss and Gorgonzola.
They fill bowls, I take the additions out on platters to the tables by the pool.
Sloane, “Yay, toasty garlic bread.”
“The soup is hot, taste carefully.”
She drops bits of Gorgonzola in her soup, “Oceane showed me last time we had tomato soup, it’s really good.”
Chloe gives it a go, “She’s right, is Oceane a secret chef?”
Sloane, “The cheese told her to do it.”
Amaya, “You realize she is completely batty?”
Chloe, “Try my soup.”
Amaya tastes, “However she got it, batgirl got it right,” crumbles cheese into her own soup.
Now we’re all having Gorgonzola spiked bisque, dipping garlic bread in it as well.
Zi, “Such a simple dish, as good as gourmet.”
Su, “Danika and I will be adding this to our lunch rotation, thank you Oceane.”
Oceane, “Violent death.”
Subject change, “What do you mean Oceane?”
She stands with her arms out, ankles crossed.
Janah, “Crucifixion.”
Oceane sits down and has another spoon of soup.
Amaya, “Well, it is past Easter, so that is not it.”
“Where Oceane, where are people crucified?”
She points south,
“Who is crucified Oceane?”
“Brown people with head …,” she circles her head with her hand.
“Turbans.”
She’s a blank, turban means nothing to her, Janah punches her tablet, shows Oceane a photo of a man with a turban.
“On his head,” finished eating, she stands and walks off, Cassie behind her.
Amaya, “What in hell?”
Janah, “We’ll monitor the news, if someone gets crucified it will be a major story.”
Nikko, “Thank you Daphne, nice lunch,” she helps me cart things back to the kitchen.
The others join in, dishwashers loaded and running, tables wiped, time to chill. It’s a lazy day after an active one, we park around the living room, some read, others on tablets or laptops, the rest go off to their rooms. Even Amaya takes a break from writing and decides Chloe needs her toes polished.
“I have the stuff out, sit Daphne.”
Amaya uses Opi products, violet eyes Chloe got Imperial, which is a matte violet. She decides I need Red Hot Rio, my eyes aren’t red but I don’t mind being red hot.
Then she does Nikko, Zi and Janah in various colors, the others are elsewhere and miss out on lacquered toes.
The gun crowd returns, Ellen, “Dasha and Daria have been practicing, they can blow away clays. Eloise did a fantastic job with the pop-ups. It’s like walking down a street with a mix of harmless old ladies and kids mixed with guys with guns. And it’s never the same, pop-ups are random, so the guy you shoot on one corner turns out to be a kid with a toy rifle the next, or a woman holding and umbrella. Don’t shoot the bad guy quickly, you get laser tagged.”
“Kill any innocents?”
“Yeah, we all did, and we got shot too. The thing makes you pay damn close attention. Fifteen different situations, sometimes the right corner, sometimes the left, a doorway, second floor window, rooftop. Every pass it alternates. Dash and Daria sail through, the rest of us look completely incompetent.”
Katja, “Sarah’s method was to shoot everyone that popped up, she left a trail of dead people.”
Sarah, “Collateral damage. You notice I never got shot.”
Mani, “Typically psychopathic.”
“I remain true to my authentic self.”

Sixty

The first week blurs by, a day of screaming activity followed by a day of sedate nothing but afternoon or evening intimacies. If variety is the spice of life, we’re living habanero.
It’s Monday of week two, the news is on, CNN covering a gruesome incident just over the Maricopa county line to the west. A crucifixion, the victim a Muslim.
Katja, “You said Oceane has made predictions before, and now this, how does she do it?”
Janah, “Not a clue, she doesn’t know, things pop in her head and she expresses them. We don’t even know if she verbalizes all of them.”
“What do you mean?”
“She may have a vision of the future and, blip, it’s gone. Or she may have it while she’s alone in her room and verbalize it, but no one is around to hear it. Once she’s said it, it passes from her mind like smoke on a breezy day.”
Mani, “Is it too invasive to record her? I suppose so.”
“We thought about it. For almost anyone it would be creepy, Oceane wouldn’t care, what she says has no lasting meaning for her. Her past has no past.”
“What about predictions you need to know about? What if she predicted a Shadow attack but was alone when she did it?”
“We’re mulling it over. Sloane volunteered to listen to the replay, she’s best at interpreting, at least in English. Oceane speaks a half dozen languages, someone else would need to listen to and translate those. Then we still have to figure out if it amounts to a prediction of anything.”
Sarah, “Geez, complicated, I see why you’re hesitant to start.”
Janah, “I’m thinking we test it for a few weeks. If it isn’t hugely time consuming, then a few months and see what’s what.”
Sloane, “I’m in and out of her room, she doesn’t talk much to herself anyway.”
Eloise, “Why don’t I put in a monitor that only records when she says something. You just have to remember, it will pick up all conversation, her or anyone else’s.”
“Install it, if it appears to be troublesome or intrusive, we yank it and forget about it. It’s not like we say stuff we wouldn’t share with any of the family. During the test, Sloane only, Janah if it’s in a foreign language.”
Zi, “What do we make of a crucified Muslim?”
Nikko, “Aside from Oceane predicting it, what can we do?”
Janah, “So far, no group has taken credit. It can’t be one person, the victim was found on a wooden cross. He had to be abducted, kept silent, hauled out to the desert. Then drag the body to the cross, nail him to it and upright the cross with a body up into a hole in the ground. That’s not a one man operation, it would be difficult with two men.”
“Wonder if they can tell anything from the site, footprints for instance?”
Janah, “Good point, I’m going to call a contact, bet the cops have kept a lid on any evidence. And it’s a Muslim, the FBI is going to be taking over if they haven’t already.”
She goes to the office, back in twenty, “At least six different sets of footprints, all combat style boots. Waffle style with a ripple design. One vehicle, a heavy vehicle but common tire treads. Big pickup or a van, they did have to haul a cross, likely in pieces, put it together on site. It was bolted and sawdust from drilling the bolt holes was on the ground.”
“Like IKEA, they sell crosses?”
Amaya, “You are a bizarre person. Besides, IKEA would have the holes already drilled, just missing a bolt or two.”
“I went to IKEA once, good thing I had my GPS or I’d still be there wandering around looking for the exit.”
Nikko, “So there’s nothing to involve us.”
Janah, “My contact, Mrs. Pearson’s contact, says they are treating this as a one off for public consumption. If the Muslim community starts thinking serial crucifixion it’s a whole different problem. At any rate, he didn’t ask us to look into it but said he would keep in touch.”
Her ‘he’ is actually a she, better to not narrow it down though. There are a lot fewer females in the FBI than males. Since I’m the other Mrs. Pearson, I know who the contacts are. The rest of our girls don’t, it’s safer for everyone that way.
Amaya, “What is the point? How does crucifying one Muslim defeat terrorism? It encourages terrorism, the extremists will get a hundred recruits for that stupidity.”
“These guys aren’t thoughtful, they’re Styrofoam macho. Six men to abduct one?
Nikko would be embarrassed to have six of us deal with one guy.”
Dasha, “Nikko ees embarrass to have six of us deal with only six guys. She will say ees three too many girls.”
Nikko, “Four too many.”
We laugh, that’s Nishiko. Up to her, she’d do all six by herself.
Dasha, “Ees anyway cocktail, and we haf to fry shreemp and feesh Dahfoney. Also make hushing dog, I have already purple cabbage slaw. I will make fried vegetable for Janah. Ellen haf feex okra gumbo, ees also vegetarian, Janah and Oceane will like.”
While Amaya makes cocktails, I put out a new find, Kimchi chips by Food Should Taste Good, “Found these at Sprouts, let me know the verdict.”
We fry, Dasha and Ellen have their cocktail preference near at hand. Dasha Russian Standard of course, Ellen has bourbon, I forget the brand, something older than she is.
When I turn to set the table, the chips are gone, verdict is add to our chip rotation.
“Next time I’ll get the guacamole flavor too.”
Not only Janah and Oceane are fond of Ellen’s gumbo, girls wipe out the pot with seconds while they enjoy crispy fried seafood and crunchy coleslaw.
Twins are nattering away in Russian, I gather some of it is about guns, most of it about making movies.
“By the way, when is the movie out?”
Amaya, “Six weeks . It is ready but we are awaiting just the beginning of summer. Our product is not summer kid fare, nor PG-13 blockbuster action junk. Name actors, ridiculous chase scenes ala Fast and Furious, which will fill theaters and take away from our film. We are going for the dead zone post first quarter, pre summer. Critics and audiences will give us less distracted attention. Chloe, Matt and the twins will be doing talk shows as soon as we are back in Manhattan.”
Katya, “We like Amaya’s idea to keep my sister and I a mystery, both for box office and because we have no experience and little interest in being on TV.”
Amaya, “If this one works, I may be inspired to continue the series. Then you must make an appearance. Dasha and Daria will be with you and I will coach you on answers.”
Daria, “I wasn’t crazy about it, but Amaya told us what to do, it was easy. The host and the audience are predisposed to like you.”

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