My sack of deep-fried perfection sat forgotten in my lap.
Now I understood why cops eat doughnuts and drink coffee, they’re essential tools in stimulating the cognitive processes.
Continuing to wrack my brain – I didn’t think I’d spoken or been spoken to while we traversed the walkway. I certainly hadn’t sung the sea shanty.
The Sea Shanty.
That’s how she knew where we went, the last line before the refrain, ‘Now we are bound for Nevermore.’ (Plus a bit of dumb luck on her part, we might have gone anywhere)
But why? What would Ms. Hettie gain by calling Little Ben?
That’s why I suppose they call them the million dollar questions – if they were easy – anyone could answer them. Uncrossing my legs I rubbed my calves and thighs, ignoring the pins and needle sensation running down them and into my feet.
“If you don’t finish eating those up you’re going to find yourself surrounded by seagulls soon.”
The voice’s good point removed me from my revery, prompting me to nibble one of the bite-sized bits of perfection. Proving my theory wouldn’t happen today, and while I’d put the Sunny Valley Farm problem to bed, I still had other irons in the fire.
Me: “Good morning Mazy.”
Mazy is Nevermore’s Resident Naturalist.
Mazy: “Good Morning Caretaker.”
She stood next to me, and we watched the critters scamper to and fro enjoying their unexpectedly easy breakfast.
Mazy (excited): “Oh! There’s my little guy! The little grey squirrel with the white tuft on the top of his tail, he’s eating some crumbs from the middle mound! See, right there!”
Mazy loves her squirrel buddy very much. Orin’s sweet on Mazy. Which is why he’d tried his hand at extortion during our escape. The quickest way to her heart is to help one of her critters. Since Joseph actually sent him to help us (and the fact he’d played a practical joke), Orin couldn’t really hold me to my promise. But I didn’t feel like splitting hairs about it.
Me: “Mazy, I will come by and feed him as often as I am able, but it won’t be every day…”
Mazy (smiling widely): “No problem! A couple of extra meals a week should fatten him right up! I’ll let you know if he moves from this thicket, but I think he’s chosen his favorite tree now.”
Me (putting on my serious face): “Mazy can you do me a favor and pass a message to Joseph for me?”
Mazy: “No problem!”
Me: “Tell him that she’ll arrive in five days.”
Mazy (upbeat as ever): “Easy! I’ll go let him know now.”
On that note, she skipped away following her squirrel buddy (and presumably also towards Joseph) into the thicket. Since it was finally light enough, I slid with less grace than an elephant on ice, off of the Princess’s hood. Climbing into the car I put the remaining doughnuts in my lap (they were in a bag btw – though at this point with the amount of powdered sugar on my person I am not sure that distinction really mattered) made sure my coffees were accessible and set out for a drive.
If my maths were correct (and most math done when you are trying to sleep is) the early start to my day meant I could drive up, buy fifty bucks worth of marshmallows and be back before I needed to start my shift.
Switching my stereo over to the cd player I settled into the beautiful drive into the mountains – the Princess and I alone on the road.