Family (Part XXVII)
By Pete Moss
Another day, another Google Express delivery.
A bright red Kidney cooler. I don't look inside.
Lolita is already stomping around the gloomy kitchen, all keyed up.
"This will be my 1st real episode of 'Cooking with Brains'. What do you think Honey?"
"The name of my show: Cooking With Brains?"
"Should I make Blinis or Brains Kiev?"
"You're already nervous, go with what you know, right? Go with the Blinis, they came out great last time. You can branch out next episode."
"Oh Honey, you're right."
So I'm off down the hill to the Whole Foods on Ventura Boulevard, with a list.
Then I'm back and the cooking begins. I'm the prep cook, chopping, slicing, taking stuff in and out of various appliances. Lolita is the chef. Once we get into the flow of it, she settles down. Gets into a groove.
I also have to reset the webcams and do anything that comes up that might deflect Lolita's creative flow.
Then finally we sit down at the split log table. Candles, goblets of blood red wine, a nice dirge playing softly in the background.
Afterwards Lolita is exhausted. I upload the episode to Utube.
"Oh Honey, what if nobody likes it, or wait, what if nobody even watches?!!!"
"Then we just keep trying," I say.
Lolita mopes around the house the rest of the day and goes to bed early. I wash, wax and vacuum out the Packard. It's been awhile since I got to spend quality time with the Packard. I fix myself a couple of Moscow Mules and call it a day.
The next morning I come out at the crack of dawn, my favorite time of day.
A scarecrow looking dude is leaning against the Packard. He has a couple of lesser scarecrow looking ones hovering by him.
"May I help you? That's my Packard you're leaning against," I say.
"My apologies. I'm Archduke Franz Ferdinand." The Archduke doesn't introduce his flunkies.
"Pleased to meet you. I'm Kobe Bryant," I say, using the 1st name that pops into my head. "So didn't you get shot in the head by some anarchist in some postage stamp country about a 100 years ago?"
"No, that was my great grandfather."
"Wow that's a lot to live up to. Guy was responsible for that World War and shit."
"In all fairness, he wasn't working singlehandedly. In any event I'm proud to be a Habsburg."
"So anyway, what can I do for you?"
"I came to partake of a rare treat that I hear the young lady of this fine home prepares."
"You saw it on Utube?"
The Archduke looks rather pained to have to admit to indulging in such vulgar entertainment. He gives only a slight nod of affirmation.
"Well you might as well come in," I say.
The Archduke glides into the house behind me. Tailed by his two hangers on.
"Have a seat," I say. They do.
I go out of the room and down the stairs. Lolita is still in bed, not being a morning person.
"Hey sweetheart, you have a fan upstairs, wants to meet you."
"Says he's the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Von Habsburg."
"Oh, I'm a mess. Could you entertain him for a minute?"
"Sure, we'll be in the kitchen."
I go back up to the front room.
"The Lady Lorelei San Carlos is presently not prepared to accept visitors," I announce. "Would the Archduke care to wait a few minutes?"
"Yes of course, of course."
"Perhaps the Archduke would like some coffee while he waits?"
"What sort of coffee?"
"I am prepared to offer Italian Roast Espresso."
"Well yes, then, that will do. So long as it's not that wretched instant."
"This way please." I lead the Archduke down to the dining room and offer him a chair. Then I go in the kitchen and mix up some java. I put it on a tray with cream and sugar and take the tray out to the dining room. I set the tray on the table. The Archdukes flunkies remained standing.
There's a small box on the table not unlike a miniature coffin. One of the flunkies steps forward and preps the Archdukes coffee with the cream and sugar.
"If I may inquire, what is your function in this household?" says the Archduke, after a dainty sip on coffee.
"You may....I am the guardian of the young Lady Lorelei San Carlos. I report to her uncle Grigory Nakamura."
"I see," says the Archduke. I'm not sure what he sees. He keeps his mug impassive.
Then Loli sweeps into the room. The Archduke stands immedietly. He comes around the table and stops and bows deeply in front of Lolita. He takes her hand and brushes it with his lips.
It's about the schmalztyist display of corn I've seen in some time. Worse, Lolita is plainly quite impressed.
"Allow me to introduce myself: I am the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Von Habsburg. I have come bearing a trifling gift for one so talented and beautiful. Perhaps you could give me the utmost pleasure of allowing me to dine on your exquisite viands at some not too distant point in the future."
Lolita literally flutters at this. She looks at me and I roll my eyes.
Then one of the flunkies steps forward and with a deep bow hands over the mini coffin to the Archduke, who with another flourish hands it over to Lolita, who fumbles with it a little.
The Archduke has to show her how to work the rather ornate latch. Then Lolita removes a, well, it appears to be a golden spatula. It seems to me that The Archduke keeps his hand on Lolita’s for rather too long. I debate stepping over and socking him in the nose. But I get the impression such behavior wouldn't go over so big with Lolita.
"This token was a wedding gift from my ancestor, The Empress Maria Theresa, to her daughter..."
"Marie Antoinette when she moved to Versailles and married that French guy," I interrupt. "You have some rather tragic folks in your family tree."
The Archduke turns to look at me. "You know my family rather well for a common American," says the Archduke. Again I'm thinking about punching the dude in the nose.
Lolita defuses the situation, sort of. " Well of course, I'd love to have you over for dinner, how about tomorrow night around 8?"
"I would be honored," says the Archduke. I make up my mind that if he does that hand kiss thing again this time I will punch him. He seems to realize he's on thin ice, he turns to go.
"I'll show you out," I say. And I do, without any delay.
The Archduke and his flunkies apprently arrived by magic carpet, anyway, there's no car parked I can see. The three just walk off down the dirt lane, sort of fading into the early morning mist.