Eve Lucinda

There are a lot of inside jokes in this story. My wife and I watched our nieces for an afternoon, this is the story that came out of it.

When something doesn’t make sense, it’s one of those inside comments. In general, it can be followed. Just accept the things that seem a little off.
Puppies and Rainbows. The unexpected agents of the apocalypse.
By Wayne Hills

“Booo-hoo. My puppesch are schtuck in that building.”
The young girl, dressed in a black and red frilly dress, cried outside a nondescript warehouse. The child’s thick lisp, made it difficult for the policeman to understand what she was saying as he tried to comfort her.
“It’s okay little girl, we’ll find your dogs.”
“Schaank you, mischter polischman.”
Eve was frustrated that it took, this particular dolt, five minutes to figure it out. Conquering the world was becoming time consuming.
The policeman patted her on the head, turned on his flashlight, and walked through the rusted door.
The hallway was pitch black. Walls, ceiling, floor, all covered in some sort of light-absorbing paint. The strong beam of light didn’t reflect off any of the surfaces. The point that the spot hit, was where it stopped. Aiming it straight in front of him, the light seemed to disappear into the distance.
Turning to leave, he heard a faint whimper in the distance.
“Here pup.” He called into the dark. “C’mon boy. Or girl, whatever. Come here pup.”
He began feeling his way down the hall into the void.
That’s when he heard the snap. And the floor beneath him opened.
Flailing, his hands couldn’t grip the walls of the chute as he plummeted downward. Shouting as he fell, his voice joined that of others pleading for help. Many others.
Eve smiled. She removed a small remote control from her pocket, pointed it into the adjacent parking lot, and pressed one of several small buttons on the device. A hot-pink helicopter shimmered into view. On the tail, the call sign ‘DOMIN8 WRLD’ painted in bold block letters.
This is how it always started, one policeman will disappear into her trap. Two more will come to find out what happened to him. The only thing they’ll find is a ten-year-old girl crying over her lost puppies. They’ll go through the same door hundreds of others had entered. None of them had ever returned.
Those two will be followed by four more, than eight, and so on. Each group will find the girl and her tears.
Eventually they’ll all be gone. And Eve Lucinda, will be one step closer to her dream of world domination.
That is, unless the world can find a hero to stop her.
***
“Tacos” Quinn said as she sniffed the air.
“No, Miss Bowe. It’s cereal.”
Quinn halted raising the next spoonful of Lucky Charms to her mouth and looked at her assistant. “Not now, Maeby.” Her nickname for her assistant, Maybelline. “In the future. The tacos are less than a day out.”
The ability to smell was what yet to come was Quinn’s unique super-power. She’d been able to do it for as long as she could remember. It came in handy in surprising ways as she fought global crime.
The emergency phone rang.
Maeby picked up the bright red handset. “Yes, Madam President.” The leader of the world was the only one with the secret number, and therefore, the only one to ever call. And then, only when there was a threat to the planet.
“Yes ma’am.” Maeby tapped notes into a tablet as Quinn finished her breakfast. “Yes I see. Very good ma’am. I’ll let Miss Bowe know.” She hung up the phone, and brought the pad over to the table to show Quinn.
Using her free hand to switch between screens, she read Maeby’s notes and the global news reports as she finished her breakfast.
Quinn said between bites, “Looks like we have a new foe. Someone named, Eve Lucinda. She’s built herself a new helicopter. Bright pink, exploding cannons, ultra-speed capability. Nice vehicle for spreading mayhem.”
“Madam President said that she is suspected to be responsible for the disappearance of the police forces from New York, Paris, London, and they’re beginning to be reported missing in Mexico City.”
“Mexico?” Quinn dropped her spoon into her empty bowl. “Tacos are Mexican food, aren’t they?” She smiled at her assistant. “Is the sun up yet?”
“Just rising now Miss Bowe. Shall I prepare the uniform?”
“Yes, Maeby. Happy birth of a day. I’ll be riding rainbows today. I’ve got a fiend to catch.”
Minutes later, Quinn Raine Bowe, was dressed in her signature outfit. Sky-blue leotard, shiny-white spandex tights, multi-colored striped leg warmers. And her most recognizable accessory, her rainbow cape.
Quinn opened the massive doors to her patio overlooking a vast mountain range. Waving her hands, she summoned a rainbow to transport her across the globe.
“Maeby, alert the president that I’ll be going to Mexico City. I’ll be having tacos, and Eve L., for lunch.”
***
Eve watched her captives milling about the cell she had her minions build in the center of the Earth. The uniformed men and woman cried out to her for food and water.
She walked over to the captive nearest her.
“I have good newsch for you. Tonight you’ll have schefood.”
The man’s eyes lit up as he reached through the bars towards her.
She pulled an apple from her pocket and showed it to him.
“Scheee? Food!” A high-pitched maniacal laugh echoed through the chamber as she put the apple back into her pocket.
As she walked away, her assistant, and lead henchman Gizmo asked, “Wh-wh-why not just kill them-m-m-m all at onc-c-ce?”
She replied “I prefer to nibble on my prey.” And laughed some more at her own wickedness.
***
While analyzing a pile of nachos for the most efficient starting point, Quinn sat in a small plaza café waiting for her entrée’ of chicken tacos. This was her third restaurant of the day. The first was a lunch truck parked in front of the main police department. Those tacos smelled good, but were too spicy. The second, a restaurant named, ‘Just Salads’. This name turned out to be the literal description of what they offered. You’d order, pay, and hold out your hands in a bowl shape in front of the cashier. They would then place the salad into your hands. There were no bowls, no silverware, no napkins. Just salad. Although tasty, the messy taco salad smelled too much like the melted cheese that was poured over her hands and halfway up her forearms. Maeby was going to be angry at having to clean the stains from her outfit.
Quinn had to continue to look for a match to the smell from breakfast. Until she found the right taco, she wouldn’t be able to act. Her power was never wrong, the scent had to be the same or else she was in the wrong place, or there at the wrong time.
As she began picking at the warm chips of her nachos, balancing the bean, to meat, to cheese proportions perfectly, a police car sped past. It was heading towards the factories and storage buildings near the outskirts of the city. She listened in on the local emergency radio-bands for any suspicious announcements.
A plate of tacos was placed in front of her.
“He-he-here you are ma-ma-ma-ma’me.”
“Thank you.” Quinn said, unaware of her waiter’s true identity.
She leaned over and inhaled deeply. The smell didn’t match.
“Oh well.” She said.
The waiter asked, “Is th-th-there something wro-wro-wrong?”
“No, everything is fine. The tacos just don’t smell the way I need them to.”
“Sorry. I-I-I forgot the li-li-lime.”
He took the lid off a small bowl on the tray he had carried to the table, removed a wedge of lime, and squirted it around her plate.
Quinn leaned over and sniffed again. The scent matched. She had found the location.
As she stood, two more police cars sped past heading in the same direction as the first.
“I’ve got to follow those cars.” She said to the waiter.
“Not schoo fascht.” A small voice said from behind her.
Quinn turned to see a child, a girl standing behind her chair.
“Who are you?” Quinn asked.
“You’ll schee schoon enough. Did you know that gullible isch written on the scheiling?”
Puzzled, Quinn looked up. Before she realized that she had just fallen for, perhaps, the oldest trick in the book, Eve L. shocked her with a Taser, knocking her unconscious.
***
Quinn awoke tied to the spire on top of the city’s tallest building. The metal antennae was used for the Government’s police and military radio communications. It was dark, well past midnight.
She saw the same girl from the plaza. Realizing who she was, she said, “Eve L., I should have known it was you. Our intelligence warned me that you only employ minions with speech impediments.”
“That’sch right, Misch Rainbow. You’re not schow schmart are you?”
“Why are you doing this Eve? What do you hope to accomplish?”
“Puppesch, of coursch. They muscht be schaved.”
Quinn’s brow furrowed, “Shaved? You capture policeman because you want to shave all the puppies?”
“No. No. No! Not shaved. Schaved. I want them to be schafe.”
“Oh.” Quinn said, realizing that Eve’s lisp could really confuse some things. “You want to, save, them. Protect them from harm. Now that makes sense. But why capture all the policeman? Won’t they want to help you?”
“I tried that, I releasched a video of my manifeschto, aschking for people to schtop being mean to puppesch.”
Eve pulled the remote device out of her pocket and pressed a button as she pointed it in front of Quinn. A holographic image appeared of Eve holding a pair of dachshund puppies. She was standing in a room with black walls. On the wall behind her, written in dripping red letters, were the words, ‘Zombie Party’. The 3D image began to speak.
This is what Quinn thought she said.
“Hello, what’s up? This is fun. Chiefs chill stun chill chill. Faculty still rtffmm. Do Dublin cleric oque. Couch grew cup. Haw haw.”
Eve shut off the projection and looked at Quinn.
“Schee, it kchouldn’t be kchlearer.”
Quinn knew she was dealing with someone who would be hard to reason with. She also knew that Eve didn’t know how the rainbow ability worked, and although tied up, she would soon have the upper hand. The sky was already beginning to lighten, Quinn just needed to stall until the sun broke the horizon.
Quinn said, “I know what you mean. I can help you. I love puppies too. And kittens.”
“No kittensh!” Eve’s eye’s glared at Quinn. “Kittensch grow up to be catsh. And catsch are mean to puppesch.”
She turned to her minion Gizmo. “Gizscmo, releasch the toe fungisch.”
Quinn shivered. Eve did know something about her after all. Toe fungus was her weakness. If allowed to infect her, her rainbow power would become unstable, she wouldn’t be able to control it.
“Wait. I’m sorry.” Quinn said. “No kittens, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Eve held her hand up to Gizmo to stop him from opening the vial containing the fungus.
“Why schould I believe you, Rainbow?”
“I can help, I can protect the puppies, but I have to know why you’re doing this. Why do you want to defend them so badly?”
Eve paused, her hand holding Gizmo in check wavered slightly. Quinn held her breath. Not much longer until the sun’s first beams broke into a new day.
“Becausche of my speesch impediment. Puppesch are the only thingsh nicshe to me.”
“Oh, I’m sure that’s not true.” Quinn was bluffing. “I can get you help for your speech too. You don’t have to be evil.”
“But thatsch my name. Eve Luschinda. Eve L.”
Quinn shook her head. “No, not Eve L. You are Eve L., you don’t have to be evil, Eve L.”
Eve thought about what Quinn had said. She waved Gizmo off and he returned the vial to the small case at his feet.
The sun’s first beam reached across the sky.
“Happy birth day.” Quinn said.
“Itsch not my birschday.”
“Not Birthday.’ Quinn replied. “Every sunrise is the birth of day. Happy birth day.”
“Sunrisch?” Eve realized that Quinn had been stalling. “Gizschmo, the fungisch!”
It was too late for them. Quinn twirled her finger creating a tiny rainbow that untied her restraints.
She yelled to her captors, “Hey, what’s that over there?”
Falling for the oldest trick in the book, Eve turned to look behind her. Quinn spun her hand in a circle creating a rainbow lasso that ensnared her foe and her henchman.
***
A year later, Quinn and Eve were best friends. Quinn had released all the policeman from their prison. They promised to protect the puppies of the world from harm. And secretly agreed to watch over kittens too but thought that it would be better to keep that information from Eve.
Eve and all her minions had begun speech therapy paid for by all the people who also wanted puppies to be safe. Turns out she was a bit of a folk hero.
Early one morning, Quinn signed Eve out of her world-court assigned jail cell to take her out into the world for her first day back into society.
Quinn said, “Happy birth day Eve. Where should would you like to go for lunch?”
Eve replied, “I know a good place for salads. A little messy, but they make a good taco.”
—The End—
For Eva and Julia. By Uncle Miguel and Aunt Susan.
2/16/2015

Big John

My step-father passed away recently. I felt compelled to write this piece.

______________________________________________________________

I had a dad for the first ten years of my life; I don’t remember much of the man.

He was tall, granted I was a child so everyone was. He had a permanent 5 O’clock shadow. He kept a collection of electric razors next to his mahogany-red leather recliner, he’d sit in the chair buzzing away at the stubble whenever he was home. And he drove a dark blue ‘66 Corvette, which sparked my love of muscle cars. I remember riding in that fast, loud, sports car as he sped through a toll booth and threw change at the basket without slowing down.

That’s about it. Not much to go by as far as fond memories of my father.

When he passed away in 1970, he left our mom alone with six children, three older, two younger. For the next seven years our mom raised us without help.

During these formative years, we had a lot of unsupervised time to ourselves. I for one, and I don’t think I’m going out a limb when I say I was not unique, did things that I’m not proud of. Made a lot of dumb choices, went down some roads that I wouldn’t have if there were a strong male figure present during my teenage years.

When I was a junior in High School, our mom adopted a boy who needed a stable home. We already knew him, and he was my age, so he fit right in. What’s one more when you’re raising six already? Seven teenagers, one house, one parent working full time. Although we did bicker and play hard, we learned to look out for each other.

That’s about the time our mom met John. He had two children of his own, (cue the Brady Bunch theme music here.) The youngest of the pair, a boy, was named after him. So we, the wise-asses that we were and continue to be, called the son, Little John, and our mother’s new beau, Big John. A name that stuck with him for the next four decades.

A paragraph ago, I mentioned that we were a group of seven fatherless children growing up in the early ‘70s. Let that sink in for a moment. The 1970’s in the United States. There was a lot going on in this country back then. When mom and Big John met, we were a rock and roll, authority thumbing, foul-mouthed group of teenagers. Although we loved and feared our mom, each of us at some point realized that we were bigger than her, a stern smack on the butt no longer held us in check. I should also point out with some personal embarrassment, that I began to like the taste of soap. That punishment no longer worked either.

Big John worked for the telephone company in a management positon. I don’t think we ever knew what he did for a living. Whatever it was, that job wasn’t the relevant information to a bunch of wild long-haired kids. Big John’s previous job was. He was a Drill Instructor for the US Marine Corps. (Cue the Halls of Montezuma music here.)

You can see our dilemma.

“Feral, (in a suburban neighborhood kind of way,) teenagers, meet, (stereotypical symbol of authority,) USMC-DI Big John. Our first few years were not smooth.

Despite the rough introduction, this was the family that Big John met, and still decided to marry into. A year later, we had an addition to the family when mom and Big John had a baby of their own. In a way, our little, ‘Buglet’, pulled us together. But this story’s not about her, or us.

It’s about how a man, who after devoting himself to our country, devoted his life to a woman with seven children, to our family. And as we learned more about what drew our mom to him, we found out that his desire to help others extended beyond our combined home.

Big John was a volunteer fireman in our town, and an active member in the BPO Elks, serving as the Exalted Ruler in the local lodge. He was a good man to all who knew him.

He was our step-dad for longer than my father was my dad, four times as long. He was with me through the years following high school when I was deciding what to do with my life. Helped me go to a trade school, without which I wouldn’t be where I am today. Introduced me to slow, odd-looking Swedish cars. I’ve owned six Volvos since then, and was proud to show him every one of them.

When any of us got married and had children of our own, he was the man they knew as grandpa. When we lost the youngest of our original six in a car accident, he was there for our mom. And when we lost our mom to cancer, he was there for us. And we were there for him. Mom took care of all of us, and when she was gone, Big John needed us to help him. He was more than just a step-dad or Big John, as endearing as that nick-name had become. I’m sorry now, that I never said it to him, but he was my dad.

Big John passed away this morning. We’ll miss him in our lives, and keep him in our hearts.

Rest in peace dad.

John J. Kmetz, 04/20/1939 – 02/11/2015.